Kids hitting aquarium

  • #1
My boyfriend's granddaughters, ages 4 and 6 sometimes visit our home. They have always gone straight to my aquariums and started hitting the sides of the tanks. The first time this happened, four fish were dead within 24 hours. I have asked the girls' mother to please not let the children hit the sides of the tanks--they can look, but not touch. Now my boyfriend and his daughter are insulted--they seem to feel the kids do not need boundaries when they come over. Is there any correlation to hitting/slapping the sides of the tanks hard, and demise of fish?
  • #2
Yes there definitely is! Stress can kill fish. You might as well say they were scared to death.This type of behaviour can cause them to dash themselves against the sides, decor and gravel in the tank.
It would be the same as an unknown creature much bigger than your home beating on the walls over and over. Would you be frightemed?
They need to be taught to respect life not torture it. Also what if they hit the aquarium with something and broke it, they could get seriously hurt.
Just my opinion please understand, but the boyfriend and daughter will get over being insulted- The fish won't survive this behaviour and the children won't either, what's next if their not taught better? cruelty to other animals? These are life lessons these children are learning.
  • #3
I'm so sorry to hear about your problem. The girls are definetely old enough to understand this rule and follow it. My twin daughters are 4 years old and are taught not to tap the tank, not to hit the sides, and not to run by the aquarium. They slow down when they get near it, being careful not to scare the fish. Maybe you can talk to the kids and base your discussion on the movie Finding Nemo. Tell them that when they tap or hit the aquarium the fish will get scared and die like in Nemo, when Darla shook the bag and tapped the aquarium. Perhaps this will help them realize how cruel they are being. If they haven't seen this movie, it's definetely a good one to wtach together. If I were you next time mom doesn't react, I would tell the kids myself.

BettaBuddy ~ Miley
  • #4
Cinder - sorry to here about that and also Izabela that is really good idea!!!! Miley
  • #5
I have Finding Nemo on DVD!!!
BettaBuddy ~ Miley
  • #6
I do too!! its like one of my fav movies!! lol Miley
  • #7
I agree with Miley. That is an awesome idea, Izabella. Even if they have seen it before, who could possibly want to abuse a fish after watching "Finding Nemo?" I think watching the movie together would be a great teaching aid.

  • #8
My boyfriend's granddaughters, ages 4 and 6 sometimes visit our home. They have always gone straight to my aquariums and started hitting the sides of the tanks. The first time this happened, four fish were dead within 24 hours. I have asked the girls' mother to please not let the children hit the sides of the tanks--they can look, but not touch. Now my boyfriend and his daughter are insulted--they seem to feel the kids do not need boundaries when they come over. Is there any correlation to hitting/slapping the sides of the tanks hard, and demise of fish?
At ages 4 and 6 the children are definitely old enough to know better, or at least be taught to know better. My son is 3 and a half and HE knows better. This sounds like a case of lazy parenting (no offense intended). The "Finding Nemo" idea is excellent but if these kids don't don't learn boundaries soon I fear for their future.

I'm sorry if that came off as harsh.
  • #9
yep i'm afraid I came off a little harsh, but I fear for children growing up with out boundries. They will do things until somebody stops them.
watching Nemo is an excellent idea, it will also set the mood for discussion. Maybe they could name some of your fish, they they might see them in a different light.
Do just the two of you ever have the kids alone? How about Movie (Nemo), snacks, and fish naming
  • #10
The 3 year old boy I nanny for does the same thing to his fish. I'm constantly telling him not to tap on the tank because when he does he's scaring the poor Betta. It's bad enough the poor thing has to live in that 1 gallon tank. Boundaries are definitley needed especially when they are old enough to understand and if they aren' t listenning now then the parents are going to have major problems when they get older. The little boy I watch has watched Fidning Nem a gazzilion times and so have I not by choice. I do think the movie is cute. Natalie
BettaBuddy ~ Miley
  • #11
thanks cherryrose! I think that all the ideas that you guys mentioned were good!! Miley
  • #12
I really like the idea that Izabela gave you - very thoughtful.

And, yes, you should definitely do something about this entire affair. Carol is right, the children are at the learning stage, and if you do not explain this to them now, no one ever will. It is important to teach children to respect and love animals. I don't understand why your boyfriend and his daughter are offended by this. You should explain the effects of tapping on the glass both to your BF and his daughter, and to the daughter's children. You don't have to sound angry - you can do it in an educating and gentle manner. I am sure they'll look at this issue differently when you all sit down and talk about it with them.

If she allows the children to do whatever they wish to do, whether what they do is bad or not, they will not grow to be good children. They need to know how to distinguish right from wrong, and they need to learn to respect not only people but animals as well. Spoiling is never good. Of course, this is just my opinion - I am not trying to tell anyone how to raise their children! LOL But anyhow ... that is how I'd raise my own
  • #13
Perhaps giving the kids a box of crayons and letting them use his car as a canvas might drive home the point that: (a) Without rules/guidelines/boundaries in their formative years, children tend to become society's losers, never doing well in school, not being able to keep a job, and probably ending up behind bars.. (b) What's yours is not communal property, for anyone to treat how they wish, regardless of age or familial ties.. What's yours ( both of you) is your home and everything in it, and if he can't understand that there must be certain rules in place for family or friends visiting in order to protect your space, then his personal possessions become fair game for anyone to treat however they wish.. and (c) As your partner, shouldn't he respect your feelings and at least be partly on your side in this issue?
  • #14
Great ideas everyone! Once the kids learn to respect the tank & fish in it, they will have so much fun watching the fish! My kids (ages almost 4 & 2) hit the tank only once, but then I explained to them what happens to the fish (basically that it scares & could hurt the fish). So now they just like to go up to it and watch the fish (they help me feed them), and sometimes show their toys to them! Maybe you can get the kids to help you feed the fish--when they are more involved with something, the more personally the feel about it. It helps that my kids live here with the fish, so they've been a part of every aspect of setup, fish buying, fish care and enjoyment. The biggest problem at my house is they BOTH want to stand in the middle of the tank to watch! (I've given them an imaginary line halving the tank so my girl has one side & boy has another!) I hope things work out for you, Cinder! (It sounds like boundaries in all areas are an issue for them--kids need firm boundaries and secretly like them, so don't be afraid of gently enforcing yours!)
  • #15
I would go with the crayon idea I don't have kids of my own yet but when I do they will be taught that other animals are for watching and caring for not to torment I don't know if you have any other animals if you do you might want to try and work them into the lesson as well. "...Like if you pull a dog's tail what happens? He turns around and will bite because it hurts the fish can't do that but it still hurts them when this happens." Something like that would help

  • #16
I know I shouldn't be angry, but reading that just got me all irked.
I can't believe they actually had the nerve to be offended by you not wanting the kids to literally scare your fish to death.
It's your house... so you set the rules down. If they don't like it, tough... How would your BF or that mother have handled the situation if it had involved something furry such as a cat or dog? What if those kids had started pounding on a dog and killed it? I'm sure they would've jumped in and done the right thing before it had even happened. Too many people just have that "it's just a fish" mentality so they don't care.

I'm really glad my niece hasn't done that. She's 2 right now and we made sure as soon as the tank was set up to tell her that she can't bang on it.. she's tapped the glass once (no fish were in it)... and that was it.
  • #17
You could explain to the children that slapping or hitting the tank would be the equivilent of being caught in an earthquake, or of being shoved by a ghost. (I like the Nemo-in-the-bag-shaken-by-Darla ideas). To the adults who condone the girl's behavior I would give the lecture on how sound waves travel faster and harder in water (where the FISH are) especially in a confined space, how the sudden impact on a fish's sensitive lateral line can cause internal damage and how the stress of enduring these impacts can kill the fish. Would they allow their girls to remain in a room subjected to high volumes of percussion-like booming? I hope not! But then again, these people have no respect for your property either. My 3 year old grandson smacked my 55 gal. tank only once about a year ago. I sat down with him, let him touch the tank, point out the fish, and let him name them. Now when he comes over, he has to help me feed all my fish. He loves to see them flock to the surface to get the food. Then we watch Nemo, and our popcorn is 'our fishfood'! His mom says he can have an aquarium this year for Christmas. I'm thinking a nice 39 gallon with a couple of comet goldfish to start out with.
_____________________________________________________________ ;D

55 gallon-5 green corys, 4 plecos(temporary housing until moved outside),7 adult ghost shrimp, 4 pairs red wag swordtails, 3 columbian tetras, 6 black skirt tetras, 6 cardinal tetras, 2 pristellas
20 gallon-12 black tuxedo platys, 2 albino corys, 2 chinese algae eaters
10 gallon-endlers livebearers
55 gallon-12 pr half-black reds, pleco. Heavily planted with anacharis. Multiple fry
1500 gallon multi-tiered pond-16 assorted koi, 5 orandas, 2 comets, hundreds of mosquito fish, 2 plecos, 16 inches long each.
2 gallon clear glass vase with male crowntail betta, red,white,and blue.
  • #18
I can't stand when the little kids at my work hit the fish tanks. We have a 180 gallon tank with an arrowana in it and whenever a kid hits the tank the poor thing almost jumps through the top of the tank...on of these days hes gonna get hurt.
  • #19
i'm with you all on this one. my kids are 2 and 4 and they know not to touch the tank. I involve them by letting the 4 yr feed them (with my supervision!) and they have named them (2 of them are named after nemo characters!!). we also watched nemo several times before we got the tank and while it was cycling, so by the time the fish arrived they has grasped the idea that the tank is for watching, not abusing. kids must be taught to respect everything, furniture, toys, people, animals etc, or they'll grow up to be thugs. may sound harsh, but that's just my opinion. they will push boundaries until you tell them where the line is. they need to know when its been crossed. I may not know much about fish, but I know more about kids!!
  • #20
I think it is so bad that parents don't realize what it is doing to the fish like someone else posted earlier beating on a fish tank is like a giant octopus beating on the windows at your would stress anyone out!!

  • #21
I can't stand it when parents won't discipline their children, or allow them to be disciplined.  Ok, so when at my grandparents, rules were always more lax than at home.  On the other hand, that was my grandparents' choice, not my parents... and I was expected by both my parents and grandparents to respect my grandparents' directions, property, and pets.  And rules were doubled anytime I was at anyone else's house!!!

I was also taught extremely early on not to touch anything, because it might be breakable.  and if I touched something breakable without permission, and was told it was breakable, there was no question as to whether I would stop what I was doing.  And part of that mantra and the respecting animals thing was "Don't tap the glass!"  so I am appalled when children who should know better or be able to be taught better, don't and aren't.  
Children who lack discipline reflect poorly on their parents (not saying that children should be allowed no freedom, or directed like a military group, however); children who have been taught to respect others will nearly always make their parents proud.  Your b/f and his daughter should consider the implications of allowing their children to disobey you.  If nothing else, it has made a poor impression on at least a few people on here.  
  • #22
I work at Walmart and we sell fish,not only do I tell kids not to hit the tanks but I will not dip any fish for ANY what I consider children without the parent present!I always ask what size of tank they have and what if anything they already have in it.Another question I like to ask is how long has the tank been set up.I am not a genius but I do my best to sell only healthy fish and educate the buyer at the same time.My suggestion to you is maybe take the kids to get a fish of their own to put in your tank.While at the store remind them that it is hands off!
  • #23
I may be considered out of line for saying this but i'm going to anyway!! I really think some kids need a good butt warming. When I was growing up I got my butt beat when I was out line. I know some ppl take it to the extreme and abuse their kids trust me I know about that, But there is a point when they need to be conditioned that beating on the tank gets them a butt warming for those parents out there that disagree I'm sorry but I've been holding that back for a while now anyway Disapline does reflect on the parents and if anyone saw King of the Hill last night I think they would agree.

  • #24
Good for you katy68did!   For many the LFS , be it Walmart or where ever, is the first learning experience for fish lovers.   I feel MOST folks who work in these places try to be responsible.   I am disturbed by the unfeeling trend I am seeing on this forum of maligning companies and workers without regard to their feelings, especially when many of the factors effecting survival rate in our fish still depends on how WE handle them after purchase.   As for hitting the tanks, "boyfriends, and their grandchildren" tend to have an important place in a persons lives.  However, I must agree that learning respect for others property, as well as respect for authority, is much neglected in society today, and 4 and 6 is just the age to be learning these lessons.   Sorry if this is causing decention in your home, keep up the fight, your little fish friends are depending on you! :'(
  • #25
Thanks.I feel that I am only doing my job though(even though I am a lawn and garden associate). Another thing that I would like to bring up is the fact that I also have tanks as well as a back yard pond so I also BUY fish,not just sell them.One of these days I'll figure out how to make the neat list like everyone else has on their posts too! One thing I have been doing by joining this site is learning and passing the info as well as the web address onto my customers.So in saying that,thank you to all that don't blame the LFS every time a fish dies.We can't all be perfect but at least some of try to do the best we can.
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
Thanks for all of your good posts. I apologize for not acknowledging your responses sooner, but I was thrown from my horse in December, and had back surgery the end of January. I'm thinking about showing the responses to my partner--I'll let you know how it goes--smile.

  • #27
Sorry you were hurt! Hope your feeling better!
  • #28
Oh goodness, I hope you are doing alright Cinder. I have been thrown by horses many times but fortunately I have yet to be injured...
  • #29
Hello Cinder,I do hope you are doing well.I know what you are going thru,my ex broke his back in a car wreck.My suggestion as far as the kids go,just spend time with them.Let boyfriend and daughter visit and you educate the kids on fish. Take care.
  • #30
My son is almost 3 and he did the same thing as he could reach the tank...bang on the glass. Through a lot of teaching and interaction (he helps feed and name some of them) he has learned to show his affection my blowing them kisses and talking to them. Finding Nemo is a good teaching tool, and although they don't talk in real life, I think that it helps kids to understand that fish have feelings, too!
King Dojo
  • #31
Oh If they were my kids >
  • #32
My nephew visited our house and one of her kids smacked on the glass few times trying to scare the tetras I think. The tetras swim across the tank trying to advoid him multiple times. Will this kill the tetras? I so worried

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  • #33
It'll certainly stress them out, I'd have firm words with the nephew
  • #34
It might be just me but id tap the kids on the head a feew dozen times and ask them if they like it.
  • #35
How old is the kid and how hard is he hitting. I had some friends over Friday night and their 18 month old boy was entranced by my aquarium. I had him in my lap and he smacked the glass repeatedly but the fish didn't seem to mind. Actually I think even the fish thought he was adorable because they kept swimming right in front of him and following his hands and stuff. It was the cutest thing ever.

Edit: He was 8 months not 18, I'm not sure where the 1 came from
  • #36
Yes, it will stress them out, just like he would be stressed if he was in his room and someone started banging on the window.
  • #37
I foolishly had the tetra tank in my daughter's room for about 5 years, and I rarely saw the fish. She never touched the tank, but she was noisy. When I got them into the living room, I finally started to see them if I sat very still on the floor. It took ages, but I trained my husband and daughter to stay out of the room during feeding.

Then some friends' kids found a beagle/Doxie mix, whom they did not treat responsibly, and he ended up with us. He turned out to be a fish hunter, sitting in front of the tank and barking endlessly. I exiled him to the kitchen and patio, but it has taken the neons and pristellas nearly a year to recover. But now, they've begun swimming around freely if I walk in the room. It's so nice to be able to see them at last!
  • #38
Yes I think it would stress them out. My daughter is 2 and that was one of the first things I made sure she didn't do. Now every morning she just waves at my Oscar instead of smacking the glass.
  • #39
It would spook them a bit, ikkoo, but it probably won't kill them, unless they are being consistently spooked and stressed out over a somewhat long period of time.
  • #40
It would spook them a bit, ikkoo, but it probably won't kill them, unless they are being consistently spooked and stressed out over a somewhat long period of time.

Agreed. It would have to be a prolonged period of time. The other day I wiped out right in front of my tank while playing with my dog. The fish were startled for a minute and then moved on.

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