Category Archives: Fish

Moving: With Pets (Part 2)


Moving is stressful when it’s just you and your junk (speaking from experience) – but how does moving take its toll on your pets? You can bet they’ll be stressed and anxious too, even if they’re not packing or trying to organise a removal company!

Here are some tips to help your pets cope with moving… part 2: moving with fish.

The fish:

  1. Never move the fish in the tank – always bag the fish.
    Tanks are not built to be moved loaded with water, and the pressure can easily crack a tank – which would result in loss of fish as well as water (and potentially glass) everywhere!
  2. Fill the bag 1/3 with water, and leave 2/3 air.
    This ensures plenty of oxygen for your fish in transit.
  3. Ensure to either use a rounded fish bag; or if it’s a bag that hasn’t been rounded at the bottom, turn the bag inside-out and don’t poke the corners out.
    This will stop your fish (especially small ones) getting stuck in the corners and becoming stressed (and potentially dying).
  4. Ensure to not over-crowd the bags. The size of the bag and the size of the fish will determine how many fish you put in each bag.
    Take into consideration the bag being filled 1/3 with water, and the length of the journey, when determining how many fish to put into each bag.
  5. Transport your bags of fish in a solid container, and ensure the bag is tightly closed (tied and/or with elastic bands).
    A polystyrene box/container, or a cardboard box (lined with a towel (was how I did it)) is good to keep the bags upright and insulated. Do not pack the bags in too tightly – use multiple containers if need be, and fill any space with a towel or something similar. The bags should sit comfortably in the container, but not be too loose that they may not stay upright. Placing a cover around/ over the bags to make it darker for your fish will help them not to stress too much.
  6. Starve your fish for 24 hours before the move (this won’t do them any harm).
    This will reduce the amount of waste on moving day – resulting in less toxins in the reduced space of the moving bag.
  7. Stress zyme, or a de-chlorinator containing stress zyme, can be added to the bags once the fish are in  – before tying the bag.
    Stress zyme helps to re-coat the mucus layer covering your fish, which is depleated with stress – thus helping to keep the stress on your fish to a minimum.
  8. Ensure to transport your fish as quick as possible – i.e. bag the fish up just before setting off, and set up the tank and put them in it upon arrival.
    Be sure to set up the tank as a new tank; as you usually would, with de-chlorinated water. Let the bags with the fish sit on top of the water for 15-20 minutes, and then put the fish and the bag water into the tank. Once the fish have been in the tank for 30-60 minutes, feed them.
Comet Goldfish

The tank:

  1. Ensure to turn off all electricals before putting your hands in the water (to remove fish or decor or attachments).
    Fish are not earthed so you cannot tell if the water is electrified, as it will not affect the fish. The last thing you need on moving day is to be electrocuted by tank water.
  2. Empty the tank of water.
    Transporting a tank full of water may cause the tank to crack/break, rendering it useless. If you want to keep the tank water rather than setting up fresh water upon arrival, put the tank water into buckets/containers and transport this way as opposed to leaving the tank filled.
  3. Remove the decor and attachments.
    Remove and bag up any ornaments – anything fragile you may wish to bubble-wrap. If you have kept boxes that filters/heaters/etc. came in, it may be worth putting the attachments back into their original packaging – and bubble-wrapping anything you feel needs it. I have always left the substrate in the tank before moving, however the journey was no more than 1 hours each time. You may wish to box/ bag up the substrate also.
    Some people like to remove the filter sponge and transport this in a bag of tank water to ensure the nitrogen cycle isn’t disrupted too much – for the short journey’s I have taken I have not done this, but transported the filter in-tact and boxed up.
  4. Ensure to turn off heaters 15-20 minutes before packing them away.
    This will ensure the heater has cooled down sufficiently to be handled/ packed.
  5. Ensure any food and treatments you have for your fish are packed away properly to avoid leakage. Ensure you have food and de-chlorinator in date.
    Moving is also a good time to check dates on things. Be sure to bin any out of date foodstuffs and treatments rather than taking up space packing these. Ensure anything that you bin, that is a necessity, is replaced A.S.A.P.
    Check food and the de-chlorinator before you move as you will need these on the day.
Comet Goldfish – my dissertation Goldfish that moved 4 times!

Alternatively, if you have aren’t moving too far you can always leave the fish with a (competent) friend for a few days around moving day; or look online for a local establishment that can do this for you.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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Ugly mug: aquatics!


Not everything in the animal kingdom is an lovely songbird with beautiful wings or a cute crustacean bobbing along the ocean floor or a fuzzy little kitten on your lap or adorable snakey nuzzling your neck (you get my point)… some creatures are just unpleasant!

Here are a three examples of the weird and wonderful, but not necessarily cute, beasties in the animal kingdom… starting with the world of water!

1) Blobfish

Usually found in lists of animals not winning any beauty awards! This poor fella has a rep for having an ugly mug – living in the murky deep off the coast of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand, this fish grows up to 12″ and has a low-density, giving it the jelly/blob look which actually aids in in bobbing along in the high-pressured deep.

However, as you can see fron the inage above, they’re a lot less vlob-like underwater! Unlike most fish species, the Blobfish doesn’t have a swimbladder to keep it afloat but rather their blobby structure and the pressure of the deep work together to keep them floating. The Blobfish isn’t very active, and pretty much just waits for food to pass by.

This little guy was actually voted the “World’s Ugliest Animal” in 2013! Out of water (see image below) – you can see why it won that title!

2) Axolotl

I know (personally) a few people think the Axolotl is quite cute but I have never seen the appeal so they have made my little list of ugly aquatic animals. The Axolotl only lives in the lakes of Xochimilco, Mexico (and in various homes/ tanks around the world) and is the top predator in its’ habitat.

Axolotls can grow up to a foot in length, however usually only reach half a foot. This ugly little salamander has the ability of regrowth – it can regrow a limb if lost! Despite this fascinating ability the Axolotl is critically endangered and on the decline.

Colouration is usually mottled brown or black; however white, albino and piebald variations do occur – but usually in captive environments. I personally think the albino and white colouration’s are uglier than the other variations, as they give the appearance of being almost translucent! They have a dorsal fin running from the neck to the tip of the tail, and external gills with a feathered appearance – this is unusual in salamanders; as such the Axolotl is considered to be aesthetically neonatal, as it stays in larval form throughout its’ life.

3) Goblin Shark

This is a shark of many names; the scientific name being Mitsukurina owstoni named after Kakichi Mitsukuri and Alan Owston – the two people who discovered this unusual shark species. It is mainly found off the bays of Japan, however can also be found off the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, USA (California and Florida), Brazil, Portugal, France, South Africa, Taiwan, and Sri Lanka. in Japan the Goblin Shark is known as tenguzame (Tengu being a long-nosed mythical demon creature, and zame meaning ‘same’). Along those lines, it i known as Gnome or Demon Shark in Portugal; in USA it is known as Goblin or Elfin Shark.

This amazing and ugly looking shark has nail like teeth, set in a flexible jaw under a long, protruding, pointy nose. The see the unusual bite action of the Goblin Shark watch this amazing YouTube video – the jaws spring forward out of the mouth in a pincer-like grab (protrusive jaws)… showing that’s looks aren’t everything! The Goblin Shark is pinky in appearance due to the blood vessels being close to the surface of the skin, and can grow to over 10ft in length.

The last Goblin Shark sighting was in 2000 – before that the last sighting is said to have been in the early 1970’s. As such, there are few photographs of this ugly mug!


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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Shark Week 2015 (5th-11th July)


This week is Shark Week – from Sunday 5th July until Saturday 11th July, 2015. Personally, I think Sharks are magnificent creatures – however, there are few Shark species I’d like to get too close to!

What is a Shark?

A Shark is a type of fish. They have a cartilaginous skeleton, gills, scales, and predominant dorsal (back) and caudal (tail) fins. Sharks are primarily marine fish, however a number do inhabit freshwater, such as; the Bull Shark.

Bull Shark
Bull Shark
Feeding and Hunting

Generally, Sharks are carnivorous; they will eat fish, crustaceans, seals and dolphins (and other large mammals) – and will even eat other Sharks! These Shark species either rip/ tear their food, or will swallow it whole (if it’s small enough). Sharks do not chew their food, but rather swallow any chunks, ripped off, whole.

Some larger Shark species, such as; the Whale Shark, Basking Shark, and Megamouth Shark; will feed on plankton and small fish. These Shark species are filter feeders; and filter their food through their large mouths, and consume large amounts of small types of food.

Whale Shark
Whale Shark

Some Shark species hunt in packs, due to their social structure, such as; Lemon Sharks. However, most species hunt alone – but will tolerate the presence of other Sharks feeding if the food is plentiful; usually giving way to the largest to eat first.

Lemon Shark group
Lemon Shark group
Shark Species

There are over 400 species of sharks worldwide. From the smallest species, the Dwarf Lantern Shark, measuring just over 8 inches/ 21 cm; to the largest species, the Whale Shark, measuring over 12.5 metres/ 14.5 ft.

Some of the most aggressive Shark species include; the Tiger Shark, the Great White, the Bull Shark.

Tiger Shark
Tiger Shark

Sharks come in various shapes and sizes, amongst the diversity; some species have a more distinguished looks, such as; the Goblin Shark, the Cookie Cutter Shark, the Hammerhead Shark, the Australian Ghost Shark, the Saw Shark, the Angel Shark, and the Frilled Shark.

Goblin Shark
Goblin Shark

All images are open source, Google images – not my own.

National Pet Week: 4th-10th May


This week is National Pet Week – a week to remember your loving pets; past and present.

All the companion animals that made their way into our hearts; the members of the family that we can’t live without. From large to tiny – no matter what species, pets are held close by their families.

Here are some photo’s of “People’s Pets” shared via various (Ali’s Answers) social media pages (if you want your pet adding to this post, share via the social media options at the end of this post:-

Fishy Friends


It can be hard to know which fish will get along being in a communal tank. Which fish species get along, and which ones don’t. Quite often (unfortunately) the pet store or aquarium staff also do not know.

I was in a garden centre aquarium about a month ago to restock my tropical tank, and I was shocked to see some of the species that they had kept together. I was even more shocked, and saddened, to see the aggression within tanks due to the wrong species being kept together – dead fish, fin-less/ half-eaten fish, bullying within the tank… all sorts!

It is not fair on the animals in the tanks – they have nowhere to go, so it is the job of those caring for them to ensure they have optimum environments and tank mates. This starts by knowing your fish species and how to house them, and who with.

Tetra, platy, guppy, danio, corydora, swordtail, catfish, loach, molly, and goldfish species are all good communal fish (within their water types) – in my experience.

Chichlids can be kept with other chichlids – but do your research. You may keep the same species chichlids together of different sizes, or different species of similar sizes, or get a communal type (same species, varying sizes).

Barb species are communal within species. For instance you could keep several rosy barbs together, but not a tiger barb an a rosy barb together. Barbs ought to be kept alone within their types, they are not good communal fish – not good with other fish species.

Comet Goldfish
Comet Goldfish

Fighter fish on the other hand should be kept alone, except for breeding (but separated after mating has taken place). This species is very  territorial and aggressive towards other fish – definitely a solitary species.

The size, and the amount of the same species in a tank can cause issues. For instance, you can keep two tangs of the same species but they must be different sizes to avoid conflict/ aggression; or two tangs of the same size but they must be different types.

Ensure you research into fish species before acquiring them – some species may appear to be okay together or just make your tank look aesthetically pleasing together, but may not actually get on. An overstocked tank will likely cause aggression. Fish with lovely, long, flowing fins may survive happily with reduced numbers within their tank; but end up with chewed (off) fins by other fish when there is overcrowding.

Choose your communal tank species carefully. Do thorough research into every fish species, and how well your intended species will get along in a tank – taking into consideration tank size, and amount and size of fish wanted.

Picking a Pet


There is plenty to consider when you think about getting a pet… I doubt I will cover anything but I hope to get across some of the main things in this post. So I’ll just dive right in…

What kind of pet is right for you?
Species, breed, age, lifespan, lifestyle requirements, environment – these are all important factors to consider when thinking about a pet.
– what sort of pet would fit in with your lifestyle?
– is your home suitable for the pet you want?
– what type of pet is your home suitable for?
– do you have time to give the pet the attention and care it needs?

Chilean Rose

Think about what pet you want. Think about whether or not you can commit. Can you commit to…
–  walking a dog daily, often multiple times daily?
–  ensuring a cat is exercised daily?
–  cleaning the glass, substrate, decor and filter of a fish tank?
–  cleaning a rodent cage multiple times a week?
–  the lifespan of the pet you desire?
If you cannot commit, either choose a different species or consider waiting until you are in a positions to commit fully to the pet you desire. If you do not have the time or the space for the kind of pet you want; then you may need to look into either waiting, or consider a different species/ breed.

Horses

There are many things to consider before adding a pet into your family.

Consider your finances – can you afford the pet you want? – Not just the one off payment for the pet and accessories; but the regular payments towards food, healthcare, replacement bedding, etc.

Space – Where will the pet live? Does it require specialised housing? Will it have free run of your home/ garden? Is your home suitable for the pet you want? Does this pet require large housing building/ buying? Do you know what housing type is best for the species you want?
Consider the positioning of any specialised housing – not near busy thoroughfares, or in direct sunlight/ under bright lights,  anywhere too dark, too cold, too hot, etc. Does the housing need to be outside? Do you have enough outside space to accommodate the animal?

Socialisation – Do yo need to buy more than one due to the animal being of a social species? Does the animal need socialising outside of the home? What is the best way to socialise the species?

There are many things to consider! So do some research, ask a professional (nb. not every person who works in a pet store, etc. is a professional!), check out a few different individuals of the species you want, and be as prepared as possible before diving in to pet ownership!

 


If you have any questions or comments, or would like any more information or advice regarding this post; or if you have anything specific you would like me to cover in a future post, then either leave a comment below, or contact me via one of my social media pages:-
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
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. Twitter (@AnimalFreak24)
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Pet Travel Safety


People don’t think about safety during travel with regards to there pets, as much as they should; especially with dogs in cars. Travelling with our pets is something we almost all do at some point – even if it’s just a trip to the vets.

Safety is important when travelling – smaller pets ought to be in a safe, secure pet carrier; suitable for the size of your pet. Someone ought to securely hold the small pets in the carrier, or the carrier ought to be secured in your vehicle; so that the carrier does not move about too much or tip over.

Hamster in carrier

Larger animals can be in larger pet carriers and crates/ cages, and secured in your vehicle. This can be a carrier that is mobile, or fitted in your vehicle.

Dog in crate
Dog in crate

Alternatives for larger pets, such as dogs and cats, are pet seat belts. These consist of harnesses and some way to fasten them into the seat belt buckle; some plug straight into the buckle plug, others have a loop in which the seatbelt goes through and plugs in as normal.

Dog Car Harness (loop)
Dog Car Harness (loop)

What is important to remember is that it’s not just your pet you put at risk by leaving them loose during travel. They could be a distraction and cause an accident without meaning to, and they are a weight that can be thrown into a person or out a window/windscreen if you get into a crash. Now my little Bedlington, in the image above, is 17″ to the shoulder and weighs upwards of 10kg – if he was lose in my car and there was an accident, 10kg slamming into a person could kill them; 10kg shooting out the window/windscreen could kill your pet too…

It is one of my biggest pet peeves (no pun intended) is seeing pets loose in a vehicle – the danger for the pet and people is greater than we tend to give credit to.

World Animal Day


4th October 2014 – World Animal Day

Also known as International Animal Day or World Animal Lover Day. World Animal Day is a day for remembering all animals; by the people who love and respect them.

So enjoy the following animal images…

Common Behavioural Problems: Introduction


What is a behavioural problem?
(a) A natural behaviour that is undesirable to the owner, but very desirable to the animal.
(b) A natural behaviour that us undesirable to both owner and animal.
(c) An abnormal behaviour exhibited (and often done in repetition) that suggests the animal has an inability to cope with something in its environment (known as Stereotypical Behaviour).

Common Behavioural Problems:
– Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D.)
– Coprophagia (eating faeces – not abnormal for certain species)
– Aggression
– Excessive Vocalisation
– Scratching/ biting/ kicking/ rearing/ bucking
– Anxiety
– Tail Chasing
– Feather Plucking/ Fur Pulling
– Chewing (things that they are not meant to chew)
– Hyper-excitability
– Excessive Grooming
– Wind Sucking/ Cribbing

Stereotypical Behaviours:
– Pacing
– Weaving/ Swaying
– Head Bobbing
– Circling
– Neck Twisting
– Bar Biting
– Rocking
– Self-Mutilation
– Vomiting (and then eating it, and vomiting again)
– Coprophilia (playing with faeces)
– Coprophaga (repeated)

How can behavioural problems be approached?
(1) Educating the owner
(2) Modifying the environment
(3) Modifying the animal


I will be doing some follow up posts on some of these behavioural problems, and some ways to tackle them. If you have anything specific you would like me to cover then either leave a comment below, or contact me via one of my social media pages:-
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AnimalFreak24)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Did you know? The 5 Freedoms


Short one this week. As much as we love our pets, not all animals have it as good as our little sweetie’s. Some have it very bad which sucks. It’s lovely to read rescue adoption stories and see animals get a second chance at happiness (they needn’t need a second chance, they should be loved right the first time).

The UK has the best animal welfare laws in the world, but even our laws do very little to help animals that really need it, without hard evidence. There are the 5 Freedom’s that were originally written by farmers for livestock, but have since been applied to domestic animals too. I have also realised that not many people have actually heard of the 5 Freedom’s – so this is merely an informative post to share what the 5 Freedom’s are and what they mean.

1. Freedom from hunger and thirst – fresh water readily available at all times, and a diet to maintain a healthy vigour

2. Freedom from discomfort – providing a suitable environment, including shelter and a comfortable area to rest

3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease – by prevention, or rapid diagnosis and treatment

4. Freedom to express normal behaviour – by providing sufficient space and proper facilities, and the company of the animal’s own kind (suitable socialisation)

5. Freedom from fear and distress – ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

I firmly believe in providing animals with the highest standard of care and good welfare that is possible. These are a good starting point.

Daisy Dog & myself
Daisy Dog & myself