Tropical Fish look so pretty and serene floating about in their little Finding Nemo inspired tank don’t you think? Well we did so were thrilled to be offered an aquarium for review purposes from Swell UK. We chose the Aqua Art Aquarium which comes complete with filter, light and heater, fish food and lots of other accessories you need to get started on caring for your tropical fish. It is the perfect started tank for you if you are interested in keeping tropical fish as everything is provided, is easy to set up and a very reasonable price. I will share with you tips (a lengthly list but by no means exhaustive!) we were given as we travelled the Aquarium journey, and what worked for us is getting out tropical fish tank to the “Nemoesqe dream”…

  • Get your aquarium set up with the gravel, toys, plants etc, heater, filter, light, water (pre treated with something like Aquasafe to remove harmful chemicals from tapwater) for at least a week before putting any fish in it. It may also be a good idea to put a little food in the tank every couple of days to get the filter used to dealing with waste.



  • We also bought some live plants which personally in hindsight I wouldn’t recommend as they seemed to produce algae around the tank. The best thing to get rid of algae is a Decorators Window Scraper (ours cost 99p) but you have to avoid the edges of the Aquarium where the silicon seal is.
  • We got community fish meaning they would all live amiably with each other. Some of the prettier, more exotic, fish can fight, nibble fins or generally cause trouble!
  • Add fish gradually starting off with two, wait a week then another two and so on.
  • It actually takes about six weeks for the filter to start working properly so hopefully the kids won’t get too attached to the first few fish you put in there.
  • After the first week remove 25% of the water and replace with fresh. Don’t forget to check the temperature, add the Aquasafe etc before adding to the tank. Keep doing this every week for the first six weeks or so, then you can just so a partial water change every 3-4 weeks.
  • For the first six weeks or so just feed the fish a pinch of food every other day. They can survive for ages without any food so it won’t harm them but it will get the filter used to dealing with waste. We didn’t do this and the result was high ammonia levels in the water which resulted in stressed fish.
  • Put the fish food out of reach of children who are keen to feed them! Talk to the children about the fish but also about the filter and the importance of it working properly to encourage the fish’s survial. I thought we did do this but my 4 year old still thought it would be a good idea to give the fish some of his cheese straw. This was stressful and resulted in the loss of two fish 🙁
  • If any fish die (we lost three tetras a few days after they came to live with us – luckily the boys weren’t very attached to them – they had been calling them the “blue face gang”) get the water checked before adding any more fish. We had high ammonia levels as we had been feeding them every day and the filter was struggling to handle the waste.
  • A great tip a kind Twitter person told me was to ask for a “media sample” ie a cut off from the filter, from an established fish tank. The idea is that you put this into your filter and it generates through the tank. I didnt manage this but I did get some water (and more importantly gravelly bits) from an established fish tank which I replaced some of my water with. This, I think, has really helped my tank get established.

tropical fish

We have had such an eventful couple of months, with our fish, since our tank first arrived. We had fish babies (but they sadly died after the Cheese Straw incident) and we also had a family of snails arrive (I think possibly hatched from eggs on our live plants). So there have been highs and lows.

However I am pleased to report we now have 11 happy fish in our tank. Only one has survived from the very beginning but nevermind!

Do you have any pets? Or any tips for fish care?

Watch this space for the chance to win a £50 Swell UK voucher to spend on their reptile, pet or aquatic sites!

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4 Responses to The One Where the Four Year old fed the Tropical Fish a Cheese Straw (a review)

  1. lauralou says:

    The tank looks great – the cheese straw-gate is a little funny though, but I’m sure it won’t happen again. The only advice for fish tanks I can give is to address any illnesses quickly, so that the rest of the fish don’t get i’ll and invest in a baby net, as they’ll eat any babies!

  2. […] I thought the fish would keep the boys quiet (from their asking for a pet) and be an easy and enjoyable pet to keep. […]

  3. jenny paulin says:

    wow what a fab tank! its huge and ther boys look like they are loving it. and i did laugh at the cheese straw incident . we have two goldfish but sadly we have also lost three in the two and a bit years that we have had a tank – thery dont seem to live that long x

  4. lizzer says:

    those poor fish!

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