How To Stock Your Aquarium
by John Elley

It's all very well to hear people talking about the beauties of an aquarium, how to maintain adequate pH, keeping nitrate and phosphate levels adequately balanced, and so on ...there seems to be plenty of technical detail available!
But what about the actual fish? How do you choose which ones you want? How do you know whether they'll be too big for the tank when they grow up, or whether they'll be compatible with your other fish? How do you find out how to stock your tank?

Here is a quick rundown of the things you'll need to bear in mind when choosing fish for your tank, as well as a brief look at a couple of the more common types of tropical fish. Hopefully it'll give you a good idea of where to get started!

Freshwater vs. Saltwater

Obviously, the water type is different, but what does that actually mean in terms of the kind of aquarium you'll end up with?

Specifically, freshwater tanks are generally recommended for beginner aquarists, especially if children are going to be involved in looking after the fish.

This is because freshwater fish are much easier to look after, and are generally more resilient to less-than-perfect water quality and fluctuations in temperature (and, really, all the sorts of mistakes that beginners are prone to make!). In general, freshwater tanks are both cheaper and easier to maintain than saltwater ones.

Saltwater aquariums often have more colorful fish, but maintaining the chemistry of a saltwater tank is a pretty finicky business, and is best undertaken by someone well-versed in the lore of fish-keeping.

What to think about when choosing your fish

Unfortunately, choosing fish for an aquarium isn't as simple as you might think. You can't just go into a pet store and select arbitrary numbers of the fish that you find the most appealing, you need to invest some forethought into your tank to ensure that your fish lead happy, healthy lives.

Some things to think about:

* Fish size. When you buy fish, they're usually babies. Some will stay about the same size, but other will grow much, much larger, so you'll need to bear the size of your tank in mind! As a standard rule of thumb, always buy for the adult size. If there's no guide on the tank or if you're unsure, ask the assistant. This is really important, because fish are sensitive little creatures: if they're subjected to overcrowding (which happens when fish are too large for their surrounds), they can get so stressed out that they die. Really.

* Recommended diet. Not all fish dine equally, some fish eat live food, some eat frozen food, some eat flakes, and some will eat anything (but don't rely on that last one when it's tank-stocking time!) Because different fish eat different things, unless you're prepared to invest time each day in measuring out the accurate quantities of various fish foods, it's best to get fish that eat the same thing. It'll make it easier and less expensive for you to take care of your new pets (and will ensure that the kids can participate, too, if they want to get involved).

* Compatibility. Contrary to popular belief, fish do actually have personalities, and some of them can get pretty aggressive. Many tropical fish have well-deserved reputations as bullies: they can nip the fins of other, more peace-loving fish, and they can get into fights (which are frequently pretty vicious). To eliminate the likelihood of your fish getting into scraps, you should aim to buy fish that have mutually compatible personalities, which means, no territorial fighting fish in with a school of peace-loving roamers!

* Water temperature. Just because the dozen or so species of fish in that wall of tanks in the pet store are all labeled ˜tropical fish", doesn't mean that they're all tropical fish from the same region. Different fish thrive in different temperatures, and because you can only have one temperature at a time in your tank, it's best if you choose fish that are comfortable in the same temperature range.

* Life expectancy. Some fish live for upwards of ten years, which is a pretty serious time commitment! If you're a free spirit who likes to roam about (and, let's face it, tropical fish tanks don't normally go down so well when you're trying to thumb a ride), consider how long you're likely to want to keep this fish tank for, and shop accordingly.

So what types of fish can I buy then?

Shopping for tropical fish is fun! As long as you've got your tank dimensions figured out and know basically how much money you want to spend (and have perhaps printed out the above list, to take with you to the store), grab your wallet and head to the pet shop/fish breeder. One of the best parts about keeping a tropical tank is that the beauty of the fish doesn't depend on the size of your checking account!

Some common breeds that you'll likely encounter:

* Clown Loach. Clown loaches are colorful, lively, and humorous fish with plenty of quirky personality traits (like lying on their side when resting, and making loud clicking noises when they eat!) Clown loaches do best in schools, so if you like them, get at least three or four. These fish grow between 6 and 12 inches, they're pretty sizeable, and prefer to eat meaty food.

* Congo Tetra. These peaceful fish are popular choices for beginners, as theyĆ¢€™re very brightly colored and like to flash around the tank in divertingly attractive schools (again, you'll need to get more than a few of these to keep them happy). These are a medium-sized fish, generally growing to around 5 inches in length, and require a minimum of 30 gallons of water for adequate swimming space. Tetras love clean water, and lots of live plants to dart around and hide behind, but aside from this they're pretty easy-care.

* Elephant Nose. These are really amazing fish to look at, they have a long, protuberant ˜trunks" for a nose (hence the name) which they use to hunt small live food - although they will also eat frozen and flaked food too, if it's all that's available. They grow to be about 8 inches long and need a sandy, gravelly bottom on the tank. These are fairly territorial fish, but will do fine as long as the tank isn't overcrowded.

* Tiger Barb. These fish derive their names from the characteristic black barring ("tiger stripes") on their flanks. They're very striking fish, but they can be quite aggressive toward other species (they're known as fin nippers). Aggression is minimized by keeping them in schools, where they'll be distracted from the other fish in the tank by working out the necessary hierarchy among themselves, it can be pretty diverting to watch! Tiger Barbs grow to about 3 inches and need plenty of space for schooling. They're omnivores, so they eat all types of food: the one feeding rule is to do it regularly, to avoid aggression!

Further Reading

For more information on the technicalities of keeping a tropical fish tank, check out Katy's Tropical Fish, A Complete Guide. As the title promises, it's a complete compendium for the responsible fish-keeper of any experience level, and is packed from start to finish with valuable gems of relevant, detailed, and easy-read information.

About the Author
John Elley maintains a Pet Information Site that shows you how to train and take care of your pets, whether they are dogs, cats, fish, horses or whatever they may be. Visit his Pet site at All About Pets, Here.

How To Keep Your Dog Stress Free During A Move
by Enrico Pallatzo

One of the most stressful things is moving. If you are moving into a new house, you know how stressful it can be, but imagine how your dog feels. Dog are creatures of habit and do not like to change very easily. You need to understand a few things in order to keep your dog happy.
No matter what breed of dog you have, you can believe they are going to have confusion with all the excitement and become stressed. The dog's temperament does not have anything to do with how they will act during a move.

Things to Remember

You should have a pet carrier or something similar to take the dog to a new home. This will make them feel more secure.

Dogs are set in their ways and you need to make the move as uneventful as possible for your dog. Working up to changes helps ease the dog into a change and prevents all the stress they can experience. You should pack a little at a time so they get used to see less and less belongings around.

You need to have your new identification tag on your dog before you move to your new home because sometimes they can escape and try to go back home. This is common in many dogs. You need your name and the address and telephone number for people to get a hold of you.

If you travel a distance to your new home and need a hotel overnight, find a pet friendly hotel ahead of time instead of when you are on the road. It can be hard to find a hotel in some smaller towns that are pet friendly.

On the day you leave the old house, you should keep your dog in a room where they feel safe and cannot see the last of your belongings being packed up. They should have their own water and food dishes with them as well. Do not forget to let them out for potty breaks during this time.

If your travels to a new home require flying, you need to make reservations ahead of time for you and your dog. Check the airlines regulations and find out what you need to do to take your dog with you. If your dog is less than fifteen pounds, you might take them along on board with you in a regulation pet carrier. If they need to travel in the cargo area, book a direct flight if possible.

About the Author
Article by Bob Faralli, professional pet therapist. Bob has worked in the pet care industry for two decades and has written several case studies on canine nutrition. Get more information regarding dog.

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Keep Your Dog Happy With These Tips
by Enrico Pallatzo

When you are moving to a new home, you have to keep in mind that your dog may not understand and become stress causing him or her to act out. No matter where you are moving, you need to keep your dog in mind and make them feel, as they are a part of the move as well. They may experience stress from all the excitement and even get in the way from time to time. Take the time to consider the move as well as how it is affecting the dog. Here are six tips for easing your dog’s anxiety when you are moving.
Keep These in Mind

If your dog gets sick during car rides or is acting overly anxious, you can use a holistic therapy such as Bach's Rescue Remedy. By rubbing this on your dog’s feet and ears, it works as a claming agent.

When you are ready to load up all your belongings on the truck on moving day, keep your dog in a room away from all the commotion. The same applies when you reach the new home. This will not only keep them safe and out of the way, they will not have to deal with the commotion going on around them.

After you are at your new home with the dog, make sure that you have his or her toys available right away, so he or she can have something that is theirs right away. This should let them know that the new house is now home where their belongings are as well.

Keep your dogs and any other pets safe when you are moving. Everyone knows that unpacking boxes and laying thing all over is normal when moving, but they might find this as an invitation to explore the objects and maybe even try eating them or chewing on them. Keep an eye on your dog and keep things that could harm them out of reach.

Always remember before you take your dog to the new house to look everything over for possible dangers and escape routes. This includes, inside and outside areas. If you have a loose screen and a fence with a hole in it, they could try to go back home.

If you have moved to a new city, you are going to need a veterinarian close to home. You might even need a groomer or a pet sitter service. You can look around when you are all settled in your new home for these services in the area. Keep your dog with as much as possible until they feel safe and at home.

About the Author
Article by Bob Faralli, professional pet therapist. Bob has worked in the pet care industry for two decades and has written several case studies on canine nutrition. Get more information regarding dog.

Cat Health Weight Loss
By W. P. Allen

When it comes too cat health, weight loss is an important topic. While any pet owner knows all too well the urge to pamper and spoil our animal companions, there is definitely such a thing as too many treats and too much food. It can be hard to resist those plaintive meows and those oh-so-expressive eyes, but be strong; being overweight is not good for your cat. While a overweight cat may appear happy, at least after getting those excessive treats, in the long run an overweight cat is an unhappy cat - with an unhappy owner.

Just like humans, cats can gain excess weight due to overfeeding, lack of exercise and insufficient exercise. It can be difficult for cats to lose weight, just as it is for people but at least in the case of a pet cat, you have control over their diet. If you are interested in cat health, weight loss for your pet is something which you should know about. Being overweight can lead to diabetes, a growing health concern for cats in our country where it is estimated that as many of 40% of housecats are overweight. A cat that is obese can suffer from a variety of other health problems as a result and may not be able to clean themselves properly due to the excess pounds they are carrying - a very sad problem.

For better cat health, weight loss needs to be considered if your pet has gotten a bit heavy. A weight loss program for your cat should be approached cautiously and after consultation with your vet. A few steps which may help your cat lose that extra weight is to stop making food available to your cat all the time. While some cats do quite well as "grazers", many will overeat if food is constantly present for them. Instead, feed your cat two to four small amounts of food daily and keep an eye on portion sizes! Your cat will likely complain a bit, but stick to your guns as this will be better for your cat in the long run.

Cat health weight loss should be done gradually, since a crash diet is no healthier for your cat than it is for you. Watch your cat's progress gradually and make sure that they don't get too thin. Keep in touch with your vet during your cat's weight loss and ask their advice if you have any questions. Being the proper weight is healthy for your cat and will ensure a longer, happier life for your cat.

Commercial cat food is loaded with TOXINS that are slowly poisoning your cat!
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