Monday, July 22, 2013

What are Ideal Cichlid Tank Mates?

Finding cichlid tank mates can be a challenge. As most cichlid owners know, these intelligent freshwater aquarium fishes are highly territorial. They hold and defend their territories with all their might. They also go through a complex ritual of courtship, egg rearing, and giving birth to offspring. That’s not all, they also like to rearrange their living environment according to their liking. Though it seems like they are hard to get along with, they’re still very popular. More and more aquarium hobbyists are fascinated with the cichlid’s behaviorally advanced nature. 
Although they are territorial, cichlid can get along with certain fish species like moors and scats. These fish species are known to co-exist peacefully with cichlids as long as they have been used to brackish water. Speaking of brackish, you can also choose from a wide range of brackish water catfish like Network Synos (Synodontis eupterus) and Raphael Talking catfish (Agamyxis pectinifrons), which you can keep with your cichlids with no difficulty. 

There’s also no need to worry about cichlids living with silver tip/Columbian sharks (Arius seemani). But they best get along with the African cichlids when they’re still young. When they mature, these shark species need salt water. 

Other ideal tank mates for cichlids include plecos, gouramis and mollies. They especially get along well with the rift lake cichlids. These fishes mentioned can tolerate water conditions with a pH level of 7.5. 

Take note that when cichlids don’t get along, they fight. Subordinate fish would tend to swim away from the ferocious territorial ones. But that’s in the wild. In the smaller world of aquariums, this can be difficult. What you can do is to provide shelter where the subordinate fish can hide. Driftwood, bog wood, plastic or live plants, and decorative rocks can be a great help. 

Apart from finding the right cichlid tank mates, you need to consider more things like the size of the aquarium. A 10-gallon aquarium should be fine for non-territorial fish species. But for housing a modest number of cichlids, it’s best to go for a 40- to 50-gallon aquarium. You should also keep in mind that cichlid fishes need clean, warm and well-oxygenated water. The ideal temperature should be 78 to 84 degrees. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Building a Squirrel House: Follow these Important Steps

Building a squirrel house is fun and easy. Contrary to what most people think, you don’t need to have expert handy skills to get one done. Even if it’s your first time to build something, you can accomplish this feat with little or no difficulty at all. Just make sure you follow all the steps mentioned below.

The first step is to gather all the things you need like nails, leaves, old tire, hammer and ladder. Next, look for the south side of a tree. The point of doing this is to ensure that the squirrel house will be kept in the shade during most of the day, and not too cold at night. There’s also less wind entering from this side. Now, remember that a tree should be big enough to hold a squirrel house. You don’t want your squirrel shelter to be all cramped up. 

After that, hold an old tire up to the tree. It should be about 15 feet from the ground. The wonderful thing about building a squirrel house out of a tire is its simplicity. There’s no need to go through elaborate steps. Not only that, since squirrels are fond climbers, the high location of its shelter will keep them safe from predators. 

Nail down the tire into the tree. The number of nails that you’ll need to hold it down would depend on the size of the tire. Obviously, the bigger the tire is, the more nails you’ll need. Place the nails on top inside lip and bottom inside lip of the tire. Make sure that the tire is secured in place. 

Once you’ve made sure of that, the next thing to do is to place bedding material inside the squirrel house. This can be anything from dried leaves to corn stalks to grass hays and so on. This step is optional since squirrels can do this on their own.

Clean the squirrel house regularly to prevent odor and contamination. Once in a while, remove all the bedding material and hose down with water for thorough cleaning. Replace with new bedding material. 

That’s it. Building a squirrel house made of tire isn’t so hard, right? Have fun!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to Build a Snake Cage

It’s not often that you’ll hear people asking how to build a snake cage. Then again, not too many people own snakes for a pet, right? Unlike other people who squirm at the mere mention of the word “snake”, you on the other hand can’t be happier that you have one as your pet. Here are the steps on how to make a snake cage.

First, gather all the materials that you need: a large glass aquarium, sand, aspen bedding, sunning rock, heat lamp, ultraviolet light, thermometer, flat rock, hollow rock, and mesh or screened-folding lid. 

Next, look for an aquarium that’s big enough for your snake to move around. Measure the length of your snake. His aquarium should be longer than that. Keep in mind the adult size of your snake. It may be small now but it will definitely grow longer and bigger after a while. It’s good to invest on a large aquarium than buy another one when that time comes. 

Place bedding on the bottom part of the aquarium. This can be play sand or aspen bedding. Choose one that’s similar to his natural habitat in the wild. The bedding should be at least an inch deep from the aquarium bottom. 

Install a mesh or screen lid for the aquarium. The ideal one to buy comes with hinges that lets you open only one side of the tank without having to uncover the entire aquarium. You don’t want your pet sneaking out while you’re feeding him or cleaning his home. 

Put a flat-surfaced rock on one part of the aquarium, directly under the heat lamp. This is where your snake will go for sunning. Place another rock, this time a hollow one on another part to serve as a hiding area. For snakes that are fond of climbing, install a branch or limb inside the tank. 

Finally, ensure that the snake cage has sufficient ventilation. Adding screen mesh to the sides can be a great help. Now, you know how to build a snake cage, the next step is taking care of your beloved pet. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

5 Effective Ways to Control and Prevent Dog Ticks

Dog ticks are not only annoying, they’re also dangerous carriers of a wide variety of diseases, posing threat not only to your dog but also to you and your family. It’s imperative to do something about it right away. 

Here are 5 effective ways to get rid of dog ticks. 

Over-the-counter topical medication 
Using a spot-on treatment is usually the fastest way to control dog ticks. You may purchase an over-the-counter topical medication from a pet store, online pharmacy, or from your vet. These medications can control ticks for up to one month. Though most are effective, it’s still a must to find out which brand is the best. Carefully read the label too before using. Don’t use anything without first consulting your vet.
Oral medication
Some vets give tick-infested dogs with pills that can kill not only adult ticks but also immature ones to put an end to the tick’s life cycle. The great thing about oral medication is that you don’t have to worry about kids coming into contact with dogs after administration, unlike with the topical medication.
Bathe your dog with a shampoo that comes with a medicated ingredient that kills ticks in an instant. It’s the less expensive choice, which is ideal if you’re a little tight on the budget. It can be labor-intensive though especially during peak season of ticks, as you’d need to repeat the process about every two weeks. The effect doesn’t last as long as the two previous options.

Tick Dips
A tick dip refers to a concentrated chemical that’s diluted with water and then applied on the dog’s coat. The chemical is not to be rinsed off afterwards. Since it can be very strong, it shouldn’t be used for treating young puppies or pregnant or nursing dogs.

Tick Collars 
Tick collars, as the name suggests, are worn around the neck. They’re useful for protecting your dog from ticks but only from the neck up. Be sure to read the label and follow instructions carefully before putting a tick collar on your dog. 

With these practical tips, you can finally say goodbye to annoying little dog ticks that have been pestering your beloved pooch.