After reading a blog post from Coach Daddy about his recent foray into fish ownership, I commented that I can kill a beta fish but can somehow keep saltwater fish alive.
Further discussion resulted in me admitting to paying $50 for a fish in the past and noting that my husband and I had to give up saltwater fish ownership in order to concentrate on raising kids.
It was then suggested that I write a blog post about the difference between raising kids and saltwater fish.
Game on, Coach.
In case you were wondering, here are 5 notable differences between raising children and saltwater fish.
1. Kids are far more resilient than saltwater fish.
If you don’t know what’s involved with raising saltwater fish, let me school you. (See what I did there?) There are a lot of things you need to keep track of, including the salinity and temperature of the water, lighting, pH, nitrates, aeration and filtration. You also have to consider what type of fish, coral, invertebrates, rock and sand you introduce.You can kill your brand new $50 fish if you don’t introduce it into the tank correctly, don’t give it enough space or if you pair it with the wrong fish. Did I mention everything is alive – including the sand and the rock – in a saltwater fish tank? You can lose everything if the electricity goes out long enough. Kids, on the other hand, are pretty easy to keep alive. Advantage: Kids
2. You can return a fish if it has behavioral problems.
We once had a lunar wrasse that absolutely destroyed our tank. He dug in the sand and gravel until he reached the bottom glass, making a mess of the tank. He tormented other fish to the point where we were afraid they would not survive and were forced to get a tank divider, the proverbial line in the sand. Then he got past the divider and started throwing snails and crabs around the tank. He was pretty, but his behavioral problems made it so that we had to bring him back to the store. I’m pretty sure you can’t do that with kids. Not that I’d try. Advantage: Fish
3. Kids travel better than saltwater fish.
My husband and I started our saltwater hobby in Denver before we were married and had kids. It was also before we realized we didn’t want to live in Denver. So when we decided to move to Maine, we had to figure out how to bring our 55 gallon fish tank and its saltwater environment with us. We spent a lot of money on our saltwater hobby and didn’t want to leave it behind. Plus, it’s not like you can just take your tank to the shelter and tell them you can’t take care of the contents anymore.
We sold our most sensitive fish back to the fish store (yes, some fish travel better than others) and put the rest in a big cooler. We drove across country with a battery operated air pump, plugging in a heater and filter at night when we stopped at hotels. Somehow they survived, and we were able to get our tank back up after a few days of getting the new environment set up. Kids? You can pretty much just throw them in a car seat, give them some food, pop in a DVD and you’re good to go. Advantage: Kids
4. You can leave saltwater fish alone for short periods of time.
Forgot to pick something up at the store? You can leave the house without worrying about family services giving you a call later in the day. Want to go out at night with your spouse? No need to pay a babysitter. As long as the electricity stays on and you’re not gone for too long – they still need to eat and have their water changed – fish are okay with being left alone. Also, they don’t talk back to you or make you feel guilty when you do leave them. Advantage: Fish
5. Kids will take care of you later in life.
With all the time, effort and money put into raising kids and saltwater fish, there is not a lot of ROI with the fish later on in life. While they are fun to watch and pretty to have on display, you can’t cuddle a fish and they’ll never tell you “I love you.” Though we did have fish that had distinct personalities, none of them are going to help me out when I’m old and ready for the nursing home. Here’s hoping at least one of my boys will put some time, effort and money into taking care of me one day. Advantage: Kids
So there you have it. When it comes to raising children and saltwater fish, kids have a slight advantage over marine life. Both require a good amount of effort and money. Both are fun and challenging. Both can be shown off to other people when company come over.
But only one will take care of you when you’re senile and rocking the walker.
Do you currently raise kids or saltwater fish? Are you brave enough to do both at the same time?