Maraquan Pets: Our Fishy Friends
Maraquan pets, our wet and wonderful friends coming from a much damper section of Neopia! These guys and gals are not your average neopets and are only found in and around water, but that is just about their only limitation; they are not just limited to Maraqua, but rather can be found in rivers, lakes, streams, and seas all across Neopia! Maraquan pets are unique among pets, requiring a particular type of care that other pets simply don't need, but it's certainly worth it to have these finned-fellows in our lives! But, if you are going to have your very own Maraquan pet, it's important to understand the special care that they require.
Just like all other neopets and people in Neopia, Maraquan pets are all individuals and have their own sets of wishes and preferences. As such, they can live pretty much wherever they like as long as there's water! Still, just like the citizens of the Haunted Woods or Faerieland or Tyrannia, Maraquan pets tend to gather in certain areas based on their species' characteristics. For example: though Maraqua is full to the brim of Maraquan pets (of course), you're not particularly likely to find a freshwater pet like a Maraquan Kacheek swimming about. By the same token, a salt-loving and sharkish pet like a Maraquan Poogle is almost certain to be hanging around in the sea.
These differences in preferences stem from the differences between species. Because there are so many different Maraquan pets out there, the care for these aquatic lovelies can vary startlingly, but this article will hope to address the basics of caring for the different sorts of Maraquan pets so that you can be the best owner that you can be toward your fishy-friend!
Housing and Habitat:
This is where Maraquan pets tend to differ the most from other types of pets because, since they can't exactly walk around, they always need to be around water. This seems easy enough, after all the majority of the planet is covered in water! Still, because we don't live in the water, it can be difficult to keep our pets around with us on the dry land that we all call home. Don't fret though because there are lots of options!
One of the most obvious options is to make an aquarium for your pet. What better way to keep your pals around than a fish bowl? Something like a Maraquan Kacheek just screams to be kept around your neohome in its own little bowl, and I can say from personal experience that this is a great option! For something like a Maraquan Grarrl, however, this is not the best option and I would recommend something a bit larger when it comes to habitat. For the richer ones among us that could just mean a really big aquarium in your neohome (certainly a conversation piece, no?) or perhaps even a pool somewhere out behind it.
Food and Eating:
Before saying anything about Maraquan pets and food, it is critical that we dispel one myth about their eating habits: Maraquan pets DO eat foods other than kelp. As it states in the very basic culinary description of normal Kelp, "kelp is the Koi equivalent of lettuce", and surely no one (other than, perhaps, a Kau) wants to eat just lettuce all day! So, other than the most culinarily-uninterested of Kaus, Maraquan pets eat much more than just plain Kelp all day long.
Something else that is interesting to note is the simple fact that even Maraqua itself lacks a food shop other than Kelp (which is far too expensive for the average neopet to get their three square meals a day from that lovely Uni waitress), meaning that they must get their food from somewhere else. For many Maraquan pets this "somewhere else" is all around them, and many full-time Maraqua residents spend much of their time foraging for food and taking advantage of whatever varied bounty the sea has to offer.
As an owner, you will be the one providing your pet with food, but the fact that Maraquan pets don't want kelp for meal after meal and the fact that they don't rely on gourmet foods from that famous undersea restaurant mean that you have a great deal of freedom to branch out and experiment with different foods! Though Maraquan pets don't have any diet restrictions other than what they can physically get into their mouths (it can be very difficult to use tools when all you have are fins), an owner should always try to give their pet the best that they can offer as far as nutrition, seeking out foods rich in vitamins and low in fats. This can be particularly important for Maraquan pets simply because many of them are colorful (bright blue or green or even orange) and they physically need an array of vitamins if they are going to look and feel their best!
What I find to work particularly well is to find a group of foods that your pet particularly likes (as well as some healthy foods that they might not like quite so much, but that are important anyway) and simply find a way to get it to them. It's usually not so difficult, and it can be a relaxing and pleasant experience to cut up food (using your handy-dandy Knife Fish of course) and feed it to your pet so that they can eat it more easily. Sharing this type of meal is great for bonding, and makes sure that you can always make it really easy for your wet pal to eat their supper despite the challenges presented by foods designed for pets with thumbs!
Whatever you feed your pet, be sure to keep in mind that they are certain to have certain likes and dislikes, and that these must be taken into account! Some pets hate it when their food gets soggy (these are the ones that need to be fed slightly more water-proof delicacies), and some pets love it when the very same thing happens. It all comes down to knowing your pet, and asking what they like. One final tip: many pets keep the same likes and dislikes regarding food that they had when they weren't Maraquan, so don't try too hard to make a big change when you don't really have to!
Health and Beauty:
An important part of pet ownership is ensuring that your beloved fish-pal stays happy and healthy, and that means hygiene! This can be daunting for us land-dwellers; after all, how does one shower off when they're already deep under water? Fortunately, this isn't a concern as their watery environment (when kept clean, which is also of utmost importance) will wash them 24-7, but there are other things to keep in mind. Though most of us don't like to think about it, our wet pets are very... slimy... That's right, they're slimy. Most aquatic pets (Maraquan pets, and even Koi) are covered in a thin, slippery layer of mucus that helps to protect them and streamline them in their watery homes. Maintaining a healthy (if slightly yucky) mucus layer is critical to Maraquan pet health! This means that you can put away the shampoo and soap and instead pick up some slick kelp (to help moisturize) and even some jellyfish tentacles (to exfoliate, of course) and help keep your moist pal clean!
Though a healthy pet is perhaps the most beautiful pet anyone could imagine, there are some more fancy options available to make sure that your pet is looking their best! Recently Uni's Clothing Shop has been designing more and more clothes that are specially designed for Maraquan pets (a pretty golden trident and a pair of fin-wings) so that no little fishy has to go unclothed! Additionally, there are several NC options should your pet be so inclined. A well cared for Maraquan pet is pretty as can be and your gorgeous finned friend is perfect for any customization contest, beauty contest, or just swimming around and looking good!
In case you couldn't tell yet, Maraquan pets are a diverse group and there's a lot to learn! With so much to learn about, why trust just me for all there is to know about these very unique and rather odd pets? Here are just a few of the many books out there about Maraqua and about Maraquan pets that should help you to find out more!
-Maraquan Study Guide: a great book all about Maraqua itself! A must-read!
-Guide to Maraquan Krawks: a fantastic guide for anyone hoping to be the proud owner of a Maraquan Krawk!
-Guide to Maraquan Myncies: a wonderful book detailing the care and science behind Maraquan Myncies!
-Maraquan Kougra Stories: a more creative piece about the build of New Maraqua through the eyes of a pet!
-Maraquan Skeith Book: another guide book, this one to owning a Maraquan Skeith, very useful!