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Fish: Friends of the silent type

Taking home a fish Fish fit well in almost any type of household. They're quiet, generally peaceful and, depending on your tastes, not expensive to buy or to shelter.

Usually, the biggest expense involves an aquarium. Setting up a highfalutin aquarium for your freshwater or saltwater fish generally ensures your fin friends can live a long, healthy life. For those who want fish as pets, but not exotic pricey ones, a simple, adequately built aquarium will do and costs much less.

If your personality requires a lot of interaction with your pet, staring at Goldie through the glass will leave you feeling less than satisfied. If you're more like the Chinese, who began breeding carp for food in the 10th century, and who view goldfish as a sign of wealth, this pet will be perfect for you -- one way or the other.

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Bizrate.com lists prices for all the products you'll need to keep fish as pets. Costs vary widely depending on the type and number of fish you want. You may want to start simply with the more resilient type of fish before moving up to more-expensive, exotic ones.

At Alysta.com, check out "A beginner's guide to starting a freshwater aquarium," which lists a variety of suitable fish with a description of temperaments and where the fish like to hang out in the aquarium. For example, the Black Ruby is an aggressive type of fish who swims all over the tank whereas the Bristle Nose is peaceful and enjoys hanging out on the bottom. Check with the people at your local pet store for more advice.

Once you decide on the type of fish you'd like, the must-haves include the house (aquarium), the furniture (pumps and filters), and the food. That can run anywhere from $40 to $450.

Feeding your fish will cost anywhere from $10 to $100 annually.

 
 
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