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Children and your reef


Zarathustra2

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There was an incident involving a mollie tank and a bottle of kids hair detangler today. There was also a lot of water around a power strip. Ended in tears. Tried to explain about how our pets are our responsibility to keep them healthy and how hair detangler is not a good aquarium additive. Thought this is difficult to understand for a 5 year old I think she got it. This got me thinking...

What do the rest of the parents of ARC have set up as rules around thier tanks for children, especially young ones? What is the best way to have them involved but safely for them and the animals. I want to encourage my two 5 year olds to explore and learn the wonder of a captive undersea world. At the same time I'm imagining what would have happened if there was detangler in my reef.

P.S. Thanks to fast detection and a very large water change with lots of AMQuel and running carbon I think the mollies will be just fine. Also, no children were harmed in the making of this post.

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My daughter helps with feeding (mostly watching, but getting more involved), ATO refills, water changes, fish naming and general watching.

She also went to Aquadome with me to pick out the wrasse we got.

Sunday is her 6th birthday and I will be letting her choose a coral to order in this next Vivid order. It will be her coral and she will get to choose the placement in the tank (within reason).

As far as random "additives" to the tank, I think I may (re)emphasize that in the coming days, just in case. To date she has never really suggested doing anything like that...

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I stress to my kids that they do not open the stand for any reason. I do not want them around the power strips and water. Also, the pb&j is OK on the glass but not in the tank. There hands do not go in the tank for any reason. I tell them the crabs bite. j/ksmile.gif

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Ran into this situation when my wife's best friend (and two sons age 3, 6) came to visit.

Our main rule was look but don't touch, enforced by standing with your hands in your back pockets. It was so funny watching their fingers dart forward to point and say, "Ooooh, what's that?" and then realize and quickly put their hands back.

I didn't feel comfortable feeding in front of them because I didn't want them seeing how to put things in the top of the tank. Not sure how I'd handle it if they were here all the time...

Maybe I'd hire that one-armed guy from Arrested Development and stage an elaborate situation where it appeared that some fish died from something that happened culminating with his arm coming off, and then he could say, "And THAT'S why we don't put hair detangler in the aquarium!"

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I have two girls, 13 and 16. The oldest cant take her eyes or fingers off her cell phone long enough to to care about anything else.... The younger loves to help with everything, except for skimmer cup cleaning!laugh.gif

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Yea, I have the full age range here too. A 15 YO boy, 12, 5 and 5 for girls. The mollie tank is in the girls room so it mostly works as the destraction destruction option. Depending on how they are doing with the mollie tank I let them feed nemo some flake. The 12 YO Girl like feeding the reef and the 15 YO sometimes helps me when I get to a plumbing job or something like that.

I need to find a one armed guy now...

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Mines only 2.5 and I (fortunately) ended up with a tall tank on a tall stand. He can see in, but can't reach the top yet. He also knows not to open certain cabinets... there are cabinets that he can open and ones he can't. He's pretty good about following that rule. He's fed my other fish tank before, but It'll be a while for the reef.

The other day at Aquatek, he got excited and hit the glass of a tank. I put in time-put for like 30 seconds and then made him apologize to the fish. Most everyone around was trying not to burst out laughing at this little boy saying "I'm sorry" to a fish tank.

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Our main rule was look but don't touch, enforced by standing with your hands in your back pockets. It was so funny watching their fingers dart forward to point and say, "Ooooh, what's that?" and then realize and quickly put their hands back.

Same here, enforcing certain rules, usually helps; explain why is important to not tap the glass or not to do any horseplay around the tank. I have to say that the company that has come over w/children , they seem well behaved. As for our own...we had one issue with our 5 yr., at the time this happen, and no repeats of this ever again. It was disheartening to see him so upset but he learned his lesson......saltwater creatures don't belong in freshwater. He helps me feed the fish and he gets a kick out of seeing the fish go after the mysis.

I have two girls, 13 and 16. The oldest cant take her eyes or fingers off her cell phone long enough to to care about anything else.... The younger loves to help with everything, except for skimmer cup cleaning!laugh.gif

Dustin....I wish there was a way for this 16 yrs. to unplug from their phones/itouch.....I do have to say that when we're (Mr. & Mrs.)out, we give our 16 yr. some basic tips that in the event of a power outage.....what she needs to do.

When power comes back on:

1. Turn the skimmer off.....a few hours without the skimmer is not going to hurt the tank. Sometimes when the power comes back it wet skims about too much.

2. She knows the power strip to the Turbelles sometimes you have to switch them on/off due to " they are turning backwards". Once she sees water flow, then it's okay.

And that's all there's to it. Everything else is plugged into the AquaController III.

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A pair of goggles and a scrapper. The little ones are just the right size for cleaning that hard to reach glass :)

Tabitha (almost 3) knows not to put anything in the water, including her hands. She does very well at the fish stores and at home. My tanks are generally out of her reach. She does get to help feed sometimes but it has always been supervised. She does not have her own tank in her room, yet. That is probably my next step in teaching her how to take care of fish, and pets in general.

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Yea, the tank in the room thing helped a lot with one of the 5 year olds. She got it for her fourth b-day and is really responsible about feeding her mollies and really loves them. The other 5 year old didn't get that experience and was the cause of this post so I'm thinking that might be the diference. I'm thinking about setting up another 20g FW tank for her and seeing where it gets me.

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