Tis the season for goodwill to all and this includes pets. I’d like to think that we all know the value of the companionship and pleasure that our wet pets give us and so it’s nice to include them in the festivities. So, what do you get for the fish that has everything?

Canary Goldfish

Let’s start big, many fish would choose a larger aquarium https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/aquarium-products/aquariums/large-starter-aquariums-100l-or-more although that’s harder to wrap and involves a bit more time and effort, December’s a great time to take advantage of our tank sale. Many goldfish in particular tend to outgrow small set ups, so this tops our list of really welcome gifts for your pet. It really is the gift that keeps giving and can improve their quality of life considerably.

140l oak tank

The other key item that improves the daily life of your pets is a test kit https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/aquarium-products/test-kits which will enable you to optimise your aquarium parameters and really get a handle on managing pollutants. Of course, if you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’ve already got a test kit and you use it regularly. If not, they make great gift suggestions for those of us who don’t need socks or aftershave.

Test Kits

Often, the thing that many fishes crave the most is company of their own kind. Keeping a mixed-species aquarium is often a compromise between variety or quantity and we often see shoaling tetras, barbs or catfish kept in numbers which don’t reflect their personal choice. If your stocking levels permit, consider adding to your current shoal to make your existing pets feel more at home – just remember that the increased load on your filter bacteria may mean that a top up makes things go more smoothly when adding new livestock https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/microbe-lift-nite-out-ii

microbe lift

For many species, home is a cave or a favourite piece of bogwood. Many catfish regularly chew on these lumps of soggy wood and enjoy grazing the biofilm and algae that grow there https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/help-and-advice/freshwater/catfish/flash-plec-l204. For a few specialists, soft wood is something that they can process, and a new piece will often have a fresh layer to enjoy. Other species will enjoy upgrading to a better class of cave and there’s a whole host of décor both naturalistic and more gaudy to satisfy the most ambitious aquatic troglodyte.

Catfish Plec

So, how about something with a bit more instant gratification? For many fishes and invertebrates, food is a huge part of their everyday lives. They don’t get much choice in the menu, so why not mix things up a bit and give them a very literal treat? Live foods are eagerly taken by most fish, and these are generally aquatic insect larvae or crustaceans which are an important part of the diet of our pets’ wild relatives. Many grazing fishes are less vegetarian than they appear, often browsing on the bugs in the algae as much as the green stuff itself. These traits soon appear when live food is added to their aquarium and your fishes get the opportunity to hunt for their meal.

live food

Frozen foods https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/aquarium-products/foods/frozen-fish-food are basically live food without the wriggle but are usually eagerly welcomed, especially when they move through the water column blown by the filter. It’s best to thaw these products before use in water taken from the aquarium and rinse them before use, this technique helps reduce the phosphate build up that can otherwise occur by adding the nutrient-rich juice to the tank. Strain the thawed food through a net and either add in a jug of aquarium water to ensure the food gets dispersed away from potential bullies, or try presenting it in a device which enables your fish to forage for a longer time by acting as a slow release device https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/aqua-range-grazing-pod-feeder

grazing pod

Of course, the right dried food can be a treat too https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/aquarium-products/foods/tropical-fish-food and adding a specialist food to the your usual offerings can make a big difference. Sinking algae foods, vegetable flakes, or pellets for carnivores will allow you to cater for those of your household who’d cherish the sprouts or swerve the meat-free option.