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Pets Theme Unit
Setting Up an Aquarium



Setting Up an Aquarium
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.57

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    angelfish, aquarists, cichlids, dechlorination, ever-expanding, fanatical, fanaticism, generic, goldfish-shaped, sick-looking, sturgeon, tetras, well-decorated, exotic, classic, definitely
     content words:    Even Davy Jones, New Tank Syndrome, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish


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Setting Up an Aquarium
By Colleen Messina
  

1     If cats make you sneeze and snakes make your skin crawl, maybe you need an aquatic pet. Fish can be fascinating, and they are much easier to take care of than their furry or scaly friends. Taking the plunge into having an aquarium can be exciting.
 
2     One advantage of pet fish is that you can make your aquarium either simple or complicated. Owning a goldfish is like dipping your toe into a meandering stream. Even a small child can do it under a watchful adult eye. Later, you can move your way up to exotic saltwater fish as you gain experience. Having a saltwater tank without learning a lot first would be like running full speed to the edge of a dock and jumping into a cold lake.
 
3     There is nothing fishy about setting up a basic aquarium. Twenty to thirty gallon tanks work well. Glass tanks work better than acrylic ones because they cost less and don't scratch easily. If you happen to find a good fish tank deal at a garage sale, be sure it doesn't leak and don't buy a scratched one because lots of slimy, green algae can grow in the cracks.
 
4     Happy fish often live in water that is just the right temperature. A heater is the best way to make sure that the tank is "just right" for your pet. The perfect temperature for most freshwater and saltwater tanks is 77 degrees Fahrenheit. If your fish get too hot, you might have an aquarium full of bouillabaisse (fish soup) in the morning.

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