The Importance of the Right Reptile Lighting

It is no secret that your cold-blooded creatures are in desperate need of an outside source of heat to survive. In spite of this knowledge, it is often too surprising to learn that more owners still believe that any reptile lighting is enough. This is a common misconception since the wrong brand could lead to serious illness, and even death. One of the obvious ways to prevent this is to learn for yourself the different types of luminosity, which is available in the market. It is also a great idea to study the physical make-up of the species you own to get a clear grasp of its toleration to heat.

First of all, you have to consider the dimensions of your reptile cages and terrariums before settling on any type of lighting. Once you’ve already determined the exact measurements of your pets’ home, it will now be easier for you to choose the precise length, and even type, of the device that your cold-blooded friends need. Of course, you also have to consider the shape of the glass case. For example, if you’ve settled for the usual, rectangular frame, then the fluorescent strips are the perfect piece for you. On the other hand, if you’ve decided to go for a circular or a hexagonal bowl, small bulbs would suffice.

Before you install a particular type of lighting, you are required to make an inventory, if not a mental note, of the reptile supplies, which are kept inside the terrarium. This list includes the permanent items, such as your decorative pieces, substrates, food and water dishes, and the like.

By doing this, you are given a clear idea on the kind of device, as well as the power of its radiance and heat, which you need to set up. However, if you find that a particular bulb suits the needs of your cold-blooded friends well, while the ornaments cannot handle the warmth, it will be wiser to replace the items with more durable ones.

Your choice of reptile lighting should also be suitable to the species of cold-blooded creatures you keep. For example, ordinary pets, like the iguana and lizards, require less heat, and they are happy with a mere basking lamp. On the other hand, snakes also need less warmth, while the small crocodiles mandate more radiance constantly.

The reptile lighting for you also depends on its setup procedures in the sense that you should choose a model, which is not too tedious for you to install. You may decide on a brand, which is meant to be fixed inside the terrarium in the same way that you would do your decorative adornments.

Finding the perfect lighting to give your reptiles a comfortable home is not a problem when you have already considered every aspect, which may affect your purchase.

So You Bought a Parrot, Now What?

In my other blog, I write about my daily life. But, most of my posts revolve around my parrots, as does my life. It is in my belief that birds were not intended to be on this earth so we could still them in a cage in our homes. No matter what your religion is, birds were not made for solitary stationary lives. They were intended to fly in the great outdoors. Nobody can argue with that.

But, now you have one in your home, as do I. Now what? Well, let’s hope that you did your research and you found a parrot that is right for you and your family. We’re going to assume you did for the sake of this article and my sanity.

CAGES

The first thing that needs to be purchased is a cage. Have you ever walked into a pet store and saw that they have a sale going on, “Buy This Cage, Get a Parakeet FREE!” Don’t do that. Just buy the parakeet and cage separately because THAT cage will not be big enough for your new family member. Remember, your new family member is a bird with wings and will need to use those wings. A cage for a parakeet should be wider than taller, because they are not helicopters that can fly straight up.

Bigger is always better when buying a cage for your new pet. However, the width of the bar spacing in cages is also just as important, as tiny heads can get trapped in between the bars. So, keep that in mind when purchasing the cage.

A good cage size for a Macaw or bigger parrot is one where your parrot can stretch his wings without touching the sides of his cage.

FOOD

As with the topic of human children and nutrition, there are just as many debates on parrot nutrition. Some say pellets only, some say seeds and pellets, some say fresh food, seeds, and pellets, some say cooked foods, fresh foods, seeds, and pellets; but, no one says that only feeding seeds is good for a parrot.

Mine get a huge variety of foods on a daily basis. If you read my other blog, you would know that I am having some issues with Sisco eating foods that are good for her. She is a seed junky and will not eat anything else except mashed potatoes. Just like human children, if they are exposed to only certain things, they will never develop a taste of other foods. However, if they are exposed to good foods on a daily basis, they will eventually try something, and possibly even like it!

The point is to never give up trying to feed your parrot healthy foods and never stop learning about parrot nutrition.

TOYS

What do you mean by toys? My bird needs toys? Isn’t a swing enough? Um, no. Your bird needs something to do. A bored bird is an unhappy bird. A bird that is busy is a happy bird. A bird that is locked in a cage from day in to day out with nothing to do will exhibit very unwelcoming behaviors such as excessive screaming. A bird that doesn’t have any toys (or the wrong toys for THAT specific bird) but is allowed the freedom to come and go as he pleases may start to be destructive to the things around him, such as the molding on your big picture window or your first edition of Twilight.

There are lots of different toys on the market today. To pick out which toy is right for your bird will just be a process of trial and error. But in reality, a bird should have a variety of toys and not the same type of toy in his cage at all times. You should have enough toys to be able to rotate every few weeks.

ATTENTION

No, it is not enough to plop them in a cage with healthy foods and enough toys to outfit a bird toy store. Sorry. You need to pay attention to him. You do not have to hold your parrot 24/7, but you do need to give him ambient attention. Ambient attention is to give your parrot attention while she is in her cage or on her playstand. This can be achieved with just talking to your parrot, interacting with her, calling his name when he calls for you, reading to her, dancing with her, singing with her, watching TV and keeping a running commentary with her of what you see, etc. This is the kind of attention parrots absolutely love.

VET CARE

Your new buddy needs to see a doctor from time to time. It is true that birds hide their illnesses, so when you see what could potentially be a sign of an illness, get him to a vet as soon as possible! The time to find a good avian vet is when he is healthy, not when it is an emergency.

Those are just some of the basics of parrot care. The very basics, unfortunately. If you do not treat your parrot like the delicate animal he is, things can go very wrong in an instant.

The Basics of Goldfish Care

Caring for goldfish isn’t all that different from caring for any other fish. A clean home with room to grow, meals delivered to their front door, and maybe some decor to give the place a bit of class is about all they ask for. None the less, some of their requirements do vary a bit from those of most other common aquarium fish. They’re not hard to meet, but doing so is key to keeping a happy and healthy goldfish.

Size
The number one thing that seems to slip past most people looking to keep goldfish is that they get BIG. Even for smaller varieties expect adults to reach about 8 inches in length with some easily passing a foot. This of course means that fish bowls, which goldfish are so commonly portrayed in, are virtually worthless for keeping goldfish (or any other fish for that matter). Really anything under 30 gallons is too small for even a single goldfish long term and if you want more than one the tank will need to be even bigger. Without adequate room to grow fish will become stunted, leading to health problems and most likely an early death.

Climate
While they’re typically sold alongside a bevy of various other species of tropical fish, which tend to prefer what could be thought of as tropical temperatures, goldfish are actually considered a cold water species. In fact they can tolerate temperatures close to freezing, although in the aquarium something in the mid 60s to low 70s in preferred (or roughly 18 to 23C). Even though they do just fine at lower temperatures a heater still isn’t a bad idea, however. Temperature swings are never a good thing for any fish. A heater ensures things don’t change too rapidly on particularly cool days.

This doesn’t mean your goldfish have to live alone, though. There are lots of other fish out there who enjoy a cooler temperature. White Cloud Minnows are quite popular coldwater fish, and the common Zebra Danio is quite adaptive and does just fine in cooler water. Just make sure they’re not too small as your goldfish may mistake them for a tasty snack! Some species of loaches and plecos are compatible as well, though care should be taken if you’re keeping a pleco and goldfish with frilly tails as the pleco may harass them.

Upkeep
Goldfish also differ from most common aquarium fish in that they are quite messy. Their digestive system works a little differently from other fish and can be considered somewhat inefficient. Add to this that they are just plain big fish and it’s easy to see why they need a lot of filtration to keep their tanks clean. Generally you’ll want about double the filtration that you would normally want for the tank size. Good circulation and mechanical filtration are of particular importance for keeping the bottom of the tank free from waste. This also means that regular upkeep is all the more important. Even with a good filter the substrate tends to get quite dirty necessitating vacuuming.

Along with their unique digestive system comes a need for unique food. When picking a food for your goldfish make sure to get something specifically sold as goldfish food. Normal tropical foods will likely prove too hard to digest leading to a messy tank and malnourished fish. But, just like other fish, they will get bored with the same thing day after day so don’t forget to change up their diet every now and then. You can even branch out into fresher alternatives. Goldfish are quite fond of peas and may accept other cooked vegetable bits.

So, to recap, or if you’re just looking for a quick guide to goldfishes’ needs:

-Goldfish get big and thus need a big home. Expect them to reach at least 8″ and need at least 30 gallons.
-Goldfish are coldwater fish preferring temperatures in the mid 60s to low 70s.
-Goldfish are messy- include extra filtration and be prepared to clean their tank weekly.
-Make sure to feed your goldfish food formulated specifically for them.
-As a side note: koi are not goldfish. They are related, but get much too big for the average home aquarium.

A goldfish tank offers a unique aesthetic not found in most other aquariums- large brightly colored peaceful fish. They’re an iconic species; instantly recognizable by just about anyone even from across the room. While their needs do differ a bit from most other common aquarium fish, they’re really not all that hard to meet. Fulfill those and you’ll have a happy goldfish for many years to come.

Saltwater Fish Tanks For Beginners

What is the best saltwater fish tank for beginners to the hobby? There is no perfect answer to that question. Most mistakes when starting a marine aquarium are similar to mistakes made in freshwater tanks. Patience, patience, patience. All too often, beginner aquarists aren’t patient and lose a lot of money and fish in the process. When many aquarists in the world of freshwater fish make a mistake and have a loss of fish, it doesn’t hurt quite so bad in the wallet. While a mistake in a saltwater tank, can be very costly. As with any aquarium, saltwater aquariums must go through a cycle period that allows the beneficial bacteria to accumulate to a point that the waste from the fish and possible overfeeding can be eliminated. This cycle period, left to its natural processes, can take any where from 4 to 6 weeks after setup and initial stocking of damsels or cardinals, which can handle the poor water quality during the cycle. If the beginner hobbyist wishes to have a tank with live rock, FOWLR or reef, then the rock can be used instead of damsels or cardinals to cycle the tank.

Now that that has been said, the question still remains. What is the best saltwater fish tank for beginners? The best tank will be one that is well thought out in advance. Do your due diligence and make sure you understand the basics of what is expected of you. It’s more than just setting up an aquarium, putting fish in, and feeding. Without proper regular maintenance, the fish will get stressed and become sick or die. Just like any pet, fish rely on you for everything that will help them to thrive and survive.

Because most parasites and harmful bacteria multiply exponentially, a small tank, especially for a beginner, is a bad choice. In a larger tank, at least 50 gallons but bigger if you can afford it, if you see something wrong on the fish you have a bit more time to correct the problem, either by water change or medication. In a small tank, by the time you notice an issue, it is often too late to save your fish.

Just as in a freshwater tank, the beginner setup in saltwater is usually best as a community aquarium. By choosing non-aggressive fish that get along, you avoid the hassle of fish that chase and intimidate each other for territory, thus causing stress and possible death. It is also much easier to introduce a new fish to the tank if all of the existing fish are mellow. Aggressive tanks have fish with more attitudes and it is not uncommon to watch a new fish be pestered to death or killed outright by the existing fish. Typically, an aggressive tank is setup by the experienced aquarist that knows the personalities of the fish and whether they can get along.

Most beginners do very well with yellowtail damsels, green chromis damsels, pajama cardinals, yellow tangs, dwarf angels such as pygmy angels or flame angel, sleeper gobies, etc. Ask your local fish store or pet shop for information on what fish will get along with what you want to have in your tank.

For the beginner in saltwater fish keeping, it is important to have a proper setup that gives the fish the best chance at thriving in your tank. Filtration, substrate, quality of salt that you choose, lighting if you have live rock, are all important factors in your initial setup. But just as important is the care that is taken to maintain the aquarium. Maintenance at regular intervals is what makes the difference in a successful tank and one that ends up in the backyard or at a garage sale. Be prepared to go slow during the cycle at the beginning and don’t over stock or overfeed and you will do fine.