Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Keeping Nemo Not Child's Play

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Keeping Nemo Not Child's Play

Article excerpt

Byline: By marie turbill

Children just love the latest Disney flick to hit cinemas nationwide.

Finding Nemo is a heart-warming animated tale about the adventures of a little clown fish.

But pet shop owner Alan Porritt says it is important for parents not to be tempted to treat their kids to a real life version of the film's star - a message also being echoed by the RSPCA.

Alan, of Keithlands Pets, Middlesbrough, says any marine fish demand specialist care and it is not a pet to enter into half-hearted.

"Marine fish are a true hobby," he says. "They take a fair amount of time and a fair amount of money to maintain."

He adds: "They also need commitment. They are not a suitable pet for children."

The risk he says when films like Finding Nemo are released is that children pester parents to let them have a new pet like the one in the film.

The same scenario occurred with the release of Harry Potter when suddenly thousands of children across the UK wanted to bring an owl into their home.

Fortunately most people realised this was not just impossible but dangerous too.

However, Alan says it is easy for people to assume that fish are simple to look after.

Marine fish like those featured in Finding Nemo are tropical coral reef fish.

"They are not like keeping tropical fish or cold water fish, their requirements are a lot more substantial," he explains.

Not only do they need a special heated tank they also must be kept in salt water - and we are not talking about adding a batch of table salt to a bowl of tap water.

"The salt contains all kinds of elements that are essential to the fish," says Alan.

This is bought from pet shops and can work out quite pricey, especially since the water must be regularly checked and cleaned and a large percentage of the water regularly discarded and replaced. …

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