Saturday, April 30, 2011

New quizzes!

Don't forget to check out the new quizzes and vote for the answer you think is best!

Quiz answers are here!!!!!

Here are this week's quiz answers:


A Sun Conure typically lives for 20 to 30 years.

Here is what a sun conure looks like:

A sun conure is a type of conure which is a type of parrot. Aren't they pretty? (sun conures are my favorite bird) (I like watching the ones at petsmart and I love their orange heads) Apparently they are pretty friendly birds.


This was almost a trick question. Most of you guessed gut loaded crickets, which most pet frogs should be fed, however an african dwarf frog is a fully aquatic frog. Most pet frogs live outside of the water, but these little frogs live underwater, and if kept out of water for to long they will die. So since they live underwater, they do not eat crickets. The answer to this quiz question is that you should feed these frogs live, frozen, or freeze dried bloodworms or brine shrimp. (just a fact here: bloodworms are mosquito larvae, but only use ones from a pet store, ones you find outdoors may be contaminated with pesticides that could kill the frog)

African dwarf frog information:

African dwarf frogs are small aquatic frogs. They typically live for five or more years and grow up to one and a half inches in length.

Oh, and I forgot to mention in my last post about what I am going to be feeding my betta fish, that I will also be supplementing his diet with some freeze dried bloodworms. Bloodworms are a favorite of bettas and very healthy for them because it is what they normally eat in the wild.

responding to comments

The tank looks so nice. Now a few questions: what kind of food will you have to feed your betta and how much and how often?
-Goldfish Granny 

(This comment was posted on my How to Set Up a Fish Tank Post)

I will be feeding my betta floating betta pellets. They are made with fish and shrimp meal and other meats. I am not sure what brand yet, it depends on what the pet store has. I would like to feed my betta the Aqueon brand of betta pellets which is made with all natural ingredients and has pretty good reviews. It depends on what my betta likes though, they can be a bit picky sometimes. I would probably feed my betta once or twice a day, the amount of pellets that they can eat in a minute, which is usually two to four pellets a day.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Fish Care: The Nitrogen Cycle

For new fish keepers the nitrogen cycle can be intimidating. It can seem quite complicated and confusing, but it is actually pretty simple. It all has to do with bacteria and your fish's waste.


Fish produce waste. This fish waste produces ammonia. Ammonia is toxic to fish if the levels are too high. So good bacteria breaks down the ammonia into less toxic nitrite. However nitrites are still toxic to fish at high levels, so bacteria will break down nitrites into even less toxic nitrates, which plants use for nutrients.

That is the nitrogen cycle for fish. 

Now in the wild, fish live in what is called an "open" system. Basically, when the water becomes unsafe, they can flee to safer waters. But, in an aquarium/fish tank, the fish live in what is called a "closed" system, meaning they cannot flee when the water becomes unsafe for the fish.

Therefore it is a fish keeper's responsibility to monitor the nitrogen cycle. A fish keeper needs to regularly test the water (weekly is recommended), to make sure the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are at safe levels and won't harm the fish. This can be done either using test strips for fish tanks or a liquid test kit.

Another responsibility of a fish keeper is to start the cycle. In a new tank, their won't be enough bacteria to successfully convert ammonia into nitrites and nitrites into nitrates. The cycle can't start by itself in a closed system. Not starting the cycle in a fish tank is the leading cause of deaths of new pet fish. 

So here is what to do: You need to start the bacteria, which can be done in a number of ways. Basically you need to feed the bacteria.

Sometimes fish keepers put hardy fish such as danios, tetras, and sometimes barbs, into the fish tank first. The waste from these fish will encourage the bacteria to start. However, I do not recommend doing this for a few reasons: it is extremely stressful to these fish because the bacteria will not have built up enough to eliminate the fish's waste so ammonia levels will get pretty high. You also might not even want any of these fish, so this might not even be an option. There are easier ways that don't involve stressing out the fish.

You can use water from another (established)  tank in your new one, or gravel from an established tank. This is very easy, because the water or gravel will already have an established amount of bacteria, and the tank will be cycled pretty quick. The downside to this is that you need an already established and still running tank.

In my opinion the best way to cycle the tank, is to use bacteria supplements and fish food. You can buy a liquid bacteria supplement at the pet store for just a few dollars and this will feed the bacteria and encourage bacteria growth. To help, add a few fish flakes to the tank. The food will produce ammonia for the bacteria. You can also go to the grocery store and get a shrimp (a dead shrimp obviously) and put that into the tank. The bacteria will LOVE it.

Here's a tip: When you see a bottle of stuff at the pet store labeled "LIVE BACTERIA" it most likely is mostly dead. Bacteria need oxygen to survive so if it is has been in the bottle for a long time odds are a lot of that "live" bacteria is dead. However it is still good to add to the tank to encourage bacteria growth, just keep in mind it isn't really "live" bacteria, it is basically just a bacteria supplement.

Cycling a new tank takes a while. Cycle  it with bacteria supplements for at least a few days (for instance I am waiting at least five days before I add my betta fish (bettas are hardy fish) before adding fish. It is best to only add hardy fish at this time. They should be fine because there will be some bacteria in the tank by now. Just be sure to test the tank first and make sure the ammonia levels are at zero before adding the fish. And only start with one to three fish. This way the ammonia levels won't get to high. After about four weeks the cycling should be fully finished an you can add whatever fish you want. Save less hardy and more sensitive fish for when the cycling is done and the bacteria is fully established.

Just a note: Cycling the tank without fish by using bacteria supplements is usually quicker than cycling with fish and can take as little as two weeks. I forgot to mention but you can buy liquid ammonia from pet stores to cycle the tank with. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How to Set Up a Fish Tank

Here is a a step by step guide on how to set up a freshwater fish tank.

Step 1: Rinse your tank out thoroughly. They often collect dust in the store, so you want to rinse it out before putting your fish and the water into it.

(if you have a large tank that cannot be carried/transported, or doesn't fit under a faucet, you can simply wipe the tank down with a damp cloth) (a terry cloth works best for this)

You do not need to dry it off or anything, since it is going to be filled with water anyway.

Step 2: Thoroughly rinse out your gravel, being careful not to rub or grind the gravel together. Rinse until the water comes out clear. (this may take a while for colored gravel)

Step 3: Place the desired amount of gravel in the bottom of the tank. Usually one to two inches is a good amount. (when you buy gravel plan on buying one to two pounds of gravel per gallon of water in the tank). 

If you have any leftover gravel, you can dry it and store it in a plastic bag.

Step 4: Rinse your plants out thoroughly and make sure none of the color is coming off.

Step 5: Rinse off any ornaments (rocks, driftwood, caves, etc.)

Step 6: Place the decorations into the tank. Place the weighted base of the plants underneath the gravel to secure the plants.

Step 7: Install the filter. Make sure your read the instructions for your filter. Rinse out the filter cartridge and any sponge inserts and place into the filter. IMPORTANT: DO NOT PLUG IN THE FILTER YET!!! Filters are only meant to be run in water, so plugging them in (most filters turn on when they are plugged in, there is no on/off switch usually) will break them.

the filter cartridge

this is the filter intake (the water get sucked up through this part)

Step 8: Rinse off the thermometer (I recommend getting a glass thermometer as opposed to a stick on strip, the glass ones are more accurate and easy to read)

Step 9: Place the thermometer in the tank. The particular kind I have can be free-floating or it can suction to the tank. It is best to suction it to the tank because you will get a more accurate reading. Also make sure you position it on the opposite side from where the heater will be, and do not position it directly in front of the flow from the filter, you will not get accurate readings.

Step 10: Put the your light bulb in the hood of your tank and switch it on to see if it works. (if you have live plants in the aquarium, make sure it is a fluorescent light bulb, this grows plants better than incandescent ones)

(the rest of the room isn't really dark, the camera would only pick up the light from the tank's bulb though.)

Step 10: Rinse off your heater. Be careful! Only rinse parts meant to be wet!!! 

Step 11: Carefully read the instructions for your particular heater. 

Step 12: Place the heater in the aquarium using the included suction cups. IMPORTANT: DO NOT PLUG THE HEATER IN YET!!!! Most heaters are not meant to be operated out of the water, like the filter, if you plug it now with no water in the tank yet, it will break.

Make sure that the max/min water level of the heater will be in the right place. And make sure nothing is directly right in front of the heater, or touching the heater.

Step 13: Now you can fill the tank up with water! But first, if you have tap water from a city, you need to use chlorine remover to remove the chlorine and chloramine that is toxic to your fish. (If you have well water, you probably don't need to do this). 

Use the measuring cap normally included to measure out the correct amount according to the instructions on the bottle.

Step 14: Fill up a bucket with water, add the chlorine remover (water conditioner) (if needed), to the water and pour into the tank until the tank is full. (So that you don't displace the plants and gravel pour the water slowly onto an ornament such as a cave or rock. You can also use an upside down plate and pour the water on to that. (just remember to remove the plate when you are finished.

Step 15: Now you can start the tank's cycling process (I will do a post to explain nitrogen cycle, and how to cycle a new aquarium soon). I chose to add a bacterial supplement to start the process. (the supplement helps start a colony of bacteria needed to break down fish waste). If you used water conditioner, make sure the let the water sit for about fifteen minutes before adding the bacteria supplement. (I can't explain why, I have no idea. But that is what all the bottles of water conditioner and bacteria supplement say you should do.) Measure out the correct amount according to the instructions and add to the tank. 

Bacteria need ammonia to breakdown, so you can add a few fish flakes to the water. The flakes will eventually produce ammonia, which the bacteria should breakdown.

Step 16: Now you can plug everything in! (the filter, heater, light, etc.) BUT FIRST: You must install drip loops. Drip loops are simply a loop in a cord, making  the cord go down, then up before it goes to the outlet, so that if the cords get wet (since it is an aquarium that is a pretty good possibility!) the water won't run into the outlet (which is super DANGEROUS!!!)

Because some of mine went into a power strip, I used tape to create drip loops, and I made sure the power strip wasn't anywhere near where it could get wet. If they are just going into a regular outlet you probably don't have to use tape, most cords will be long enough that they will automatically make a loop. 

Step 17: Done!!! And almost ready for fish. Just let the tank cycle for a few days to a week and then you can add hardy fish (danios, tetras, etc.) (or a betta). If the fish you are going to put into the tank is not a very hardy fish, then you should let the tank cycle for about 4 weeks to fully establish the bacteria. Before you put the fish in you also need to test the water to make sure the ph, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, hardness, and alkalinity levels are at safe levels for your fish.

Click this link to my youtube channel to see the finished tank:

Monday, April 25, 2011

responding to comments

I've got some comments to respond too, so here goes:

Are you almost ready to get your fish? Will it be one or more? Also was wondering, although you've probably already told us, how big/small is a betta?

I, too, agree that pricey isn't always better. You sure do your homework!

-Animal Gram 

(this comment was posted under my fish tank heater post)

Yes, I am probably going to get my fish an a week or two. The only thing I have left to get is food, which I will get when I get the fish. 

This week I am probably going to set up the tank (I will try to do a post or video on how to do that) and get it running for a few days to a week. I am waiting for a water test kit I ordered to come so I can test the ph levels, ammonia, etc. in the fish's tank. Once that comes and the tank has been running for a few days I will get my fish.

I am just getting one fish. Since it is my first time owning a betta fish it is better to not try to put it into a tank with other fish, since I am getting a male. The reason is that males will fight other bettas, and some other types of fish. If I wanted to put other fish in the tank I would probably do cory catfish because bettas tend to get along with them fairly well, but you need more than one cat fish otherwise the betta might target it for fighting, and to put more than one in, I would need a bigger tank. And some fish really enjoy eating betta fish fins.

Male betta fish usually grow to be 2 to 3 inches in length. Females are usually around an inch to an inch an a half but may grow to be two inches.

I didn't know it took so much stuff to have a pet hermit crab! I always thought they were simple pets that didn't need very much attention. Are the land ones easier to keep than the marine ones? Also, what do hermit crabs eat?
Sarah :) 

(this comment was posted on my hermit crab care post)

I am not sure what wild hermit crabs eat. And I am not sure what marine hermit crabs eat. But pet land hermit crabs are generally fed dry or canned hermit crab food which is usually a blend of fish, shrimp, grains like wheat (which I am pretty sure they wouldn't eat in the wild) , and vegetable matter like carrots or seaweed, and added vitamins and minerals. For treats they LOVE LOVE LOVE coconut!!!

It is hard to say which is easier. For a marine hermit crab you need a saltwater marine aquarium. Which means it needs to be large (saltwater aquariums are difficult to do in small tanks), so you would probably have lots of fish and things in there. For someone who already owns a saltwater aquarium, a marine hermit crab would be simple. The only thing really difficult about it is that you need to have a whole saltwater aquarium ( and they get very, very, complicated) (not to mention pricey). Which is why they are not very popular in the pet world.

So if you were a person who already had a saltwater aquarium and wanted to add a marine hermit crab to it, that would be incredibly simple and very easy to care for, but to do that you would obviously have to be already maintaining and caring for a whole saltwater setup,which is a lot of work.

So in a way land hermit crabs are easier in their setup, but if you already had a saltwater set up, a marine hermit crab would be easier.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tips and Tricks

I am really bad about remembering to do my "tip of the week" each week. So now I just call it "tips and tricks" and do it whenever I remember. I just thought of a good one to do so here goes:

Tips and tricks: How to reduce that musky ferret odor!

Now, some people don't really mind that ferret smell (I don't really mind it), but sometimes it can get a little out of control and then EEEWWW!!!! It REALLY STINKS!!! Ferrets should pretty much just have a mild musky odor. It will always be there but it shouldn't be so bad you want to wear a gas mask around your ferrets. If you notice that mild odor of your ferrets is starting to be not so mild anymore, that is telling you something needs to be cleaned. (either the cage, the ferrets beds, blankets, and hammocks, or the ferret itself)

So to keep that ferret odor from becoming out of control and just plain icky, here's what you need to do:

Regularly clean the cage. Each day remove any droppings and urine from the litter box (or the cage bottom if you don't use a litter box) and weekly completely change all the litter and wash the cage. (either use vinegar or a specially deodorizing cleaner meant for small pets)

Each week wash your ferret's hammocks, blankets, and beds (these become quite stinky since the ferrets spend most of their day in them).

Every couple of months give your ferret a bath. For in between baths you can use ferret deodorizing spray. You can buy this to spray on the ferret, or you can get the kind that you spray on the cage and beds, etc. 

Quiz answers are here!!!!!

Here are this week's quiz answers:


The answer is anything and everything that they can/want. Here is a bit more about these interesting shrimp:

 They are called Ghost Shrimp and sometimes Glass shrimp, because of their see-through translucent quality. (it helps them hide from predators). It also makes them difficult to spot sometimes in your fish tank. 

They have a stomach, (which sort of looks like a brain and can be seen right behind the eyes) (it is the orangish colored blob in the shrimp in the image above.) This stomach is often the only part of them that can really be seen clearly because of the food particles in it. 

These shrimp grow to be about 1 to 1.5 inches long and can live for a couple of years. 

They are often eaten by fish in the tank, so you have to be careful about who they live with. 

Sometimes fish keepers feed them to their fish as treats. 

They have ten legs and they use their legs to shove food into their mouth.

Like I said before, they will eat pretty much anything and everything. They will sometimes eat algae, but they are omnivores so they also need meat, and they tend to only eat algae as a last resort. As far as I know, there is no such thing as specially formulated ghost shrimp food. If they shrimp live in a tank with fish, they will eat the fishes leftovers. (if their aren't enough leftovers make sure to specially give the shrimp some of the fish food.) If the shrimps live by themselves in an all shrimp tank then what shrimp keepers tend to feed them is goldfish food.


The answer to this question is: ears cleaned, nails clipped, fur brushed, and baths.

Their ears tend to get dirty sometimes so they need to be checked regularly and if needed they need to be cleaned using special ferret ear cleaner, which can be found at most pet stores that carry ferret supplies. They need their nails trimmed regularly, or they will become overgrown and uncomfortable for the ferret. Their fur doesn't really tangle but a brushing now and then keeps their fur and skin healthy. Baths aren't really necessary but I highly recommend bathing your ferret every couple of months. It keeps their fur soft and silky and they smell way better! (Do not bathe them more than once every month or two because bathing them too often will cause the skin to dry out which causes the ferret to produce extra oils to keep their skin healthy which will increase the stinky ferret odor.) So baths are good, but in moderation. Ferrets teeth stay pretty clean over their lives, so they don't really need to be brushed. (that wouldn't be much fun for you or the ferret anyway)

Don't forget to check out the new quizzes!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Choosing a heater for your fish tank/aquarium

Finding the right heater for your fish tank can be tricky. There are a lot of options and different types of heater's out there so it can be hard to know what is the best choice. Here is some information that can help.

There are three main type of heaters you can use for a tropical fish tank:

The most common submersible heaters,

Under-gravel heaters

external under tank heaters

Submersible heaters are basically any type of heater that is submersible. These are probably the most common heater, and one of the easiest to use and the maintain a pretty stable water temperature. 

Under- gravel heaters are just like the names sounds. They are any heater that is meant to be placed under the gravel. Generally they are mostly used for small tanks that don't have much extra room for a submersible heater.

External under-tank heaters are not commonly used for fish tanks. They are not very practical for fish tanks and aquariums. Generally these heaters are used for reptiles, amphibians, insects, and land hermit crab tanks, not fish tanks.

Most fish-owners seem to prefer submersible heaters. They are easy to find, with all kinds of different features. You can get pre-set ones set already to an appropriate temperature setting usually 78 degrees which is good for most tropical fish tanks. You can also buy ones where you can adjust the settings to whatever temperature you need. This kind is good if you live somewhere that the temperature fluctuates quite a bit. One thing about submersible heaters that you must be careful about is that some of them are not completely submersible.

Under-gravel heaters like I said before generally tend to be used in smaller tanks. Most of these just raise the temperature a few degrees. There is usually no adjustable control. This is fine if you live somewhere that the temperature is constant. If you live somewhere that may get very cold, just raising the temp a few degrees will not be enough. 

I would not recommend using external-under tank heaters. They generally do not have adjustable temp. control, and do not heat fish tanks well. They are better used for pets such as reptiles.

When buying any heater you need to do a few very important things:

Make sure it is meant for your size of fish tank. If you have a thirty gallon tank, you don't want to put something like a heater meant for five gallons in it, because it will not be able to properly heat the tank and your fish will be cold and possibly die. You also don't want to put a heater meant for a large tank into a small one because they you will basically fry the fish. So be sure to read labels! 

Make sure it will fit in the tank! This usually isn't a problem for large tanks, but for smaller tanks under ten gallons it might be meant for tank that size but it could be too long for your particular tank. So make sure the length works too.

Always read the directions thoroughly!!!! Each heater is different. The directions will explain vital information such as the maximum/minimum water line for the heater. If you accidently completely submerge a heater that is not meant to be completely underwater, you could electrocute the fish. 

Here are some tips I have learned about buying heaters:

Watch out for "mini" heaters. You see one and say "that would be great for my tank!". However it may just raise the water temp a few degrees. If the temperature where you live isn't fairly high and fairly constant, these mini heaters will not work for you. 

Sometimes cheaper is better. You might think you should get a better quality expensive heater. For a large tank with lots of fish, you might want to do that, but if you just have a small tank with a few fish, go for the cheaper ones. I'll explain why in a moment.

Be careful about reviews and ratings. As some fish hobbyists have said " no fish keeping equipment is really 100% reliable". There isn't a single brand of heater that doesn't have problems. Generally someone gets a heater that works great, but someone else is going to get one that malfunctions, or you might even get one dead right out of the package. So save the receipt just in case you need to return it. So the point of what I just said is don't go looking for perfect reviews and five stars. You probably won't find them.

Now we can get into why I suggested buying a cheaper one. Yes, if you read reviews they aren't always as reliable. Sometimes they are dead right out of the box, and often the temperature doesn't stay 100% consistent or the settings are a little wonky (for example you might set it at 78 and get a water temp of 74 instead). Sometimes they don't last terribly long. However most of these problems are no big deal. If it is dead right out of the box return it and get another one. If the temperature fluctuates a few degrees your fish will still be just fine. If the settings are not 100% correct just fiddle around with the controls for a bit until the water temp is where you want it. 

I suggested a cheap one as opposed to a super expensive one because the problems more expensive ones seem to have seem to be a lot worse. True, they malfunction less often and tend to last longer but when they do malfunction it tends to be nasty. I have read reviews saying they exploded, or the heater suddenly got so hot it basically fried the fish. Most of these malfunctions end with  dead fish. 

I would rather go with a heater that's worse malfunction is it stops working (all heaters will at some point) or the temperature is slightly cooler than I want. If you really are worried about the heater suddenly dying, you can keep a spare ready.

So I would recommend a cheaper heater and probably one of the submersible kinds. 

Or if you don't want the hassle of heaters, buy a gold fish. They are cold water fish and do not need heaters. (of course goldfish need large tanks and have all sorts of special needs so even without a heater they can be pretty complicated.) (I don't know who said keeping fish is easy. ) (its not as easy as a lot of people think) (of course once you know what you are doing it isn't ridiculously difficult either)

Hermit Crab Care: What you need for pet land hermit crabs

Here is what you will need to properly house and care for a pet land hermit crab.

You will need some kind of housing. A glass ten gallon tank with a cover (and locks for the cover to prevent escape!) is a great option for housing one to two hermit crabs. You can also use cheaper plastic tanks but these do not keep the environment at the proper humidity as well. Wire and plastic cages (sort of like a hamster cage) are also sold for hermit crabs, but these do not keep the environment as warm or as humid as the crab needs to stay healthy. Glass tanks are definitely the best option.

Inside the tank you need a fairly thick layer of substrate such as sand or coconut fiber or moss bedding. The easiest and most affordable to use is sand. The hermit crabs also love the sand. They like to dig and burrow in it, and it is gentle enough that it shouldn't harm them when they molt. You can also buy calcium sand (hermit crabs need a lot of calcium) but it is more expensive then regular sand. 

You will need things for the hermit crab to climb on and hide in. A coconut shell crab hut is a great place for crabs to hide in, and you can buy them at most pet stores. Fake plants, drift wood, and decorations for reptiles all provide good things for hermit crabs to climb.

You will need a heater to keep the hermit crabs environment in a temperature range of 72- 80 degrees. Anything less than that and the crab can become sick. An under tank heater is the best option. It is easy to use and pretty affordable. In addition to the heater, you will need a thermometer so that you can monitor the temperature levels.

Hermit crabs need to be in an environment of around 70 to 80% humidity (they actually breathe through gills so they need to have fairly moist air to breathe or they will suffocate). You will need a mister (sort of like a spray bottle) which you can purchase at pet stores. You can also buy sea sponges at pet stores to soak and put in the habitat to increase the humidity. You will also need a hygrometer to measure the humidity. 

In the habitat you will need a few shells of various sizes for the hermit crab to change into. Three shells in addition to the one being used are a good amount. Make sure to have a smaller sized, a medium sized, and a large one. 

You will need a food bowl and food which is specially made for hermit crabs. You can also buy hermit crab treats at many pet stores. 

You will need to water bowls deep enough for the hermit crab to soak itself in, with a ramp or step structure to allow the crab to get out and not drown. There are usually plenty of these at any pet store that sell hermit crab products. 

Since the hermit crabs need both salt and freshwater, you will need to buy some marine salt to make saltwater with. Only use marine salt. NEVER use table salt, it is not the kind of salt that they need to survive. Marine salt is sold at any pet store that sells fish supplies. Any water that hermit crabs are given needs to be free of chlorine. (chlorine will kill them). If you have city water, then you have chlorine in it, and will need to buy water conditioner found at the pet store.

You can also provide small toys for hermit crabs to play with. Such as little balls made for hermit crabs. 

If you do not use calcium sand, then you need to buy calcium blocks and supplements. Most pet stores that sell hermit crab supplies have them. 

And I think I covered it all!

Note: If you have more than one hermit crab, they can live together but you will need another tank or two (it can be cheap and it doesn't have to be big) for isolation. The reason why is that when hermit crabs molt they need to be isolated from the other crabs. When they molt they are very vulnerable and delicate and can be hurt or killed very easily. So when they molt they must be put in their own temporary tank.(you will obviously also need a heater, bowls, sand, and a decoration or two, along with a thermometer and hygrometer for these extra tanks too.) (so owning one hermit crab is much cheaper than two or more.)

Another note: All the information in this post is for land hermit crabs  not marine hermit crabs. Marine hermit crabs live in saltwater fish tanks, (in water obviously). They are very different from land hermit crabs.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Quiz answers are here!!!!!

Here are this week's quiz answers:


The answer is whole meat. 

Corn should not be the first ingredient, it is just a filler. Dogs cannot fully digest corn so they cannot get nutrients from it.

By products are meat parts such as organs, feet, liver, etc. These are not the healthiest choice for dog food and it is rarely specified what the by products are. You could have chicken liver, or you could have cow's feet and you wouldn't know. Things like feathers and fecal matter also tend to get into by products.

Meat meal is actually perfectly fine in dog food. It is the same as whole meat, just ground up and more processed, because of this however it is not the best choice, which is whole meat, but it is still perfectly acceptable.


The answer is that it grows bacteria. 

Bacteria love to live in gravel and without gravel there wouldn't be many places for the bacteria to live and grow. You need to have a healthy amount of bacteria in the fish tank to naturally break down the wastes that accumulate in the tank that could harm or kill your fish. No bacteria = No fish. (living fish that is)

It's pretty too. (although that isn't why it's important)

Don't forget to check out the new quizzes!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Owning a rabbit without breaking the bank

Here are some ways to make owning a rabbit less expensive.

When first getting a rabbit think about the size. If you really want to spend as little as possible, you might want to get a small breed rabbit. Larger breeds require more expensive housing and lots of food. But, make sure to still take their personalities into account. Small breeds tend to be more active while large breeds are calmer. Generally.

Rescue a bunny from a shelter or rabbit rescue. Shelters and rescues are much cheaper than pet stores, and rabbit rescues have often already spayed/neutered their rabbits. So you won't have to spend a big chunk of change if you want that done.

Don't house your rabbit outdoors. Housing a rabbit outdoors requires a hutch and a hutch requires a lot more maintenance than an indoor cage. Hutches are also very expensive. Proper sized hutches cost around 250 to 350 dollars. If you are housing your rabbit indoors you can rabbit proof a room for your rabbit which is the cheapest option. If they are chewers however, you may save more money by investing in a cage. The cheapest option is to build your own cage using wire shelving grids and zip ties. If you build your own cage, I would suggest researching it online first. Some very good cages for your rabbit can simply be a small animal pen. You can buy small pet pens for 40 dollars at most pet stores that are a good size for most small and medium sized rabbits. You can buy expansion grids for larger breeds.

If you want to save money, definitely get your rabbit litter box trained. This way you do not have to worry about having a cage bottom like the ones on store bought cages. You also will not have to cover the bottom of the cage with litter, only the litter box.

All rabbits love and need toys to keep them entertained but you don't have to spend a fortune. Home made toys are a good way to go. Cardboard tubes and boxes are favorites of bunnies. Just make sure to use cardboard without ink on it. Plastic baby toys, cat toys (only plastic ones and no catnip!), or toys meant for small pets are all good. Plastic toys last a long time for a rabbit and are easy to clean. Don't go crazy buying wood toys or hay toys. By a few once in a while. They get destroyed easily. Just make sure your rabbit always has some kind of chew toy. You can even use a piece of untreated wood if you want to really save money.

Don't waste your money on cage cleaners found in pet stores. A vinegar and water solution works better and is much cheaper. You can use the vinegar solution to clean the litter box and the cage. Just make sure to rinse it off very well, because some rabbits dislike the smell. For food and water dishes, a very small amount of dish soap and hot water are a good way to clean them. Just make sure to thoroughly rinse.

Rabbits all like a comfy place to sleep, but they don't require a fancy bed or anything. Most rabbits are very happy with some towels. You can find large bath towels for around five dollars instead of a bed which would cost around 15 dollars +. Rabbits love towels because they can play with them and arrange them however they want. And you will be happy because they are easy to clean, just throw the towels in the washing machine.

When buying food and water dishes don't be fooled. Yes, plastic ones can be very, very, very cheap. They can cost as little as a dollar. But, they might end up costing more in the long run. The cheap plastic dishes are not very durable. A heavy duty ceramic bowl is a better long lasting option that only costs a few dollars more.

For grooming supplies a brush and nail clippers are needed but don't invest in shampoo unless your rabbit actually needs it. Most rabbits are very clean animals and my never even need a bath.

For hay look for a good quality hay, but you can try to get the cheapest you can find, as long as the quality is still good. A good brand is Kaytee. It is on the cheaper side, yet the quality is pretty good, and I find that most hay-eating critters really love it. Be careful of the extremely inexepensive brands such as Great Choice and brands that advertise easy to use miniature bales separated into portions. Those brand's hay is horrible quality and most rabbits won't eat it so don't waste your money on it.

You can find many good quality pellets for fairly inexpensive, but make sure not to go for the super cheap stuff filled with seeds and other stuff. That is not healthy for your rabbit. Also make sure that Timothy Hay is the first ingredient.

To save on veggies you can try growing your own. You can use something such as romaine lettuce as the main part of your rabbit's daily salad. And then you can add more expensive veggies such as parsley, cucuumbers etc in smaller amounts. Celery too.

When you are in the pet store shopping for your rabbit you might see vitamins for them. Don't buy them. They are fairly expensive and they are completely unnecessary. If your rabbit gets hay, a good quality pellet food, and a variety of veggies he will  not need any extra vitamins.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

responding to comments

I have some comments to respond to, so here goes:

Hermit crabs are pets?! Is there a difference between a pet hermit crab and the ones in the wild? Are they a specifically-bred crab? What could you do with one; are they interesting to watch?
-Curious Gram

Yes, hermit crabs are pets. They are actually fairly common pets, most popular with children. I don't believe there is any difference between wild hermit crabs and pet hermit crabs. There are two types of hermit crabs: land hermit crabs and marine hermit crabs. There are a lot of different species of hermit crabs too. All species of hermit crabs will be either marine or land. Land hermit crabs are the ones most often kept as pets, although some people do keep marine hermit crabs in saltwater aquariums apparently. (I have never even seen a marine hermit crab before.) Land hermit crabs are definitely more popular. They are interesting to watch. They like to dig in their sand, climb things, and they change shells fairly often and they also molt their skin regularly. They live for a long time and they can become quite attached to their owners. They enjoy being handled, although they do pinch sometimes.

The dumbo rat is kinda cute...Still wouldn't want one though! The hairless rat is ugly! I've seen some even uglier pictures of them though-good choice going with one of the less ugly pictures! Do you know anything about the "unofficial" dwarf rats? Some dog breeds have the strangest names! Love the new quizzes! :)  

I actually don't know much about dwarf rats, and I didn't even know they existed for a while. All I know is that it is basically a genetic mutation that causes the rats to be dwarfs, and it doesn't seem to have developed into a breed yet. They are basically the same as most rats, only smaller.

I was thinking the same thing as Animal Gram! That would be really fun! Have you had to give Munchkin a bath before? If you have, did he like it?
Sarah :) 

I gave Munchkin a bath soon after I adopted him last August. He wasn't on the healthiest diet before I got him, so his stools were too soft and he was too overweight to be able to clean himself properly, so he was a bit messy. He seemed to enjoy his bath. Which is pretty unusual for a rabbit, they normally hate baths, but he even played in the tub a bit. If I ever give him a bath again, I will be sure to get a video of it.


Posts coming soon....

Hermit Crab care, reptile and amphibian information and care, and once I get my fish I will start doing betta fish care (I want to do videos of a lot of it, so I need to actually get my fish first), and pet ownership without breaking the bank.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Quiz answers are here!!!!!

Here are the answers to this week's quizzes:


The answer is they release the heat through their ears. Healthy rabbit's ears are warm to the touch. Sick rabbits might have cold ears. Although when rabbits have been resting, their ears tend to get cooler, but once they wake up and move around their ears should be warm to the touch. So rabbits cannot pant like dogs or sweat like people and they don't sleep to cool off. When your rabbit is very hot, misting its ears with cool water will help it to cool down.


The answer is both. Hermit crabs need dechlorinated freshwater to drink and they need saltwater to bathe in. (although sometimes they will also drink the saltwater). Each type of water should be in a fairly deep dish so that the crab can almost all the way submerge itself, but there needs to be some way for the hermit crab to climb out to avoid drowning. Making sure they have plenty of each kind of water is important. Obviously if they can't drink water they will die, but if they don't soak themselves in saltwater enough they won't be able to maintain the right levels of salinity inside their shells, and if they don't stay moist enough the crab will actually dry out and die.

Just for clarification, the water is not for the crabs to live in, they are not aquatic like fish or red clawed crabs. Pet hermit crabs are most often land crabs, so they will drown in water (which is why there needs to be a way out of the bowls) but they do need to soak in water frequently and have a humid environment so that they don't dry out.

Be sure to check out the new quizzes!

How to: Give a Rabbit a bath

The very first step when you are planning to bathe a rabbit is to stop and ask yourself "do I really need to bathe my rabbit?"

Rabbits are very clean animals and groom themselves very often. You should only bathe a rabbit if it is absolutely necessary.

Here are a few good reasons to bathe a rabbit:

If they were sick, which resulted in messy stools,
If they are dirty enough that a small spot cleaning with a warm, wet, soapy cloth won't do the trick.

So if your rabbit is dirty and needs a bath here is what to do:

First you need to set everything up and get prepared.

Make sure you have rabbit-safe shampoo. Never use any shampoo that does not state specifically that it is safe for rabbits. A good brand to use is Super Pet small pet shampoos.

Once you have your rabbit-safe shampoo you need to get the bath tub ready. (if your rabbit was very small, you could possibly do it in a sink, but a tub is generally easier.)

Place a non-slip rubber mat or a towel down on the bottom of the tub so the rabbit won't slip.

Make sure the water is warm, but not too hot. (rabbits easily become overheated, but make sure the water is still warm.) Do not use cold water because rabbits take a long time to dry so using cold water may make them to cold.

Make sure you  have towels handy for drying off.

Now get your rabbit and place him (or her) into the tub. Let them get used to the tub for a minute and then introduce the water. Don't get the rabbit wet immediately. Let the rabbit hear the sound of the running water and see if he will approach it himself.

Once your rabbit is calm, fill the tub up an inch or two with warm water. (I find that having the rabbit in warm soapy water helps to clean his belly etc, without the rabbit becoming stressed because most rabbits do not like having their stomachs touched.)

Let the rabbit get used to being in the water.

Then you can get your rabbit wet. Be careful to avoid the face, eyes, and ears.

Once the rabbit is wet you can lather him up with shampoo. Make sure to go slow and try to keep the rabbit calm. Be careful to once again avoid the face, eyes, and ears.

Once the soap seems to have done its job, you can rinse your rabbit off. Make sure you get off all of the soap.

Now you need to dry your rabbit off. Towel dry him first. You can use a blow dryer to make sure he is completely dry. Just remember to use the lowest heat setting. If you are bathing your rabbit during winter when it is cold you need to use a blow dryer otherwise your rabbit will be cold. If your rabbit does live outdoors or goes outside for playtime (in a enclosed area of course), they must be completely dry first! A damp rabbit outside could cause your rabbit to become cold, but in can also cause something to happen known as fly strike. (basically flies swarm and attack the rabbit, which can lead to the rabbit's death)

Once your rabbit is fully dry, brush him to make sure that there are no tangles. You should also brush your rabbit before giving him a bath, especially if your rabbit is a long-haired breed.

If your rabbit isn't terribly dirty, you can clean him off with a spot cleaning. Just take a warm, soapy cloth and clean off any dirty spots, making sure to rinse the soap off of those spots afterward. The Super Pet brand also makes wipes for small animals to spot clean them. These are fine to use but you should still rinse off the spots with a wet cloth. Be sure to dry anywhere you got wet.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pit Bull myths

Here is a list of a bunch of common myths about pit bulls and why they are not true:

Pit Bulls have locking jaws. 

 Pit bulls have the same general jaw structure as any other dogs. Their jaws cannot lock in any way.

Pit Bulls brains swell and that makes them insane/aggressive.

This myth started out as a rumor about Dobermans. No one was able to prove it. The above statement has no merit. However, there is a type of disease in canines where a lining on the brain swells, (I don't remember the name), but it is very rare and could occur in all dogs.

A pit bull's bite has more pounds of pressure per square inch than any other dog.

This myth could not be proven true or false until some test were done. Results show that while pit bulls do have a strong bite, it is not actually the strongest compared to some other breeds. The results showed that the most pressure a pit bull could exert would be about 250 pounds of pressure, but Rottweilers far exceeded the pit bull with a pressure of over three hundred pounds. It has been said that pit bulls can exert over 1,600 pounds of pressure but that would be one amazing pit bull! As I said before the highest pressure a pit bull was shown to exert was about two hundred and fifty pounds and many pit bulls were much lower.

Pit bulls don't feel pain.

This is incorrect. Pit bulls, like any dog, can feel pain. They do have a higher level of tolerance too it, but they can feel it.

Pit bulls attack people more than any other breed.

This myth is an easy one to believe, mainly because of the news media. A lot of the media gets quite confused about dog breeds, and a lot of dogs are mistakenly taken for pit bulls. The media tends to focus on the pit bull attacks more than other dogs. There is no statistical proof for this myth and in a lot of cities other dog breeds such as Chihuahuas are actually listed highest on the bite record.

Pit bulls 'turn' on their owners.

Pit bulls like any other dog may become aggressive without the proper guidance and outlet for their energy. Without daily exercise pit bulls can become very frustrated and the pent up energy has to let itself out some how. They are not however intentionally 'turning' on their owners.

The only thing pit bulls are good at is fighting.

A lot of attention has been focused on how pit bulls are used by some for illegal dog fighting. The main reason that pit bulls are good at this is that they are loyal and highly trainable. The pit bull is not born a fighting dog, it is trained to be a fighting dog. This loyalty and trainability that some use to teach pit bulls to fight can instead be used to create an amazingly well balanced family type dog. In fact pit bulls generally get very high scores on canine good citizen tests and in general pit bulls score higher than a lot of other breeds. In fact in the 1800s they were very popular as a family dog. Have you ever seen the old tv show "little rascals"? Well it is about a bunch of kids and there is also this dog in it named Petey, I believe. Petey was a pit bull and got along wonderfully with kids.

Pit bulls never get along with other animals of any kind.

Almost every single pit bull that I have ever known gets along with all kinds of other animals. A great example of a pit bull that gets along amazingly with other animals is a pit bull who has become fairly popular on youtube. His name is Sharky. He especially loves to be with baby chicks. He lets them walk all over them and he gives them kisses. He also gets along with cats, guinea pigs, etc. Some pit bulls or any other breed for that matter can have dog aggression or a high prey drive. A high prey drive means that they see small pets and animals as prey. That is only natural as dogs are predators. Dog aggression between dogs is something that can happen to any dog, and it can be addressed.