Dad Thinking Aquarium for Young Daughter


Hello everyone. I'm a Dad considering a beginner aquarium for my 7 year old as a gift. Obviously, I know I will be helping with this endeavor. I had a 10 gallon when I was in middle school/high school, but lost interest in it eventually as going out with friends became more interesting to me. I initially was considering something like a nano tank, but after some initial research it appears that maybe going back towards a 10 gallon will be an easier route.
Anyway, still a lot of time to research (and convince the wife). I really didn't know what I was doing in my younger days, and had just inherited the aquarium I had. Trying to be a bit smarter about it this go around. So please excuse my ignorant questions. Thanks in advance for any help you will provide.


Welcome welcome!

I actually got into the hobby because my dad kept cichlids years before I was born!

Do a ton of research/ask questions on the nitrogen cycle, it’s the base and lifeline of any tank. Get an API masterkit for water testing, not test strips which are inaccurate. Never trust the fishstores, always double check everything they say. If you can, think about starting with a larger tank like a 30 or 55, you will have more options and it’s easier to maintain stable parameters. 50% water changes every week.

fair warning: if you learn to love this hobby you’ll probably never leave :D (of course breaks and burnout are all valid too, just take care of your animals :) )


Welcome to Fishlore! :) There are no dumb questions around here. Someone is always willing to help out. Ask away. I agree to research the nitrogen cycle first and foremost.


Aquariums are a great way to introduce kids to pet ownership, responsibility, science, etc. Just know that even if it's her aquarium it's actually your aquarium and you are responsible for it. It's too much for a 7 year old.

I think a 10 gallon with a betta and a mystery snail or 2 would be a fun way to start. Both have a ton of personality that is fun for a 7 year old, are pretty easy to take care for, and would do great in a 10 gallon.

Learn about the nitrogen cycle, be patient at first, and do regular water changes. Involve her in everything, giving her as much responsibility as she can handle but knowing you are responsible for making sure things get done correctly. It's something you can both do together and have a lot of fun with.

If you both enjoy it, there will be other opportunities to get bigger tanks, different fish, etc. But I'd recommend to start simple and easy.

The aquarium is still something my 16 year old daughter and I can work together on, talk about, etc. We started when she was young as well.


Hi and welcome to Fishlore...
Dumb questions don't exist overhere. It would be dumb if one would not ask a question if someone would be in need for an answer...


welcome to fishlore! as everyone else said, read up on the nitrogen cycle and so forth. a great stocking idea for a 10 gallon would be some endlers livebearers.


Welcome. I definitely wouldn't recommend anything smaller than 10 gallons, and anything over 20 gallons might be too intimidating (a 20 gallon long is a great tank).


I am going to second the comments that are recommending a larger tank. The more water, the more forgiving. It is tempting to get on Facebook and buy the cheapest stuff around. But there's a few things that should take priority. Don't skimp on filtration or the tank itself. Old tanks are much more likely to have bad silicone and a leaking tank or a failed tank will quickly ruin the opinions of fish keeping for the whole household! Filtration is arguably the most important mechanical aspect of fish keeping. A cheap filter may leak, filter poorly, have to be replaced often, or even may not clean the water appropriately. I recommend the Seachem tidal series filters, I run sumps, canisters, and HOB's and the Tidal is hands down an excellent entry HOB as it is siphon proof, and skims the surface of the water too. My favorite beginner setup would be a tidal 35 filter, a 20g long fish tank (Petco had a 50% sale.), a set of glass lids, some black diamond blasting sand (tractor supply company), and a light from amazon (Hygger or Aquaneat). This should all run you around $120ish and will set you up for an excellent entry into fish keeping! Also, Grimes county is near college station right? I would reach out to DFWAA they are an excellent wealth of information in the Northern/Central Texas area!


. . . Also, Grimes county is near college station right? I would reach out to DFWAA they are an excellent wealth of information in the Northern/Central Texas area!

Did ByMyBeard say he's from Grimes county? Or did you see that on my profile and get confused?

In any case, yes, Grimes county is close to Bryan/College Station.

Rose of Sharon

Welcome to Fishlore!! Hope you love it here!! :)

As you can see by the many replies, we are here to help and encourage!


I'm actually not in TX at all, but am in Central Indiana. So if anyone knows of good local fish stores in that area, please do let me know!
I do appreciate the filter recommendation as well. This being a gift, I am fairly certain we will be purchasing a new tank and whatever hardware we need. Decorative items may be something I wait and let my daughter pick out from the pet store (or at least get her general input on prior to me including it in the gift).
What about fairly simple books about how to start an aquarium? Any recommendations there? I'm thinking something I could read to her to help her understand why we aren't rushing straight to the store to buy fish and drop them into the tank.

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