The SHEDD AQUARIUM - Just One of the Great Attractions in Chicago

The Shedd Aquarium, as seen from the northwest...
The Shedd Aquarium, as seen from the northwest in the early dawn light.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After a long stretch of stressful months of work, everyone deserves a break. This coming summer gives us all the opportunity to relax, unwind and spend quality time with our family. Have you found the perfect place where you can spend your vacation? If you are tired of the familiar malls and conventional amusement parks and picnics at the beach then here's a place that will definitely provide you with a one-of-a-kind experience that both you and the kids can enjoy: Chicago. There are so many Chicago attractions that will surely prove to be amazing and fun!

There are attractions carefully selected as some of the most popular and the most famous places in the world. Chicago is not just known for its skyscrapers, but also for its museums and aquariums.

The Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science & OMNIMAX, Field Museum & Underground River, John Hancock Observatory, and Adler Planetarium are five of the many famous attractions in Chicago.

So if you happen to be planning to go to Chicago this year or still figuring out where to take the whole family to enjoy a fun-filled vacation, go and visit the world-famous Shedd Aquarium. As you may not know, aside for other tourist spots in Chicago, the Shedd is one of the windy city's pride. This is because it has a wide collection of animals that are rarely seen in the entire world today.

The aquarium holds a large and impressive collection of 32,500 different species of animals that are rarely seen in the environment. This collection includes different sorts of animals that swim, crawl, slither or fly. It is home to a number of animals including otters, lizards, whales, dolphins, sea jellies, sea turtles and a wide assortment of fish and sharks. The entire family will surely be in for an amazing and educational surprise when visiting the Shedd Aquarium.

However, the animals aren't the only attractions of the Shedd. The aquarium also has other facilities such as the Soundings Restaurant and Bubblenet Food court that will fill the hungry tummies from a day long of marveling and adoration. Other highlights of the Shedd are the Oceanarium and the Wild Reef.

Aside from the awesome entertainment, the Shedd Aquarium gives it also does not fail to inspire. Through its natural form of beauty, it reminds tourists and visitors of the importance of mother nature and emphasizes responsible actions that we humans need to take. The Aquarium is a vital place for education, a conservation leader, neighborhood partner and a collaborator to the global efforts for world and wildlife preservation.

If for example, you keep on wondering and looking for the best gift you can give to your children this year, you don't have to look for it any longer. Visiting Chicago attractions will surely be the best gift you can give to your family. While you are in the windy city of Chicago never fail to list the Shedd as the No. 1 place to go to. It is where fun and love is shared and where memories are made.

    By Andy Seitz
    Heading to Chicago for a vacation could be a great vacation for you and your family. While you're there you'll want to be sure to visit some of the most popular Chicago attractions such as the Shedd Aquarium. It will be an experience you'll never forget!

    Article Source: EzineArticles


Purchasing The KOI For Your Pond

English: Koi in an outdoor pond. ไทย: ปลาคาร์ป...
Koi in an outdoor pond. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The first Koi were produced by breeding Carp such as the Asian and German Carp. After years of selective breeding, various color mutations started showing up. The first colors were recorded as early as 1805. Today, there are literally thousands of color variations available. The most popular colors found are white, silver, yellow, orange, red, black, blue and green. Combined with the patterns available, the possibilities are almost endless. Each noticeable pattern and color have their own names, which are typically as unique as the color they are referring too. Favorite types vary by country and location.   

Koi are raised for purchase in countries like Japan, Singapore, Israel, and in the warmer American states such as Nevada and California. Koi can be purchased at most local pet stores. If they do not have stock on hand, typically they can be ordered. Ordering Koi has its advantage and disadvantages. You have more options when ordering Koi since you do not have to pick from the stock on hand, but the disadvantage lies in the fact that you will not be able to pick specific Koi. 

Your pond should be complete before you even look into buying your Koi. The size and amount of Koi you buy should be higher based on your pond. Be careful, overstocking will cause problems right away with your pond, potentially killing many of the Koi you purchase, causing you to lose time and money. Talk with your local dealer about your setup so that they can inform you on the amount of Koi in which you should have in your pond.

Most fish owners understand that most fish will only grow to the size of their enclosure. Koi, unlike other fish, will grow until they are the size of their specific type. You must be able to accommodate the amount of fish you purchase in the future.

Koi are none-aggressive fish. Koi do not have teeth so you will not get bit if you decide to attempt to feed your Koi out of your hand. This even allows you to get smaller children involved. Smaller children will be delighted by the beautiful colors and gentle nature of the Koi. 

Koi, like any other wild animal, will naturally be afraid of you in the beginning. Instincts tell them to be afraid of you, which is what keeps them alive in the wild. You must build up trust with your Koi, and this takes time and patience. 

Koi are omnivorous fish, which means they will eat both meat and plants. This means that their diets are very versatile. Koi will eat pretty much anything that you put in the pond with them, no matter if it is good for them or not. Since Koi do not have a sense of what is bad and good for them, as their owner you must control their diet.

Koi Have Personality

You would not believe that Koi actually have personalities similar to other animals. They are social, and can even be trained to eat directly from their owner's hands. The more time you spend with your Koi, the more you will notice each Koi individual characteristics and traits. 

Koi have been known to live for up to 200 years at a time, but generally, the average lifespan of a healthy Koi is about 30 years. So if you are looking for a long time pet companion, Koi may be a good choice.


Have Fun Keeping DANIOS in Your Fish Tank

English: Female individuum of Danio margaritat...
Female individuum of Danio margaritatus.garitatus).
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Danios fish are great for beginners because they are easy to maintain. Due to their high energy level and mild temperament, Danios are an excellent choice for aquariums. They are normally found in freshwater rivers and in streams of Southeast Asia, and since they live in fast flowing streams, provide them enough space to move around and with a current from a power filter.

Several varieties of Danios fish are available and the most common among them is the Zebra Danio which can be easily identified by its horizontal stripes. Most of the species are brightly colored. Other varieties are Gold, Leopard, Blue, Giant, and Pearl. Two pairs of long barbels are present in them and they are characterized by horizontal stripes except in Black Barred Danio, Panther Danio and Glowlight Danio in which vertical bars can be seen.

Danios are playful and sociable and they live happily in the aquarium environment. Try to keep them in groups of more than 4. They get along with most aquarium fish. They can be kept along with Barbs, Rainbows, Clown or Yoyo Loaches, some varieties of catfish like Corydoras or Plecostomus Catfish and also with most of the Gouramis, even though they are smaller than Danios. I've found some or my smaller fish get intimidated by the always energetic Danios, and they will hide from them. They will chase each other and other fish continuously, but they don't attack

Danio kerri
Danio kerri (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Occasionally, they nip their fins, most of the time by accident. They will eat eggs and other small fishes that fit into their mouths. Make sure you have a tight fitting lid because Danios are good jumpers. Danios are used in aquariums to distract other aggressive fish from fighting as they are even-tempered.

Danios are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods. They can be satisfied with regular flake food, but they love to snack on bloodworms or brine shrimp once in a while. They are voracious eaters, so you should not put them with timid feeders.

My Zebra Danios get pregnant all the time, but since I don't intend to breed them, they just eat their eggs. So if you do intend to breed them, you should feed them with plenty of fresh foods, and remove the parents from the tank until the new fish are larger. These fish usually consume small aquatic insects, worms, crustaceans and plankton in the wild.

They can live in temperatures that range from 68-80ºF. But they can learn to thrive in an unheated tank.

Zebra, Gold, Pearl and Leopard Danios will normally grow to a maximum size 1.5 inches. But Giant Danios will grow up to five inches in length.

Whichever kind you choose, you will have a ball just watching them play all over the tank.


SALAMANDER Vivarium Tank Instructions

English: Salamander Ελληνικά: Σαλαμάνδρα
Salamander (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Although most people build vivariums for fauna; they are at root just miniature ecosystems comprised of compatible flora and substrate. While it makes sense to then put an animal of the appropriate kind inside, this isn't at all necessary, and the vivarium tank itself can be an eye-catching representative of natural design.

When it comes to the animals you can put inside a vivarium - should you choose to go that route - there are tiger salamanders, there are paddle tail newts, snakes of all kinds, tarantulas, there are frogs of any family, and relatively small reptiles and amphibians - depending on the size of tank you can support in your residence.

To begin with, choose a good-sized tank. It should be enough so that you can lay out the design you have in mind with the available dimensions without cramping, or leaving too much space (any space, really). Next, you'll need a top with a net for external air to infiltrate the tank, along with a sunlamp - this is mostly for the plants and for your viewing pleasure, as many of the kinds of amphibians you would place inside a vivarium aren't too keen on a too much bright light.

Your next step in securing an environment is to allow drainage; this shouldn't be too thick - maybe two inches at most - but not less than an inch. There is a range of materials that you can employ to serve as the drainage platform (clay, gravel, etc); just ask the expert at your local supply store.

Since you will supply the vivarium tank with soil, you have to place something to keep this soil from escaping through the drainage panel. Additionally; you want to keep your vivarium looking both natural and functional, so most of an appropriate density - such as sphagnum - is good to use as a soil preservation layer. After this is secured; you add the substrate of your choosing. There are several minerals and nutrients you can mix in with the substrate (or just buy substrate with the stuff already embedded, like coco-fiber) to enhance plant growth for the native species you will introduce into the vivarium tank to make it look like a real ecosystem.

Finally, you're at the stage where presentation is now your main concern. Using your flair for the artistic, arrange the rocks, caves, plants, water bowl, etc around the tank. If you will later be placing fire salamanders, paddle tail newts, fire-belly newts, or something similar in your tank, make sure to construct shaded and dark areas to facilitate privacy - as these amphibians love to hide. Some would argue that they need to hide, in order to be happiest in their habitat.

All that's left for your vivarium is the daily routine of upkeep, which won't be too strenuous at all. With animals and plants inside, the environment needs to be wet for best results, so mist it daily. If your tank isn't near a window in direct sunlight, then the hood-lamp or artificial sun lamp will need to be kept on for 6-8 hours each day, and cleaned lightly once a week. A full cleaning of waste build-up needs to be carried out about ten times a year.

    By Tim R Johnson
    Tim runs and operates a pet shop that specializes in salamander vivariums for reptile and amphibian enthusiasts. With help from a few dedicated clerks and suppliers, he maintains a high quality of life for the animals in his vivarium tanks until they are either purchased or returned to the wild. For more tips on vivarium building and maintenance, check out his main store in the link above for instructions.

    Article Source: EzineArticles



English: Discus fish. Aquarium in dehiwala zoo
Discus fish. Aquarium in dehiwala zoo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The most popular concerns about discus fish are those related to their health since they are know for being very sensitive to environmental conditions. It is essential for discus health that you recreate the living conditions they are used to in the wild: soft, slightly acidic clean water. Of course breeders do everything in their power to protect discus health given the fact that they also require special temperature and pH. Therefore if you plan on buying discus fish, you should start preparing their tank a month in advance to make sure you ensure discus health.

There are many problems associated with discus health, but I will mainly refer to the environmental ones, which seem to be the most common. For instance, the iodine deficiency may appear due to pollutants in water or improper feeding. Then, another problem related to discus health is the lack of vitamins in the food, which on the long term may create low immune system and deficient wound healing for instance. Vitamin C is essential for discus health; hence make sure you store food properly or you risk losing this vitamin though oxidation. Absence of this vitamin leads to bleeding, fin ulcerations and many other problems.

Many of the discus health problems appear because of breeders ignorance or failure to provide the proper living conditions. Once you take up breeding fish, there is a responsibility involved like with any other animal; should you find yourself overwhelmed, you can always turn to special discus health services provided by vet units. Information and tips you may find in books on discus health or on sites such as www.discus-fish-secrets.com are highly reliable and make a very good start when in comes to taking care of discus health. The authors of such books are usually experienced breeders from whom you have got lots to learn.

 Discus health should not be an issue for someone careful enough to follow some ground rules. For instance, the water cycle should be functional all the time and no waste or uneaten food should be left in it. Discus health is threatened in case of over-heating. Do not go over 31 degrees Celsius, as this will also lower the oxygen level in the tank and cause your fish to suffer from oxygen starvation. Monitor your discus health on a regular basis and check the living conditions daily or even several times a day if possible so that nothing goes wrong.


Useful Tips for Cleaning an ACRYLIC AQUARIUM

English: Photo by Angela Grider. A diver clean...
A diver cleaning acrylic at the Georgia Aquarium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cleaning your acrylic aquarium can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, the job can be safe for the tank and easy on you. Scratches can be avoided with the help of these useful tips to guide you through the process.

* For cleaning the outside of your acrylic tank DO NOT use products that contain ammonia, alcohol, or abrasives such as Windex and other commercial cleaners. DO NOT use coarse sponges or pads. The best thing to use is a soft cotton cloth with water or polish dedicated especially to acrylic.

* Mag-floats or a soft cotton cloth should be used on the inside of an acrylic tank to remove algae. Be extremely careful as to not allow sand and gravel to come between the mag-float/cloth and acrylic while cleaning, it will more than likely leave scratches. There are also sponges/pads made for cleaning aquariums that are compatible with acrylic as well, but be sure to read the labels and directions carefully.

*When there are algae close to the bottom of the tank, gently move aside any sand or gravel close to the edge of the acrylic. Use a plastic card (something like a credit card) to gently scrape off the algae from the acrylic sides. Soft plastic scrapers can also be purchased that are used for cleaning aquariums.

*Gravel or sand vacuums are great for cleaning the bottom of any fish tank. Be careful when using not to bump the sides of the acrylic tank.

*If algae become a big problem, you can empty the entire fish tank and soak with bleach water (use 1 part bleach to 20 parts water) for 24-48 hours. The algae will wipe off clean with a soft cotton cloth. Remember when refilling the acrylic aquarium to use double the amount of water conditioner (start right) to accommodate for the bleach.

* If scratches do occur in your acrylic tank, purchase an acrylic scratch removal kit. These will allow you to buff the scratches right out. There are even some kits that can be safely used underwater without having to remove any life from the aquarium.

Acrylic fish tanks have multiple advantages that come with them, but one common concern about them is their ability to scratch easily. Acrylic tanks can scratch, but the great thing about acrylic is that those scratches can be removed. Glass can also scratch, but there is no removing those scars on glass tanks. With the right equipment and knowledge, cleaning your acrylic fish tank is simple and scratches can be avoided.


The Fun of Owning Paradise Fish

Paradis Fish - Photo: Wikipedia
Paradise Fish are some of the easiest and most durable fish that you can buy for your home aquarium. They're enjoyable and attractive to the eye, with the males being a bright hue of oranges and reds. Females tend to be a little bit duller but are exciting none the less. These fish are related to the Beta and fighting fish family, so there are a few key things you need to know about keeping them and having a thriving home aquarium. Home aquariums are perfect for the animal lover who doesn't have time for a dog or cat, and they're beautiful and attractive to the eye.

Male paradise fish can be aggressive, and they have a tendency to attack other fish that are smaller than them or resemble female paradise fish. To keep your fish happy and functioning, then don't put any smaller, more timid fish in a tank with paradise fish. There should only be one male in a tank because they will fight for the dominant position; there's a real possibility one could kill the other. If you place a female fish in with a male fish, make sure there are a cave and lots of hiding places for the female to escape the violence of a male fish. They can be put in the same tank though.

When setting up your aquarium for your Paradise Fish, you should know these things. Make sure that you have floating plants to diminish the light that comes in, and males like to make nests in the foliage. These fish can breathe oxygen, so they shouldn't be in an aquarium larger than 10 gallons and make sure there are numerous hiding places (caves and rocks) for female paradise fish. These fish are also "jumpers" so make sure that you have a secure lid on the tank.

During the mating season, male fish will be nicer to female fish. But once the eggs are fertilized, the male guards the eggs and will become extra violent. Female fish should be removed from the aquarium as soon as she is finished laying her eggs. Once the eggs have hatched and the fry is free swimming the male should also be removed from the breeding tank.

When it comes to feeding your paradise fish, this can be really fun and exciting. Since these fish are jumpers, if you hold a piece of food in the tips of your fingers and hold it above the water, the fish will jump up and take the food from your tips. These fish are fun and creative and are extremely beautiful to look at. They're a lot of fun, and extremely easy to take care of.

Dustin Williams is a hobbyist who has kept aquarium fish for several years. He has learned much about keeping freshwater aquarium fish from books, and personal experience. For more information on Paradise Fish please visit bbayaquariums.com.
Article Source: EzineArticles