Horse Care, Alternative Therapies

June 16, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Horses

Horse Care for a healthy equineCaring for horses has come a long way!
World War I poster in the Library of Congress.
Photo Wikimedia Commons, Courtesy chreck, Horst, 1885, Public domain

Alternative Therapies: Good for You, Great for Your Horse!

There is little doubt that alternative therapies are on-trend and what these can do for human health has also opened up a wealth of possibilities and opportunities to provide equine alternative therapies in the form of acupuncture, Rolfing, herbal remedies and homeopathic solutions, amongst an ever-widening range of options.

Here is a look at some of the alternative therapies that you may want to consider for your horse and remember to take proper veterinary advice, especially when you consider that many of these treatments are designed to complement veterinary care rather than replace it entirely.

Acupuncture

The Chinese have been practicing acupuncture on humans and horses for thousands of years and the premise is that by stimulating specific points on the body, you can generate beneficial effects by tapping into the currents of energy that flow through the body pathways that are called meridians.

The conventional Western view of this alternative therapy is that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system and causes the release of body chemicals including endorphins, which help to ease pain, improve circulation and promote the reduction of muscle spasms.

It should always be remembered that if your horse is sick or badly injured then your medical priority is to seek veterinary help first and foremost, but treatment using acupuncture may well produce some noticeable improvements in the recovery process and ease the level of pain being felt.

Look to see if there is a noticeable improvement in the horse’s condition after about four sessions of acupuncture and review your position at this point to see whether you want to continue with this particular alternative therapy or look at other options if you are not noticing any benefits.

Rolfing

If you are not familiar with Rolfing, it can also be referred to as structural integration and is in many ways, a fusion of massage and chiropractic methods which is performed by a certified Rolfer and licensed equine massage therapist.

The process involves manual manipulation of soft tissue with the aim of seeking to rebalance the horse’s structure, working with the tissues that pull on bones and joints, which is where the focus is different from a Chiropractic approach.

Rolfing was a method developed for people about 50 years ago and works on the theory that the body compensates for tension and injuries in a way that pulls the natural physical structure out of line, and using various parts of their hand and even their elbows, the Rolfer aims to free the connective tissue and allow the body to align.

You can actually see physical signs of the horse responding to this treatment as they may chew, yawn, shake their head or jiggle around during the session, which are all positive signs of tension release. Between three and five sessions of Rolfing should be sufficient in order to address most issues and if you are unsure, perhaps ask the practitioner whether you can watch a session before booking treatment for your horse.

Alternative medicine

The key to using alternative medicine in addition to things like Natural Horse Supplements is to consider the health of the animal in its entirety rather than focusing attention on one specific area such as an injured limb.

Alternative medicine is a wide-ranging term that describes holistic practices that rely on medications and the use of syringes and will involve treatments using chiropractic methods, acupuncture, herbalism and homeopathy amongst various different modes of treatment.

A common issue with horses is lameness and this condition is a good example of how alternative medicine can be used to help the animal back to a full recovery in a more natural way. There are many different facets of lameness and it can often have a domino effect in triggering other ailments as a result of the original problem causing pain and discomfort. For example, if a horse is found to have arthritis in the hock, this will cause a change in movement that then becomes muscle soreness in the lower back, which in turn can cause the horse to shift its weight unnaturally which will further compound the injuries that they are suffering from.

Many of the horse owners and practitioners who advocate the use of alternative medicine and view a holistic approach to healing in a positive way, also understand and adopt the principle that conventional medicine or alternative medicine could fix the problem eventually on their own, but when the two forces are combined, this makes for a potentially powerful force that can help your horse quickly and efficiently return to full health.

Contributing author Misty Easley is a highly experienced veterinarian. When not treating her patients, she spends her time researching emerging research and trends in the vet medicine.

Nano Tank Stocking Guide for Reef, Saltwater and Freshwater Aquariums

Find live fish, plants and corals

Fish Selection Guide for Nano Tanks

10+ general rules for stocking the nano aquarium. For the best success, follow these suggestions when you are selecting fish for the nano aquarium, whether you plan on keeping a freshwater, saltwater, or a mini-reef tank.

Considering the nano tank’s small size, the first and most important rule when stocking your tank, is to avoid overpopulation. This rule refers not only to the number of fish you put in your tank but also the other life forms that are present. These include invertebrates like worms, clams, snails; echinoderms such as a starfish, sea urchin, or sea cucumber; crustaceans like crabs, lobsters and shrimp; other bottom feeders and even corals.

Here are some general rules on stocking your nano tank:

  1. Avoid putting in schooling fish since most species will not allow other fish species in the nano aquarium. There are also fish species that should be housed as the only fish in a nano tank. These include dottybacks, angelfishes, and hawkfishes.
  2. In nano reeftanks smaller than 20 gallons, it is not recommended to add even one Clownfish, not even a small one since it can grow big. Clownfish are territorial and will want to own the entire tank and will chase away and/or bully other fish species in the tank.
  3. Choose fish species that are not jumpers. Fish belong inside the tank and not on your floor. If you do select a “jumper”, make sure to put a tight-fitting cover over your tank to prevent your fish from jumping out.
  4. Know what your fish feeds on. You might end up placing a fish in your nano tank that feed on shrimp, snails, and other tank inhabitants. There are also herbivorous fish that thrive well on a bit of microalgae and broccoli, as well as frozen or flake fish food that contain spirulina. Knowing what their feeding habits are can ensure that you are able to meet their nutritional needs.
  5. Don’t mix fish of different behaviors—aggressive versus smaller and shy ones. The smaller fish species will be outcompeted for food resulting in starvation. Other factors that should also be considered include the adult size and temperament of the fish.
  6. Fish species with similar feeding habits may also cause a problem for each other, as they compete for food.
  7. When buying fish at the local fish store, ask the staff to show you that the fish you are interested in is eating. Find out what type of feed is being given so you can continue the same feeding regimen when you bring the fish home. If the fish is not eating, it is best not to buy it.
  8. When buying fish, observe its overall appearance. Don’t buy fish with a sunken belly since this is an indication that the fish is on a starvation diet. Buy only healthy-looking ones.
  9. For nano reef tanks, avoid buying fish that will nibble or pick at corals. Constant picking may cause injury that can easily get infected, or prevent coral from opening up.
  10. When picking out fish, select based on the display area volume of the tank, not the total tank volume. This is attributed to the fact that the display area of nano tanks holds less water than the total tank since some of the tank water is in the filtration area.
  11. Other equally important factors that you should consider when selecting fish for your nano tank include water quality and habitat selection.

About the author: Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a proud Australian company that provides excellent online aquarium supplies for hobbyists to build their own betta fish tanks,
nano tanks, fish ponds, freshwater shrimp tanks and other DIY aquarium tanks.

Nano Tank Setup Tips for a Great Miniature Aquarium

May 30, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums

Nano aquariums and supplies

Tips to start and maintain nano tanks.

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned aquarist, maintaining a nano aquarium is definitely a rewarding undertaking.

A nano aquarium usually refers to a tank that is 10 gallons or less. Most of the guidelines and equipment needed for setting up a larger aquarium also applies to a nano aquarium.

Here are some useful tips to setting up and maintaining a nano tank:

Purchasing a Nano Aquarium

Before making a purchase, decide what you eventually want to achieve with your nano tank. Will it serve as a grow-out tank? Are you aiming for a display tank that will make a good conversation piece in your home or office? Will you be having a plant or shrimp farm? Once you already know what you want, you can now purchase your nano tank.

Aquarium Substrate

Substrate is an important component in a planted aquarium. It is recommended to purchase the best substrate that is available. A good substrate should be rich in minerals like carbon and iron. It must be capable of softening the water and lowering pH.

Choose a substrate that has a finer grain. Since this type of substrate is more expensive than the ordinary ones, you can just add a top layer of fine-grained substrate to the bottom layer before adding water. Using lava rock, pumice, or sintered clay balls in the bottom layer can promote oxygenation and prevent creating an anaerobic environment within the substrate.

Choosing a Theme

To make it easier to keep the ideal water parameters indicated for all the inhabitants of your tank, it is best to focus your aquascaping and stock plants around them, including their shelter and breeding structures.

Avoid Overpopulation

With the nano tank’s small size, maintaining an ideal population in your aquarium will help maintain good water quality. When establishing a new system, it is best to introduce only a few fish at a time over a period of several weeks. Select the smallest fish species that you can find, and a modest group of bottom cleaners.

Nano Tank Filtration

Consider using live plants and special forms of gravel for freshwater nano tanks, and live rock or sand for your nano reef. These can help promote tank health coupled with minimum use of external filtration systems.

Water Quality

Since nano tanks have accelerated cycles in water quality, daily testing and observation are highly recommended. The behavior of the fish inhabitants—hiding, drifting, gasping, or darting—is also a good indication of existing health dangers that lurk inside the tank.

Frequent partial water changes (at least 10-20%) once a week, also promote a healthy tank environment. This is especially necessary if you are pushing the population limit, or keeping fish species with larger bio-loads.

Tank Filter System

Filter media should be changed frequently to prevent algal bloom and ensure the well-being of your fish.

Troubleshooting

With the small enclosed ecosystem in a nano tank, small problems can easily worsen in a short span of time, and may threaten the health of your aquarium inhabitants. Whenever you notice something out of the ordinary, such as nitrite level that tested high or a bio-wheel that has stopped turning, act on it the soonest possible time.

About the author: Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a proud Australian company that provides excellent online aquarium supplies for hobbyists to build their own betta fish tanks,
nano tanks, fish ponds, freshwater shrimp tanks and other DIY aquarium tanks.

Snow Leopards, Elegant Asian Mountain Cats

See more interesting animalsSnow Leopard, Uncia uncia.
Photo Courtesy Jaro at Jo Company of Dublin, Ireland

Tracing the tracks of Snow Leopards in the alpine mountains.

Gorgeous and hushed as snowfall, the Snow Leopard is known all over the globe for its beauty and intangible behavior. The white-gray coat with black spots combines perfectly with the rocky mountains of Central and South Asia.

These wild cats love this kind of natural habitat. It offers them good cover to stay out of sight while hunting. Moreover, they are highly adapted to the harsh and arid climate of the mountains.

Some amazing facts about Snow Leopards:

Snow Leopard, Uncia unciaPhoto Wiki Commons, Courtesy Bernard Landgraf, GNU Free Documentation License
  1. Like most wild cats, this magnificent mountain cat hunts at night. The most common creatures killed by these cats are wild goats, deer, pikas, markhor, game birds, rodents and hares.
  2. The Snow Leopard is scientifically dubbed as Uncia uncia.
  3. They are found at elevations as high as 9800 feet above sea level.
  4. These are the most mystical among wild cats. They have a stunning coat with black rosettes that helps them in disguise.
  5. These cats weigh from 30-55 kg, and the length of the tail measures from 80-135cm.
  6. They are considered excellent jumpers and bear a resemblance to leopards.
  7. Their paws are large and covered with fur, which protects them from getting injuries.
  8. The gestation period of a female is about 90 to 110 days.
  9. They can live up to 18 years, though some have been known to live up to 21 years.

Why Snow Leopards are endangered

This wild cat’s numbers are gradually declining, with its population in the wild estimated at around 6000. According to the International Union for the conservation of Nature and Natural resources they are listed as an endangered species.

There are a number of reasons why they are in danger, but humans are the biggest threat to Snow Leopards. They hunt them for fur, pelt and bones. Many people are found wearing coats and hats made from leopard skin, while on the other hand, the Chinese use their bones in medicines. Not only this, humans also cause immense damage to their habitats and food sources.

When there is no or limited prey left in the wild, they are forced to venture out of their designated habit into human settlements where they start killing and eating the farm animals of villagers, such as goats and sheep. In response the local people kill these straying cats to save their stock.

Cites, another respected organization, puts a lot of effort into discovering creatures that could be in trouble. It protects the endangered species and forbids trade of animal species or their body parts.

Saving them from extinction

The Snow Leopard was first listed as an endangered species in the year 1972 and since then its population has been on the decline. The very old and respected Snow Leopard Trust works exclusively to save the endangered cat and its home. Right now the trust focuses its attempts in countries like Kyrgyzstan, India, Pakistan, China and Mongolia. It raises money through fundraising events, donations and by selling products online, and is maintained by the other organizations.

There are many organizations working together to make important contributions to the conservation of the endangered Snow Leopard. Conservation groups in many countries where these wild cats survive are working with the farmers to help improve the situation and minimize the problem of human-snow leopard conflicts. The herders and farmers have been taught how to protect their livestock areas against these creatures.

Where Snow Leopards Live

One can witness these top predators in the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia and Bhutan. The likelihood of encountering one of these wild cats seems like a fancy dream. Spotting it in its high, overwhelming habitat will be a real reward for anyone.

On a tour to India, don’t miss out on visiting the famous Hemis National Park where snow leopards are found. Some of other renowned national parks are Khunjerab National park, Pakistan; Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal; Katun Nature Reserve, Russia and Sarychat- Ertah State Nature Reserve, Kyrgyzstan.

The existence of this elusive animal is significant as it signifies the health of the surroundings and the preservation of the snow leopard cannot be successful without the help and support of the local people. Make an effort to protect the wild cat, “Uncia uncia“, and its habitat. They need your love!

Contributing author Tanmay Sharma is a wildlife admirer and very passionate about wildlife tourism.

Is Your Betta sick? Here’s What to Do

Siamese Fighting FishSiamese Fighting Fish

Betta Fish Care: Lists of Symptoms, Diseases and Cures.

Betta fish, also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, originated from small ponds and rivers of Thailand and Cambodia. They are primarily carnivorous surface feeders and can live up to four years in captivity.

Poor water quality inside their tank increases their susceptibility to important diseases. Like any other species of fish, their health is closely linked with the existing conditions in their environment. To keep your Betta healthy, you should make it a point to check the tank’s conditions frequently, coupled with regular cleaning and intensive care.

The Betta can suffer from various health problems caused by bacteria, fungi, protozoa, viruses, and parasites. Distinct symptoms are often manifested and should give you a clue there is something wrong with your fish which needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Disease Condition Cause Symptoms Prevention and Treatment Remarks
Fuzz Fungus (Saprolegnia sp. and Achlya sp.) White fluffy appearance on the body, and may include small gray tufts on the fin areas
  • Spot treatment with gentian violet, methylene blue, iodine and povidone
  • Aquarium salt
  • Potassium permanganate can be made into a paste and applied over the infected area
  • Aquarium fungicide can be used in serious cases
Usually an opportunistic infection that attacks immune-compromised fish recovering from another disease, subjected to a lot of stress, or has been exposed to poor water conditions for quite a long time.
Fin Rot or Tail Rot Bacteria
  • The Betta’s tail seems to be getting shorter and shorter, or they may seem to be falling apart and dissolving
  • A dark reddish color may be present on the edge of the fins or tail
  • Fins may be clumped
  • Color may be pale
  • Spot treatment of infected areas with Gentian violet, tetracycline or ampicillin
  • To help with osmoregulation, mix 1 tablespoon of aquarium salt for each 5 gallons of water
  • Frequent water changes
  • Predisposing factors include poor water quality or fin injury
  • Frequently followed by a secondary fungal infection
  • Affected fins and tails will grow back however these may not have the same color or may not be as long
Swim Bladder Disease Bacteria
  • Abnormal swimming patterns
  • Loss of balance, may float vertically at the top of the water or lie on the tank bottom
  • Treat with antibiotic in a clean, shallow tank-Fasting for 24-48 hours, and offer a pea the following day
  • Frequent water change
  • Predisposing Factors include physical injury to the swim bladder due to fighting or during transportation from the fish store
  • poor water quality
  • overfeeding
  • rough handling
  • Double Tail Bettas are more prone to the condition due to their shorter bodies
Ick (also known as Ich or White Spot) Parasite (Ichthyopthirius sp.)
  • The affected fish may appear as if it has been sprinkled with salt.
  • Less active
  • Loss of appetite
  • Clamped fins
  • May scratch on any object including rocks, plants, etc.
  • Commercial ick medications that contain formalin or malachite green
  • Increase the temperature of the tank water to 30° C (85° F)
  • Full water change
  • Very contagious
  • The parasite is sensitive to heat, thus raising the tank’s temperature causes the parasites to detach from the fish and swim in the medicated water

There are all sorts of things that can affect the health of your fish. The most common illnesses are usually bacterial or parasitic, sometimes fungal diseases, and on occasion physical ailments. Learn about all types of maladies on our extensive Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments page.

Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a proud Australian company that provides a wide selection of live aquatic plants, aquarium decorations and http://www.justaquatic.com.au/shop/build-your-aquarium/betta-fish-tanks/
betta fish tanks and supplies.

Rhino Bond with the Kaziranga National Park

One-Horned Rhino, Rhinoceros unicornis. See more interesting animalsGreater One-Horned Rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis, Photo Source, Flickr

The instinctive bond of One-Horned Rhinos with Kaziranga National Park.

“The only way to save a rhinoceros is to save the environment in which it lives, because there’s a mutual dependency between it and millions of other species of both animals and plants.” – David Attenborough

Rhinoceros, commonly known as rhino, is a name used for the uneven-toed ungulate animal that belongs to the family of Rhinocerotidae. The largest of the rhino species is the one-horned rhino. A single glimpse of this majestic wild animal is enough to enthrall a nature aficionado. The exotic one-horned rhinos are the pride of India and were once present in the entire northern part of the Indian subcontinent. However, the rhino population in the country has been depleted because of the continuous poaching.

Interesting Facts About One-Horned Rhinoceros

One-horned rhinos are herbivorous animals that have a thick skin on their body. There are a good number of one horned rhinos in India owing to extremely effective conservation efforts taken by the authorities. Greater one-horned rhinos are creatures who love solitude. They are principally grazers, with their diet almost completely consisting of grasses and leaves, fruits, tree branches, shrubs, and aquatic plants.

This animal has a great sense of hearing and a wonderful sense of smell. Hence, they can find their companions with no trouble. Rhinos go around in the search of food when the climate is a bit cooler and they avoid the heat of the afternoon. They submerge themselves in water when the temperature is high in order to avoid direct exposure to severe heat. The greater one-horned rhinos are expert swimmers and can feed underwater as well.

The one-horned rhinos at Kaziranga National Park are poached extensively for their horn as it is believed that their horn is useful in making medicine. They went to the brink of extinction because of these killings. To prevent them from disappearance, the government of India has employed many conservation projects. Several protected areas are taking essential steps to conserve this amazing wildlife species. Most prominent of them is Kaziranga National Park!

Kaziranga and One-Horned Rhinos

The legacy of India lies not just in its imposing monuments but also in its natural wonders. Kaziranga National Park is a protected area in India that has conserved the wonders and beauty of nature. This park is well known for its commendable and huge wildlife assortment and is a well-respected natural center for varied wildlife species in the country. It is situated on the bank of the huge Brahmaputra River in the districts of Nagaon and Golaghat, Assam. This intriguing protected area is also famous for the conservation of great number of one-horned rhinos. In the year 2012, the population of one horned rhinos in Kaziranga was expected to be 2,329. This park was set up in Assam to save the population of one-horned rhinos from harm.

Almost two-thirds of world’s rhino population resides in the immensely widespread areas of Kaziranga National Park. Mary Victoria Leiter Curzon, also known as Lady Curzon, visited this region in the year 1904 and she later pioneered the conservation work in this park. Kaziranga is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been thriving in the conservation of the animal species. This national park has become an essential element of Assam tourism in modern times, since a large number of wildlife buffs swarms it every year. One-horned rhinos enjoy an ultimate and ideal environment in this park, where there are enormous spans of greenery and glinting water bodies. Several wildlife safaris are carried out all through the tourist seasons to facilitate wildlife lovers in watching the one-horned rhinos up close. These safaris or guided tours are conducted with the help of jeeps or elephants.

Several confines have been positioned to guard this national park from being contaminated or causing any sort of annoyance to its exotic flora and fauna. Loads of wildlife aficionados broaden their support in a number of ways for improving conservation practices for the one-horned rhino and generating more employment prospects. As a result of such actions, the population of one-horned rhinos has improved to a substantial degree over the years. The significant factor that creates a center of attention for visitors the most is the vista of one-horned rhinos that can be seen in a large number of areas in this beautiful wildlife sanctuary.

More info about Kaziranga National Park

How to reach:

  • BY ROAD: Kaziranga is located 217 kms east of Guwahati. There is around a 4 hour drive from Guwahati on NH-37, to reach the park. This park is well connected with the cities like Tezpur (80 kms), Jorhat (97 kms) and Dibrugarh (250 kms).
  • BY AIR: The nearest airport from Kaziranga is Guwahati (217 kms).
  • BY RAIL: Nearest Railhead is in Furkating (80 km) from where a tourist can take any mode of transportation to get to Kaziranga.

Best time to visit:

Kaziranga National Park is open for the wildlife admirers and nature lovers from 1st November to 30th April every year. It is rampaged by the floods during monsoon season. Overfilling of vacationers for the duration of December and January encumbers a private experience. Hence, the months of February and March are the best months to pay a visit to Kaziranga National Park.

Kaziranga is an ideal abode for one-horned rhinos. A visit to this arresting park crowns the minds of wildlife lovers with spellbinding sights of this mammoth creature that one can treasure for a lifetime.

Anshul Srivastava is a wildlife enthusiast, who loves to wander around different wildlife destinations of India. At the same time, he has got a command over writing and thus, he pens down and shares his experience with the world.

6 Tips for Picking Your First Aquarium Fish

Learn how to start your aquariumLearn how to start your aquarium!
Freshwater Aquarium Basics

The right aquarium fish can make all the difference. Here’s 6 great tips to help you choose the best beginner fish as you embark on your aquarium keeping adventure!

Choosing your first aquarium fish may seem like a daunting task for a beginner. However, with a little research, you will be able to know what fish will prove to be hardy, undemanding, and well-suited to beginners. Perhaps the pet store may have recommended guppies, neons, or catfish, but many beginners have found it difficult to raise them, considering that they are still learning the ropes of aquarium fish care.

These six important tips will help you pick your first aquarium fish. Taking care of these fish species will certainly be a rewarding undertaking that will fuel your love for the hobby.

1. Choose fish which can easily adapt to new surroundings

A good first species should be one that is hardy, active, confident, and disease resistant. Select fish that appear healthy. Avoid fish that manifest visible signs of disease such as white spots, discolored skin patches, frayed fins, etc. Make sure that the fish can withstand water fluctuation since a new tank often has fluctuations in water quality that can stress your fish.

Aside from water conditions, your new fish should be able to adapt well to the presence of aquarium decorations and to the company of other fish species in the tank. Large or active fish can thrive well alone in a tank with little aquarium decor. However, there are fish species that find being alone distressing. Even with excellent water quality, you may find your pet hiding, not feeding, and may become vulnerable to illness.

2. Avoid fish with known specific feeding habits

Pick a fish species that can be fed a simple flake food for the first 6-8 weeks. Fish with specific feeding habits may result in excess amounts of waste products leading to high ammonia and nitrites in the water. The accumulation of these compounds is hazardous to your fish population.

3. Select fish from the same community

Selecting fish species from the same community will help ensure that you achieve balance in your aquarium. If you choose to get several varieties, make sure that they will get along well. Be sure to select the hardiest species. Fish that belong to the same community will have similar water chemistry and temperature requirements while exhibiting like behavior.

4. Start with peaceful community fish species

Aggressive tropical fish species may need to be fed live feeder-fish and this can certainly add up on your list of responsibilities. It is important to know which aggressive fish species can be matched, or else your peaceful community fish species may end up being eaten by its more aggressive tank mates. Aggressive fish species also need more tank space. Some of the tropical fish species that can thrive well in a community tank include tetras, gouramis, and platys.

5. Don’t buy too many at once

It is important that you stock your aquarium slowly. Being a neophyte, you run the risk of losing large numbers of fish to disease or bad water quality. Putting in many fish at the onset may overload the new tank water and lead to a build up of ammonia. The size and type of your tank and aquarium filter will help determine the amount and frequency of introducing new fish species to your tank. As a rule of thumb, no more than six small fish species should be added every seven days.

6. Buy from reputable breeders and pet shops

Before buying fish from a breeder or pet shop, it is recommended to visit the establishment and observe how they take care of the fish. You can see for yourself if the fish has a healthy appetite or is suffering from any health problems or defects. Never buy fish from aquarium shops that are not particular about maintaining hygiene and sanitation in their tanks. Pet shops that allow dead fish floating inside the tank or fail to quarantine sick fish should never be patronized.

Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a proud Australian company that provides excellent online aquarium supplies for betta fish tanks, goldfish tanks and also aquatic plant care products carrying top of the line brands including API, biOrb and Exo Terra.

Aquarium Fish Get Mean, Meet the Bad Guys

Red-bellied Piranha, Pygocentrus nattereriRed-bellied Piranha. Photo © Animal-World: Courtesy Jonas Hansel

Bad guys come in all shapes and sizes. Sometime even fish that are considered great community members can get mean!

There are several aquarium fish species which are known to exhibit aggressive behavior. One of the important causes of aggressive behavior inside the tank is attributed to their being territorial, thus you may find some fish species that chase away or nip at others as a means of protecting their space inside the tank.

Yet fish aggressiveness is also attributed to competition for food and difference in size. Sometimes fish will fight when a dominant one feels that its status is being threatened by another fish. Aggression can also be a warning sign; sick fish can become aggressive while other fish tend to bully sick fish. In some instances, a recognized peaceful fish can become aggressive, thus it is common to have one mean fish in the bunch.

The most common manifestations of aggression inside the tank include tail beating, fin-nipping, pushing water at the enemy, mouth-locked wresting, chasing, biting, and even killing.

When choosing to keep a community aquarium, you should know which species can live harmoniously together. Most species of aggressive fish are more suitable for a single species aquarium.

Some of the aggressive fish groups include the following:

Tiger Barb – The Tiger Barb is considered a good community fish however it is prone to nipping fins, thus they should not be kept with long-finned fish species such as angelfish. Tiger barbs can become aggressive if there is overcrowding inside the tank.

Large Tetras – Tetras are considered community dwellers however there may be an aggressive one in the group. When adding new fish, be sure to observe the temperament and whether the new addition is compatible with the rest of the inhabitants of the tank.

Cichlids – Many varieties of cichlids are aggressive and are best kept in one-species tank. Many cichlids can grow to very large sizes. These include the Green Terror, Jewel Cichlid, and Red or Tiger Oscar. African Cichlids are known to be highly predatory and extremely territorial. While not all Cichlids are very aggressive, the largest is usually the dominant one, behaving aggressively towards all the other tank inhabitants.

Giant Danio – The Giant Danio’s long and narrow body can crowd out other fish in the tank. It is also very active and likes to school.

Red Belly Piranha – Piranhas are notoriously predatory. They are known to eat live food. In fact, they will bite fingers when aggravated or hungry.

Large Gouramis – Kissing Gouramis are recognized for being mean and energetic. Gouramis are also considered fin nippers.

Large Rainbow Fish – Although Rainbow fish can live well with other species in a community tank, they can grow large and their fast speed makes it easier for them to prey on smaller inhabitants of the tank.

Wolf Fish – The freshwater wolf fish is a well-known aggressive predator. Also called “Piranha eater”, they have voracious appetites for feeder fish. Any fish that looks like prey can be disemboweled by the wolf fish. Although they don’t really mess with other fish, they are territorial and will nip other inhabitants of the tank.

Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a proud Australian company that provides excellent online aquarium supplies for betta fish tanks, goldfish tanks and also aquatic plant care products carrying top of the line brands including API, biOrb and Exo Terra.

20 Interesting Facts About Elephants

See more interesting animalsIndian elephant bull in Bandipur National Park, India. Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Yathin S Krishnappa

“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great things” …John Donne

Elephants! When these giant creatures roam in the wilds, they create a sensation that entrances the one who observes this marvelous scene. These mighty mammals are the largest land animals. They are members of the Elephantidae family of the Proboscidae order. There are basically two recognized species of elephants: The Asian Elephants and African Elephants.

These giant creatures have various unique features that make them distinctive from other wild beings.

A few of the unique features of elephants are:

  1. Usually female elephants live in herds. The veteran female elephant leads this herd, however, and the male elephants are generally solitary and shift from herd to herd. Each member in the female herd helps each other to find food and care for their young ones. These creatures do not lie down to sleep as their straight legs provide them an adequate amount of support. They can converse with their herd from far away by using sounds that are extremely low, too low for the human ear to recognize.
  2. Elephants can converse with each other by creating sounds known as "tummy rumbles."
  3. Elephants in general walk about 4 mph.
  4. Elephants know how to swim for lengthy distances.
  5. Elephants spend almost sixteen hours a day eating food.
  6. Elephants have the biggest brains of all the members of animal kingdom.
  7. A Fully-grown Indian Elephant can reach a height of more than 8 feet.
  8. Adult Indian elephants are about 10,000 plus pounds in weight.
  9. In general, one tusk of an elephant is shorter than the other. This happens because the elephant uses one of its tusks more often for things. It’s the same as for people, being either right or left-handers, the Elephants will also rely upon the tusk they use more frequently.
  10. Elephants are able to give birth every three to four years. The period of gestation is nearly two years.
  11. The Babies weigh around 250 pounds when they are born.
  12. The elephant herd makes a circle around a mother elephant when a baby elephant is born. They generate this circle to guard her from harm. A number of the elephants nudge the baby elephant to support as it’s standing up after birth.
  13. It is fairly amazing to know that the elephants can catch one anothers trumpeting sounds up to 8 kilometers (5 miles) away.
  14. Elephants can become suntanned; therefore they shield themselves with sand.
  15. Elephants get frightened of bees.
  16. This mammoth creature is the lone mammal, other than the Homo sapiens, to have a chin.
  17. 17. It is quite clear by their structure that elephants eat a lot. Moreover, they also drink nearly 50 gallons of water every day. These giants can go for around four days without water. It is remarkably fascinating to know that they can dig wells with the help of their tusks if needed.
  18. The trunk of an elephant can certainly be a lethal weapon. The trunk can pick up something weighing around 450 pounds, perhaps more. Remarkably, the trunk has nearly 150,000 muscles.
  19. These giants have no natural predators. However, lions at times will prey on weak or young elephants in the wild. The foremost threat to elephants is from human beings through poaching and alterations to their haunt.
  20. The potential for an elephant to travel a long distance makes them extremely handy in terms of jungle safari. They can walk for miles on their physically powerful feet. For this reason, elephants are extensively used for jungle safaris in India, especially in the national parks. An Elephant safari in a national park is a great way to experience the spellbinding traits of this giant creature.

These giant creatures have many startling, and often concealed, facts about them. A single sight of this mammoth creature is enough to spellbind all!

Contributing author Jessica Frei is a wildlife admirer and nature lover. She loves to explore the wildlife of different countries. She has visited many popular national parks

The 5 Best Dogs When Raising Children

March 13, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Golden Retrievers and other best dog breeds

So, you’re looking for a dog, a new best friend. But you’re not looking for just any dog, because you also have kids in your home.

In seeking a dog for a family pet, you’re in luck. Generally speaking, most breeds will get along well with older children as long as they’ve had the right training. However, there are some breeds, which not only tolerate children, but also thrive in a family atmosphere.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Toy Dog BreedCavalier King Charles Spaniel – Toy Dog Breed. Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Pleple2000

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Height: 12″-13″ tall at shoulder
Lifespan: 9-15 years

  • Pros: If you want a dog that will cuddle with you while watching a movie or stay close on a cold night, keep reading. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels love to cuddle. Their small size allows them to fit perfectly in your lap, which so happens to be one of their favorite places to be.

    The Cavalier is also one of the best dogs because it’s extremely friendly, and its tail is almost constantly in motion. It will sulk if spoken to harshly or left alone for long periods of time. It just wants to please you and love you 24/7. The Cavalier also loves to play, especially chasing games.

  • Cons: Because of its long, silky coat, the Cavalier needs daily brushing.

    Its natural energy also means that it needs to be kept on a leash while being walked, or else it will chase anything that moves.

    Also, the Cavalier cannot be left at home while you go to work. It does best when someone is home for at least most of the day to keep it company.

Bulldog

English Bulldog, a Non-sporting Dog BreedEnglish Bulldog, a Non-sporting Dog Breed. Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy brykmantra

Height: 12-14″ tall at shoulder
Lifespan: 8-12 years

  • Pros: Bulldogs, commonly referred to as the English Bulldogs, are a non-sporting dog breed. They are one of the most patient, sturdy breeds out there. If you’re worried that your toddler will annoy the dog, have no fear. Bulldogs are more likely to get up and walk away than bite once they’ve had enough.

    In fact, Bulldogs are so patient that they can be downright lazy. After a little bit of play, they are content to curl up next to you on the couch and snooze.

  • Cons: Due to their flat features and compact bodies, Bulldogs are prone to respiratory and joint problems. Climates that are excessively hot, humid, or cold are not compatible with these dogs. And you can bet that you will be able to hear your dog snoring while he sleeps.

    Bulldogs are voracious eaters, and can easily become overweight without preventative action. Food intake must be carefully monitored, which means keeping the kibble and groceries out of reach. Regular walks also help this dog stay in shape.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever, a Sporting Dog BreedGolden Retriever, a Sporting Dog Breed. Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Scott Beckner

Height: 21″-24″ tall at shoulder
Lifespan: lives 10-12 years

  • Pros: Golden Retrievers are loyal, patient dogs with playful puppy attitudes that can last for years past physical maturity. They love kids and all the chaos that comes with them.

    If you enjoy going for a daily run, a Golden Retriever would make a great running partner. They need 40-60 minutes of hard daily exercise to keep them sane. Since these intelligent dogs were originally bred as a working breed, they thrive when they have a “job” like retrieving the paper or waking up family members.

  • Cons: Because of their playful nature and large size, Golden Retrievers can get a little boisterous and knock down small children. Their need to be where the action is can also become a little annoying when you find yourself trying not to trip over your friendly pooch.

    Golden Retrievers need to be brushed daily. While this keeps their skin and coat in good condition, it is also essential for keeping hair off your couches and clothes. These dogs shed profusely, so daily grooming and a good vacuum are a must.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever, a Sporting Dog BreedLabrador Retriever, a Sporting Dog Breed. Photo Wiki Commons

Height: 21″-24″ tall at shoulder
Lifespan: 10-12 years

  • Pros: Labradors love children. They love all the chaos associated with them, and being very social dogs, the more people around, the better!

    Aside from being great family dogs, Labradors can function as hunting dogs or therapy dogs. They are also very intelligent and loyal to the point of absolute devotion.

    Like Golden Retrievers, Labradors are also one of the best dogs, making excellent companions for active families. They need 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily to stay sane, otherwise they may release their excess energy with barking, chewing, and other vices, which makes for excellent motivation if you’re looking to get into shape.

  • Cons: Although Labradors tend to be very active, their love of food can lead to obesity if preventive measures are not taken. Regular meals, few treats, and no table scraps can help keep the dog fit. It is also important to keep the garbage and other food sources out of reach, as Labradors have a reputation for doing anything for a snack.

    Labradors also shed profusely, requiring regular grooming and a quality vacuum to keep yourself and your home clean.

Collie

Rough Collie, a Herding Dog BreedRough Collie, a Herding Dog Breed. Photo Public Domain Pictures, Courtesy Karen Arnold

Height: 22″-26″ tall at shoulder
Lifespan: 10-14 years

  • Pros: If you’ve never had a dog before, the dependable Collie is a good bet. Gentle, predictable, and extremely intelligent, these dogs are easily trained.

    Collies are very compatible with other pets, and have been known to be very gentle around even small animals like rabbits and chicks. This same gentle nature translates into the way they treat children.

    However, since Collies were originally bred as herding dogs, they may try to “herd” your children. This is a habit that can be entertaining at best and annoying at worst. Don’t worry, Collies are only protective, not aggressive.

    As a working breed, Collies need daily exercise. This makes them ideal companions for an individual who likes to stay fit.

  • Cons: Rough Collies are known for their long, often fluffy, fur. This fur needs regular brushing in order to avoid becoming matted, dirty, and unattractive. Smooth Collies have shorter fur, basically a smooth coat, so less maintenance is needed.

    While Collies are usually a fairly quiet breed, their high energy levels make them prone to barking if they get bored. Regular exercise and plenty of time spent with the family helps curb this tendency.

Articles referenced: “10 Dogs for Kids”, “The Ten Best Family Dog Breeds”

Victoria Ramos studied business and now blogs about developments in the field, as well as her other interests. She loves dogs, socializing, hosting parties, and writing.

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