Fish - Good for Mental Health
Cats may be more common than dogs, but when it comes to pure numbers, fish rule them both. According to the APPA, more than 158 million fresh and saltwater fish are kept as pets in the United States. Just watching fish swim around in an aquarium has been shown to lower blood pressure and stress in adults. For the kids, doing the same has been shown to improve hyperactivity disorders. Perhaps the most startling of all, Alzheimer’s patients who watched aquariums had improved appetites, required less medication, and had reduced violent outbursts.
While an aquarium might seem like the perfect setup for an apartment, there are some important considerations. Beginners often opt for a small, all-in-one aquarium. These generally hold between one and five gallons of water and come complete with a ready-made plug in filter, heater, and other needed items. The downside of these setups is that such a tiny environment is easily disrupted. Small changes can throw things off balance. So, you will need to check pH, ammonia and nitrite/nitrate levels, water hardness, and alkalinity regularly. The water will also need to be replaced often. Even with a filter in place, debris and waste material build up quickly. Larger aquariums are ideal, but of course these will also need diligent maintenance.