Herichthys cyanoguttatum (Rio Grande cichlid, ...
Herichthys cyanoguttatum (Rio Grande cichlid, Texas cichlid). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
New World Cichlids can be found in the continents of North America, South America, and Central America. These fish make wonderful pets due to their unique colors, their interesting personalities, and the ease with which they may be maintained.

The angelfish is one of the most common New World cichlids. A South American cichlid, the angelfish is beautiful and queenly but needs very specific water conditions. Angelfish are generally triangular-shaped with long, string-like fins trailing behind them and sometimes a stripe or two across their backs.

Another common New World cichlid is the convict, so named because of its feisty temperament. Convict cichlids may be bullies but they can live in a wide variety of aquarium conditions and are easy to keep and breed. Convicts can be identified by their light blue bodies and the dark black, zebra stripes across their backs.

The Jack Dempsey is also a favorite among cichlid lovers. Like the convict, the Jack Dempsey can be moody, and as an adult, he can grow up to nearly a foot in length. Jack Dempsey's are dark brown but males usually have splashes or dots of bright blue or green on their sides and humps on their foreheads. Jack Dempsey's are easy to keep and need large open spaces as well as caves to hide in.

In the wild, North and Central American cichlids are found in rivers and lakes. Some lay their eggs in the sand of the river bottoms while others lay them simply on top of rocks at the bottom of the lake in which they reside. Some even make their homes in tiny underwater caves and tunnels. South American cichlids are usually found in water conditions that are more acidic such as black water regions in the Amazonian basin.

The aquarium requirements for these types of fish vary according to their natural habit. North and Central American cichlids are more adept at adapting to vary aquarium conditions but need good hiding places or caves in their aquarium for refuge. These should not be kept in any tank with a length of fewer than 48 inches.

The South American cichlid usually needs much more specific water conditions in the aquarium in which it is kept. The pH balance of the water needs to be quite low - sometimes as low as six - and the water itself needs to be very soft. Plants are popular with the South American cichlid, although certain species may cause havoc to underwater plants.

One of the best things about New World cichlids is that there are so many from which to choose. The variety available among these species of fish is simply astounding and there is always something new to discover. New World cichlid fish can be a joy to take care of and a delight to own.


Which REPTILES Do Not Make Good Pets?

English: Caramel Burmese Python
Caramel Burmese Python (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Basically, any reptile that is caught in the wild is discouraged for use as a pet.  It is cruel for a reptile to be removed from its natural environment, for it to be thrust into captivity against its will just so someone can say they own it as a pet.  If you must have a reptile for a pet, buy one that was raised or born in captivity.

Compared to lizards and turtles/tortoises, snakes tend to be easier pets for kids to raise.  Just make sure your child is old enough to be properly educated in the handling of the reptile for the child's safety and the reptile's safety as well.  Because reptiles carry salmonella, it is essential that any person who handles the creature either wear gloves or wash their hands immediately after putting the reptile back into its housing.

But there are some lizards, turtles/tortoises, and snakes that are truly not suitable for pets.  Although it is possible to keep them in captivity, it is better for the reptile to respect that it is meant to be kept in the wild.

Burmese pythons can certainly become tame enough to make good pets; however, the cute little baby will grow into a very huge adult.  The size alone, once it is grown, will make it less suitable to keep as a pet.  The African Rock Python and the Reticulated Python have been known to be kept as pets, but their temperament makes it more of a challenge.  Just because they are so cute as babies, it doesn't mean they will still be appealing to adults.  The price should not be your only decision in owning one of these reptiles.  Pet shops will often sell low-cost animals that often turn into high-cost maintenance, which certainly enhances the chance of return business.  But it is really unfair to the unsuspecting consumer.

Imported reptiles such as the pythons are often sold with problems that occurred before or during transport.  The prospective owner must be well-educated to be able to spot any deficiencies in the animal prior to purchase.  Mites, ticks, dehydration, and emaciation are some of the possible problems.

Green anoles are sold at a low cost, but their set up can be expensive.  Anoles tend to be caught wild which means parasite infestation is more likely, and they don't like to be handled.

Wild-caught ball pythons are known to have heavy parasite infestation and are picky eaters.  Their stress during shipping causes trauma, which affects their temperament, appetite, and overall health.  Captive hatched or farm raised are still imported and still suffer from shipping distress.

Wild-caught chameleons suffer stress, parasite, and crowding from being imported as well.  They are an antisocial creature even without the added negative aspects caused by shipping, so a beginning reptile owner would find this animal a disappointing challenge.  They don't react well to everyday household noises like children, other animals, vacuum cleaners, loud radios, and so on.  It's not a guarantee that they'll be happy when housed with other chameleons either because they aren't even sociable with their own kind.

Anole Lizard on Pink
Photo  by motleypixel 
Other reptiles which do not make good pets, especially for a beginner, are Tokay geckos, caymans, and alligators.  They are quick, aggressive, and very strong animals.  Make sure you know what you're getting before you invest your hard-earned money into the cute little pet shop reptile!


Adding an OYSTER to the Ecosystem Inside a Saltwater Aquarium

English: Spondylus regius - Royal or Regal Tho...
Spondylus regius - Royal or Regal Thorny Oyster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Saltwater aquariums can make a lovely addition to a home, and are a source of endless fascination to young and old alike. The different fish and plant life which are capable of living in a saltwater aquarium is both exotic and beautiful, and provide a rich introduction to life under the sea. Fish and plants are not the only things which can be found in the deep blue, however, and it is becoming more and more common for aquarium owners to attempt to incorporate these other elements into their home aquarium.

Artificial oysters which open up and blow bubbles into the water have been a part of home aquariums for many years. With the increase in the desire to perfectly emulate the ocean floor live oysters are becoming a common addition to saltwater aquariums. It is not common but not unheard of for a pearl producing oyster to be offered as an addition to a home aquarium; however, it is generally their less productive relations that become permanent residents. Since scallops and oysters have more specific needs than many of the inhabitants of the home aquarium it is necessary the aquarium owner be sure that they are prepared to make these adjustments prior to installing the oyster into the aquarium.

Oysters require very "pristine" water conditions; these are not the organism of choice for those who tend to be a bit lazy about cleaning their tank, as the oyster will not survive long if their water becomes cluttered with junk. Fortunately, the oyster also filters the water so this may balance itself out.  They also have specific dietary needs that will not be met with the generic food fed to many saltwater inhabitants. They will need a specialized organic food designed especially for filter feeders which can be inserted with a pipette upstream of the oyster. Each oyster is going to need to be fed individually, so unless an aquarium owner finds themselves with a great deal of time on their hands it may be wise to keep the oyster population of their aquarium to a minimum. These invertebrates also require nutritional supplementation with phytoplankton, a microscopic portion of plankton that drift through the water.

Certain types of oysters have been shown to have a better chance of survival in captivity than others. The beginner would be wise to look to these breeds, to begin with, moving on to the more delicate oysters as they become more comfortable with their needs. Common aquarium oysters are the spiny oyster and the thorny oyster; strange yet accurate names for these beautiful and unique creatures.

Oysters are a demanding but beautiful addition to any home aquarium; for more information on introducing an oyster to a home, aquarium consumers should speak with the retailers who sell them. Remember, no detail is too small when attempting to take an organism from its natural environment and watch it thrive.


Keeping TROPICAL FISH - A New Adventure?

English: Tropical Fish cartoon
Tropical Fish cartoon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Did you know that the keeping of fish dates back to antiquity? It may be true but only recently has the activity become popular among all age groups.

Have you joined the multitudes who have recently contributed to the popularity of keeping tropical fish? It really has become popular as many homes now have at least a small aquarium among its furnishings. They may consist of a few goldfish in a small coldwater aquarium or they may consist of several colorful fish swimming about.

Your aquarium is most likely one of three different types: coldwater, warm water (heated) or marine. If you are keeping tropical fish, you almost certainly have a heated aquarium. Remember, tropical fish come from the tropics where it's warm. The Amazon, Africa and the south of Asia are where most tropical fish originated.

Most pet and fish stores have all in one package that includes everything you need to get started: aquarium, stand, lights, heater, filter and gravel and other decorative additions. If you're just starting out, this is a good way to go since you will save money by buying all the components individually.

Be sure to ask the store personnel for advice on which fish are the hardiest and easiest fish to keep. These may include tetras, danios, barbs, Livebearers and Corydoras. Also, don't add too many fish at a time as the aquarium needs time to mature and get "broken in". Adding too many at once will not allow the tank to develop the bacteria needed to break down the fish's waste.

Finally, a good idea is to visit your library or go on the internet to learn about keeping fish successfully. There are hundreds of books and sites which can offer a wealth of tropical fish keeping information. A good tank, kept properly can give you and your family hours of enjoyment and relaxation...


Remember These Facts on the GIANT GOURAMI If You Want to Keep Them

Giant gourami (Osphronemus goramy) at Bristol ...
Giant gourami (Osphronemus goramy) at Bristol Zoo, Bristol, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Giant Gourami (Osphronemus goramy) are freshwater fish originating from Indonesia, India, and Malaysia. They are found in the stagnant waters including slow-moving canals. Here are some interesting facts about Giant Gouramis in case if you wish to keep them -

1. The name suggests their size. They can grow very large, up to 24 inches. If you provide them good living conditions, they can grow even larger! There are some limitations while keeping them because of their size. The aquarium or preferably the pond in which you keep them should be sufficiently large, taking into consideration their growth. As they would like to swim around and play all the time, they should be kept in smaller numbers.

2. Fully grown up Giant Gourami will have a hump above their eyes. A grown-up male will have a rounded face. This is an important indication while selecting your Giant Gouramis from the pet fish shop. Another important thing about them is - they prefer to stay in still water. So there should not be any currents of water in your tank or pond.

3. The color of their body is yellow and there will be blue stripes over the whole body.

4. They are capable of breathing directly from the air. So they can survive out of the water for a long time.

5. They are big and so their appetite. They can eat a lot of food including both vegetables and meat. They can eat many types of food like bread, boiled vegetables, and potatoes. They will also feast on brine shrimp and blood-worms.

6. Some fish keepers have experimented in many ways for feeding Giant Gouramis. They can eat even the tomatoes, fruits and partly cooked fibrous vegetables. Over a period of time, they develop taste for such foods.

7. By and large, they are peaceful by nature. The young ones will fight among them, but that is normal for all species of fish. When they are grown up, they will become calm and quiet and will live well with other species in the same aquarium.

8. While keeping them in a community tank, you should select their company carefully. If you keep some species of small fish, they may even eat those in fun! So you should select carefully the combination of species of fish which you would like to keep along with Giant Gouramis.

9. The breeding of Giant Gouramis is difficult. This is because of their size. If you feed them well with good food and keep the conditions of water appropriate, there is a chance of successful breeding. Before the breeding begins, it is advisable to keep the male and the female separately. The breeding should take place in a separate tank where the pair should be introduced when they are ready for spawning. Within a week they will start spawning and the eggs will start floating over the surface of the water.

10. The males will build bubble nests before the spawning. However, they can use the nests built by other males for spawning purposes.

11. The new ones will come out within about one or two days. For successful hatching, the breeding tank should be kept in the dark place. The females should be immediately removed after laying eggs. This is because the male will guard the eggs and will attack the females to protect the eggs.

12. As the species is huge in size, it is used as food in many parts of Asia. In many places, they are dried and preserved for a long time. As their appetite is very big, they are also used for controlling weed in ponds and lakes.

    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


KOI PONDS During The Summer

English: Koi pond with an extensive filtration...
English: Koi pond with an extensive filtration, built by Kent Wallace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Summer is considered one of the best and more vibrant times for your Koi pond. Temperatures are beautiful, and you are more able to enjoy your pond then during the cold Winter months. However, by no means, should your maintenance drop during the summer months. Remembering a few things during the summer months will ensure that your pond stays beautiful and lively.

Higher Temperatures Cause Less Oxygen

During the summer months, the oxygen level in your pond actually decreases. Proper precautions should be taken, especially if you live in an area where temperatures stay high for the majority of the year. If you witness your Koi hanging out towards the top of the water, and they seem to be gasping for air, this may be a good indication that your pond does not have a high enough concentration of Oxygen.

One way to keep oxygen moving into your water is by installing water features such as waterfalls and fountains. The more the water is moving, the more Oxygen is available to your Koi.

If water features are not available, frequent water changes will give your fish the amount of Oxygen they need to survive.

Watch For Evaporation

Higher heat will cause your water to evaporate at a much higher rate. Pay close attention to your water levels and do adjustments as necessary. Remember, you must remove all chlorine from the water you add.

Summertime is Parasite Season

Not unlike other situations in life, heat brings on potential parasites and illness. The majority of parasites are not seeable by the naked eye, so instead, you must watch your Koi for signs of illness.

You may notice strange behaviors in your fish such as rubbing against objects, scratching, shaking, or shivering. Each symptom could indicate a different type of illness, so it is important to watch closely.

It is especially important to pay attention to your Koi if they start developing noticeable spots or changes in their body. They may also knock fins off.

If any type of change is noticed, contact your local vet, pet store, or Koi dealer as soon as possible. While some parasites will cause little damage, some illnesses such as KHV or Koi Herpes Virus have a high mortality rate and should be treated as soon as possible.

Feeding Your Koi

To remain healthy during the summer, you fish will need food high in the types of nutrients that they need. During the summer you should feed your fish a food that is low in protein at least one to three times a day. If you fish still seem hungry after feeding, you may want to increase feeding slightly.

Feeding your Koi small amounts of food at a time will prevent food from spoiling. If you feed in larger amounts, some food may remain uneaten, and it can spoil in a very short amount of time.  Fish will only eat what they need to survive and will leave the rest. Spoiled food can cause water quality issues if close attention is not paid.

Feeding your Koi actually causes less Oxygen content in the water. During the summer this can especially be an issue, as Oxygen levels deplete in high temperatures. You can remedy this by feeding your fish in the cooler hours of the day.

Summer presents a special time to hand feed your Koi. Children are out of school, and the weather is usually perfect for being outside. Get the kids involved as they will remember it for years to come.



Myxobolus cerebralis, a myxosporean parasite, ...
Myxobolus cerebralis, a myxosporean parasite, causes whirling disease in farmed salmon and trout and also in wild fish populations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are certain types of parasites out there that affect fish. They can become a very serious problem though. They can result in the fish not growing like they should. They parasites can become so bad that they result in the fish dying. This is a common issue in many areas. As a result, they can die off in a complete area without any way to survive. Other creatures that depend on the fish for food will not be able to survive in that location either.

These types of parasites tend to only be a problem in areas where freshwater fish live. There are ways to remove the parasites from the environment though but before you start to use chemicals to destroy them. You may end up doing more damage to the fish than helping them out. The biggest type of fish parasite is the protozoa classification. The good news is that they are the easiest form of a fish parasite to destroy.

There are several different species of fish parasites that fit into the category of protozoa. They can generally be eliminated by adding copper sulfate to the water. Some people add it on a regular basis in a pond of fish just as a precaution so that they don’t lose their valuable fish to parasites. 

If you find your fish in the pond are having more trouble then usual surviving you may need to check to see if parasites are the problem. Some indicators that you may have fish parasites to contend with include them losing weight, not eating like they should, and a high number of them are turning up dead. 

You can’t see them without a microscope though. You can get a specialist to come in and test for them. This will also help them to determine what type of fish parasite you are dealing with. Finding the best course of action to resolve the issue is going to be in your best interest. 

When parasites invade fish in a wild environment though it is more difficult to take care of. They can be more vicious too and they will destroy the fish population from the inside out. The local Division of Wildlife will have to evaluate the situation and decide what course of action to take. They want to do what is best for all of the creatures that live in that area.