Relaxing, Mesmerizing Pet Fish
Krysta Parr feels that it was fate that brought her together with her three goldfish and coincidentally (or not), Parr is a Pisces. Adopting the three fish from a moving neighbor last June, Parr has since expanded her marine family.
Although fish may not be the most interactive of pets, there are benefits to their aquatic environments. Fish tanks add beauty to home décor, and they have a hypnotic, calming effect on people. Watching the constant movement of fish may relax the mind and eases muscle tension, lowering stress and anxiety. A 1980s sleep study showed watching fish in an aquarium can lower blood pressure like other types of relaxation therapy and meditation.
Parr enjoys watching her fish and finds them very relaxing, almost mesmerizing. They also proved to be “cuter” than she thought. Her backyard is not large enough for a pond, but her fish tanks are the next best thing for a feeling of nature in her home.
Research, care and attention to detail are musts when owning a fish tank and especially when adding a new fish to any existing fish tank. It is important to know what fish are compatible with one another. Prior to adding to her family of three, Parr researched the requirements for different fish, the water parameters – temperature, pH levels, water hardness – not to mention a consideration of correct lighting and plants. With this knowledge, Parr decided to add a second freshwater fish tank to her home.
Her original tank, the 72-gallon, cold-water tank houses four different goldfish, approximately four inches long. “The Dude” and “Pigwidgeon” are what Parr named her goldfish, the orange, single-finned species that most people recognize. “Wally” is a calico-colored Shubunkin, of Japanese origin, with metallic and transparent scales. “Angel” is the comet goldfish, bred in the U.S., and known for its forked tail. Six Nerite snails are also at home in the tank and are the algae eaters to help clean.
The 55-gallon, warm water tropical tank is home to seven skirt tetras, a South American fish with translucent fins and a forked tailfin. Inspired by the Harry Potter series, Parr’s skirt tetras are named: Tonks, Draco, Lavender, Harry, Ron and then Westworld-inspired Dolores and Bernard. The tetras are schooling fish, which is why Parr has seven. This means that a same species of fish moves together in the same direction. Seven Bolivian rams, a species originally from the Amazon River Basin, and four Nerite snails also inhabit Parr’s tropical tank. The Bolivian rams are peaceful and happy at the bottom of the tank and show no signs of aggression unless it is breeding season.
Owning home fish tanks is not inexpensive, but they are ideal for homes with no yards, those with allergies and those willing to maintain the necessary requirements for the fish. Maintenance can be managed and fairly simple by following these steps: stick to a feeding schedule, plan weekly water changes, test tank water once a week, create a monthly maintenance checklist, stock up on tank essentials and automate your tank equipment.
Parr’s recommendation for any new fish owner is to keep up with the maintenance by testing the water often and conduct small water changes
regularly to keep the pet’s environment clean. Parr’s tanks are not quite as low maintenance as she originally thought, but they are much lower maintenance than her dog, Kenji.
By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Krysta Parr