Inverted catfish among plants

Are Fish Good Pets: Pros and a Few Cons of Owning Fish

Are fish good pets?

They don’t wait for you at the door and won’t snuggle in your lap when you need company.

They can go weeks without feeding.

Are fish pets at all?

Fishkeeping is a hobby with many benefits.

Fish are diverse pets but however many forms, colors, and unique personalities they display, the aura a fish tank emits is one of peace and tranquility. Fish are great pets for those who like serene beauty or want to understand the winding paths of the kuhli loach.

People who want to imbue their home with a box of meditative energy won’t mind the occasional maintenance session fish tanks need. They will eagerly anticipate them, apply new ideas, and observe how the aquatic ecosystem responds and matures.

People who think only in terms of fish vs. cat or dog vs. frog may be comparing things too directly. Fish and frogs shouldn’t be touched or hugged. And they are wet and slimy anyway, who’d want to hug such a critter?

But with fish, the comparison should include the fact that you must set up an aquarium. Then you must keep it clean, trim plants, change water, and you will realize that fishkeeping involves a fair amount of tactile experience.

Granted, siphoning gravel isn’t the same quality of tactile experience a fluffy purr-machine will deliver most days of the week. Then again, neither is vacuuming hair off everything.

Enough idle chatter!

Let’s see the pros and cons of choosing fish as pets.

The Benefits of Owning Fish

Aquarium fish have been studied better in recent years and, just like any other pet, they introduce many positives to the household. Some of the most pronounced pros include calmness, beauty, reduced stress, and better sleep, but fishkeeping doesn’t stop there.

Check out the main pros of fish and then run to the pet store!

1. Great for Young Parents

Fish are great pets for young parents. I am not aware of studies on their impact on babies, but fish tanks are quiet and don’t spark allergies. Fish never bark when someone is sleeping and don’t go for random parkour sprints around the flat. At 3.31 am

Most of them sleep at night, while others rummage around for bites of debris. You can observe your fish at night if you want, but you can also sleep as much and whenever you need. Fish do their business in the tank, the filtration system does the rest.

A clean aquarium will emit no pathogens in your living space. Whatever happens in the tank, even if deadly for its inhabitants will never physically harm a human. Only emotionally.

2. Fishkeeping Budget Is EXTREMELY Flexible

Fishkeeping is a weird hobby. After a relatively modest initial investment, you can enjoy it fully, without any major spending. You can go months without spending a dime, really.

Cats and dogs, to compare it to the most popular pets, have a modest initial investment and regular monthly expenditures. You can score a good deal or two, but veterinary checks and insurance installments inevitably burden the budget.

Fishkeeping calls for initial investments in time, money, and consideration. Time to understand the basics of a functioning fish tank. Money to set it up. Consideration how to set it up and how to shape the budget for this starting expenditure.

After that, you can go for months without purchasing new products or livestock.

3. Fishkeeping Stimulates Creativity

You and I are the living experiment of the statement that fish stimulate creativity I am sitting on the balcony, writing about how awesome pets fish are. You, by reading it, are judging whether my creativity has been properly stimulated.

But thought experiments aside, keeping fish is a creative endeavor. The arrangement of the aquarium is the most obvious manifestation, but the truth is that creativity comes before buying a fish tank.

You must find a proper place for it in your house — this guide on the matter can help — and, very likely, rearrange the space you choose. Then, you set the tank up, and then it becomes a living thing. A living thing that changes and requires maintenance and the occasional tinkering.

4. It Is Easy to Go on a Spontaneous, Unplanned Trip

Fish, once set up, are very low-maintenance pets (more on that in a second). One of the best things about them is the fact that you can leave them for a few days without a problem. All you need is a timer for the light, but that’s a great thing to have even if you never leave the house.

With an automatic feed, these few days can stretch to a few weeks.

I’d always feel calmer if a friend could check on the fish tank every once in a while when I am going for a longer trip, but that’s mostly extra security rather than strictly necessary.

Other pets, cats especially, don’t travel so readily and often require the involvement of friends or relatives. They must be fed daily (or every other day, at the very least) and, left to their own devices for too long, often exhibit destructive behavior.

5. Fish Are Very Low Maintenance

Compared to most pets, aquariums require minimum effort. Early on, they must be cleaned on a weekly basis. However, a solid maintenance session, with a proper water change, algae scrubbing, siphoning, and plant trimming takes about an hour for a 30+ gallon tank. And that’s about it. 

Indeed, you have to feed the fish, but that takes a few seconds if you do it by hand.

Other pets need daily care and attention. Of course, fluffy pets repay the effort with playfulness, cuddles, nice walks in the park with the doggo, and so forth. But the point here is that you must be there for them, whereas fish need you very sporadically.

If you set your aquarium up well, with a good amount of substrate and plants, the need for maintenance will reduce greatly over time. After the sixth month, cleaning once every two weeks is completely attainable. And once you know your way around the hobby, you can introduce microorganisms to help you never clean the tanks.

More specifically, to never change its water or siphon it. Plant trimming and the occasional algae scraping still will be required.

6. Fish Are Excellent Starter Pets for Children

The low maintenance element comes to shine again here. Fishkeeping is great for introducing children to responsibilities related to pets and regular care without being overwhelming. Missing a regular water change with a day or two rarely is fatal (don’t overdo it though) and neither is not feeding the fish.

But helping in cleaning, tending to the fish, maybe training them to do simple tricks, develop responsibility and engagement. Owning a sturdy little betta is a decent introduction to the hobby. Many people claim goldfish are easy to care for, but they come with a bunch of issues. Bettas are way more resilient and, simply, bettar.

Now, kids generally learn a lot. With a little supervision and parental attention, they are the ultimate knowledge sponges.

They will learn a lot from having a dog or a hamster. Fish are no exception to the rule, only that the things you can learn in the hobby are quite diverse. They involve some basic chemistry, observation skills, and logical thinking about the interaction between the tank elements, live and otherwise.

Each water change session is an opportunity to improve the world of your aquatic pets. In my experience, children love adding decorations.

Fish are superb starter pets.

7. Fish Are the Cleanest Pets

Quite obviously, fish are the cleanest pets, as all the waste they produce is contained within their habitat. Fish don’t smell, don’t shed, don’t bring in mud, don’t spill their food around, and don’t puke on carpets. They don’t drool either.

The wastewater from the aquarium can be used to water plants (preferably inedible species, though) or in the toilet. Make sure to not throw live plants in the toilet and make it a habit for you and your children to always wash hands after interacting with the water column.

8. Fish Are Diverse

Fishkeepers are spoilt for choice nowadays. Online shopping has made fish and plants of all shapes and forms incredibly accessible. The diversity is simply mesmerizing and allows for countless arrangements of community tanks or single-species aquariums.

This being said, always build your aquarium around the needs of your fish. Take enough time to find a way to realize your vision while providing an excellent biodome for the swimmers.

9. Aquariums Are Beautiful

Aquariums are like works of art. Dynamic and changing works, but also a hub of tranquil beauty and calming energy within the house. The health benefits fish bring are becoming better documented and stretch beyond the aesthetics.

But the beauty of a fish tank calms the nerves, helps people sleep better, improves the mood, alleviates depression in people with Alzeimer’s disease, and stimulates our creative juices from flowing.

A life aquarium is the polar opposite of the soul-sucking smartphones and screens we waste our attention on. The calming swimming of fish makes our eyes move instead of being fixated. It also disconnects our actively thinking brain, inducing a meditation-like state of mind. The latter is particularly beneficial for recuperation and mental recovery.

Indeed, a stunning painting can provoke a similar reaction, but fish tanks are practically guaranteed to enchant you with their serene beauty.

Cons of Fish as Pets

No pet is perfect. Regardless of their numerous advantages as pets, fish don’t appeal to everybody.

The lack of direct interaction and the limited tactile experience are two of the major deterrents. Fish won’t lick your face affectionately. They might nibble at your fingers. Our inverted catfish cleans carefully my daughter’s fingertips when feeding, but a fish can’t relieve your tummy ache through incessant purring and warmth.

They won’t intuitively be there for you in a difficult moment. And they certainly won’t stop a burglar.


There you have it, a few compelling reasons why fish are good pets. The list is not exhaustive and they aren’t perfect, but the hobby is rewarding on many levels.

Their low maintenance, dynamic beauty, inspiring creativity, and cleanliness make them an excellent addition to any home.

Don’t believe me?

Go get a fish tank and see for yourself!

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One Comment

  1. My colleague is interested in owning pets this year to liven up his living space. I never knew that owning diverse species of fish could give your home a unique appearance. I should recommend this to him so we can visit a pet store that sells fish and aquariums.

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