Breeding BARB FISH

English: A school of Red Lined Torpedo Barbs s...
A school of Red Lined Torpedo Barbs swim in an aquarium.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The barb group of fish is quite large and the different species vary in their breeding requirements. However, there are some things in common so I will attempt to put these together and give a generalised description of Barb breeding.

Barbs are egg scatterers; they prefer to scatter their eggs over plants. Most of them come from soft acidic water. The most suitable temperature for breeding varies with the species. Barbs tend to be ravenous eaters of fish eggs and fry.

A suitable breeding tank set up will need to take these things into account. Generally, the breeding tank should have soft, slightly acidic water. There will need to be some fine-leaved plants like Java Moss for the fish to lay their eggs over. And of course, the parents need to be removed after spawning. This is an overview of the most common set up for breeding barbs, but there are other ways.

If you have enough space, it is possible to get some babies by simply having the parents in a large, very well planted aquarium with no other fish.

Some barbs are spawning regularly in aquariums without their owners being aware of it. There have been occasions when I have moved barbs out of a tank and have baby fish appear a week or so later!

Some commercial barbs are bred in ponds. Naturally, you would need the right climate for this, but my observation is that in ponds, fish can sometimes take lower temperatures than you would expect from experience with these fish in aquariums. Also, remember that it is possible to breed the barbs just over summer and take out the babies before the cold weather comes.

Before you consider actually attempting to breed barbs, you will need to research the requirements for the actual species of barb you are going to try to breed.


FIREMOUTH CICHLID - One of the Best Fish For Aquarium Beginners

English: Cichlasoma meeki
Thorichthys (Cichlasoma) meeki (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Firemouth Cichlid, Thorichthys Meeki, comes from Central American areas such as Mexico and Belize. It is also known as the Red Breasted Cichlid. They are named such due to the fiery coloration on the underside of their mouths and from the tail to the mouth, it has a vivid red throat and belly.

On average their size is about 6 inches but they can grow larger and on the whole are a good fish for beginners to aquariums to work with and they can live up to 15 years. Water temperature should be between 75°F and 80°F and the pH between 6.5 and 7.5 although they are a pretty durable fish and can adapt to many water types. Water will need weekly changes of at least 15% to 20%.

Like most Cichlids, the Firemouth is carnivorous and prefers live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms or crickets. They are not picky though and will eat frozen food, pellets, and flakes happily. Be sure to feed food that has a good protein content and vary the type of food given so that the fish can receive a mixture of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to stay healthy. In the case of baby Firemouth, a mixture of baby brine shrimp and crushed flakes should suffice.

Since the Firemouth fish likes to hide, it is good to include broken flower pots and piles of rocks for them to enjoy the nooks and crannies. Some water plants can be used but the Firemouth likes to dig in the substrate and so can easily damage or kill plants unless the plants are potted. The Firemouth Cichlid prefers a sandy tank bottom with broken driftwood but leaves an open area in the center of the tank for them to swim in.

Firemouth Cichlid is egg layers and prefers to do so on flat rocks or overturned flowerpots and they can get extremely aggressive during their breeding period. In general, they can be highly territorial and aggressive towards other fish and so should be monitored if in the same tank as other species or if you have more than a pair of them.

Always keep a close eye when introducing fish into the same aquarium as the territorial battles can result in stress and death.


BEARDED DRAGON Lizards Are Now the Most Popular Exotic Pet

This image shows a close-up photo of a bearded...
This image shows a close-up photo of a bearded dragon head (Pogona vitticeps). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bearded Dragon Lizards turn out ideal pets for first time owners and children alike. As you may well have guessed the bearded dragon lizard takes its name from its look.   Additionally, Bearded Dragon Lizards are calm to handle and will not cause any difficulty even if they are moved from place to place.  The Bearded Dragon lizard is capable of living a healthy and dynamic life in captivity. 

Captive dragons tend to be healthier than the wild-caught bearded dragon lizards and are often free of pesticides.  If you mean to keep a lizard in your house, you at least have to know its diet and the methods of feeding them.

Bearded dragon lizards are very much a daytime creature and become sedentary very quickly as soon as the sun goes down.  They are well-liked exotic pets, most commonly Pogona Vitticeps, the Inland or Central Bearded Dragon who bask most of the day, absorbing the warmth they need to digest their food.

These beautiful lizards are well known for their beard display and another fascinating behaviour.  They have a fantastic temperament, will happily climb on you voluntary if you want.  Beardies are independent lizards that fend for themselves but do not mind being handled.  When you are handling them ensure all of its body is being supported.

Bearded dragons are found all over Australia; they are hardy creatures and can stay alive as well in the desert as they can in the bush, and they are just as contented in urban or populated areas. When the bearded dragon lizard sits upright and cocks its head towards the heavens, Australian Aborigines know that rain will fall the next day.   Lovingly called 'beardies' by their fans, these lizards are not just tame around humans, but many also seem to get pleasure from the contact.

Many lizards have native habitats that are dry and lightly vegetated, so food may often be hard to obtain in the wild.  As a consequence, Beardies are omnivorous, capable of subsisting on a wider variety of food sources.  Fireflies and all other animals with bioluminescence chemicals are fatal to Bearded lizards.  They are hardy hunters and you will have to provide them with sufficient food so that they can remain satiated.

Beardies adore grasshoppers, mealworms, and other bugs.  Dark green and leafy vegetables are also ideal for bearded dragon lizards.  Feeding supplies, enclosures and accessories are obtainable to purchase from specialist pet and lizard supply stores.

The vital thing to remember when using sand as a substrate is to sift it to start with to get any gravel out to keep your dragon from impacting, clean it on a daily basis to keep a fresh and hygienic ecosystem for the lizard. Thought should certainly be taken to emulate their natural setting to reduce stress to the creature.

The estimated lifespan of a bearded dragon is probably about 10 years when cared for correctly, although longer life spans have been reported. When provided with the proper environment, temperatures, and UVB lighting, juvenile they are capable of growing up to an inch or more per week. The nearer the lizard is to the light source, the better.  In keeping with a bearded dragon lizard, it is imperative that you employ a temperature gradient inside their housing.  Kitchen paper towels make excellent substrates for baby lizards.  Optional habitat accessories can be placed inside your lizard's habitat to imitate their natural ecosystem.

I advise that you read at least one book on the care of bearded dragons and that you talk to someone who has experience caring for this special species. Beardies are becoming the most fashionable exotic pet to own in the 21st century.  Exotic pets might not be everyone's cup of tea but if you knew anything concerning the bearded dragon lizard then you might change your mind.


Helpful HERMIT CRAB Basics

English: Caribbean hermit crab (Coenobita clyp...
Caribbean hermit crab (Coenobita clypeatus)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hermit crabs are fun pets to care for in your home. They used to be reserved for souvenirs from seaside vacations, but now they can be bought almost anywhere. They make wonderful starter pets for kids. They make a great alternative to the more traditional gerbils or hamsters, and they have a much longer lifespan than goldfish! Contrary to what you might expect if you are new to hermit crabs, it is possible to play with them, and they do have little personalities of their own. Do you think hermit crabs may make a great pet for you? Here are some helpful hints to get you started.

Before you get your crab, you need to get the basic equipment and supplies in place. First, they will need an aquarium for their house. Forget those teeny, tiny cages you see at the shops by the beach; hermit crabs really need a ten-gallon aquarium to be comfortable. If you are getting more than one crab, obviously you will be a bigger aquarium. A pet shop will be able to advise you on the best size for the number of crabs you will be housing. Make sure the aquarium has a snug fitting lid so your little friends do not make a run for it! Place a heating pad under the tank to keep your crabs feeling nice and tropical.

You will need something to cover the floor of the tank, as well. Three to four inches of sand works best, but you can also use crushed coral or reptile fiber bedding. If you use something other than sand, it is still a good idea to cover a portion of the floor with sand, so the crabs will have somewhere comfortable to go when they molt.

Now that you have the house and the flooring covered, you will need to get two shallow water dishes and a food dish. Shallow shells work well for this job. In one water dish, you should keep fresh water, and in the other, keep salt water, made with a marine aquarium salt solution. The dishes need to be shallow enough for the crabs to crawl into. A natural sea sponge is a nice addition to the freshwater dish, your crab will love to pinch it, and it will help keep the humidity levels up the aquarium.

The last thing you will need to gussy up your hermit crab home is some decorative wood pieces for the crabs to climb on. Coral and coconut shells also make great additions that your crab will love to play with.

Once you get your crab, to feed it, you will need to get some commercial hermit crab food. You can supplement that food with small pieces of fruit, meat, cereal, or fish. Additionally, make sure your crab gets crushed eggshells or oyster shells to boost their calcium level; it is important to keep their fragile skeletons strong. Cuttlebone is another option for this purpose.

To care for your crab, clean their water and food dishes daily, and spot the clean the tank when necessary. You will want to provide plenty of extra shells, in increasingly larger sizes so your crab can change homes as they grow. Shells with wide openings are best. When your crab molts, remove the skin they have shed as soon as possible.

One optional, but a useful accessory to get is a tank thermometer and humidity-measuring tool. Your hermit crab will be most comfortable when the temperature is kept around 72°F - 80°F and the humidity level is between 70% and 80%.

With these helpful hints, you are ready to get your hermit crab. All that is left to do now is come up with a name for your new pet!


How To Keep INVERTEBRATES In Your Marine Aquarium

English: This photograph of a Sea Apple at Can...
This photograph of a Sea Apple at Cannibal Rock in Indonesia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Keeping Invertebrates And The Care They Need
Invertebrates are not as hardy as fish. It is necessary to make a study of Invertebrates and how they function, their diet and the temperature that they need before attempting to acquire them. You will need to make arrangements with your supplier because you may need delivery of food if so required. There are two types - coldwater and tropical. It should also be noted that they need to merge with the others in the tank.

The Different Types Of Invertebrates
As you make a study of the Invertebrates, you will find that there are two types - coldwater and tropical. A few examples are sea apple, red hermit crab, and shrimp. The water temperature should be 75 and 79 degrees F, and the PH between 8.2 and 8.4 and the salt water content between 1.020 and 1.024. This needs to be checked every day so that there is no discrepancy. Also, their food is not compatible, so your supplier needs to be informed.

Coldwater Invertebrates can only be fetched from tide pools as the stores do not keep them. One thing that is required is to see that these do not belong to an endangered species when removing them from their habitat. A comprehensive research needs to be done so that they can be taken care of appropriately and all their dietary needs are met. They usually feed on shrimp, mussels and raw fish.

Another useful tip while keeping coldwater Invertebrates is to always keep scallops and mussels in a tank so that you will always have a regular supply for them, and it may be a good idea to give them fresh rather than frozen food. They should also be fed a little at a time at regular intervals.

When a tank is set up, live rock is a good idea, because some Invertebrates like to take their food from the parasites that are found on the live rock. There are innumerable ways in which you could fill your aquarium so that your fish are comfortable in their surroundings and it is a pleasure to look at. If you have a substrate, shrimp and crabs can make deep pits and go underground. That would be as close to their natural surroundings as possible. If you would like to keep anemones, then a light could be installed, as they like the light. The main thing is to research your project, see what you get regular supplies, keep the tank clean and check for temperature, and you are all set to enjoy your aquarium. You will find that your time and effort has been well spent and you can enjoy your handiwork.

    Abhishek is an avid Fish Lover and he has got some great Aquarium Care Secrets up his sleeves!
    Article Source: EzineArticles


Reptiles Have Special Needs

English: Negev Zoo snake
Negev Zoo snake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People have all kinds of different pets.  Some people only feel safe with what is considered "normal" pets.  This usually consists of cats, dogs, hamsters, or birds.  Country folks may have farmyard animals for pets.  Horses, cows, goats, bunnies, and so on are typical.

Then you have the people who pride themselves on being "outside the norm".  These people may be the sort who likes to consider themselves and their pets unique.  Or maybe they just love animals of all kinds and welcome any and all types of pets.  Reptiles have been kept as pets for many years, but as the number of pet stores has grown so has the number of reptiles kept as pets.  Sometimes this is bad news for the reptiles.  If a dangerous reptile is chosen, it could be bad news for the owner as well.

Sometimes the type of pet a person has depends on the area in which they live.  Availability may make the choice for them.  The environment is also a consideration.  In south Louisiana, a child may be raised thinking an alligator is normal to keep for a pet!  It would be impractical for a child who lives in the midst of the city to own a pet cow.

What types of reptiles are popular as exotic pets?  Snakes, lizards, and turtles make the choices wide.  There are some, however, of each type that makes some better choices than others.  Unfortunately, these types of pets are also the most often abused and neglected simply because of failure to learn about their proper needs prior to ownership.  Once the new wears off, they become forgotten.  Because reptiles are often quiet and contained, it is easy to forget they are around.

Corn snakes are often chosen because they are known to be easier to care for.  They are excellent escape artists, though, so great care must be taken to keep the latches tightly closed on their enclosures.  It may seem funny in the movies to see a snake escape and scare the family or guests, but it can cause great harm to your pet in reality.

Boas are a well-known reptile pet, but people often underestimate their lifespan and their great size when grown.  A snake kept in an area it has outgrown will not be a happy, well-adjusted pet.  It may cause the snake harm and you as well, should he choose to fight back because of his discomfort.

Those cute little reptiles grow up and will need different requirements for food and housing as they grow.  A responsible pet owner will be prepared for the changes and willing to accommodate.  Can you recreate the natural environment and maintain it?  Think of it as being a person from the country who moves to the city, unwillingly, and never learns to adjust because they just don't seem to fit into the new surroundings.  Except this person has the ability to move back to the country, while the snake is unable to make this choice on his own.  The right housing makes a happier pet.


PUFFERS - Freshwater, Brackish Or Marine?

Blackspotted puffer, Arothron nigropunctatus, ...
Blackspotted puffer, Arothron nigropunctatus
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The reason most puffers die within the first months of captivity is that the local fish store fails tremendously to inform their customers about the requirements of their new fish. I have seen many puffers either mislabeled or not labeled at all in freshwater tanks, slowly dying. The key is to know what species you are getting (even if your fish store does not tell you) and to know what kind of water they need.

This is a quick guide to determine which puffers are from freshwater, brackish and marine.

Freshwater Puffers:
Auriglobus modestus; --- Bronze puffer
Carinotetraodon borneensis; --- Bornean redeyed puffer
Carinotetraodon irrubesco; --- Red tailed redeye puffer
Carinotetraodon salivator; --- Striped redeye puffer
Carinotetraodon travancoricus; --- Dwarf Puffer
Colomesus asellus; --- South American Puffer
Monotrete abei; --- Abei Puffer
Tetraodon baileyi; --- 'Hairy' puffer
Tetraodon barbatus
Tetraodon cochinchinensis; --- Fangs Puffer
Tetraodon cutcutia; --- Common Puffer
Tetraodon duboisi; --- Dubois' Freshwater Puffer
Tetraodon lineatus; ---Fahaka puffer
Tetraodon mbu; --- Mbu Puffer
Tetraodon miurus; --- Congo Puffer
Tetraodon palembangensis; --- Palembang Puffer
Tetraodon pustulatus; --- Cross River Puffer
Tetraodon suvattii; --- Arrowhead Puffer
Tetraodon turgidus; --- Brown Puffer

Brackish Puffers
Colomesus psittacus; --- Banded Puffer
Tetraodon biocellatus; --- Figure Eight Puffer
Tetraodon erythrotaenia; --- Red-striped Toadfish
Tetraodon fluviatilis; --- Ceylon Puffer
Tetraodon nigroviridis; --- Green Spotted Puffer
Tetraodon Sabahensis; --- Giant Spotted Puffer

Marine Puffers
Arothron caerulopunctatus; --- Blue-spotted Puffer
Arothron diadematus; --- Masked Puffer
Arothron hispidus; --- White-spotted puffer
Arothron manilensis; --- Narrow-lined Puffer
Arothron mappa; --- Map puffer
Arothron meleagris; --- Guineafowl Puffer
Arothron nigropunctatus; --- Dog-faced Puffer
Arothron reticularis; --- Reticulated Puffer
Arothron stellatus; --- Starry Toadfish
Canthigaster bennetti; --- Bennett's Sharpnose Puffer
Canthigaster coronata; --- Crowned Puffer
Canthigaster papua; --- Papuan Toby
Canthigaster rostrata; --- Caribbean Sharpnose Puffer
Canthigaster solandri; --- Spotted Sharpnose
Canthigaster valentini; --- Saddled Puffer
Diodon holocanthus; --- Porcupine Puffer
Sphoeroides annulatus; --- Bullseye Puffer
Sphoeroides marmoratus; --- Guinean Puffer
Takifugu niphobles; --- Niphobles Puffer
Takifugu oblongus; --- Lattice Blaasop
Takifugu ocellatus; --- Fugu Puffer
Takifugu pardalis; --- Panther Puffer
Takifugu rubripes; --- Tiger Puffer