African Cichlids

October 11, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Freshwater fish

African CichlidsAfrican Cichlids
"All about African Cichlids, from their evolution to the diverse types of cichlids of today. Learn about their unique habitats and fish care needs to keep them in the aquarium!"

African Cichlids come in a variety of shapes, have unique behavior, and are very active!

African cichlids have some of the most colorful varieties in the freshwater fish kingdom. They also have interesting behaviors and are very ritualistic. Other attributes are that they can be very personable with their owners – greeting them and waiting for food, and are quite active. Because of all of these attributes, they are a favorite fish for many aquarium keepers… Read More

More about the African Cichlids!

Animal World’s Featured Pet of the Week – The Jack Dempsey Cichlid

September 19, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Featured Pets, Freshwater fish

Jack Dempsey

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Jack Dempsey Fish!

Many people are drawn to keeping cichlids in their aquariums – they are fascinating fish, come in many different colors and sizes, and have a variety of personalities! The Jack Dempsey is one of the most popular of cichlids and is often the cichlid which many novice cichlid keepers begin with. Some of their most appealing attributes are their amazing color patterns. They are covered with sparkling blue, green and gold spots over a purple background color (once full-grown), and the males also have bright red areas along the edges of their anal and dorsal fins. It does take over a year for them to develop their full coloration however, so you will have to patient if you obtain them when they are young. A variation on the typical Jack Dempsey is the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey which has been bred specifically for it’s bright color.

Here are some interesting history facts regarding the Jack Dempsey. They were named after a Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 1919 named Jack Dempsey because they were considered very aggressive, just like the boxer! This is even though later cichlids that were introduced were actual much more aggressive then the Jack Dempseys! They originate from Southern Mexico, North and Central South America, Yucatan, Guatemala, and Honduras, mostly in swampy and slow moving waters.

As for keeping these cichlids as pets, they can be challenging yet rewarding. They grow fairly large – up to 8 inches in length and need lots of space. A minimum of 50 gallons is recommended for a full-grown Jack Dempsey, and obviously you will want and need a larger aquarium if you plan to keep more than one fish. They need good filtration, lots of plants and hiding places, and good water movement to thrive. In the wild they will eat insects, smaller fish, worms and crustaceans. Because of this, in captivity they will eat several types of food available at pet stores, including flakes, pellets, and live foods. You will want to make sure to do 20-25% water changes weekly to keep them healthy as well.

Socially, as I mentioned above, these cichlids can be quite aggressive and territorial. Because of this, they generally do not make good community fish. This is especially true when it comes to its own species and other breeds of cichlids. Also, the older they get, the more territorial they get. Because of this, it is best to either keep them by themselves in their own aquariums, or to have a large enough aquarium to keep several in together. This makes them less likely to single out one another and beat up and/or kill their tankmates. You will want to keep several plants and hiding places such as logs in the aquarium as well so that they have places to go by themselves. And of course, if you want to breed them, you will want to make sure you have a male/female pair.

These fish generally fare pretty well if kept well taken care of. The most common disease for these fish, as well as any large cichlids, is Head and Lateral Line Disease (HLLE), also known as “Hole-in-the-Head.” Again, the best way to prevent this is just to maintain the aquarium, with regular water changes and keeping an eye on such things as hardness, pH and temperature.

If you would like to learn more about the Jack Dempsey fish, their history and just general cichlid care, check out theJack Dempsey page!

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

What Type of Fish is Right for Your Lifestyle?

September 12, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Freshwater fish, Saltwater Fish

Choosing fish as a pet for your home may appear to be an easy choice, but choosing what type of fish is right for your lifestyle may need a little more knowledge and investigation.

After deciding that pet fish would make the best choice to suit your lifestyle, you need to begin researching how much time and effort you have to put into this endeavor.

Variety – Varieties of aquariums can fall under the categories of freshwater, marine, reef, and even pond.

– Starting with gallon sizes, you must realize that fish tanks come in a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from the standard size goldfish bowl up to tanks that hold 100 gallons or more. Aquariums vary in shape ranging from oval and tall, to wide. Remember, the larger the tank, the more maintenance of equipment or expense may be involved, and the smaller the tank, the more difficult to keep clean. Once you have decided on the size and shape of your tank, be sure to find the appropriate base or stand for your tank as larger tanks can weigh upwards of 200 pounds.

Type of fish – Once you have decided on what size tank you wish to care for, you need to gain knowledge regarding what type of fish can thrive it that size tank. Some fish require larger spaces if they are a dominating species of fish. Others may be too small for a larger tank, and be preyed upon by larger fish. Compatibility is a factor as some species of fish can be aggressive, nipping at fins of other fish.

Home Environment
– Water temperature, PH balance, hardness, plant species, heating and filtration systems are only a few components you will need to explore as you dive into the proper care of your particular species of fish. Whether or not they eat live plants, other feeder fish or insect larvae as well as vitamins and supplements are factors for which you will need to obtain and be educated.

Style – The style of the fish tank or aquarium depends upon your reasoning for owning one. If you were considering fish as a family pet, then a small to medium size (perhaps 10 gallon) tank would suit your needs. On the other hand, if you are dressing to impress, there are choices from custom made, wall-to-wall, and even floor-to-ceiling aquariums.

Whatever choice you make, be sure it is a choice that you are comfortable in making. Obtaining knowledge as to what is involved regarding cost, upkeep and maintenance, but mostly the care for your fish will assist you in deciding swimmingly on what type of fish is right for your lifestyle.

South American Cichlids

September 7, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Freshwater fish

South American CichlidsSouth American Cichlids
"Keeping South American Cichlids starts with their native habitat. Facts about evolution and habitats of cichlids from the Americas, and fish care for these awesome specimens!

South American Cichlids have a lot of personality and have a variety of colors, sizes

and shapes!

South American Cichlids usually durable fish and are active and attractive. Their colors vary quite a bit, which makes for some beautiful fish in a range of sizes. Many of these fish get to “know” their owners and will interact with them through the glass. This behavior makes them a favorite fish to keep for many people… Read More

More about South American Cichlids!

Class Pet Showcase: Goldfish

August 19, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Freshwater fish

Goldfish as a Class Pet

When it comes to pets for the classroom, a goldfish might seem a bit boring to some. But goldfish actually make wonderful class pets. They are inexpensive, simple to care for, aren’t messy, don’t make distracting noises and will not cause allergic reactions in students.

When most people think of goldfish, they think of a small – to medium-sized golden orange fish. But goldfish actually come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They have been selectively bred in China for hundreds of years, and in the United States since the 1800s. This has resulted in lots of beautiful varieties in practically every color of the rainbow. While most goldfish are small enough to fit in a bowl or small tank, some have been known to grow over a foot long!

Children enjoy watching and feeding goldfish, and they can be quite educational. You can show the students how fish use their gills and mouths to breathe underwater and point out other aspects of fish anatomy. You can let them move their fingers around the glass and watch how the fish reacts. You can also use the class fish to start a discussion about cold-blooded animals and how they are different from warm-blooded animals.

Goldfish do just fine by themselves, but they are docile enough to be kept in pairs and groups if desired. However, if you plan to house them in an aquarium with other species, make sure that the other species are as friendly. Some fish will fight with or even eat other fish, and that’s probably not a lesson you want to teach in your classroom!

Caring for a class goldfish is quite simple. It may be kept in a bowl, but will be healthier and happier in a small tank with a filtration system. Snails may be kept in the tank to help keep it clean. The fish should be fed daily, with care taken not to overfeed. Automatic fish feeders may be used over the weekend. One-third of the water should be changed each week, and water conditioner is recommended.

While they generally make great pets for the classroom, goldfish do come with some disadvantages. One of the most important is that they tend to have a short lifespan. If the class fish dies in the middle of the year, you’ll have to deal with lots of disappointed and grieving students. However, since goldfish are so inexpensive, they can easily be replaced. It can also be tempting for students to place their hands or other objects in the water, which can be bad for the fish. It may be wise to keep the fish out of reach when it is not being used for a lesson.

A goldfish is an unobtrusive pet that provides lots of learning opportunities. As long as you have the time to keep the tank clean, it should make a wonderful addition to your classroom.

Featured Pet of the Week: The Common Goldfish

The Common Goldfish

The Featured Pet of the Week is: The Common Goldfish!

Goldfish are well known fish that are great pets because they are very attractive, have great personalities with their keepers, and are “easy” to keep. This is definitely true, and for this reason the common goldfish, Carassius auratus auratus, is actually a great fish for beginners. Working in a pet store for a number of years, I have had my fair share of caring for goldfish as well as many other fish and animals.

When people would come into the pet store to get goldfish they generally wanted them for one of two purposes, as feeder fish or as pets. Goldfish are often a first pet for children. They are a fun, yet a fairly inexpensive introduction to the world of fish keeping, and pet keeping in general. I would then help them get all set up for their goldfish with an aquarium set-up, food and a care sheet.

Goldfish are quite colorful and can easily be found at almost any pet store. Common goldfish are inexpensive and make a great starter fish. They will eat almost any type of fish food offered to them and get along well with most other community fish. Though they are sometimes put in a goldfish bowl or a smaller aquarium when they are young, they do grow into large fish so will soon need a much larger aquarium. Goldfish can also do well in ponds. This is because they are naturally cold-water fish and don’t need to have strict temperature control like many tropical fish do. Common goldfish will also usually fare well with other pond fish, such as koi.

Goldfish are considered hardy and can survive in many conditions, but they must be provided with a good environment. The Common Goldfish can get quite large, over 12 inches when they are kept in large enough aquariums or ponds and in optimum conditions. Optimal conditions for goldfish are dependent on a lot of oxygen in the water, and good water quality. A habitat that is not optimal can not only stunt their growth, but will also decrease their lifespan. Small goldfish bowls or fish tanks that are too small will not provide optimum conditions and your pets won’t reach their potential full size.

Provide the best environment by keeping pet goldfish in a good-sized aquarium with a heater, proper filtration for good water quality, and other social fish as tank mates. This will keep them healthy for the duration of their lives. Of course, the more fish you plan to keep in your aquarium, the larger you will want it to be.

Goldfish need a lot of oxygen, so you will want to get a tank with a lot of surface area. Surface area helps to increase the amount of oxygen in the tank. Also, goldfish produce a lot of waste (in comparison to other fish), so you will want more water volume per fish to help keep it cleaner. It is recommended to start with at least a 20-gallon tank for your first goldfish, and then to increase it an additional 10 gallons for every additional goldfish. The general rule is that you should provide a minimum of 1 gallon of water for every 1 inch of fish length. But as the goldfish become larger, this rule doesn’t apply as well because larger fish consume more oxygen and produce even more waste.

Goldfish are very social creatures and thrive when living with other fish. Therefore, they do very well with other goldfish and a variety of community fish. They act as scavengers as well, and so if kept in a community tank, there is little need for other scavengers or bottom feeders. One thing to keep watch out for is to make sure they do not have any diseases – such as ich or parasites. Whenever adding new fish to an aquarium, watch for any signs of a problem and treat the aquarium accordingly.

In conclusion, if you would like to get a fish that is easy to care for and hardy, starting with goldfish may be the way to go! To learn more, visit the Common Goldfish page!

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