How old were you when you started your first aquarium?

How old were you when you started your first aquarium?

  • 12 or younger

    Votes: 108 44.6%
  • Teens

    Votes: 60 24.8%
  • 20's

    Votes: 45 18.6%
  • 30's

    Votes: 18 7.4%
  • 40's

    Votes: 6 2.5%
  • 50's

    Votes: 2 0.8%
  • 60's or older

    Votes: 3 1.2%

  • Total voters
    242
  • Moderator

Mike

Moderator
Member
Curious to see what your age was when you started your first aquarium? I'm guessing that most start their first tank in their teens... we shall see when the very scientific fishlore poll results roll in....
 

Feohw

Member
I got my first when I was 18. But my family had a tank of goldfish when I was around 8 I think, so I guess that would technically be my first. That tank makes me cringe now.
 

Crispii

Member
My family and I used to keep fish when I was young, probably when I was around the ages of 10-13. Of course, I didn't know a thing about fishkeeping and kept actual koI fish in a 29 gallon thinking it was okay. After I graduated from middle school, I took a hiatus from aquariums. However, the age where I started to take fishkeeping seriously was when I was 17, when I got inspired by watching aquarium videos.
 

jinjerJOSH22

Member
We had a small goldfish tank when I was young but Mom took care of maintenance so I don't count that. I think I had another small tank in my early teens but I really got the bug when I was 24.
 

StarGirl

Member
We had a tank when I was in Jr high and I really don't remember my parents ever changing water. There was a goldfish and a common pleco in there for a long time. They ended up being around 6-7 inches long each and I think my stepdad put them in our creek out front. So sad. My tanks started in the 90's and I had no idea how to do them. Fish died you went and got more. My current 55 gallon I got about 10 yrs ago and had issues and took it down and went back to my 20 gallon nightmare of Cyano. In May of 2018 I put my 55 back up and joined Fishlore. It has been a MUCH better experienced owning my current "second job my husband calls it" ;)
 

PascalKrypt

Member
Not sure how old I was but given that I had it for several years and dismantled it the year before we moved, and we moved when I was 12. Uhh, probably when I was 7 or 8?
Multiple tanks actually, I bred guppies aside from the "main" tank with "fancy fish" like a totally inappropriately housed pleco ("black algae eater"), two black mollies that I thought were egglayers from an aquarium book I had misidentified them in, a school of 6 neons or so and at some point a goldfish as well. Did I mention this tank was 12 gallons?
Yup.
Looking back most (aside from the goldfish) actually lasted bizarrely long. The mollies and neons and pleco lived at least 2-3 years, considering that I "vacation fed" them a fistful of flakes when I went away and wouldn't have known what a cycle was if you had made me drink all the tank water in search of it.

I still have that 12 gallon btw, up and running.
 

Dennis57

Member
My parents always had 2 tanks. When I turned 12 they bought me my 1st 20 gallon long.
 

Repolie

Member
My first "aquarium" was when I was probably around 9 and gotten a triop growing kit. It was just a shallow container with some sand in it. :D
 

RyanC14

Member
When I was 9 or 10 my family had a 5g. It still kind of haunts me how badly we cared for those poor fish.
 

JettsPapa

Member
My first was when I was about 19. I didn't have a clue. I got the tank, put a heater and HOB on it, put fish in, and added water to replace what evaporated. Pretty much repeated that about 20 years later.

Fast forward another 20 years to now. I still don't claI'm to know what I'm doing, but at least I have a clue now.
 

A201

Member
My first tank was Grand Pa's claw foot bath tub located in his dark, damp basement. It contained the minnows we netted out of the creeks for our upcoming fishing trips. I think I was four.
I have to include the XL pickle jars used to keep baby channel catfish & Sunfish. Also starting at four.
I upgraded to a goldfish bowl at seven, then got my first steel framed five gallon tank at age eight.
Kept a tank up & running all the way through college. Not all that common in the jock dorm. Lol.
 

gandalf1420

Member
5-ish. It was really my dad's but he taught me how to take care of it and I learned a whole lot. I killed a lot of fish but I learned a lot. I was 8 though when we took it down so I couldn't do water changes or anything (we had a 36 bow front that's currently drying a patch over a crack in the corner, there was no way I was going to be able to empty and fill that thing at 4' 6"). Fast-forward 8-ish years, we move and I finally start up again. Managed to kill a couple fish this time around too with an uncycled tank because I was a naive idiot who trusted the big box store. I know better finally lol. A201 you'd better believe I'm going to be that kid when I get to college.
 

MissPanda

Member
My first fish I was prob 6 or 7 and it was fish we caught out of the river ..... they died within a day. Then prob around 8ish I had feeder fish, goldfish, danios and bettas at different times. In my teens I had way too many bettas that I was housing them in 2L coke bottles cut in half :oops: I love my mama, but my goodness she was crazy letting us have as many pets as we did. I had gerbils, hamsters, mice, bunnies, budgies, cockatiels, a quail, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, spiders. These aren't at separate times either. Many of them are overlapping and we used to breed them too. I remember me and my sister each had 6 or 7 budgies each and we took them to get professional photos done. I still have them too, it's so funny.
 

PascalKrypt

Member
MissPanda said:
My first fish I was prob 6 or 7 and it was fish we caught out of the river ..... they died within a day. Then prob around 8ish I had feeder fish, goldfish, danios and bettas at different times. In my teens I had way too many bettas that I was housing them in 2L coke bottles cut in half :oops: I love my mama, but my goodness she was crazy letting us have as many pets as we did. I had gerbils, hamsters, mice, bunnies, budgies, cockatiels, a quail, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, spiders. These aren't at separate times either. Many of them are overlapping and we used to breed them too. I remember me and my sister each had 6 or 7 budgies each and we took them to get professional photos done. I still have them too, it's so funny.
As long as you taking care of them well (as in, actually put in the effort and don't lose interest after a month) then it is rightly so something parents should be encouraging rather than preventing. Having a hobby you are passionate about is really important for bliss later in life, honestly. I don't think enough parents fully realise that and should stop shouting at their kids for taking a genuine interest and investing in a skill that isn't directly school-related.
 

SeaMonkey06

Member
I had a couple of goldfish when I was about 5-8 years old, and only got the bug back at about 13! It's crazy to think how LITTLE I actually knew about fishkeeping back then ('m still don't know everything, but hey! You live, you learn)
It's such an awesome, addictive hobby!!
 

MissPanda

Member
PascalKrypt said:
As long as you taking care of them well (as in, actually put in the effort and don't lose interest after a month) then it is rightly so something parents should be encouraging rather than preventing. Having a hobby you are passionate about is really important for bliss later in life, honestly. I don't think enough parents fully realise that and should stop shouting at their kids for taking a genuine interest and investing in a skill that isn't directly school-related.
We did, they were well taken care of. However, there was times I would say we abused them unintentionally. Parents need to be vigilant with kids who have pets. One time we wanted to bike ride to pet land so we took our bunnies and put them in our backpacks and went. Poor bunnies were prob traumatized. Just things like that made me extra careful with my daughter and pets in the home because I know kids can be accidently cruel.
 

FinalFins

Member
used to keep casual aquariums but not seriously, does a tiger barb in a 1.8 gal count? I got into the hobby seriously in early 2019 so I guess maybe 1.8-1.9 ish years of me involved in aquatic life.
 

PascalKrypt

Member
MissPanda said:
We did, they were well taken care of. However, there was times I would say we abused them unintentionally. Parents need to be vigilant with kids who have pets. One time we wanted to bike ride to pet land so we took our bunnies and put them in our backpacks and went. Poor bunnies were prob traumatized. Just things like that made me extra careful with my daughter and pets in the home because I know kids can be accidently cruel.
Yes, in the early years it is definitely something that needs to be supervised. Similar to you I was slightly too young when we got our first family dog to have been left alone with it, we didn't hurt it or anything but just did things like you that were well meant that we did not have the capacity yet to understand were stressing or uncomfortable to an animal. A kid can't really be blamed for it, parents should keep a close eye or just wait a few years more.
 

Sorg67

Member
I voted "teens" since that is the technically correct answer. However, I did not continue keeping fish after high school and it has been so long since then that I could have said 50's since my recently established tanks are effectively firstish.
 

NLindsey921

Member
18. Started with a half gallon betta tank. Quickly found out how wrong that was and upgraded.
 

CHJ

Member
When I was 8 I begged for an aquarium for my 9th birthday and traded a few birthdays and xmasses to get it. Fo for my 9th birthday I got a 15gal tank. And so began the fish deaths an elementary school kid will cause.
 

Cheesecake

Member
I’ve had me turtle’s 40 gallon since I was a wee lad of 12.
 

angelcraze

Member
My mom had a 10 gallon since I can remember, still had one when I moved out. When I was 5 or 6, she had a common pleco in there that the Pet Store person accidentally netted. It was so tiny, my mom said "whatever I'll take that one too". It grew to 1/2 the length of the 10 gallon and lived 4 years. I still remember seeing him at the top when he passed, I was kind of sad and shocked. Now she has 2 x 30gs that I helped her set up natural stylz. She has some nice breeding cories, tetras and in the other tank, a bunch of guppies. I keep warning her about the guppies, she keeps asking if I want some :rolleyes:.

I didn't get my own tank until I was 21, I was way too immature to keep fish as a teenager It was given to me, not even something I planned, a 27 gallon hex. But so glad I did! Now I have 10 tanks going and have bred a lot of different fish, Iove it, love learning about the hobby and helping others. I bore most of my friends to death with it, so don't talk much about it outside this forum. Glad I have you all :) So funny how much life changes.
 

ojdgtjc

Member
I kept a goldfish I won at a carnival in an apple juice container and I had him for 3 months! then found out how wrong that was but I gave the fish to my friend
 

Sorg67

Member
PascalKrypt said:
Yes, in the early years it is definitely something that needs to be supervised. Similar to you I was slightly too young when we got our first family dog to have been left alone with it, we didn't hurt it or anything but just did things like you that were well meant that we did not have the capacity yet to understand were stressing or uncomfortable to an animal. A kid can't really be blamed for it, parents should keep a close eye or just wait a few years more.
It is a balance. Pets are a great way to learn. A few traumatic experiences can be okay to a point. And we probably imagine trauma far different than the pets experience. Our dog is afraid of the water. Was always nervous on the boat. But he always wanted to go. He wants to go wherever we go.

My family had a yellow lab when we were kids. Her name was "Muffin" (my sister named her). She used to pull me around the block on my skateboard. Abusive? I do not know. She always wanted to go. She would always go around the same block. If I started her out south, she would make all lefts. If I started out north, she would make all rights.

I always had fun when there were people out for walks. I would come up to a corner knowing which direction she was going to turn and I would shout "LEFT MUFFIN LEFT" zoom left we would go. People would go "wow that dog is smart". She was a great dog, but dumb as a fence post. Little did they know.

We had six kids, two dogs and two cats. None of them were cared for perfectly. But they were all loved and as long as you have that, the care does not have to be perfect.
 

kallililly1973

Member
I never had the classic answer a goldfish in a bowl but when I was 8-9 my brother came home one day n said u wanna get a 55 with an Oscar in it I was like “blank” Yea!!! So that’s when I started and every Saturday was WC day which from what I can remember was the exact wrong way of doing them . Remove the Oscar to a 5 gallon bucket drain almost all the water clean all the gravel and filter and glass... AcurelF was our best friend for the cloudy water then we got a common pleco both of them were about 6-7” long then my brother came home with a red snakehead and heard horrible splashing one day and sure enough the snakehead rammed my Oscar into the side of the tank and killed it... very sad day we had him for 7-8 years even after doing everything wrong... then had along long hiatus and close to 3 years ago I got an 8.8 that didn’t have enough room for everyone and then got a 55 a 10,20,29,and 2 5.5’s yup I’m hooked.... interesting questions and polls your coming up with Mike but u didn’t mention when I started :)
 

juniperlea

Member
I'm wondering why only 108 (approx) people have ticked a box. I think this is an excellent question and the long term results would be very interesting. Thanks for asking, because I'm one of the two people on fishlore at 60 or older!!!
 

Oak77

Member
JettsPapa said:
My first was when I was about 19. I didn't have a clue. I got the tank, put a heater and HOB on it, put fish in, and added water to replace what evaporated. Pretty much repeated that about 20 years later.

Fast forward another 20 years to now. I still don't claI'm to know what I'm doing, but at least I have a clue now.
Pretty much the same as me. First tank at 19 or 20. Didn’t know a thing. Now second tank 23 yrs later and taking it much more seriously. I can't believe how much there is to know. I have had my 2nd tank set up since 11/16/19. Trying to follow everything my LFS tells me to a T.
 

erinw347

Member
I started keeping my own fish at 8 or 9 (I’m 13 now still a youngin in training) but my mom took care of fish my whole life. My mom didn’t know much of what she was doing but my kindergarten teacher gave us the class goldfish that was in a bowl and my mom bought it a 5 gallon with a filter because she knew bowls were cruel. It was a fancy goldfish btw. Really proud of her for that to this day bc although it wasn’t ideal she did her best! Anyways I started with bettas when I was younger, then about a year ago I got a 20 gallon with some beginner level fish as my first community tank. Things expanded and I now have five tanks lol. Most of my fish are still “beginner” and although I have lots and lots of knowledge it doesn’t do much without experience so in perspective I consider myself a beginner. I think the most difficult fish I’m caring for are cory fry because they’re the first fish I’ve bred! I bred neos and mystery snails before that but I never really had to give special attention to the babies. My biggest tank is 29 gallon which is my community tank, I have a betta living in a 20 gallon by himself, a betta in a 10 gallon by himself, a 5 gallon as my shrimp tank and a 1 gallon tank that I previously used as a hospital tank but now houses my fry. Anyways yeah I’m guessing I’m one of the youngest on the forum, but this hobby is for all ages!
 

coralbandit

Member
Started around 12 years old . First tank was a slate bottomed MetaFrame tank ...
I have had a 6 foot aquarium since the 1980's ...
 

BevM

Member
I am the other 60 or older. I set my tank up November 2019. It is heavily planted and a light bio load with serpae and silvertip tetras. I love feeding times! Too bad they don't need to be fed multiple times each day! Lol this is the second go round with this tank (55 gallon). It was set up for several years about 5 years ago. Love this forum. So much knowledge and information.
 

JettsPapa

Member
erinw347 said:
I started keeping my own fish at 8 or 9 (I’m 13 now still a youngin in training) but my mom took care of fish my whole life. My mom didn’t know much of what she was doing but my kindergarten teacher gave us the class goldfish that was in a bowl and my mom bought it a 5 gallon with a filter because she knew bowls were cruel. It was a fancy goldfish btw. Really proud of her for that to this day bc although it wasn’t ideal she did her best! Anyways I started with bettas when I was younger, then about a year ago I got a 20 gallon with some beginner level fish as my first community tank. Things expanded and I now have five tanks lol. Most of my fish are still “beginner” and although I have lots and lots of knowledge it doesn’t do much without experience so in perspective I consider myself a beginner. I think the most difficult fish I’m caring for are cory fry because they’re the first fish I’ve bred! I bred neos and mystery snails before that but I never really had to give special attention to the babies. My biggest tank is 29 gallon which is my community tank, I have a betta living in a 20 gallon by himself, a betta in a 10 gallon by himself, a 5 gallon as my shrimp tank and a 1 gallon tank that I previously used as a hospital tank but now houses my fry. Anyways yeah I’m guessing I’m one of the youngest on the forum, but this hobby is for all ages!
It sounds like you probably know more at 13 then I do at 58.
 

akbvlb

Member
11-13 It was a 55 gallon (I believe) with gold fish started by my then step dad that he quickly neglected so I took it over. At first just because it wasn't fair to the fish, not that I actually wanted to, but after awhile I started enjoying taking care of them and watching them grow.
 

Gouramiwhisperer

Member
I was 19(I’m 20 now) and literally went to Walmart to get dog food and came out with a 2.5g aquarium and everything to set it up and 6 glofish(no dog foodXD). It obviously didn’t work and they didn’t make it. And then I went and bought a 5 gallon and 5 more glofish and it didn’t work then either. So then I got a 10 gallon and got black Molly’s and actually started to read about keeping fish and now I have my 60 gallon!
 

Sien

Member
I was in 7th grade. Can’t remember what age lol. I’ve had fish since then and I love it so much! I’m now almost 20 and only want more tanks lol
 

AcuarioAmazonico

Member
I was less than 12. I saw a fish tank at Kmart or something and decided I wanted a fish there and then. My parents bought it. Took it home - goldfish in a bowl and that was it. It lasted a fair while considering.
Fast forward about 4 years and had a small tank with a simple internal heater: probably not enough that bright blue stuff to declorinate water. Heater? Ha! Who had heaters. Had mollies or Platys I think. Babies everywhere. Don’t know how they survived.
Then at about 16 I took over a huge section of dads veggie garden. Said I could do what I wanted and so I dug a hole deeper than I am tall, lined it and made a pond. This was my first proper foshkeeping. Koi, turtles and frogs all from the river that ran by our street. Was lovely.
Ever since then o spordcially kept fish namely bettas and dwarf gouramI and mollies.
More recently (year or two back) I got into it proper and started using love plants and filters that cost more than a sandwhich etc.
 

Doomheadthebetta

Member
I had bettas, but always kept them in bowls. In high school(I know it's terrible)
I actually didn't get my tank until a few months after I got Doom head the betta in March of this year after I turned 21. Then I read about plecos and fell in love with them and begged my parents to get me a 20 gallon for the betta and a clown as a birthday present. And then I ended up getting three 10 gallons for the 3 bettas :D :D :D :D
 

BethesdaLou

Member
5 gallon tank that my older brother started with a pair of guppies. He went to summer camp and left it to me take care of. I proceeded to mess with the heater and cooked the guppies.
 

akbvlb

Member
Sorg67 said:
It is a balance. Pets are a great way to learn. A few traumatic experiences can be okay to a point. And we probably imagine trauma far different than the pets experience. Our dog is afraid of the water. Was always nervous on the boat. But he always wanted to go. He wants to go wherever we go.

My family had a yellow lab when we were kids. Her name was "Muffin" (my sister named her). She used to pull me around the block on my skateboard. Abusive? I do not know. She always wanted to go. She would always go around the same block. If I started her out south, she would make all lefts. If I started out north, she would make all rights.

I always had fun when there were people out for walks. I would come up to a corner knowing which direction she was going to turn and I would shout "LEFT MUFFIN LEFT" zoom left we would go. People would go "wow that dog is smart". She was a great dog, but dumb as a fence post. Little did they know.

We had six kids, two dogs and two cats. None of them were cared for perfectly. But they were all loved and as long as you have that, the care does not have to be perfect.
That brings back memories for me, in my teens we had a black lab mixed with something else we named snoop. He was a monster in size that I could never get to stop pulling on walks so instead of letting him tear up my hands one day I decided to get him a long leash and I attached it right below the handle bars of my bike and he would just run and run and run. I quickly learned to bring water with for him because once he started he never wanted to stop running. When it came time to stop I would have to start stopping in advance because I could lock up the back brake and get hard on the front one and he would drag the bike with me on it for quite awhile before he decided it was time to stop. Our average "walk" was around 3 miles, and at that point it was because I was done, he never wanted to stop unless it was hot. My snoop was also dump as a fence post but god I miss him.. So when you question if it was abusive, I have to say no. I didn't force my snoop to pull me as I'm sure you didn't force your muffin to pull you, they just wanted too. I think labs just love to run.
 

angelcraze

Member
I had a Snoop too! I miss him so much too. Just stopped to say thanks for the story.
akbvlb said:
That brings back memories for me, in my teens we had a black lab mixed with something else we named snoop. He was a monster in size that I could never get to stop pulling on walks so instead of letting him tear up my hands one day I decided to get him a long leash and I attached it right below the handle bars of my bike and he would just run and run and run. I quickly learned to bring water with for him because once he started he never wanted to stop running. When it came time to stop I would have to start stopping in advance because I could lock up the back brake and get hard on the front one and he would drag the bike with me on it for quite awhile before he decided it was time to stop. Our average "walk" was around 3 miles, and at that point it was because I was done, he never wanted to stop unless it was hot. My snoop was also dump as a fence post but god I miss him.. So when you question if it was abusive, I have to say no. I didn't force my snoop to pull me as I'm sure you didn't force your muffin to pull you, they just wanted too. I think labs just love to run.
 

lilirose

Member
When I was eight or nine, I won two goldfish at the carnival. I spent my "piggy bank" on a fishbowl and I watched them slowly die. My mom let me get a couple more goldfish and of course they died too. Went we went to the shop to get more I was totally hypnotized by a tankful of black mollies. They had a 10 gallon kit with a box filter and somehow I talked my parents into buying it (this would have been super out of character for them, I often wonder why they said "yes" to that when they said "no" to literally everything else?).

It was supposed to be a family tank but I was the one who was obsessed. There was no Internet yet but I was an extremely smart kid. I read every book there was in the library about aquariums. None of them mentioned the Nitrogen cycle, I worked out on my own that the first fish put in a tank usually die and that the fish stayed healthier if I just rinsed the filter floss instead of replacing it.

I kept that tank running constantly until I was 22 with many changes of stock. During my late teens had several more 10 and 20 gallon setups going as well as keeping multiple Bettas in bowls (I'm so sorry guys!). I had an Angelfish tank in my 20s but had to give it up when I moved. I mostly left the hobby for years after I moved from the US to Ireland, then I had a tank for five years, then I tore it down because at the time there wasn't a good LFS. This year has been my "Midlife Crisis Return to the Hobby!"
 

noobscaper

Member
My family's first (when I was probably 3 and a half) was a 20l (5 gallon for you American folks) with around 10 neon tetras, 5 lemon tetras (I think, but they were absolute murderers), 3 clown loaches, 4 swordtails and a bunch of guppies. Grossly overstocked to say the least. We did change the water every once in a while, though...:oops:

Jump to when I was 9, I got my first 'own' tanks - two 5 gallons with a betta in each. We ended up buying 4 BN plecos ('algae eaters') for each, but they all got massacred apart from one, who's now in my 63G living the life.
 

Agua86

Member
Set my first aquarium at 14. Never lived without a fish tank (or two, or six...) ever since.
 

KribensisLover1

Member
I had a betta in my teens that lived FOREVER in a large vase. Bubbles. But I’m 39 now and just got into it seriously. Aka not ever keeping a fish in a vase.
 

Corydork

Member
I got my first aquarium when I was 8.
The only person in my family that knew anything about fish was my grandpa, and he still says there’s no such thing as over stocking a tank (he keeps 200+ gallon tanks, so he has a large margin of error). My mom let me put whatever I wanted in the tank, so naturally I had 2 gold gourami, a male betta, 8 Corydoras, 5 otocinclus, a common pleco, 8 neon tetras and 4 glass catfish in a 20 gallon. I feel bad for my mom, she’s now told me that when I was at school she’d do 3 water changes a day. Oh what parents do to keep their kids happy.

The first aquarium I ever took care of on my own was my 5th grade (ten years of age) I got a 10 gallon glo-fish set up and stuffed it full of albino Cory catfish and rosy red minnows.

I feel it should be noted that I now know about the nitrogen cycle and lightly stock my tanks.
 

Redshark1

Member
I received my first aquarium, an 18" small glass one (8 US gallon I think), when I was 8 years old.

It housed coldwater native fish including Stone Loach Barbatula barbatula until I got a heater, released my wild fish and purchased a pair of Marigold Platies (lovely fish). Later the aquarium provided a home in which my female Krib could raise her young. Memories that will stay with me for always.

The aquarium was a rare reward for achieving my first good school report. All previous ones mentioned me gazing out of the windows at the birds instead of concentrating on my lessons.

I knew what I wanted. An aquarium and later a job working outdoors as a Countryside Ranger. I got both.
 

Redshark1

Member
 

SaraCooper

Member
I can remember my grandmothers poor bettas… the only good part of their life was the 3x weekly water changes… and the fancy guppies. My mom cussed neons a lot…I guess it’s been around 50+years? That doesn’t mean we did it right, but there is a learning curve!
 

notwabbitseason

Member
I just started 2 weeks ago. My father used to take me out over 10 years ago to the LFS to pick out Koi's and other fish.

Now I took my daughter to choose her first fish for her aquarium.
 

Axolotl987

Member
I kept some goldfish when I was like five but only got into it properly when I was about 10...
 

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