Children charmed by the heroine of new family film Finding Dory will spark a wave of fresh interest in pet fish ownership.
This is according to experts from fish food brand Aquarian.
As cinemas welcome thousands of youngsters to screenings of Pixar’s animated fish tale, the sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo, Aquarian scientists are encouraging families to consider the benefits of fish as ‘starter pets’.
But cinemagoers eager to find their own Dory – a blue tang – or net a clown fish like Nemo are being advised to consider freshwater fish instead of marine fish as first-time pets.
Keeping marine water fish successfully requires extensive knowledge and experience, although consideration and research should be carried out before taking possession of any pet.
A Mars Petcare 2016 survey of UK households shows that around 12 per cent of UK households own at least one pet fish – there are 13.1 million of them living in the nation’s aquariums and ponds.
The research also reveals that the average age of a first fish owner is eight years old – much younger than those owning a cat or dog for the first time.
Caring for fish can enhance the lives of adults and children, with studies showing they relieve stress, lower blood pressure and contribute to general health and wellbeing.
Josephine Taylor, AQUARIAN brand manager, said: “When Finding Nemo was released, we saw a rise in families keeping pet fish. Fish can be an ideal first pet and a great way to teach children about responsibility.
“With the right information on types of fish and their different needs, everyone can keep a fish happy and healthy in a home aquarium.”
Dr Donna Snellgrove, lead research scientist with Mars Fishcare, said: “Whilst we believe that fish are perfect starter pets, it’s vital that pet owners are informed and educated on the care and well-being of the animals they keep.
“Fresh water aquarium types such as goldfish, swordtails and platys can be just as colourful and rewarding to own as their exotic saltwater cousins. These fresh water fish are ideal for children, as they are hardy, low maintenance species.
“All pet fish require time and care, though, and the routine of cleaning and feeding can instill a sense of responsibility among young owners.”