Two Thumbs Up! To Planet Catfish and the PlanetXingu Project
Planet Catfish and founder Julian Dignall truly deserve our praise and recognition for their successful fundraising project, PlanetXingu. Julian conceived PlanetXingu almost a year ago to help research into the Rio Xingu in Brazil.
PlanetXingu has been a great success. Big kudos to these guys in the UK for stepping up to the plate. Hundreds of aquarists and fish lovers became engaged and donated both money and time to the project. They not only reached, but exceeded their $11,000 goal!
Julian will be hosting an exciting event this coming Sunday, Feb 9th, 2014, where you can meet two of the major players on the project, Mark Sabaj Perez and Nathan Lujan. There will be two online sessions , one at 1900 GMT and the other at 1900 EST. Sign in at: http://tinychat.com/planetcatfish
The project evolved due to the plight of the endemic and migratory species of the Xingu River in Brazil. The Brazilian Government is currently constructing the Belo Monte Dam on one of the Amazon’s major tributaries, the Xingu River. It is estimated by Amazon Watch in their article, Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam, Sacrificing the Amazon and its Peoples for Dirty Energy, that this will be the world’s third largest hydroelectric dam.
This project brought to light many concerns over the impacts this will have on communities, rivers, and forests throughout the Xingu basin. Amazon Watch says it is designed to divert 80% of the river’s flow, “devastating an area of over 1,500 square kilometers of Brazilian rainforest”.
Dignall envisioned bringing together a communty of fish lovers and scientist to the aid of Rio Xingu. His inspiration was to help assist both researchers in the field as well as those that keep and breed Xingu basin species in captivity. Thus the launch of the PlanetXingu fundraising project in March 2013. The aim of the project was to raise $11,000 by January 1, 2014 to purchase equipment for studying the river before, during, and after the dam’s construction. You can learn more about PlanetXingu on Planet Catfish’s An Introduction to the project.
We are proud of the efforts of Julian Dignall and Planet Catfish, not only on the PlanetXingu project, but for their years of online information. Their website originated in 1997/98, at about the same time as Animal-World. With well over 2400 catfish varieties, it is a great resource for pictures and taxonomical information on catfish species, and one of our premium references. In fact one of our super team members, Ken Childs, who has over 2 decades of fish experience in the wholesale arena, provided numerous catfish pictures to their database.
Learn about the history and background of catfish on Animal-World, along with aquarium guides for the different kinds of catfish: Catfish Varieties, Fish Guides for All Types of Catfish
Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Housing your pet will never be as fun or rewarding as when you create its perfect home.
Each animal has its particular habitat needs and a vivarium setup is a re-creation of its natural home. There are as many unique virarium arrangements as there are exotic pets.
A vivarium is an enclosure where selected plants and animal species are kept or raised. The concept of vivariums started initially as a medium to study and research selected flora and fauna. Literally, vivarium means “a place of life”.
The ecosystem inside a vivarium is created to simulate, on a smaller scale, the environment conditions, which are favorable to the species. Vivariums can range from small enclosures that can sit on a table to a very large structure that houses bigger animals and are placed outdoors.
Types of Vivariums
There are several types of vivarium depending on the habitat that you wish to simulate and the accompanying flora and fauna that will be used. These include:
- Aquarium: These are water habitats that can house freshwater fish, saltwater fish, and coral reef inhabitants.
- Insectarium: These habitats are for housing insects and arachnids.
- Terrarium: This is generally a dry habitat for housing reptiles
- Paludarium: The paludarium simulates a semi-aquatic habitat such as in rainforests or swamps. Other setups of a paludarium combine a terrarium and an aquarium, sometimes known as a viquarium
- Riparium. A riparium recreates the wet habitats near lakes, rivers, and ponds. The setup is suitable for marginal plants that thrive best in the water-saturated soil along the water’s edge.
- Penguinarium: A unique habitat for housing penguins
Materials for a vivarium
Vivariums are commonly made of clear plastic or glass containers. Wood or metal can also be used as long as there’s a side, which is transparent. There are also vivariums made from plywood with built-in sliding glass doors.
The material that you will use depends on what flora and fauna you plan to put in, the desired size, height and weight, cost, desired quality, as well as the ability of the materials to simulate the natural environment and provide protection against extreme environment conditions.
Coated plywood can retain heat better compared to glass or plastic vivariums. These types of enclosures can also withstand high humidity. When making a vivarium, it is recommended to place a high-drainage substrate on top of a layer of stones to help retain humidity without the substrate surface being saturated.
The type of substrate will depend on several factors including what is favorable for the plants and/or animals, the benefits, and the aesthetic value. The most common substrates used include soil, wood chips, pebbles, peat, sand, coconut coir, and wood mulch. There are also vivariums that use tissue paper and newspaper.
These are the recommended methods to effectively regulate humidity inside the vivarium:
- Regular pulverization of water
- Enhanced water evaporation by placing a basin inside
- Use of humidifiers and automated pulverization systems
The lighting system is always designed to meet the requirements of the animal and plant species. Various types of bulbs are needed to simulate specific natural environments. There are also certain flora and fauna that require a good source of ultraviolet rays for vitamin D synthesis and assimilation of calcium. Specialized bulbs are available which can emit a more natural sunlight effect.
You may also need to put in a day/night regulator to mimic the change between light and dark periods. The regulator is set depending on the natural habitat of the species including the season that you desire to achieve.
Heat inside a vivarium can be provided in several ways:
- Heat rocks
- Infrared lamps
- Heating lamps
- Hot plates
- Heat mats
- Heating cords
- Equipment that can generate hot air inside the vivarium
The heat inside the enclosure is controlled by a thermostat. Thermo-control systems are often employed to regulate not only heat but also light cycles and humidity.
Aside from promoting proper air circulation, ventilation can also prevent the growth and development of pathogenic molds and bacteria. This is particularly true in vivariums that maintain a warm and humid environment.
Swarm of carnivorous piranha attacked hundreds of bathers!
Christmas was a very warm day along the Parana River near Rosario, Argentina. Hundreds of city dwellers were trying to escape the 100-degree weather in the cooler waters of a popular beach about 300 kilometers north of Buenos Aires. But then, they began to notice bite marks on their hands and feet.
A swarm of carnivorous fish attacked hundreds of bathers, sending around 70 people to local clinics and emergency rooms for treatment.
The local Director of lifeguards, Federico Cornier, told reporters from BBC and other broadcasters in the area “it’s normal for there to be an isolated bite or injury, but the magnitude in this case was great… This is an exceptional event.”
Cornier said that the fish responsible for the attacks were “palometas”, a type of piranha with large sharp teeth. Dozens of people had their extremities attacked. Paramedic Alberto Manino, speaking with the Associated Press, said that some children he had treated had lost entire digits!
The term ‘palometa’ is a common name used for several types of fish. This includes the Piranha, but it is also used for a Caribbean gamefish Trachinotus goodie and a Western Atlantic fish, the Maracaibo Leatherjacket Oligoplites palometa.
The Piranhas belong to a sub-family called the Serrasalminae, or the ‘serrated salmon family’ consisting of around 60 species. The unmistakable trademark features of the Piranha are their triangular, razor sharp teeth. As described in Piranha: Story of the Piranha Fish from Predator to Prey, these teeth enable them to ‘slice off pieces of meat, fins or scales, literally taking apart their prey piece by piece.’
The palometa that attacked these bathers is most likely the Red Piranha Pygocentrus nattereri, also called the Red-bellied Piranha. This is a very widespread species, occurring in several river basins of South American. Although it typically grows between about 3 to 9 1/2 inches (8-24 cm) in length, one specimen was reported at a whooping 19 1/2 inches (50 cm).
Keeping the Red Piranha in the aquarium is truly a fascination. In the wild the Red Piranha lives in large schools. This type of school is not usually possible in an aquarium, but with the proper environment these fish will show some traits of their wild behavior. In nature the largest fish is the ‘alpha’ animal and in the aquarium it is the most aggressive and bold. The alpha fish will dominate the best spaces in the tank and will basically own the feeding ritual. All other members are subordinate and will take on the traits of servants. Any unwilling ‘servants’ will be quickly and aggressively put in their place by the alpha fish!
Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and animal species write-ups.
“Pet’s Point of View” Animal World Perspective of SuperZoo 2013!
From a Pet’s Point of View, SuperZoo is great! For humans it is very cool too, and necessary to keep the industry humming along. But animals just have a simpler perspective, and its one that Dr. Jungle and I found simply enchanting.
Business and pleasure go hand in hand, but the best reasons to attend pet shows are all the awesome animals! Now don’t get me wrong. I like to see cool new animal habitats, futuristic aquariums, great new toys, nutritious foods and yummy treats as well. But without the animals, what’s the point?
Now at the show, just like us humans, animals too like cool habitats and they especially like food. But Dr. Jungle and I found that they spent most of their time simply hanging out watching the other pets, and of course the human animals too.
Types of Pet Shows
SuperZoo is a production of the World Pet Association (WPA). Being an industry trade show it is not open to the general public. It consists primarily of displays by manufacturers and distributors to exhibit their pet products. Retailers then peruse the displays to become familiar with the latest offerings and select items to sell in their pet stores. Some other types of shows are for pet groomers or pet breeders. These will also has displays, but as their names suggest, they cater to particular pet industry professionals.
Some of the best types of pet shows are those that are open to everyone. The “America’s Family Pet Expo”, also a production of WPA, is one of the largest and is held annually in Orange County California. This type of show that has displays too. But it differs in that its exhibitions are by retailers offering both pets and pet products to the general public.
Types of Pets at SuperZoo
All types of animals were represented at the SuperZoo show. Usual pets included aquatic animals ranging from the hardy saltwater clownfish and damsels to freshwater tetras, barbs, bettas, all sorts of fancy goldfish, and even corals. Birds, small animals, and reptile categories were well represented too. Unique pets popped up all over too, including fascinating hybrids and mutations of regular pets as well as new and unusual species.
One of the most interesting were the exciting and popular newcomers… the “glofish”. These genetically enhanced freshwater fish are mostly barbs, tetras, and danios that sport a fluorescent glow in bright greens, reds, yellows, blues, and purples. Picasso patterned clownfish and really cool king/milk/corn snake crosses were some of the most striking looking, while some of the most unusual were the skinny (hairless) rats. Unique pets ranged from puffer fish that are a completely freshwater species (Mbu Puffer Tetraodon mbu) to some first time US imported animals like large spotted plecostomus (Hypostomus regain), and multiple varieties of brilliant tarantulas.
Dog Grooming and Competition
With all those good looking animals hanging out there’s bound to be competition, and it is tough. All types of pets adore attention but here the dogs rule! Getting spruced up with the groomers is a big pastime, sometimes taking up to two hours or more! We saw dogs decked out in all their natural glory, and many dogs decked out with “creative” colors and cuts.
This was a great show! At such an exhibition I think a pet’s perspective is the opportunity to stand out. What they want to know is “how do I steal the show”! Even thought there are only a few first place winners, I must say, the results were well worth it! Many of these awesome animals will soon be available to people and you can find the pet that’s your “first place” winner! Check with your local pet stores or find one of these dedicated, incredible breeders.
Types 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
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
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Oscar!
When I hear the word ‘Oscar’ in regards to fish, I immediately think back to when I was 7 or 8 and my regular trips to the local pet store with my dad. I loved going to the pet store with him to look at and pick out our newest fish to bring home. I was especially fascinated by the huge black and red Oscars. I continued asking if we could get an Oscar and eventually my dad gave in and let us get one! We had several large spare aquariums at home and we set one up to put our new Oscar in!
Oscars Astronotus ocellatus belong to the cichlid family Cichlidae and are very popular in the aquarium world! They have been in high demand for years and have seemingly intelligent personalities. They are known for becoming feisty and interactive when you come up to say hi to them or feed them. These fish do become quite large, reaching 12 inches in length once full grown. They are easily bred in captivity, which makes a large variation of color patterns available. The Red Oscar is the most popular for its color patterns because it is red with black spots that are not as muddy colored as wild caught Oscars.
Other Oscar types are the Tiger Oscar and the Speckled Red Oscar. The Tiger Oscar looks more like the wild ones but with more red. The Speckled Red Oscar has black fins and has been developed more recently. There are even variations of these types including the Albino Tiger Oscar and the Albino Red Oscar, as well as lutino varieties. Long finned oscars have also been developed which gives them an interesting look. If you are an Oscar lover there are quite a few types to choose from!
Oscar history: The Oscar was first “discovered” or given a name and described in 1831 by Agassiz. They originate in South America, being found in the Amazon River Basin, the Rio Paraguay, the Rio Negro, and the Parana. They usually stick to the slower moving waters and feed on smaller fish and other small creatures. South Americans value Oscars as a food item too. Oscars have been artificially introduced into China, Florida, and Australia. They are bred in captivity in the United States and elsewhere specifically to be kept as aquarium fish.
The care and feeding of Oscars is straight forward but needs to be taken seriously to keep them healthy. They will eat almost any type of frozen, flake, or live foods because they are carnivores. Feeding them chunks of earthworms, beef heart, good quality pellets, and live guppies and/or goldfish will help them grow and stay healthy.
If you purchase juvenile Oscars it is best to start them out in a large aquarium from the beginning to accommodate their growing needs. A 100 gallon tank is ideal for an adult. Frequent water changes and good filtration is a must when keeping Oscars because of how much they consume and dirty their water. Oscars love to play around with their environment and will constantly attempt to move around and dig out any decorations! Rocks are good decorations that are hard for them to move or ruin. Plastic plants are best if you want plants in the aquarium. Try to bury them deep or cover them with rocks so they are harder to uproot.
Oscars are not community fish and because they are carnivorous, they will eventually eat any other types of fish as they grow larger. You can usually keep more than one Oscar together as long as they are of similar size and if they have grown up together. If you want to breed them it is especially helpful to start out with several Oscars and let them pair themselves (because it is difficult to determine their sexes).
The main disease you need to be on the look out for is Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE). This usually looks like a hole is developing on their head and is thought to be caused by poor nutrition and/or poor maintenance of the aquarium environment. Providing proper care should prevent your Oscars from developing this disease.
Read more about Oscars in general and in more detail on Animal-World’s Oscar page!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.