Is a 5 Year Old Too Young for Aquarium Fish?

Every day I am amazed at what my 5 year old can do. Every day I am also reminded she’s still fresh out of being a toddler. She’s very curious so I’m always looking for new things to share with her, so I decided to research: Is a 5 year old too young for aquarium fish?

Five years-old is a good age to introduce your child to fishkeeping, if you are interested in sharing an activity that can be fun, rewarding, and sometimes challenging. Tailor the activities to the development and interests of your child (don’t expect them to take care of everything by themselves), and it will become educational and fun.

Is Your Child Interested in Fish?

Children develop at different rates. But what a child may lack in development, interest can more than make up for. If you made it through the toddler years, you already know that your child needs to be interested in something to make it work.

Some of this you can control. We all know how to (try) to hype up our kids for an activity or a subject. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. If your kid is not interested at all, its probably not worth pushing.

You can’t expect a five year old to take on all the responsibilities of keeping a tank, but at their age they can do several tasks and be involved.

Don’t Get a Starter Fish Bowl

I know it sounds logical, but don’t go buy a goldfish or betta in a bowl as a starter fish. The logic: start small and see how it goes.

The problem is that small bowls are not good for fish. It’s also not very stimulating to watch a fish float in a bowl.

The fish will float around in the bowl for awhile and eventually die. Not only will your kid be bored, you’ll have to explain to her why you flushed “Elsa” down the toilet.

There’s so much more to an actual aquarium. There are the fish, but there is also the excitement of creating a healthy place for the fish to live. There are so many opportunities to learn and have fun.

Child Benefits of Having a Fish Tank

At this point your either thinking that an aquarium for your kindergartner sounds amazing. Or you are thinking why would I want to start that headache. If you’re on the fence, lets look at how do children benefit from having a fish tank?

Keeping a fish tank not only helps your child learn about fish and how to care for them, it also teaches them about responsibility, teamwork, kindness and compassion for animals.

Keeping Fish Teaches Responsibility

Fish are great for teaching your children about responsibilities by providing them a more responsible role. Caring for a fish means there are a lot of things that your kid needs to take care of in a daily basis.

Changing fish water, feeding fish, cleaning accessories and tank, and everything are all vital for fish pet parents. With development of such habits (even with availability of parental assistance) is a good step to gradually more your kids more responsible.

Fish Keeping Teaches Teamwork

Any project your child can’t do on their own is a lesson in teamwork. Keeping an aquarium is too much for a five year old, so they will have to learn to work with parents or siblings to make it happen.

Keeping a Fish Aquarium Teaches Kindness and Compassion

Once little kids start realizing that another living being has developed dependency on them for survival, they start taking ownership and pride in providing proper and timely care for their little pets in aquarium. With owning and taking care of a little pet your child develops nurturing spirit and learns of compassion.

School of Fish. . . get it?

Educational Benefits of Fish Keeping

The educational benefits of keeping an aquarium are obvious. Not only do your children learn how to take care of the fish, they learn about the fish and get to see them in action.

Mollies, guppies, swordtails and platies are quite cheap, small, pretty and can be bred easily. Also, these are livebearers, meaning that the child would be able to see fry within day of the birth.

They also learn about feeding and the responsibility of caring for the fish. You can increase your margin of error but picking some child friendly fish. And remember to remind them to not feed them too much!

Best Aquarium Fish for 5 Year Old

So what are the best aquarium fish for a young fishkeeper? I think you want to avoid any large fish or aggressive species as caring these can be difficult.

The fancy guppy, the swordtail and the platy are recommended here. A lot of pet fish owners swear by danios and barbs as these remain quite hardy in case heating goes off at night time. Another species that is able to tolerate cool water would be White Cloud Mountain minnow.

You can decide on some hardy beginner fish before making your way to store, and check on its availability. It’s also good to ask a knowledgeable store associate questions to learn what fish they recommend.

Make Your Fish Tank Child Safe

Finally, safety first. Remember that you are putting a giant glass tank full of water in your house. While you want to keep the fish alive, the safety of your children is your first priority.

My five year-old daughter is very safe and cautious. However, her three year-old brother bounces off the walls like a rubber ball. Therefore, we had to find a safe place to keep the aquarium.

With that in mind, here’s a list of things to consider.

Safety Tips for Aquarium for Kids

  • Resistant of any impact – of acrylic or approved glass
  • Should be electrically safe. Cables, sockets and plugs must be protected or hidden. Must have availability of low voltage gear.
  • Should be covered for deterring exploratory fingers or hands
  • Someplace away from rough play or high traffic
  • Place on a stable surface, not something that will easily tip over.


Fishkeeping is truly an educational and fun hobby for children. It brings children and parents together with a hobby that is interesting.

A fish aquarium can provide a lot of learning opportunities and conversations. Also, this is quite cheap alternative to other fun activities for your kids.

Beginners who are willing to teach their kids about petting fish can check this video to know about the best fishes they can have.

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