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.

Animal Love, adorable but contagious!

May 8, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Featured Pets

Goldfish TypesPhoto courtesy David Brough

Watch out! Love in the animal world is going around… and it’s catching!

Mild symptoms of contagion might just be a smile on your face, but in worst case scenarios you may experience uncontrollable laughing, or even guffawing. And smiles, too, are contagious to other people!

Being an animal lover, however, is perhaps one of the best epidemics imaginable!

Animals and pets are good for your mind, good for your body, and good for your spirit. Studies have shown that keeping pets relieves depression, improves marriages, and kids with pets tend to function better. Caring for a pet also helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and improves heart function!

Cuddling releases serotonin and oxytocin, which can help improve our moods and fight depression. Smiling makes us look more attractive, feel younger, and adds years to our lives. It also releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin, which all together relieve stress and make us feel good.

The animal world is such an important part of human life! A synergy between people and animals has existed for thousands of years and has been crucial to the development of the human species. Throughout history the interconnection with animal life has helped humans learn and adapt, and become the most dominant life force on planet Earth.

So with all this animal love going around, make way for happiness! Embrace the animal world, get the contagion, and have an awesome life!

Kissing a pig!

Little boy kissing a pig at the Redneck Petting Zoo.

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” – Winston Churchill

Kissing Fischer’s Lovebirds

“Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.” – Alfred A. Montapert

Fischer's LovebirdsPhoto Wiki Commons, Courtesy Peter Bekesi

Kissing a camel!

Man kissing a camel near a Sphinx in Cairo.

Everybody knows how to love a dog… but how about a camel? "It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb, because it is dumb to his dull perceptions." – Mark Twain

Man kissing a camel near a Sphinx in CairoPhoto Wiki Commons, Courtesy David Dennis

Kissing Prairie dogs

"All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it." – Samuel Butler

Kissing Prairie dogsPhoto Wiki Commons, Courtesy Brocken Inaglory

Kissing Horses.

“When animals express their feelings they pour out like water from a spout. Animals’ emotions are raw, unfiltered, and uncontrolled. Their joy is the purest and most contagious of joys and their grief the deepest and most devastating. Their passions bring us to our knees in delight and sorrow.” – Marc Bekoff

Horse BreedsPhoto Wiki Commons, Courtesy Daniel Johnson

Loving a best friend!

Chesney is pushing around his new found kitten friend Joey, who was orphaned at just two-weeks old!

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Photo Via dailymail.co.uk

Loving those less fortunate!

German shepherd named Leo is protecting and guiding a young cavalier King Charles spaniel that is almost completely blind.

"The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too." – Samuel Butler

German shepherd named Leo is protecting and guiding a young cavalier King Charles spaniel in England that is almost completely blind. Photo Via pawnation.com

 

Bug up close and personal!

These two are going at it "eye-to-eye"! Some insects can taste with their feet or legs too!

"Only your true friends will tell you when your face is dirty."

Up close and personal, going at it "eye-to-eye"!Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy OakleyOriginals

Kissing a crocodile!

A Malaysian man kissing a crocodile in a zoo.

"Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened." – Anatole France

Kissing a crocodilePhoto Wiki Commons, Courtesy Osm agha

Love = hanging out with friends!

Koko is a 35 year-old lowland gorilla who enjoys a heart-warming relationship with kittens.

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” – George Orwell, Animal Farm

Kissing and snuggling a cat!

"…loving and caring for my beautiful daughter, Devi."

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog (or cat!) could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” – Dean Koontz

Types of pet catsPhoto Wiki Commons, Courtesy Flower.dicicco

Kissing a Seal!

"Angels walk among us, sometimes they are unseen and have wings, and sometimes they pant and lick our faces." Jonathan Brooks

“You can judge a man’s true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.”
– Paul McCartney

Kissing a Seal. Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Topory

A Bubble Eye Goldfish sums it all up…

"Animals never worry about Heaven or Hell, neither do I, maybe that’s why we get along." – Charles Bukowski

Bubble Eye GoldfishPhoto Wiki Commons, Courtesy Angie Torres

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

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.

Keeping Wrasses Together Successfully

All sorts of wrassesSolar Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus solorensis and Filamented Flasher Wrasse Paracheinus filamentosus

Can wrasses get along?

Here’s some ways to keep several Fairy Wrasses, several Flasher Wrasses, or a mixture of both!

Perusing the Internet, I have noticed more and more aquarists questioning, not only the compatibility of fairy wrasses Cirrhilabrus species, but also the compatibility of flasher wrasses Paracheilinus species.

Questions can vary from, “Can you put several fairy wrasses in the same tank?” or “Can you put several flasher wrasses in the same tank?” to “Would adding females make for more aggression?” and “Can you put flasher and fairy wrasses together?”

Some aquarists, such as myself, have had 4 or 5 fairy wrasses together, usually without a problem in a 150-gallon tank, yet others have had disastrous results. Why the variation? Is it tank size or length that matters? There are so many variables, thus aquarists need to include all other fish tank mates (not the inverts or corals), tank volume, and tank length when stating success or failure. This will help to narrow down what is, or what is not successful.

So many variables demand specifics. My hopes are to present some techniques that I have used successfully, along with future experiments involving compatibility. One thing I did notice is when you have a more peaceful community; certain fish behave better, yet when adding rambunctious fish, the bad attitude or skittishness seems to spread to the other fish. That is a topic for another blog! Now on to my first wrasse experiment and my past experiences. Note that all these fish are male.

Compatible WrassesFilamented Flasher Wrasse and Solar Fairy Wrasse getting along after 10 days

Filamented Flasher Wrasse and Solar Fairy Wrasse

I first want to discuss my current tank set up and how the Filamented Flasher Wrasse Paracheilinus filamentosus and the Solar Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus solorensis are getting along. My tank is 75 gallons, 4′ long and contains a Flame Angelfish, male and female Picasso and Platinum Percula Clownfish, Royal Gramma, Lawnmower Blenny, established 5″ Yellowhead (neon) Wrasse Halichoeres garnoti, and a cleaner wrasse. It is embarrassing to admit I have a cleaner wrasse, yet after 6 weeks he is still alive and eating mysis, however, longevity is never promising with these wrasses.

When I got home late on a Wednesday, the lights in the tank were out, and knowing that the 3″ young Flame Angelfish would NOT be happy with any new tank mates I would be adding, I took precautions. While the little darling was sleeping, I rearranged the rockwork while I acclimated the two wrasses.

Once I finished the tank remodel, the wrasses were ready to enter their new home and I’m still waiting on the security deposit they BOTH promised me! Typical of these two genuses of wrasses, they need crevices or caves to spin their cocoon in, as they sleep. I had two separate caves for them, and holding each wrasse securely in my hand, one by one, I gently introduced them into their own cave. It was awesome how quickly each accepted their hide out and both quickly spun a cocoon and stayed in for the night!

The next morning, the Flame Angelfish was quite curious and took a few runs at the wrasses, but nothing serious. I must point out that BOTH the Filamented Flasher Wrasse and the Solar Fairy Wrasse were the same size, around 2.5″ from nose to the base of the tailfin. This means the flasher wrasse is probably in its “late teens” since the Filamented Flashers only reach 3.9.” The Solar Fairy wrasse is probably in its early teens and will reach a maximum of about 5″ at adulthood.

The first few days, the Solar Fairy charged the Filamented Flasher very aggressively, but only in short bursts, with no apparent contact or bite marks. This continued for the first week, however, it was not a constant occurrence. By the middle of the second week, they hardly pay attention to each other. The Filamented Flasher Wrasse prefers to hang out near the two clownfish in the front right corner of the tank, and the Solar Fairy Wrasse is all over the place, typical of these wrasses. The Flame Angelfish seems to keep the Solar Fairy occupied and periodically darts at him, leaving no damage. The only time the two wrasses interact is when the flasher wrasse gets spook and darts in the direction of the Solar Fairy, who then reacts as any normal creature would if someone is running at them!

I have observed that the Flame Angelfish occupies the Solar Fairy Wrasse’s attention by periodically chasing him, so that may be a variable as to why both wrasses are working out. Has anyone else had these two wrasses WITHOUT a dwarf angelfish with success?

What’s Next?

My next attempt will be to add a Lubbocki’s Fairy Wrasse or another flasher wrasse like a McCosker’s Flasher or Carpenter Flasher Wrasse. In a previous tank I had a Rosey Scale Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis who was a constant companion to my Solar Fairy Wrasse, so I may even try adding 3 next time. When this happens, I will add all 3 at the same time, to divide the attention of the established Filamented Flasher and Solar Fairy. I will again rearrange the rockwork to break up territories that the Flame Angelfish will have and to distract the little red monster! I was told I should try female flasher wrasses, yet I feel this may compromise the harmony of the males.

Filamented Flasher WrasseFilamented Flasher Wrassse hanging with his pals

Two Previous Fairy Wrasse Communities

As I mentioned earlier, I had a 150-gallon tank with 2 different sets of fairy wrasses Cirrhilabrus species at different times. The first set of fairy wrasses were added in the following order: Solar Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus Solorensis, Lubbocki Fairy Wrasse C. Lubbocki, Scott’s Fairy Wrasse C. Scottorum, Velvet Fairy Wrasse C. luteovittatus, and then a Whipfin Fairy Wrasse C. filamentous.

The Solar Fairy and the Lubbocki were settled in for several months before I added the Scott’s Fairy Wrasse and the Velvet Fairy Wrasse. When I added the Scott’s Fairy and the Velvet Fairy, the Solar Fairy then hid under a rock, but fortunately he was visible so I could keep an eye on him. His color was blotchy and he was obviously very intimidated by his two new tank mates. The Solar Fairy would grab food as it floated by, so I was not worried about him eating, although at the two-week mark, I needed to make a decision to remove him. At the 10-day mark he started to come out and the other wrasses passively checked him out, but there was no aggression. I think he realized they were not a threat and all this hiding was just silly! Who knows the mind of a fairy wrasse! Maybe it’s along the lines of, “Food, food, and food, OH! there’s a copepod! NOM NOM NOM… food, food, food… OH! There’s my human! Okay, look cute and fluttery and fairyish!” Did I feed them this morning?

The mistake I made was adding the Whipfin Fairy Wrasse last. This fish was so freaked out; it enlisted in a carpet surfing competition! After watching carefully, I saw that the Velvet Fairy Wrasse was the pursuer and antagonizer, who also chased my Lubbocki up and out of the tank to join the Whipfin’s team! I did get rid of the Velvet Fairy Wrasse after the Lubbocki jumped ship, however there were no bite marks or wounds, so I assumed he just ran out of water depth trying to get away from the Yellow-Streaked demon Velvet Fairy!

Interestingly, I did have a Harlequin Tuskfish who never paid the other wrasses any attention. The Solar Fairy Wrasse had no problem with the smaller and more peaceful fairy wrasses yet could hold its own with the larger fairy wrasses. I am guessing he was not much of a threat, but his size kept them at bay. I call the Solar Fairy Wrasse the “crossover” wrasse and this is why I chose it to put it with a flasher wrasse in the above experiment.

The second set of wrasses came after a tank crash, which occurred while I was away for 2 weeks. At any rate, I had decided to add several wrasses at one time. They consisted of a small Red Scaled Wrasse Cirrhilabrus rubisquamis, a larger Temminck’s Fairy Wrasse C. temminckii and a Lubbocki Fairy Wrasse. I already had another Solar Fairy Wrasse in the tank of course! The only issue was that the Lubbocki Fairy Wrasse did jump out of the tank, so I decided not to add any more of the smaller, more peaceful wrasses with the more aggressive larger wrasses.

The Temmincki Fairy Wrasse was spectacular and in charge. This fish would swim at the upper level of the tank, with characteristics of a flasher wrasse, with an electric appearance to the lines on his body! As he swam near the surface, I always worried about him jumping out, yet he never did. I didn’t have any aggressive fish in the tank, so that may have been the reason for my success!

What to Try

In conclusion, try adding smaller and more peaceful wrasses first and if possible add them all at the same time. If you cannot do that, add two or three at a time and rearrange the rockwork to diffuse aggression. Several choices would be; to stay only with the smaller and more peaceful wrasses, go with the larger and more aggressive fairy wrasses (possibly not involving flasher wrasses in this group, unless it is an aggressive species if such a fish exists), or have a dense population of wrasses to diffuse aggression between the larger and smaller wrasses, while providing many places to hide and plenty of food to eat.

Lessening aggression with food, distraction, and hiding places is an almost universal solution when it comes to many fish. For those who are having problems with their wrasses, try the elliptical or stair master! Or for your fish, try rearranging the rockwork. Yes I know that is hard, but your body and your fish will thank you for it! Catching a wrasse can prove difficult in some cases, so give that a shot first! Interestingly, this method of rock work rearrangement works great when introducing a new Tang/Surgeonfish to a tank with establish Tangs/Surgeonfish. If that does not work, remove your largest or smallest wrasse, since either the tank size or length, or aggression may be the issue. PLEASE let us know of any success or observations, and include other fish, tank size, and tank length in your comment.

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

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.

Striped Rafael Catfish, nicest “thorny” catfish pokes in on Animal-World

April 2, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Freshwater fish

Spotted Rafael Catfish, Agamyxis pectinifrons

The Striped Rafael Catfish will be quite prickly if touched, but it is a darn nice fellow with a very pleasant attitude!

Despite its thorny protection, the Striped Rafael Catfish is a peaceful, friendly companion towards its tank mates. That is at least towards the one that are big enough that they don’t look like food! This fellow is moderately sized and very pretty too. It’s about 6″ in length with bold black and white striping running horizontally along its body.

Curiously, in the wild the youngsters can act as cleaner fish. They will clean ferocious piscivores (fish that eat other fish!) like the Wolf Fish Hoplias cf. malabaricus. These deadly predators allow them to remove parasites and dead scales from their skin. Cleaner fish are usually striped, so it may be that their patterning triggers recognition, allowing the juveniles to get to away with snacking on the predator, rather than it snacking on them!

If you’re a beginner looking for your first catfish, this pleasant fellow could be just the ticket. It’s hardy and will eat just about anything that lands on the bottom of your tank. It may rest most of the day due to its nocturnal nature, but then at night it will emerge to become a great natural vacuum as it snacks on tasty morsels on the substrate. Yet despite its nocturnal tendencies, this fish also has a very curious nature. Once its comfortable in its home, it may very well come out of hiding during the day just to scout around!

Provide it with a comfortable home and it can live 20 years or more. A decor of driftwood and rocks that offer caves where it can rest, and a bit of plant cover to help subdue the light, and you will have a happy catfish for a very long time.

Learn more about the nicest “thorny” catfish. Pictures and information for the Striped Rafael Catfish Platydoras armatulus, also known as the Humbug Catfish, along with habitat and aquarium care!

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

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. Sometimes 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

Spotted Rafael Catfish, talking spotted spectacle on Animal-World

March 27, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Freshwater fish

Spotted Rafael Catfish, Agamyxis pectinifrons

Not only is the Spotted Rafael a looker, but this catfish can talk!

The Spotted Rafael Catfish is a hardy fellow with a striking pattern of white spots on black. This spotted white-on-black design makes it very attractive and desirable. The spotting is quite variable with big spots, little spots, and even a few spots fusing into bars, and no two catfish will look exactly the same!

Looks and durability are some great things about this fish, but now let’s examine some of its other awesome attributes.

First off, this looker can also talk, and is often referred to as the Spotted Talking Catfish. It rubs its pectoral fins (the ones sticking out to the sides) by rotating them in the shoulder sockets which then produces “Clicks”, “groans”, or “squeaks!” Aquarist usually hear it vocalizing when they are removing it from its tank.

Which leads to its next cool attribute, it is a Thorny Catfish with built in armor. Its protective coverings start with heavy armor over its face and neck. Then it has rigid spines in its top and side fins that it holds out in an erect fashion to ward off any threats, or when disturbed. It also has a series of tiny spines along the sides,running the length of its body. No fish in its right mind is going to mess with this armored “thorny” dude!

Another great attribute is its daily routine of helping to keep the aquarium clean. It is nocturnal, so during the day it likes to rest, but at night it becomes a great natural aquarium vacuum. It will spend its evening and nighttime hours busily scavenging tasty treats from the bottom of the tank.

But the last and BEST attribute… it is a peaceful fish. It likes companions and enjoys hanging out with similar types of catfish. It’s moderate in size, at about 6 Inches, but it gets along great with most other moderately sized or larger fish, even with more aggressive fellows. I guess if you have all that built in armor, you just don’t have to be a jerk!

An aquarium with lots of natural decor and a variety of community fish will create a very attractive showpiece. Give it ample space with at least 35 gallons of water (though more is better), and you will be rewarded with a wonderful companion fish for up to about 10 years!

Learn more about this cool spotted “talking” catfish. Pictures and information for the Spotted Rafael CatfishAgamyxis pectinifrons, along with habitat and aquarium care!

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

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