Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder, and Chris Clevers, President of Hikari Sales USA talk all about fish including how they relieve stress, how they can be an easy pet to take care of, and what you need to get started.
This video is part of the Pet Voices LIVE series. CLICK HERE to see the full schedule of videos.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 0:02
We have today on Pet Voices LIVE a very special guest because he’s going to be talking about fish and I think fish are fabulous. I do not have fish yet. I’m looking forward to having fish and learning more about them because I think it’s the kind of pet that has benefits we don’t recognize and it is easier than say a dog or a cat who takes a little bit more time. It’s a great starter kind of pet and I’m really excited to have you here with us today, Chris.
Chris Clevers, which I’m pronouncing properly. It’s very important. He is the President of Hikari Sales USA and the Chairman of the Board for the World Pet Association (WPA). So he brings 44 years of pet industry experience and 23 years working with the Hikari nutrition team. So he’s into aquatic. He knows his aquatics and he also happens to be a liaison for the WPA to the Pet Care Trust, who’s very busy right now and who administers the Pets in the Classroom program, which is a fantastic not for profit that brings the benefits of pets into classrooms. And fish are one of those pets.
So thank you, Chris, for joining us here on Pet Voices LIVE. I’m really excited to talk about fish because I’m taking notes and I’m going to be a fish owner. That’s my goal. So tell us first what are the benefits of fish ownership that maybe people don’t think about when they think about bringing a fish into their home?
BENEFITS OF HAVING FISH
Chris Clevers, President of Hikari Sales USA – 1:31
Yeah, and I think a lot of times, people get caught up in certain kinds of pets that they think they want to have. They don’t really give fish as much attention as they probably should because there’s been a number of studies done now, and while pets in general have a tendency to make you feel better about things and give you companionship, fish have been shown to reduce blood pressure, reduce heart rates, reduce stress, and have a calming effect on you. So if you’re not into CBD, like everybody seems to be these days, fish can be your CBD kick if you like.
So there’s a lot of opportunities there and then when you get past it, really for children or for kids there’s a tremendous amount of benefit in that fish have been known to help them develop responsibility, obviously, because they have to take care of an animal. There’s a lot of issues with some of the other pets with allergies. And with fish, typically allergies are out the window so if parents have a situation where they have a child that has allergies, this is a great pet. Can improve their memory skills. Helps toddlers with language skills as they try to communicate with the fish as they’re swimming around. It’s just as much entertainment for kids as video games are because you can sit in front of an aquarium and there’s always activities, there’s always something happening.
Hyperactivity can be reduced in a big way. Helps them engage more. Helps them be more outgoing. And we see this in a lot of the pets in the classroom studies that we’ve done where children that are sort of in a shell, they don’t really like to communicate with other kids and are not outgoing, they get so interactive with the pets with the other kids that before they know that they’ve got a personality that the parents never thought they could have. So there’s a tremendous amount of benefit there for all different types of facets of the kids’ lives that can be impacted.
Also, it can bring a lot of color to a room. Just the movement of the fish, or a lot of different fish in an aquarium.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 3:38
And as your background shows!
FISH CARE & MAINTENANCE
Chris Clevers, President of Hikari Sales USA – 3:39
As my background can show. Yup, and fish are a lot easier to take care of than most people realize. They tend to get caught up in the you know, I got this maintenance, I’ve got all these things I have to do to keep the fish healthy. And while that’s true, there’s a lot of great equipment out there today that makes keeping a fish really easy. The main thing I would recommend is if it’s something you’re looking at, make sure that you don’t skimp on the setup initially, because that can have a radical impact on how much time you have to spend to do maintenance. And you really want to enjoy the aquarium for the fish and the activity and all the benefits it can bring. You don’t want to spend a lot of time doing maintenance, but you can eliminate a lot of that if you do it right to set it up to begin with.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 4:20
Yeah, and when you say maintenance, are you speaking to the cleaning of the fish tank itself? Is that the main maintenance you mean?
Chris Clevers, President of Hikari Sales USA – 4:25
Yeah, there’s some cleaning. You have to change the filter cartridge or change the filter, do that kind of thing. A little bit of water change and some slight maintenance. But for most aquatic environments, if you set it up right with the proper equipment to start with, it can be 15, 20, or 30 minutes every couple of weeks or once a month depending upon what kind of aquarium you have. So it’s not a lot of work and when you think about the amount of time you have to invest in dogs and cats or small animals, whether it be taking them for a walk or cleaning their cages, a lot of times fish can be a lot less maintenance as well.
And then the other big benefit that people don’t think about is fish are one of the few pets that if you go away for a couple of days, they can take care of themselves. They’re quite happy swimming around eating algae in the aquarium, and they can survive quite nicely. So you don’t have to take them to someplace to have them boarded or find a friend to come to your house and take care of and do all those things. So it can be a very easy pet to take care of.
KIDS & FISH
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 5:27
It seems like it’s a really good first pet for young kids who are just learning what it means to actually have to take care of a living being and have some flexibility with it too but also get some of the benefits you talked about.
Chris Clevers, President of Hikari Sales USA – 5:42
Right. There’s no question about that. We typically do a program at a lot of the consumer shows where we will have kids throw balls in cups and if they get the ball in a cup where there’s a Betta in the cup, they can win a Betta and take it home as a pet. And we’ve been doing this for about 10 years now. And we have kids come back year after year, “I still have my beta, Charlie. I got it four years ago. I really love him. I want to get a second one.” And so it really is a great starter pet. Yeah, whether it’s a Betta or goldfish or any other coldwater fish where it doesn’t take a lot to keep them. Because it does give them something that they can do at home. They can connect with nature. They can build responsibility. They can learn that there’s certain tasks you have to do in certain intervals and follow through on that. It makes it quite a good hobby for kids to get into.
TREATS FOR FISH
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 6:41
As a kid growing up, we had all sorts of pets including a fish. I did win a goldfish Carnival and it was the fish that lasted the longest of all the fish I ever owned as a kid. But one of the things that I always enjoyed was just that special treat kind of thing. So you’ve been working with Hikari Nutrition for 23 years. Do fish have a difference between their nutritional food and their sometimes treats? Is that something that still comes into play with fish?
Chris Clevers, President of Hikari Sales USA – 7:13
Yeah, yep, yep, we have that as well. There’s different products whether it’s a freeze dried food or a frozen food that people are using as treats. They can use it as part of their feeding regime as well. But most of the fish out there today need a good formulated food that’s their base diet, sort of like your dog. You’re going to give your dog a daily food that you’re going to give and then you give them treats or snacks or whatever along the way. You can do the same thing with fish. And you know, we have creative things where you can stick them on the glass inside as a treat and the fish will come up and interact with you at the glass. So there’s a lot of interesting things you can do that can help you interact with the fish more readily.
CALMING BENEFITS OF FISH
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 7:52
That’s fun. Right away I’m like, “Oh, photo op.” That sounds like a great photo op. On our Instagram today I shared a picture of a fish. I think it’s a goldfish. I’m not positive. I should have you look and tell me what kind of fish it is. It’s a little bit bigger, so I’m not sure but it kind of looks like a goldfish. But it was beautiful. And it was from a doctor’s office. It makes sense to me now why doctors put fish tanks in their office if they’re stressed reducing and calming.
Chris Clevers, President of Hikari Sales USA – 8:20
Doctors and dentists, a lot of them have those aquariums in there because it makes people much more relaxed, especially dentists because a lot of people are normally keyed up about going to the dentist for anything, even if it’s just a cleaning. And I know our dentist, he’s got a very nice marine tank in there. And you could sit there for five minutes and you’re ready to go. You’re very relaxed, so it can have a lot of benefits for that specific situation for sure.
CAN YOU TRAVEL WITH A FISH?
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 8:50
And one of the other things I’m interested in is if you have any tips for somebody who is in this situation. I have a friend, Jessica, actually the woman who’s here with us today. I’m going to tell your story, Jessica. She went to college and loved animals and pets but couldn’t have one. So she ended up getting a pet fish because that was something you could have in your dorm. And when she would leave to go like home for winter break or summer, whatever, she would just travel with the fish. So she had a special travel thing, she’d put the fish in and she’d bring it home and she had to take it home and then she put the fish in there. That seems like for college students or students who are away from home frequently during their school year, that that’s an option.
Do you have any tips for how to travel with a pet fish?
Find out the answer and more by watching the full video above!
For more information on fish and Pets in the Classroom:
I can totally relate to Jessica’s fish traveling story! I recently got a support dog and prior to COVID, I brought her with me when I visited my parents back in Maine. Traveling with her actually made me incredibly knowledgable about traveling with emotional support animals in general.