MILK SNAKES and KING SNAKES Make Good Pets For Beginners

Have you been considering purchasing a snake as a pet? There are many different types of snakes available at specialty pet stores. But, if this is your first pet snake, you might want to consider purchasing a king snake or a milk snake. There are numerous sub-species that fall into these two closely-related snakes; this means you will have a variety of different colors and patterns to choose from. In addition, these snakes are generally non-aggressive and easy to care for.

Getting to Know the King Snake and the Milk Snake

Red milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum syspil...
Red milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum syspila)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
King snakes and milk snakes are interesting creatures for a number of different reasons. For starters, the colors and patterns found on some of these snakes can look very similar coral snakes, which are very venomous snakes with yellow and red bands of color. In fact, the only real difference in appearance between a coral snake and a king or milk snake with the same coloring is the act that king and milk snakes have a line of black touching the red bands.

Another interesting characteristic of king snakes and milk snakes is the fact that they actually eat other snakes as well as lizards, rodents, amphibians, and birds. Of course, as the owner of a king snake or milk snake, you would not feed other snakes to your pet. Not only would this be quite expensive for you, but it would also be potentially dangerous to your snake as well. Nonetheless, when surviving in the wild, king snakes and milk snakes can actually eat snakes that are larger than they are. In fact, it is not uncommon for some to regularly eat rattlesnakes in the wild. Therefore, you should never put more than one king snake or milk snake in the same aquarium, as one will be certain to make a meal out of the other.

Housing a King Snake or a Milk Snake

Eastern Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula getula
Eastern Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula getula
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Since king snakes and milk snakes can reach six to seven feet in length, it is important to select a terrarium that is large enough for them to grow and to rest comfortably inside. When they are young, a 10-gallon tank may be sufficient. A full-grown snake, however, should be provided a 60-gallon tank in which it can stretch and move about, as king snakes and milk snakes tend to be quite active.

When selecting a terrarium for a king snake or a milk snake, it is also very important to select one that can be secured tightly. These snakes have a reputation for getting out of their cages and for squeezing through even the smallest places. So, spend a little extra on a terrarium with a top that can be latched.

Maintaining the proper temperature is also important when it comes to keeping your snake healthy. Milk snakes and king snakes generally like their cages to be around 76 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, but the temperature should drop down to about 70 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit at night. At the same time, you should take measures to provide different temperatures within the cage so your snake can move from one area to the next in order to regulate its temperature.

It is important to note that the needs of various varieties of milk snakes and king snakes can differ. Therefore, you should be certain to research the specific type of snake you are considering purchasing in order to make certain you set its home up properly and give it the best chance of living a long and healthy life.


How to Create and Care for a CORAL AQUARIUM

English: A mass of Plerogyra sp. coral in a tr...
A mass of Plerogyra sp. coral in a tropical reef tank at the Seattle Aquarium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Many aquarium owners crave to someday own a saltwater tank displaying numerous kinds of coral. This may be achieved is fast easy steps if you use coral starter kits to grow your own coral. This is recommended over buying coral from a store. By growing your own, you ensure it is properly acclimated to your tank. Setting up and caring for the coral aquarium, or reef aquarium is a task that requires a bit of knowledge before starting. There are some steps to take when setting up a new coral aquarium. The process may seem to take a long time, and because of this, many people opt to use fake coral instead. However, the time spent waiting will be well worth it when you are later able to display your own coral aquarium. If you follow some simple steps and have the patience for about 12 weeks, you will be able to create and own your piece of underwater paradise.

To begin, the first thing to do is assemble your aquarium. Find a spot in the home that you wish to have it displayed. Follow through with the set up as you would a freshwater tank. When you are ready to add the water to the tank, follow these simple steps. First, pour the sand into the bottom of the tank. Add dechlorinated water to the tank. Next, add the salt and make sure it is mixed until the specific gravity measures 1.205. After the water and salt are added, arrange your live rock as desired and install the heater and the hood of the tank. After doing these things, you must then wait 4 weeks to move ahead.

After the four weeks has passed, you will then add your first living creatures to the tank. It is best to add fish later, and slowly as to make sure the salt balance in the tank is correct and remains that way. At this time, you can add a variety of snails or crabs if you wish to have them part of your tank. You will also need to install a protein skimmer. The tank should be functioning as if it were full of fish. Make sure the filters are working properly and the lighting is right. Remember not to leave the light on for more than 10 to 12 hours a day as it may promote algae growth. After adding some snails or crabs, wait another 2 weeks before proceeding.

Now at week 6, you will add your first pieces of coral. There are many types of coral used in saltwater coral aquariums. Some of the most common are Button Polyp, Yellow Polyp, Hairy Mushroom Coral and Bullseye Mushroom Coral. Make sure when adding your coral, it is attached to the live rock at the bottom of the tank. Wait another 2 weeks. Don't get frustrated... you're almost there! During the eighth week, you can add Aquacultured Coral such as Pumping Xenia, Starburst Polyps and Spaghetti Finger Leather Coral to name a few. Place these corals into the live rock as you did with the previous set of coral.

Now you have succeeded in creating your reef aquarium. During the course of the 10 to 12-week mark, you may begin adding your fish to your underwater world. It may seem a long drawn out process to get a coral aquarium up and running, but the time and hard work will pay off for years to come. Creating and caring for your coral aquarium will bring you much enjoyment and a wonderful sense of accomplishment for creating a spectacular coral aquarium.


BETTA FISH ILLNESS - How You Can Help Prevent Your Fish From Exposure to

English: A female (Betta splendens).
A female (Betta splendens). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. The quality of the water in the tank or aquarium: The temperature, the cleanliness, the pH level of the water, the quantity of the water in the tank all play a role in your fish's general health.

2. The quantity and quality of your betta fish's diet: Your betta only requires a certain amount and certain types of food every day. How does underfeeding or overfeeding your fish impact its health? What about the variety of the types of foods in your fish's diet?

3. The "amenities" of your fish's habitat: Are there rocks in the fish's aquarium? What about plants? Are they real or artificial? Could they be producing harmful toxins that could be adversely affecting your fish?

4. Your fish's socialization: Does your betta live in isolation or does it coexist with other fish? How well does it get along with the other fish? Is your habitat causing undue stress on your fish?

How can you tell if your marine friend is faced with one of the many betta fish illnesses out there?

Your fish is docile and inactive most of the time.

You see signs of discoloration, fading on your fish's body.

You see visible signs of irregularities on the fish's body or in its fins such as rips, tears, or even bloating under the belly.



Our koi pond and back yard, Spring 2015
Photo  by corsi photo 

Recently, one of the most popular backyard designs is adding a water pond or a fish pond to the yard. These projects, however, can only be achieved in a sprawling and huge yard that has walkways and large areas.

But if you are really certain to have your own fish pond and yet you do not have a large backyard, there are design ideas that can be incorporated to hopefully place your pond in it without having to take up too much space and dominate your yard.

Let your pond serve as the focal point of your backyard. Place it in the middle or in one corner of the yard if you have a small space. Make it appealing to the people walking around the house.


If you wish to place it in the corner part of the yard, raise the pond a little higher so that the fish will seem like a surprise to the visitors. But if you want to place it in the center, it is best if you place the pond at ground level or a little above it.

Fish Types

Make sure that the fish you put inside is colorful and lively to attract attention. Watching the fishes swim around every day can also serve to be therapeutic. But if you want to maintain a small pond, do not place large fishes such as the Japanese Koi. They may not live long in this kind of environment and they are also extremely expensive. Goldfish are compatible with the size of your pond, however, their longevity might not be a guaranteed in an outdoor pond.


Think how much you really want an outdoor pond and how you can maintain and build it depending on your preferences. You might find that maintaining an indoor aquarium is difficult enough, how much more an outdoor pond.

Consider the climate of your place. Water ponds and fish ponds are most applicable in tropical weather because of the advantage of the sun all year round. Some aquatic plants need to be exposed to the sun to grow. The plants and fishes may die if you let them stay in the pond during winter time. it is best to transfer them to an indoor tank if the weather is not applicable.

A fish pond in your own backyard only tells an individual how much energy, time, and money you are willing to devote to the beautification of your backyard. It does not matter how large or how small it is, it just goes to show that you appreciate beautiful things. You will not only impress a lot of people but yourself as well. A backyard fish pond brings a luxurious and relaxing feeling to the place.

In order to make your fish pond more appealing, decorate its surroundings. Landscaping the place will attract frogs and birds which can add to the overall natural feeling. If you cannot afford landscaping projects, hanging plants and flowering bushes will do. This will produce a great ambiance for your visitors and guests.

Having a fish pond is not a go-get-it-and-have-it project. You have to maintain and preserve its beauty time and again. Make sure to add water to it periodically. It is also important that you get rid of fallen leaves as this will cause decay and unpleasant appearance.

Lastly, consult your local pond professionals before building a pond yourself. Do not hesitate to ask questions as this will benefit the inhabitants of the pond. 



Blue Discus
Photo by Jessa B.C. 
Just as dogs make great companions, discus fish make a great show. Breeding discus as a hobby has become so popular that aquariums all over the world have become the home of this king of the exotic species. For some breeders, discus as a hobby means an immense satisfaction particularly when one manages to get some baby discus too. It is truly rewarding to see that what started with discus as a hobby has turned into a lifetime experience and a true friendship. What is so special about discus as a hobby? Apart from the great beauty of these fish, the discus is unique in their social and loving behavior.

Those who breed discus as a hobby will be more than surprised to notice that the discus show signs of connection to the environment outside the tank. For instance breeding discus as a hobby implies spending lots of time around the tank, cleaning, feeding or simply watching the discus. They are said to recognize the owner in time and they can get as close to you as to eat out of your hand. When breeding discus as a hobby, some owners have noticed that the discus will watch you move around the room or even react to TV noise.

Apart from such social behavior, discus enjoys silence and a close community with other fellows from the same species. If you take discus as a hobby, you may want to take into consideration that they prefer living in close communities that is together with several other members. The dominant discus would be the first to couple, followed by the others if proper conditions are met. Even if you breed discus as a hobby you may still have to separate the couples in a different tank allowing them to raise their fry.

For everyone who takes discus as a hobby, it is important that all the proper living conditions are kept under constant observation. You should not use for instance a too powerful lamp for your discus; as a hobby, you’d like to keep them in the spotlight, but this warms the water above the accepted level and reduces the oxygen quantity. There is a short step to take between breeding discus as a hobby and breeding them at a professional level, after all, discus requires the same attention no matter your devotion. Even if you take discus as a hobby, you still have to pay attention to their needs all the time! Refer to  Discus Fish As Hobby for more information.


TIGER BARBS - A Beginners Fish

This image shows a Tiger barb (Puntius tetrazona).
Tiger barb (Puntius tetrazona). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Tiger Barb
Puntius tetrazona
Max. size: 7.0 cm / 2.8 inches
pH range: 6.0 - 8.0
dH range: 5 - 19
Temperature range: 20 - 26°C / 68 - 79°F

The tiger barb has long been one of the most popular and most kept aquarium fish species and there are today a wide variety of different color morphs available in the aquarium trade besides the common tiger barb. Such morphs include albino tiger barbs, green tiger barbs, and golden tiger barbs.

The tiger barb originates in South-East Asia and is native to Indonesia and Malaysia. They live on the Malay Peninsula, on the island of Sumatra and on the island of Borneo. The tiger barb can however today be found in many waters around the world where it voluntarily or involuntarily has been introduced by man. Countries, where it has been introduced, includes Australia, Singapore, Suriname, and Colombia.

Tiger barbs are suitable for beginner aquariums where they are best kept in large schools. Tiger barbs can often resort to fin nipping if they are kept in too small schools but this is seldom a problem if they are kept in large schools. It is however still recommended to avoid keeping tiger barbs with slow-moving, long finned fish species. The average lifespan in a well-kept aquarium is 6 years. Tiger barbs should preferably be kept in aquariums no smaller than 60 centimeters (24 inches) long. The aquarium should be decorated with hiding places among plants and plenty of room for swimming. Rocks and driftwood will also be appreciated.

Tiger barbs are very easy to care for as long as you keep the water parameters within the ranges given at the beginning of this article. Try to keep the water temperature in the upper part of the recommended range, ideally 23 - 26° C (74-79° F). They are omnivorous and will accept almost all the food that is presented to them and they will accept flake food. Try to vary the diet of your tiger barbs as much as possible even if it possible to keep and breed tiger barbs on nothing but flake food.

Tiger barbs are easy to breed and the largest problem is usually to prevent the parents from eating the eggs and fry. They often spawn in regular community aquariums but it is rare for any fry to survive in a community aquarium. Most often the eggs get eaten well before hatching. They are easy to sex as the female tiger barb is larger and have a much rounder belly. Males have distinctive red noses, and above the black part of their dorsal fins, you can see a characteristic red line. The dorsal fin of the female is mainly black.

If you want to breed your tiger barbs it recommendable to set up a breeding aquarium with some kind of egg protection device in it that prevents the parents from eating the eggs. A layer of common glass marbles on the bottom of the tank will do well for this task. Fill the breeding aquarium with water from the main tank. Move around the female to the tank and a male to the breeding tank. 

 They will likely spawn the next morning or at the very least the morning after if they are in spawning condition. If you fish hasn't spawned in three days a recommend trying another pair instead. The eggs are sticky, do not float in freshwater and are usually slightly above 1 millimeter (0.04 inches) in length. The number of eggs usually ranges from 300 to 500. The fry becomes free swimming after about 5 days and can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp. The fry grows relatively fast and usually reaches sexual maturity in about seven weeks at what point they are 2-3 centimeters (0.8-1.2 inches).


Three Popular Pet TREE FROGS

Looking for a unique pet that won't take your house over and pretend that they own it? Have you ever considered buying a pet tree frog? Sure, it may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think about a pet, but the fact is, tree frogs make great pets! Tree frogs are different from other frogs since they spend most of their time living in tall trees, rather than hanging around at a pond or creek like other frogs. The only time they usually hang around on the ground is during mating season and they can be found in many regions throughout the world. There are several different types of tree frogs that one might want to have as a pet including the White's Tree frog, Red-Eyed Tree Frog, and a Green Tree frog to name just a few.

English: White's tree frog
White's tree frog (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
White's Tree Frog
Originating in the regions of Australia and New Guinea these bright green frogs make great pets. They are not overly active and do not require any special skill to care for them properly. In terms of size, the White's Tree Frog grows to around 4 or 5 inches long and they will live approximately 15 years. Unlike many frogs that hate to be picked up, the White's Tree Frog seems content with being picked up. As for food, if you're wondering what to feed the White's Tree frog, a safe bet would be crickets, meal worms, and even baby mice!

Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas), ph...
Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas), photographed near Playa Jaco in Costa Rica (retouched version). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Red-Eyed Tree Frog
Just like their name suggests, the Red-Eyed Treefrog has bright red eyes that are noticeable against the bright green color of the frog, with yellow and blue stripes. If you're looking for a unique tree frog with brilliant colors, the Red-Eyed Tree frog is a great option. Red-Eyed frogs are from the rainforests of Central American countries and Costa Rica, which means that when you have them in your home, they need to be kept warm and the air should be very humid. Feeding a Red-Eyed tree frog is easy; Just feed them crickets and they will be very content. These pet frogs will be most active at night and may sleep quite a bit during the day and are very docile.

Australien Green Treefrog - Photo: Pixabay
Green Tree Frog
The Green Tree frog originates in two different regions; the United States and Australia. The Australi
a Green Tree frog is otherwise known as the White's Tree frog as discussed above.

The American Green Tree frog is found throughout many states in the U.S including Georgia, Florida, Texas, North and South Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. The diet of the Green Tree frog consists of crickets, flies, worms, and moths, but they are able to go without food for over 48 hours. At 2.5 inches long, they are quite small, but the males are smaller than the females. If you are looking for an inexpensive pet, the Green Tree Frog is perfect as they are often sold for just $10 to $20.