Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Chinese Algae Eater!

The Green-cheeked Conure

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Chinese Algae Eater!

The Chinese Algae Eater may not be at the top of the “perfect” pet list, but they serve a very important function in many people’s home aquariums! Most people at some point in time run into an algae problem with their tanks. And their first thought is usually to go buy a sucker fish! The pet store I worked at had Chinese Algae Eaters being ordered in and departing with customers on a weekly basis. They are one of the most popular fish because of their useful function and therefore one of the most wanted!

The Chinese Algae Eater Gyrinocheilus aymonieri usually does an outstanding job at clearing algae from an aquarium while it is young. This is the primary reason people purchase them. However as they age, they can no longer sustain themselves on algae and plants alone and begin needing additional food sources to keep them healthy. This includes more meat sources. You will want to acquire algae eaters when they are young and small (less than 2 inches) to maximize the benefit you reap from their algae eating capabilities. Do realize that they can reach over 5 inches in length when full grown so make sure to take that into account when purchasing one. They should not be kept in an aquarium smaller than 30 gallons. These algae eaters can come in a variety of colors and have a stripe along their length from the nose to the tail. One of the most popular varieties is the Golden Chinese Algae Eater (check the video for a beautiful example of one). Belonging to the Carp (Cyprinidae) family, their mouth is in the shape of a disk which is used to suck and stick to surfaces. This is perfect for sticking to the sides of an aquarium.

Chinese Algae Eaters are found naturally in lakes and rivers in Southeast Asia and southern China. They usually stay in more shallow areas where there is plenty of sun and rocks where biofilm grows. They were first described in 1883 by Tirant. In it’s native countries, these fish are actually part of people’s diets! In 1956 people started exporting these fish to Germany specifically for use in the aquarium trade. They are on the IUCN Red List with their state being marked as Least Concern. This is because the populations have diminished in some areas (especially Thailand), but they have not declined enough in general to warrant mass concern.

As I mentioned earlier, you won’t want to keep one of these algae eaters in anything less than a 30 gallon tank to begin with. Because they grow rather large, you will want to eventually provide them with at least a 55 gallon aquarium. In general, they are easy to care for. The main concerns are to keep their environments clean with well-oxygenated water. Plan on performing regular water changes once or twice a month which replace a quarter to half of the aquariums water. Another fact to keep in mind is that as Chinese Algae Eaters grow into adults, they often become territorial. To keep them from picking on other fish, try to make sure there are at least 5 tank-mates. These tank-mates should ideally be fast swimmers who can hold their own.

Feeding these fish while they are young is generally quite simple. They are herbivorous as youngsters and can thrive off of the plant growth around the tank. You should still provide them with supplemented flake food and algae wafers. As they grow older they become omnivorous and should be fed a variety of flake, frozen, and live foods. These can include blood worms and brine shrimp.

If you are having problems keeping your algae down, or if you just think this happens to be an interesting fish, you should have no problem finding one at a pet store or online. They are very popular and readily available. Read more about the Chinese Algae Eater on Animal-World; including more details on breeding them and common ailments!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

What is a Feral Cat?

June 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Pet Cats

What is a Feral Cat?

You may have heard the term before but weren’t sure what it meant. Here are some facts about feral cats and how to recognize these felines.

Domestic cats have been around for centuries. They have been revered by rulers who worshiped their kind. To modern humans, they are treasured companions. But not all cats fit into this category.

Feral Cats

To put it plainly, a feral cat is one that has never been socialized into society with humans. In fact, they avoid humans if they can. Not having the social skills to deal with people, they act wild and untamed when people try to get close to them.

These cats, as you might have guessed, live on the street as strays. In fact, many strays have turned into feral cats as a result of many unfortunate circumstances. Here are a few:

1. Family moves away and leaves the animal behind

2. Unwanted new kittens

3. Cats that have run away

4. Cats that have gotten lost and never found their way back home

It’s to be understood that kittens, after a certain age, will shy away from humans if they are not properly introduced to people. Pet owners will not be able to socialize them to a home no matter how hard they try.

This can become even more of a lost cause when the cat joins in with an established cat group called a “colony.” It is a community of feral and stray cats that live together. Often they are drawn together in an area that has been good for acquiring food, water, and other needs.

The Problem with Feral Cats

Because these cats can’t be tamed, they may cause something of a problem for people. They are often found outside of businesses and on the streets. Coming in contact with people can lead to a less than happy confrontation.

The existence of feral cats is less than ideal. They spend their lives dodging cars, avoiding fights with other cats, trying to survive illness, and giving birth to more unwanted kittens. This has fueled a lot of talk about what to do with them. There are definite benefits to feral cat programs.

The biggest issue is the birth of more animals that will also not be socialized to living with people. A cat can give birth to as many as three litters a year. Living on the street for several years can result in ten or more litters in a short life span. Most feral cats don’t live long because of the rough conditions.

They may look sweet and innocent when you first meet them but animal instincts can kick in. Bites from cats are particularly dangerous to humans. Infections that are not taken care of can lead to a spread of disease.

How can you tell a feral cat from a lost one? Well, a feral cat will be quite skittish around areas where people dwell. A lost cat, on the other hand, will seek out human companionship as they try to get back to their home.

Feral cats are not sociable and interacting with them can be difficult or dangerous.

A New Arrival on Animal-World: The Vermiculated Angelfish

June 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Saltwater Fish

Vermiculated AngelfishVermiculated Angelfish
“I am a Beauty!”

The Vermiculated Angelfish looks strikingly similar to the Butteflyfish!

The Vermiculated Angelfish Chaetodontoplus mesoleucus is a beautiful fish! Its appearance is quite similar to the Butterflyfish. In fact at first glance many people mistake it for a Butterflyfish! It is a smaller fish, reaching about 7 inches (18 cm) in length. It is amazing to look at with extremely blue lips and yellow face. They also have a vertical line on their eyes. Their bodies are two colors; white behind the head which fades into black. This pattern has tiny sprinkles of yellow all through it. The bi-colored body starts out in triangular white patch behind the head fading into a larger black area, accented with a yellow speckled patterning throughout. It kind of appears like there are wavy lines along the body, which is where the “vermiculated” part of their name comes from. Other names this fish is commonly called are the Singapore Angelfish, the Vermiculate Angelfish, and the Red Sea Butterflyfish.

If you are looking for an angelfish of this genus, you won’t have far to look! Being the most common fish available in this genus, you can find it or order it at most saltwater fish stores. There are actually 2 different species that were both thought to be the same species, just with different color tails. The Vermiculated Angelfish was thought to be the yellowtail variation and the other was the graytail variation. In 2009 the graytail variation officially became its own species called Chaetodontoplus poliourus (It has no common name, yet). The Vermiculated Angelfish has also been noted to look like the Indian Yellowtail Angelfish Apolemichthys xanthurus. The main difference between the two is that the Yellowtail Angelfish is smaller (only reaches about 6 inches) and has larger scales on its lateral line.

The Vermiculated Angelfish is a moderately difficult fish to care for. They do make great fish if they adapt to their new environment. Unfortunately, only about 50% of these fish survive in captivity. If they are too stressed out, they will often quit eating and starve themselves to death. A good plan is to keep the aquarium in a quiet room with few visitors to help reduce their stress levels… Read More

More on The Vermiculated Angelfish!

Traveling with your Pet

June 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Traveling with your Pet?

When it’s time to hit the road, what do you do with your pet? Some board at kennels but others like to have their favorite four-legged companion by their side. Here are some tips to help you have the best trip possible when traveling with your pet.

Pets make great companions. They love to be with the people who care for them and care about them. But, what happens when it’s time for a trip? Most pets are not used to going from one place to another unless they are on the end of a leash or being carried in your arms.

Unfortunately, many pet owners find out that their pet doesn’t have their “traveling legs” the hard way. Cleaning up vomit is not a pleasant thing to do. And, there is often a lot of red tape when it comes to traveling by airline with pets.

Tips for Making the Trip

Here are a few tips to help you prepare your pet for that trip you have coming up. Take them to heart because they may help you avoid a lot of trouble.

1. Take a test run – Before the big day, help your pet become acquainted with traveling. Even if you are going by train, a car will simulate the same type of movement they will experience. Take a few short trips in the car. Situate your pet the way they will be positioned – in a pet carrier in the back seat, on a pet mattress or even in a crate. Practice traveling with your pet in the crate or carrier at home first before putting it in the car.

2. Talk to your vet – If you really want your pet to learn to travel, maybe your veterinarian can help. Nausea medication or sedatives can help your pet travel better without harming them.

3. Develop a feeding schedule
– Feed your pet several hours before travel so they won’t have a heavy meal on their stomach. Also, this may help them feel sleepy and rest during the majority of the travel.

4. Make plans in advance – If pets need vaccinations or paperwork filled out for overseas trips or domestic plane rides, take care of it so there are no surprises on departure day. Carry a copy of vaccination records in case they are needed.

5. Travel with care – Bring along a first aid kit and care package for your pet. Have everything you might need if your pet gets injured. Include any medication they might be taking at the time. Consider a microchip for their collar in case your pet gets lost.

Many of the tips we could give are common sense but often we don’t think about them. Do all you can to make your pet comfortable on a fun family trip! Traveling with your pet can be a great experience!

Pet Supplements for Optimum Health

June 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Horses, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Guest Post by Drew Kobb

We love our pets; let us all just admit it. A pet is not merely some animal. Pets are part of our family. We love them, we play with them, and they help us when we are sad or distressed. They keep us company, and we take care of them. We want what is best for our dogs and cats, but sometimes we do not always know what all we can do to make their lives better.

Did you know that one of the best things we can do for our furry friends is to give them pet supplements? Just like humans, sometimes animals’ diets just aren’t giving them all that they need. Different breeds are susceptible to different injuries and sicknesses, and they may need just a little extra help to keep them healthy.

There are many different types of supplements you can get for your pet. There are specific types for each stage of life: puppy/kitten, adult, as well as senior, with a specific recipe of nutrients for growth and development and maintaining overall health. For your brand-new pets, supplements can help with proper joint and cartilage formation and good mind development. Taking supplements will also strengthen their immune system, and give them a good foundation of health. Then, just like humans, pets need a little extra care when they get older. Supplements can keep old joints lubricated to help them move easier, boost the immune system, and give them the extra vitamins and minerals they need.

If your pet has a specific need, there are supplements for that too. You can get pet supplements for bone and joint health, heart and lung health, digestive health, and cognitive health. There are also some made specifically for those who are quite athletic to help with stamina, more intense muscle and joint support, and a recovery aid to help avoid injury. Some help to reduce the symptoms of allergies and skin conditions, as well as boost the immune system. There are supplements to help calm your pet, whether they are prone to anxiety or are just having a time of stress. There are also weight management supplements to keep your pet at a healthy, happy weight so that they can get the most out of life.

Many pet supplements are very easily mixed with your pet’s regular food, which makes it simple to give your pet the nutrition they need. You can start giving your pet supplements as soon as they are able to eat solid food as well as start supplementing your pets food at any time during their life. It is never too late to start. Supplements are not only used as a preventative measure either; they can help existing problems as well.

There are not only pet supplements for us and our dogs and cats, but also for our beautiful horses. Our horses need supplements to give them the health, strength, stamina, and performance agility that they deserve. The supplements for horses have the same options as cat and dog supplements, with a few extras, such as hoof support. While the supplements are very similar, they are created with the genetic makeup of each species in mind so that it has a greater effect than if it were a “one size fits all” supplement.

We care about ourselves and want to have the best life we can, so we take vitamin, mineral, and other types of supplements. Why not do the same for our four legged family members? We all need them for a little health boost to keep us living long happy lives. Cat and dog supplements and horse supplements can be one of the best things to give our pets.

Drew Kobb loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Green-cheeked Conure!

May 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

The Green-cheeked Conure

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Green-cheeked Conure!

Green-cheeked Conures are one of many conure species. They are essentially small parrots and appeal to many people! These birds are one of the more popular types of conures available. They have extremely cute personalities, which I can personally testify to! On more than one occasion I have seen someone come into the pet store and have their attention immediately captivated by one of these little guys. And, eventually, they end up taking the bird home!

Some reasons why the Green-cheeked Conure Pyrrhura molinae is more popular include being smaller and quieter than some other species of conures. They actually look almost identical the the Maroon-bellied Conures, except for having a reddish tinge on their upper tail feathers. Overall they have mostly green bodies with blue flight feathers and maroon colored tails. They also have purple on their bellies. As I mentioned above, these conures tend to be more quiet than other conure species, but that doesn’t mean they won’t still make noise! Make sure you can cope with some noise before choosing one of these birds for a pet. And even though they can make some noise, they are not known for great talking abilities.

Green-cheeked Conures originate in Bolivia but are bred and shipped to many other countries where they are kept as pets. In their natural habitats they are extremely social birds and love to hang out with other Green-cheeked Conures. They often sleep in groups and forage for food together. For this reason these birds often do very well bonding to their owners. They enjoy attention and will love being held and spending time with you. If you want more than one bird, they will generally be happy with another companion bird as well.

Caring and maintaining
these conures is practically the same as other birds of similar size and is not too difficult. They love big cages, so if you have the means, provide them with a large cage! Or plan on letting them out of their cage for long periods of time. A minimum size cage should measure 24”x16”x20”. Make sure to provide them with at least 2 perches inside their cage. Toys are a great addition as well. Providing a playpen area outside of the cage with perches and toys is also recommended. You will want to keep the cage away from drafts. Thoroughly cleaning out the cage once a week will keep it sanitary and prevent illness in your bird.

A good small parrot or conure mixture will work perfectly for feeding your Green-cheeked Conure. It has all the needed nutrition. Feel free to supplement regularly as well. Supplements could include many fruits and vegetables, including spinach, lettuce, carrots, apples, and grapes. They also will sometimes like dog food or monkey chow! Just make sure to never offer avocado, as it is poisonous for birds. Also provide a cuttlebone in the cage. This helps keep their beaks healthy and trimmed. Provide a water dish for drinking, and a larger dish in the bottom for them to take baths in. All dishes – food and water – should be cleaned out daily. If you want to let your conure out regularly, it is a very good idea to have his wings trimmed. This will keep him from accidentally escaping through an open door or window.

If you follow the minimum recommended care guidelines, you most likely will have a hardy and disease-resistant bird! Birds which have problems are generally those who are kept in unclean conditions and not fed a balanced diet or given any supplements. But even the best cared for birds will sometimes get sick. Watch out for ruffled feathers, diarrhea, sneezing and discharge from their noses, labored breathing, and behavioral changes. These could all indicate your Green-cheeked Conure is ill and not feeling well. Taking them to a veterinarian is usually the best course of action in these circumstances. Also, if your bird is stressed or not given enough attention, they can resort to feather plucking, biting, and/or screaming. These problems generally just indicate a need to pay more attention to your bird or to change their environment. For example, simply moving the cage to a different, quieter, room can dramatically reduce the stress your bird feels.

Green-cheeked Conures are usually readily available almost everywhere in the United States. If you are wanting to commit to one of these birds you should be able to acquire one from most pet stores or even look up breeders online. These birds are the perfect pet for many people! Check out the Guide to a Happy, Healthy Conure for more information on Conures in general!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Types of Pets: Choosing the Best Pet For You

May 25, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Types of PetsTypes of Pets
“What’s your lifestyle like? There is a type of pet for you no matter what type of life you lead!”

Having a great pet experience depends a lot on finding the perfect pet for your

personality!

Many pet animals make wonderful pets, but different types of pets can suit different personalities. You will want to find a pet that is a perfect companion for your lifestyle. Your age, home environment, and activity level are all considerations when deciding what type of pet could have your needs and wants met.

Read through this guide if you are looking for a pet to share in your life but aren’t sure yet what type of pet would best suit you. Once you identify a good pet for you, you will find that owning that pet can be rewarding and fun! So many people have reported how they ended up with their particular pets and how they truly changed their lives in a positive way. Most people feel their pets are a integral part of their family and couldn’t imagine their lives with out them. Pets usually enhance their owners lives, and deciding to own one will most likely be a very good choice!

Now on to how to choose between all the different types of pets available to you! Not all animals will suit who you are, so there are questions you should ask before venturing forth with a particular pet. Different animals have different temperaments and specific needs, in much the same way that people differ. Examples are some animals do very well living in small apartments, whereas others need huge areas to roam around in. Some animals may need a very specific diet, while others could thrive off a simple commercially prepared meal… Read More

More on The Blue-girdled Angelfish!

Should You Sleep With Your Pets?

May 23, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Should you sleep with your pets?

Many things that pets do are thought to be cute behaviors. But, are they all as beneficial or innocent as they seem? One such activity is to sleep with your pets. Should you or shouldn’t you engage in a snooze?

For pets, sleep is just as important as it is for people. This is a time to recharge and refuel from the day’s activities. There are many pet beds and sleeping carriers available for use. But, sometimes, Fido or Rags may want to snuggle up with you for their afternoon or evening nap. Is this wise?

The Threat

It seems harmless to sleep with your pets, especially if they are small. But, that’s not necessarily true. And, many pets, especially dogs that sleep with their owners, are medium to large size animals. Owners with more than one pet may allow the others to follow suit after the first has been allowed to rest in the family bed.

Have you ever heard of zoonotic diseases? These are conditions that can be transmitted from animal to human and cause major problems. Your pet could be carrying one of those diseases.

Here are a few reasons why it is not healthy to allow your four-legged companion to share the sheets.

1. Dangerous to immune-compromised people and children – Pets can pick up parasites from out of doors and bring them into your home and into the respiratory tract of those living on the house. For people who are sick or children with undeveloped immune systems, the parasites can make them very ill. Death is not common but it can lead to serious health consequences for all involved.

2. Can cause blood borne illnesses
– It seems like a case of concern when your pet licks your wounds but bacteria in their saliva can enter your bloodstream. Untreated, it could lead to kidney or renal failure.

3. Scratches can cause damage
– Have you ever rolled around in your sleep wildly? Pets can do it too. They may scratch or bite innocently during the night. Those scratches can become infected if not treated. For pets that have infections from fleas and worms and such, it can lead to further illness in their human owner.

Not to alarm you, but zoonotic diseases are real and pet owners may want to take precaution. Here are some tips to help you keep yourself and your pet safe.

1. Keep pets in their beds – Train pets to sleep in their designated areas. If it gets cold or hot, move them to a better climate but not your bed.

2. Be proactive – Keep up with pet vaccinations and follow veterinarian suggestions to keep pets free from parasites. Have cuts and wounds on your pet treated right away. If your pet licks any open wounds on you, wash them right away.

3. Keep pets groomed and clean – After a day on the beach or in the field, make sure your pet is checked for any noticeable parasites and remove them.

Protect yourself by keeping sleeping quarters separate for pets and people!

Pet Loss

May 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Pet Loss

Pet Loss: When to Buy a New Pet

Pets are not just animals to most people, but a member of the family. The loss of a pet can be devastating. If you are thinking of buying a new puppy or kitten for a friend or family member, who has suffered a loss, keep reading this first.

More than a pet

It is a fact that pets can add years to your life. They have been shown to lower stress levels, blood pressure and risk of disease. Pets have improved the constitution of residents of nursing homes with regular visits.

Dogs and cats, among other animals, become our best friends and constant companions. For the animal’s part, they enjoy a family that loves them and provides for their needs. It can come as a great shock when that pet passes on. Not just children are saddened by the death. Adults, who may have had their pet since they were kids, mourn the loss.

Some think that buying another pet shortly after will help the griever cope with the loss. This is not always the case. We’d like to offer some guidelines to help you know when it is time to bring a new pet into your home.

Guidelines for New Pets


1. Learn to grieve fully
– When you experience a loss, there is no telling how your emotions will play up. There is no time limit on grief. A favorite toy on the floor, a pet bed, or even a certain route that you walk could all bring up painful memories. It is natural to feel such things. Don’t rush yourself with the process. Take as much time as you need.

2. Consider the household – Are the other members of the family ready for a new addition to the home? What about your pets? If you have more than one pet in the home, it may not be easy to assimilate another one into the group. They are suffering a loss as well. Take into account the length of time it will take for dogs and/or cats to adjust if a new pet is introduced.

3. Say goodbye – Saying what you want to your deceased pet has a big impact on how you will get on without them. Have a burial service; have a cremation service where you spread their ashes in a treasured place. Both give each family member a chance to say last words.

4. Know when it’s time – Over time, the pain will grow less even though you will never forget your beloved pet. When it doesn’t hurt so much to look at their things or remember them fondly, you are getting closer to the day when you can choose another companion.

Losing a family pet can be hard. But, buying a new pet right away is not usually the answer. Before you add another pet, be sure that you are ready.

A New Fish on Animal-World: The Blue-girdled Angelfish

May 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Saltwater Fish

Blue-girdled AngelfishBlue-girdled Angelfish
“I have a striking and unique coloring, which is different than other angelfish in my genus!”

This Blue-girdled Angelfish is probably the shyest of angelfish, but one of the most

beautiful!

The Blue-girdled Angelfish Pomacanthus navarchus is a stunning specimen. The most unique saltwater angelfish species belong to the Pomacanthus genus. Another name for this species is the Majestic Angelfish, and it is just as exotic as the rest of the species in this genus! When full-grown, these angelfish have quite the color pattern! Their faces and bodies are bright orange and yellow, covered with very deep blues. They have a girdled appearance which includes neon blue outlines, hence where their name came from. They are also called Navarchus Angelfish, a name derived from their scientific description.

When young, the Blue-girdled Angelfish has coloring more common to other species in the Pomacanthus genus. They have black bodies with blue vertical curved stripes. But this is only for a very short time period. When they reach about 2.5 inches they are already beginning to change to their adult colors. In general, these angelfish grow much more slowly than typical and in captivity rarely reach 10 inches. They should still be provided with a fairly large aquarium, however. They will breed with another angelfish, the Blue-faced Angelfish Pomacanthus xanthometopon, in the wild. This cross breeding will result in larger fish which can grow up to almost 15 inches in length.

Many species belong to the Pomacanthidae family, but this particular angelfish appears to be the most timid of them all. The Blue-girdled Angelfish does best if provided with several hiding places (such as caves) which it can get to quickly. This helps it acclimate and become used to its surroundings with minimal stress. They are sometimes so shy they won’t even come out to eat when first added to a new aquarium. Other species do not seem to have this extreme shyness problem, so they are unique in this aspect as well. If you are considering buying one of these fish, you would probably do best to buy a young one, because the younger they are the better able they’ll be to adapt to new surroundings… Read More

More on The Blue-girdled Angelfish!

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