6 Easy Hacks to Cure Fish Boredom
Just like any other pet, fish can become bored, too. And while they won’t chew up your shoes, keeping them occupied will ensure they live a healthier life.
We buy toys for our dogs, cats, rats, rabbits, birds, and beyond. But how often does anyone get toys for their fish? Better yet, did you even know that fish could appreciate or need toys in their tank? Well, they do! However, that doesn’t mean that you can just go to a random pet store and expect them to carry toys for fish – it’s not such a popular choice as, say, dog toys. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find anything to engage your fish and provide them entertainment in the aquarium. The key is to play off of what fish already do naturally. Adding things into their tanks that will occupy them and hone their natural instincts is a sure-fire way to have healthier happier fish that are more interesting to watch.
OK, now that you know how awesome it is when you provide entertaining and engaging accessories for your fish, all that remains is to learn how to do it. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be crafty or spending big bucks to keep your fish lively and occupied – here are six easy hacks to cure your fishes’ boredom.
Ping pong balls: s: Yup, ping pong balls are amazing for fish – no need to get them a miniature ping pong table and rackets. Plain old ping pong balls are a cheap and easy way to amuse your fish. Bettas particularly enjoy moving them around the tank, but just about any fish will be curious enough to check it out. It will stimulate their senses, and it’s a cool party trick to show people when they come to visit.
Tubes and tunnels: Many fish decorations incorporate these attributes to some degree, but you can improve on them by making your own. PVC pipe from your local hardware store connected with a couple of elbows joints will make an interesting place for your fish to explore and hang out. You can weight it to the bottom of the tank and cover it with rocks and plants if you don’t like the look of the pipes. For something a little fancier, you can use terra cotta planters in the tank. Of course, it’s important to note that any tubes or tunnels you introduce to the aquarium should be wide enough for the fish to pass through safely, and made from smooth, fish-safe materials. You don’t want anything rough that your fish could snag their fins on!
Mirrors: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest fishy of them all? Fish aren’t vain, but mirrors are especially interesting to fish like bettas that live alone. They will be interested in their reflections and will flare, charge, and be curious about the “fish” on the other side. This provides much-needed enrichment for the solitary bettas, stimulates them to exercise their fins, and encourages natural territorial behaviors in a safe way. Still, you shouldn’t keep a mirror in the tank all the time, as it can become counterproductive – place it in the aquarium for a few minutes at a time as a form of exercise, and don’t leave it in for prolonged periods.
Shells, rocks, and sand: Nothing beats natural habitat vibes! Not only that mimicking their home is something that all fish like, but it also means that you don’t have to put in any special effort or look for any exotic items to keep your fishies occupied. Something you already have in your tank can be interesting to some species of fish. Cichlids, for example, will love rearranging their tank space (for fishy feng shui, we assume). They will dig holes, build hills, and create their own territory.
Air stones and bubble wands: There are many benefits to air stones and bubble wands – these decorative accessories are not only for decor, but they also produce oxygen bubbles, which not only aerate the aquarium, but also lift certain layers to the top of the tank. In addition to making for a neat feature in your tank for you to look at, these accessories will also amuse your fish. Fish that enjoy stronger moving waters will hang out in the bubbles, and flit and flee through them. In fact, some species thrive in stronger aquarium currents and having something like an air stone or a bubble wand is a must – the list of popular choices includes Plecos, Red Neon Goby, Danios, and others.
Food: Nothing motivates fish like food! If you ever want to make your aquatic pets enthusiastic about something, grab their food flakes and see them go bananas. It doesn’t come as a surprise, then, that finding ways to make their food slightly harder to acquire is an excellent way to stimulate your fish. Breaking away from the usual flakes and pellets and trying something like frozen bloodworms or brine shrimp will shake up their diets, and give them something to do. Live foods also help get your fish to hunt, which is a natural stimulant for them. Naturally, before opting for live foods or similar, be sure that your fish are omnivores or carnivores – because plant eaters such as Goldfish, Pleco, Oscars, and others certainly won’t find prey engaging.
Summer Davis is the mom of three kids, four dogs, and several tanks of fish. She boasts a passion for all animals, whether they are in the water or on land. This fish aficionado has kept many different species in her time, but holds a special place in her heart for wild and domestic bettas. When she’s not talking about fish, Summer “spins” her extra time as the director of a baton twirling organization.
Summer Davis is the mom of three kids, four dogs, and several tanks of fish. She boasts a passion for all animals, whether they are in the water or on land. This fish aficionado has kept many different species in her time, but holds a special place in her heart for wild and domestic bettas. When she's not talking about fish, Summer "spins" her extra time as the director of a baton twirling organization."
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