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2017-04-27

Discover the Unique OSCAR CICHLID

Oscar Cichlid, also known for their scientific name Astronotus Ocellatus, is found in South America and native to Peru, Brazil, French Guiana and Columbia. Other common names include Velvet Cichlid, Marble Cichlid, and Tiger Oscar. These fish are rapid growers. Reaching an average of 12 inches in length, some have been known reach a total of 18 inches and weigh 3.5 lbs.

Photo of a leucistic Long Finned Oscar (Astron...
Photo of a leucistic Long Finned Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus). Some have remarked that this strain is more difficult to care for than the strain found in the wild. However, this is not noticeable unless the specimen is under a lot of stress. The fish is a little bulkier due to carrying more fins.
 (Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)

Typically dark in colour, orange-ringed spots also known as ocelli are found around the gill area, dorsal fin, and on the sides towards the back end of the fish. Found in a variety of colours, Oscars can range from being mottled, all black or red, marbled, or albino. When becoming combative or territorial, they are known to change colour rapidly. Juvenile Oscars have spotted heads and are striped with wavy, orange and white bands.

Oscar Cichlids are known to be aggressive compared to other members in the cichlid family. Jack Dempsey's, Pacus, and Silver Dollars will work well as tank mates as well as other moderately aggressive cichlids.

Noted as being intelligent creatures from aquarists alike, they are able to distinguish their owners apart from strangers. Oscars are curious, playful, and popular among hobbyists.

Since Oscars are carnivores, their diet should consist of fish and insects. Feeder fish, brine shrimp, krill, and crickets are all acceptable food types. High quality prepared foods such as pellets and flakes can also be supplemented with the food types previously mentioned.

A 75 gallon tank per Oscar is the ideal size with a water temperature range of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. PH should be maintained between 6.5 and 7.0. Although Oscars are relatively hardy fish, water conditions must be kept clean and maintained. Improper water and tank maintenance can lead to certain diseases that Oscars are susceptible to, such as HITH, (hole in the head) a disease which affects the sensory organs in the lateral lines and face of the fish, thus causing pitting in both areas.

    By Craig Wrightson
    If you would like to learn more about Oscar Cichlids and their environment, visit my site African Cichlid Success
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2017-04-26

CRESTED GECKO Health: Keeping Your Crested Gecko Fit and Healthy

Crested geckos are some of the easiest reptiles to keep as pets, providing that a few very simple rules are followed.

  • Crested geckos require a nutrient and calcium rich balanced diet, in order for them to grow properly and live a long and healthy life.
  • They also require a temperature gradient in order for them to thermo-regulate and better digest the nutrients in their food.
  • They also require plenty of space to move around, and being arboreal tree dwellers they also require a lot of climbing branches / perches.

English: The New Caledonian Crested Gecko (Rha...
The New Caledonian Crested Gecko (Rhacodactylus ciliatus). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The most common health problems that occur in cresties in captivity are usually a result of one of the above not being offered, or not being offered to the correct standard.
Below you will find an insight into the most common of these problems and ways to ensure that they are prevented.

MBD: Metabolic Bone Disease in crested geckos:
Metabolic bone disease in geckos is most often caused due to a lack of the correct nutrients being provided in their diets.

Metabolic bone disease is a deficiency of calcium, which results in the gecko utilising the calcium reserves from its own body and skeleton to supplement this lack in calcium.

By using the reserves of calcium in its own body, the gecko's skeleton is 'warped' and misshapen due to the bones becoming very weak and pliable.

This often results in permanent disfigurement of the gecko, especially in the form of bumps, twists and dips in the spine and a rotating of the hips, causing the tail to flop or jut-out at an unusual angle.
Metabolic bone disease can also cause a weakening of the jaw, resulting in the gecko finding eating much more difficult.

The jaw is often too weak for the gecko to close it itself, and the jaw remains permanently open.
Due to the weakening of the bones, MBD can also at its worst result in numerous broken bones.
A gecko with MBD finds it more difficult to climb, and often lose the 'stickiness' on their feet and tail. If a gecko with MBD falls from a height, broken bones are usually the result.

Metabolic bone disease in its latter stages is a horrific sight to witness, and the gecko is twisted and contorted out of recognition.

In younger and crested gecko breeding females it is extra important to supplement feeding properly. Hatchlings put a lot of calcium into bone growth, and breeding females use an extraordinary amount of calcium when producing eggs.

Providing a healthy, nutrient rich and balanced gecko diet is the most foolproof way to help prevent your crested gecko developing MBD.

Preventing gecko Metabolic Bone Disease in crested geckos:

  • Gut load live food prior to feeding making them more nutritious
  • Dust live food with nutrient powders, Calcium, and/or Calcium D3
  • Provide a good meal replacement gecko diet powder
  • UVB light can also help to prevent MBD, as it helps the gecko to absorb and utilise the calcium in its diet more efficiently
  • Too much phosphorous in a diet can prevent calcium being absorbed. Avoid foods with high phosphorus content.

Floppy tail syndrome: FTS in crested geckos
Floppy tail syndrome in geckos is when the gecko's tail literally flops in an abnormal direction. It is most noticeable when the gecko is laying upside-down, flat against the side of its enclosure, at which point the tail usually flops down over its head or at a jaunty angle.

A healthy gecko tail would rest against the glass in its natural position.

It is thought that Floppy tail syndrome results mainly from a captive environment as cresties in the wild would rarely come across a surface as flat, smooth and vertical as an enclosure wall.

It is believed that this flat surface is what can contribute to FTS in crested geckos, as laying on this vertical surface for extended periods of time results in the tail 'flopping' over due to gravity, and weakens the muscles at the tails base.

At its worst, floppy tail syndrome is believed to be able to twist the pelvis of the gecko, predominantly due to the excessive weight put on the pelvic area when the tail flops to the side.
Due to this it is not advised to breed a female crested gecko with FTS, as she could well encounter problems trying to pass the eggs.
Although no concrete evidence is available, it can be assumed that providing plenty of climbing and hiding places for your gecko could help to prevent them from sleeping on the enclosure walls.

However it is still not fully understood whether this is the actual underlying cause of FTS. Many believe it could be a genetic deformity, and as such it could be passed from parents to their young although at the minute this seems unlikely.

Heat Stress in Crested Geckos
Heat Stress in crested geckos is the number one killer of these usually very hardy and easy to care for reptiles.

Crested geckos will begin to show stress if kept at temperatures above 28C for prolonged periods of time.

It is much easier to maintain your crested gecko enclosure at temperatures closer to around 25C than to risk over exposure to higher temperatures.

That being said you can allow parts of your enclosure to reach 28C - for example directly below the basking bulb - so long as your pet gecko can choose to move into a cooler area if they wish.

Higher temperatures only become a deadly problem when your gecko is forced to endure them constantly or for long periods of time without the option to cool down.

Research has shown that crested gecko exposed to temperatures of 30C without being able to cool down, can and will very likely die within an hour.
Young/small geckos are even more prone to heat stress so it is best to always allow them the choice to move to the cooler end of their temperature range.



Cleaning your crested gecko vivarium:
Keeping your gecko enclosure clean will help to prevent illnesses linked with bad hygiene, bacteria and moulds.

The crested gecko tank / enclosure will periodically need a thorough clean when it becomes dirty.
I find it easiest to spot-clean the enclosures every day or two, removing uneaten food and excrement and wiping the sides of the enclosure with damp paper towel.

There are numerous reptile-safe disinfectants available now and these can be diluted with water to ensure a safe environment for your gecko after cleaning and you can use newspaper to clean up smears and streaks on glass enclosures.

It is advised to do a thorough complete clean of the enclosure and all of its contents once in a while. I tend to do a big clean out every month to help stop any unwanted bacteria building up.

With regular cleaning and upkeep your crested gecko enclosure should not create an unwanted odour or create mould/bacteria.

Choosing a healthy crested gecko:
A healthy gecko:

• Will have clean and clear nose and eyes. Eyes will be bright and shiny and will not be sunken into the head.
• Will not have layers of retained shed skin stuck at its extremities. Healthy geckos shed in a few hours and shed should not remain much longer than this.
• Will not be dehydrated: Dehydrated geckos will have loose skin, sunken eyes and will be somewhat lethargic. Dehydration often results in the gecko looking thin in comparison to a well hydrated gecko.
• Will be alert when handled, a unhealthy animal will be limp and possibly shaky in your hand and will show little to no interest or reaction in being handled
• Should have a plump, straight tail that can 'grasp' onto objects. A good test of this is if the gecko wraps its tail around your finger.
• Should have almost Velcro like feet. If the gecko is failing to stick/climb - this can be a sign of MBD or retained shed.

    By Daniel Sharples
    Take a look at our website dedicated to the care and husbandry of crested geckos and leopard geckos. geckocity.co.uk
    Thank you for taking the time to read our article, we hope it was informative.
    Article Source: EzineArticles



2017-04-25

CORAL and its habitat

Corals are a beautiful addition to any saltwater aquarium and they can also have beneficial effects on the miniature semi-ecosystem that exists in a well functioning aquarium.

Gorgonian polyps. Photographed in the reef aqu...
Gorgonian polyps.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Corals are living animals that are commonly called sessile invertebrates. What this means is that they are animals that don't have a backbone (like vertebrates do) and that they are generally stuck in one spot and can't move around like most animals can. Corals are usually attached to a rock. Corals consist of many individual polyps. The polyps may have an internal or an external skeleton that is made of calcium carbonate. Each polyp has an oral opening that leads to a gastrovascular tube. There is a lot of variety in the types of food eaten by coral polyps. For example, some corals feed by using their stinging tentacles to catch small fish. Other corals eat microscopic organisms, where as some coral polyps don't feed at all, and obtain all their nutrition from zooxanthellae  (a single-celled algae that lives within the coral).

Corals are more complicated to keep than many saltwater fish species, and can for instance require more intricate currents, powerful lighting and supreme water quality. Keeping the water temperature in the ideal range is therefore imperative when you keep corals in you aquarium. Reef building corals prefer quite shallow depths where the light penetration is good and will therefore usually grow at depths of less than 46 metres / 150 feet. The reef building corals require plenty of strong light since they form symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic algae. Other coral species can however survive without direct sunlight and live much deeper down in the ocean.

Corals should be thoroughly researched beforehand because of their often hefty price tag and demanding water, lighting and feeding requirements. The great part about live rock, aside from the biological importance of using it, is that you can use aquarium silicon sealant to shape the rocks into any type of design you desire. We now have a new term - "rockscaping". You can also use a drill to create small holes in the rock and use pvc pipes to hold them together to make columns or archways. The rockscaping possibilities are endless. Another thing you'll probably need to do is place the rock directly on the tank bottom and not on top of the sand. Sand burrowing species could get injured or worse if you place the rock on top of the sand.

Corals are very popular with aquarium enthusiasts.  Some of the most common corals are now being successfully kept and grown in a rapidly growing number of home aquariums. There are hundreds of species including soft corals, corallimorpharians (mushroom corals), gorgonians, zoanthids, large-polyp stony corals, and small-polyp stony corals.

For the beginner reef aquarium, there are a number of soft corals, that require less light and less than perfect water quality standards, than their hard coral cousins. These soft corals are the better candidates for converting to a fish only, or fish only with live rock aquarium tank to a reef tank with corals.

You can have coral in any sort of aquarium/fish tank i.e. fish only tanks, fish only with live rock tanks to a full reef tank.



Moving smoothly from tank to tank isn't really all that difficult. You need to move coral because believe it or not there can be turf wars in coral reef tanks. Corals on the reef compete for space. So do the corals in your aquarium. Corals are still deemed difficult for the average reef tank hobbyist but in my experience I have not found this to be true.

Corals are found all over the world, even around the poles. Reef building corals are however only found in warm subtropical and tropical waters. Reef building corals are present in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and the Western Atlantic. Their habitat is generally limited to the region between 30 degrees N and 30 degrees S latitudes. In the Indo-Pacific Ocean you will find reef building corals from the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, and eastwards in the Indian and Pacific Oceans all the way over to Panama and a few places in the Gulf of California. In the Western Atlantic corals are living outside Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Belize and around the Caribbean Islands, Bermuda and Bahamas. Reef building corals will only live where the water temperature is warm enough; 20-28 degrees celsius / 68-82 degrees fahrenheit.

    My short reviews can be found at thekeepersreviews.com

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2017-04-24

Non-Annual KILLIFISH Is Convenient to Keep

There is a big difference in the species of killifish. One is called annual and the other non-annual. The difference is due to conditions of living around them. The species which are used to live in the permanent and stable bodies of water are non-annual, and they will have a different lifestyle than the ones living in the temporary bodies.

Fundulus auroguttatus, a non-annual North Amer...
Fundulus auroguttatus, a non-annual North American killifish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If the supply of water is for a short period of time in the year, killifish living in such water are labeled as annual killifish. They will prefer to place their eggs deep in the mud. The eggs will stay there for some time when the pond gets try. Eggs will continue to develop during this time but will not hatch.
As the rain comes back again after some time, these eggs will hatch. Some tough eggs will even wait for the second fall of rains before hatching. Once hatched, the fry will start growing quickly and they will be very aggressive because they will have a very short period of time at their disposal to complete their life cycle.

The beginners should avoid these annual killifish. As the conditions under which had they grow are variable in different parts of the world, you may not be able to replicate them in your small aquarium.
In contrast, the non annual killifish are colorful and will swim with grace. If you provide them normal conditions for living, they will lay eggs frequently. These eggs will be hatched in a period of three weeks.

The new ones will start looking out for food immediately after coming. The eggs are hard and the new ones will consume all the nutrients from it before they come out. As the eggs will be laid many times, the fry will be of different ages. This is the reason for low availability of non-annual killifish. You may not find them in many pet fish shops.


However, if you are lucky to get a pair, you can breed it successfully and get new arrivals continuously over a period of time. Remember, if you miss out, you may not find the same variety easily in the market. Many breeders will not sell a single male or female. The costs of shipping of killifish may even exceed the initial price you paid!

Some experienced fish-keepers make a third classification as some semi-annual killifish. Their eggs will survive above the water surface. These eggs will be attached to the plants and rocks which are near the surface of water. During the rainy season, as the level of water raises to the plants or the rocks, the eggs will be submerged in the water and they will hatch. This variety of killifish is not suitable for keeping at home at all.

So now you are familiar with the annual and non-annual varieties of killifish. The annuals will be difficult to keep as their life is short and you may not be able to breed them successfully. On the other hand, the non-annuals will live for a long time and if you correctly breed them, you will be able to get a continuous supply of new ones.

The only thing you should remember about them is about their availability. They may not be available easily and they are expensive also. You should keep in mind all these considerations before deciding to keep killifish in your aquarium.

    By Chintamani Abhyankar
    Chintamani Abhyankar is a goldfish enthusiast and has been raising and breeding goldfish for many years. He is an expert on their care and an advocate for raising healthy goldfish the natural way.
    Article Source: EzineArticles



2017-04-23

What to Feed SALTWATER Fish Aquariums

Anyone who has ever had a pet knows that one of the first things a responsible pet owner does is make sure their pet has a balanced diet. They know that the healthy their pets eat, the more likely they are to lead long and healthy lives. Fish kept in saltwater fish aquariums are exactly the same. The responsible saltwater aquarium owner knows exactly what types of food his fish needs to survive and makes sure they keep a ready supply of it on hand.

English: A dragon wrasse, Novaculichthys taeni...
A dragon wrasse, Novaculichthys taeniourus is being cleaned by Rainbow cleaner wrasses, Labroides phthirophagus
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first thing you need to know about feeding tropical fish is how much food they should be getting. The general rule of thumb is that when you feed your fish use a stopwatch and time how long it takes them to eat. It should take approximently two minutes for the fish to finish eating. If the fish in your tank finish their food in less then two minutes they probably aren't getting enough to eat. If after two minutes there is still food left over then they are probably getting over fed and you'll have to cut back. A more accurate way of measuring how much food that fifty adult tropical fish should eat approximately ten grams of food in one month, but that can carry with variety and growth.

A balanced fish food typically consists of ten percent fat, thirty to thirty-six percent protein. There should also be amino acids.

The first step in feeding your fish responsibly is knowing what type of food they eat. Some fish can not be kept in a tank that has coral because they like to eat the little invertebrates that make the coral their home. Predatory fish typically need to have frozen or live food. Bottom dwelling fish should be fed a type of food that is heavy enough to sink to the bottom of the tank, these fish do not do well with fish foods that float on the tanks surface. Aquarium owners who are interested in breeding their tropical fish often feed their fish brine shrimp, which they raise in their own brine shrimp hatchery.

Many saltwater fish aquariums caretakers like using automatic fish food feeders. Automatic fish food feeders are feeders that can be clamped to the side of the aquarium. Once the fish owner has loaded the hopper with food, the feeder will automatically dispense the food at regular intervals, this allows the fish owner to have more flexibility and not be forced to arrange their schedules around feeding their fish. The average automatic fish food feeder is not capable of dispensing frozen or live food, which does make them convenient for predatory fish. Some absentee fish owners place food blocks in their aquariums.



Tropical fish owners should store their extra fish food in a cool dry place in containers that won't allow moisture to seep in. Frozen fish food should be disposed of after three months.

One of the dangers in overfeeding fish is that the wasted food can wreck havoc on the pH levels of your aquariums water. If to much discarded food is contaminating the water it can contribute to the death of your fish.



2017-04-22

LIVEBEARERS Tropical Fish - Red Velvet SWORDTAIL Tropical Fish

The Red Velvet Swordtail Fish adds that spark to any fish tank. Aquariums need variety and the Swordtail will definitely pack a color punch for your tank. The Red Velvet Swordtail ranges from 2"-5" in length and is from the Tropical fish group or community of aquarium fish.



The Red Velvet Swordtail fish is an Omnivore that feeds on proteins such as worms, larvae etc. However they can eat plant and animal matter too. The react better to live food but will still eat frozen and freeze dried foods. Veggies are a bonus such as canned peas. For a steady staple food use Pellets or Fish Flakes. Feed the Livebearer species twice a day rotating between veggies and proteins. Most Omnivores need a balanced diet so if you have a few different Omnivores in your aquarium then put them on the same feeding cycle.

Livebearers like the Red Velvet Swordtail fish swim in the middle and top sections of the fish tank. Keep a good variety of fish in the aquarium so you don't have a cluster of different species of fishes fighting for space on the top, middle or bottom. Livebearers are like the bunny rabbits of the fish tank. They can pop out new fish quickly. 

 They tend to reproduce a bit faster than most fish so don't be surprised one morning to see a few extra guppies sloshing around your fish tank. Red Velvet Swordtails do not lay eggs they have live babies, so for the little fellas that are born alive make sure you have some decent hide outs for them so they do not get swallowed by other fishes.



Livebearers need oxygenated water but they don't like forced water motion. Find a bubbler to add Oxygen to the water. Livebearers also need a bit of salt. Two teaspoons of salt for a normal 10 gallon fish tank will do.

    By Nathan E Peterson
    Other available Livebearers include Molly, Sailfin Molly, Platy and the good ol' Guppy.
    [http://www.FishPlenty.com/wordpress] - The Ultimate Fish Tank Guide For all Aquarium Lovers! This is the mecca for Fish Tank Maintenance, Tips and Tricks and Health information in regards to your tropical fish.
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2017-04-21

Feeding A SIAMESE FIGHTING FISH

How much food is enough for a Siamese Fighting Fish? The answer is how much they want to eat within several minutes. Like humans, Siamese Fighting Fish have days when they won't eat much and other days when they will eat like pigs. They will eat more of their favourite food such as blackworms and mosquitoes larvae and less of some manufactured foods depending on your Siamese Fighting Fish.

You may even find that they will turn their noses up at some food. So instead of dropping food in the tank and racing off to do other jobs, when feeding you Siamese Fighting Fish it is a good idea to keep placing small amounts of food into the tank until your fighter has stopped eating. Any uneaten food should be removed so not to pollute the water.

betta splendens
Flickr Photo by  h080 


Food should be rotated between freeze dried, pellet, frozen and live. A variety of food will ensure that your Siamese Fighting Fish is receiving all the nutrition that it requires. Freeze dried foods include blood worm, brine shrimp, blackworm and Tubifex. A variety of pellet and flake food are available on the market at present, just check the protein content in the brand. You are wanting a brand that has around 45% protein in their product. Frozen food such as blood worm, brine shrimp and mysis shrimp can be purchased from most Local Pet Shop and stored in your freezer.

It is also a good idea to give your fighter one day a week without food. This day without food helps to clear it's digestive system. A green pea with the shell removed and squashed will also help clean a fighter's digestive system. If given after their day of starvation, you will have a better chance of your Siamese Fighting Fish eating it. Live food such as blackworms should be fed only two to three times a week, unless you are conditioning a pair for spawning. Live Blackworms can be stored in a container with fresh water in the bottom of your fridge. Change the water daily and feed a small amount of pellet or flake food twice a week. Blackworms also like banana skins as food.

A Siamese Fighting Fish will survive being fed only once a day, which means that the water will not be polluted as quickly. Although if they were given the choice, you would be feeding them three times a day. Which to condition a pair for breeding/spawning is recommended. If feeding once daily, do ensure that what you are feeding them is good quality.

Having shipped and received Siamese Fighting Fish, from some 2000km away, they will survive without any harm for four days without food. So if you are going away for the weekend, your fighter will come to no harm because he has not been fed. He may act like he is starving but it will not hurt him at all. Just make sure that he cannot jump out of the tank if he see anything that may look like food.

    For more information or care tips for Siamese Fighting Fish, visit [http://www.siamesefighting.com]
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