When you think about the best ways to avoid stress and reduce anxiety, you’ll likely think of yoga, meditation, exercise and laughing with friends. Of course, all of these are sure ways to reduce stress as a student. But in this article we are going to look at why fish keeping, and specifically having an aquarium can reduce stress, anxiety, and help us to live happier lives. There’s a reason why fish tanks and aquariums are common in waiting rooms across the health sector!
Aquariums Reduce Stress & Anxiety
Yes, that’s right, fish tanks don’t only lower stress and anxiety levels, but they can also help improve your sleep! It’s been proven that watching fish can lower blood pressure. Plus, keeping an aquarium can improve your mood, and have an all-round positive effect on your mental wellbeing! The calming motion of the water, watching plants sway, fish swim, bubbles rising to the surface. It’s all very relaxing, and calming. Add to this the vibrant colours of certain fish, and the fish tank lighting up your wonderfully designed aquarium you have an instantly improved soothing student environment.
Which Fish Species To Buy?
Before we explain what fish suit you best, please only consider purchasing an aquarium if you are serious about caring for it. This means not leaving it unattended for days, and of course ensuring you have permission from your landlord if you are renting! Assuming you are allowed, and are able to provide the necessary care for your fish and the aquarium, here’s a few pointers to get you thinking what fish species and aquarium setup is right for you!
Aquariums come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The size of the aquarium will dictate what and how many fish you can keep. There’s also some fish species which don’t mix well. Start to look at what types of fish you want to keep and ask your local pet shop for advice. Do this before purchasing and introducing potentially aggressive fish together.
There’s three very different types of fish to consider – cold water fish, tropical, and marine. All fish tanks will require a filtration system, but cold water aquariums don’t require much more than this. In terms of what fish are cold water living, you’ve got for example Gold Fish, Black Moor and Loaches (bottom feeders). You can even keep Chinese High-Fin Sharks in cold water! Most cold water fish will eat flake which is cheap and easy to feed. Marine fish are the brightest of all fish species but we seriously suggest you DO NOT go down this route.
There’s a huge amount to consider including the water salt level, more (complicated) equipment required including a skimmer, sump as well as needing live rock to act as a natural filtration (on top of the aquarium filtration unit). Marine aquariums are for more experienced fish keepers. For now, avoid. Tropical fish are a good option if cold water fish don’t appeal to you. Tropical fish will need a heater, but for this simple extra requirement, it does open up a lot of options in terms of which fish species you can keep.
When introducing fish you’ve bought, into your tank, it’s important to do it properly. Take your time, fish are delicate and can easily die from stress. To avoid any casualties take the sealed bag with your fish in, and place it in your tank – let the water temperature slowly match. Wait for 10 minutes then open the bag and add a cup of the aquarium water into it. Repeat this step until the bag is full, then slowly release your fish into their new home!
Maintaining Your Fish Tank
Keeping an aquarium is only relaxing if you have happy fish. Happy fish need good water. As a basic rule you are meant to do a 10% water change each week. You should avoid over feeding fish because uneaten food will release toxic ammonia and nitrite as it decomposes, which can kill your chiller crew. There are also fish diseases such as the common white spot which can wipe out your aquarium. Maintaining the fish tank quality is critical, and also simple (cold water and tropical).
Here’s some extra tips to get you started:
- Choose compatible fish species
- Keep the tank clean
- Do not over feed your fish
- Do regular weekly water changes
- Maintain pH balance, chemicals and water levels
- Don’t place your fish tank in direct sun light
Enjoy Your Fish Tank
Keeping fish is a brilliant option if taken seriously, to help keep your mental health in good stead. Whilst we have covered just some of the issues associated with keeping an aquarium in good shape, it really is quite straight forward with little effort needed. Fish aquariums also promote learning, and increased productivity. Perfect for those long nights staying up writing essays! With little effort and an affordable addition to your digs, it might be aquarium and chill rather than Netflix and chill!