As Dory and Nemo take their latest undersea adventure to theaters nationwide, many parents may find their kids suddenly excited to start a home aquarium. We encourage parents to nurture their children's enthusiasm, as it's a tremendous opportunity to teach proper aquarium care. Here are some tips to turn your family's Finding Dory inspiration into a fun, healthy aquarium hobby for years to come.
Mom, Can I Get a Dory Fish?
The Disney character Dory is actually a Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), also known as a Palette Surgeonfish, Pacific Blue Tang, Hepatus, or Regal Tang. Having a widespread range that extends from East Africa, across the Indian Ocean to the Indo-Pacific, Micronesia, Australia and South Pacific, Blue Tangs grow to be up to a foot long in the wild. They are active swimmers who - just like Dory - love to "just keep swimming." They also relish a good hiding location to call their own amongst the live rock.
In order to create an environment at home large enough for a Blue Tang to grow, swim, hide, and thrive, your family would need to invest up to $1,000 in a 180-gallon saltwater aquarium. That's an aquarium over 6 feet long, 2 feet wide, 2 feet tall, filled with water and weighing nearly one ton! Plus, Blue Tangs require a significant level of saltwater expertise and dedication to properly care for, often culminating after years of experience. Therefore, we do not recommend Blue Tangs for beginners.
Best Bets for First Aquariums
Don't worry, we've identified two freshwater fish that look remarkably similar to Dory and Nemo, but are much easier to care for!
The Benefits of Starting Your First Family Aquarium
A home aquarium can quickly become a living room centerpiece filled with beauty, wonder, and endless learning opportunities. We encourage parents to do the proper research in setting a up a freshwater aquarium, but involve your kids in the creative decisions, imagining what the aquarium will look like, while you also help them pick out the right beginner fish compatible for the community.
Talk with your family about what to expect the first couple weeks as the new aquarium establishes and stabilizes. Teach your kids how to read the thermometer, what proper feeding portions should be, and even how to help with weekly maintenance like testing and water changes.
Want Some Inspiration?
Consider a Freshwater Fantasy Reef Aquarium setup!
To help you get started, our aquatics experts have created a Dory-inspired tank setup that looks like an ocean reef, but is actually a freshwater community aquarium that's easy to get started. Here's a quick overview of what it takes to set one up in your home.
We wish your entire family the best experience setting up your first aquarium at home. You're embarking on an exciting adventure that will be filled with discovery, fun, and lessons in responsibility for all ages!