Pictured is Sami Rae, our Brussels Griffon puppy at 4 months old. Share your pictures and stories with us.
Passionate about aquatic fish, their care and tank maintenance. Share you thoughts.
Probably one of the most beautiful freshwater fish found in the world is the male Siamese fighting fish (also called Betta). Males cannot be kept together because they will fight. This is where their name, “Siamese fighting fish”, comes from. Individuals can be kept in small bowls. They are graceful, slow moving, and are one of the very few fish that can truly get air from the surface when necessary. Female Betta's can be kept together if desired, as they are not as aggressive as the males.
A general good quality Siamese Fighting fish flake or pellet food is a must for your Betta’s basic diet. The most important thing to remember about feeding fish is that it is very easy to over feed them, and it is very hard to starve any fish. So feed only once a day or even better every other day, and give only 4 to 6 flakes or pellets to your fish.
Different types of special fish foods should be offered at least twice a week instead of the basic diet. Variety is important. These extra foods can include frozen or freeze-dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, and other types of “meat”. Betta's are carnivorous fish.
A fish bowl can be used for Betta's, although they can be kept in a fish tank with other types of tropical freshwater fish. But some fish may pick on Betta's and Betta's may go after some fish, so be sure all fish will get along by asking us if all your fish will be compatible. One inch of gravel at the bottom will provide enough surface area for the good bacteria that help break down some of the Betta’s waste. A filter is not necessary, but it is recommended. Tap water can be used, but a water conditioner must be added to the water to remove chemicals like chlorine and heavy metals which can kill fish.
Feed fish once every day to every other day. It is best, and much less stressful to the fish, to do small water changes more frequently than large ones once in a while. For bowls or tanks less than four gallons, change approximately one cup of water every day, and one half of the water twice to three times a month by putting half of the water and the fish in a bucket and then cleaning the gravel inside the container. For tanks over four gallons, change 10% of the water once a week, and once a month remove one third or so of the tank water by siphoning the water through the gravel with a gravel vacuum. Cleaning the gravel will keep the good bacteria healthy and take out excess solid wastes.
Fish will catch diseases whenever they become too stressed. Moving from one tank or bowl to another, not changing water frequently, overfeeding, and adding too many fish at once can be causes of stress. Keep only one male Betta in a bowl or tank.
It’s not often a new species of lizard hits the pet market place. Especially one that has all the criteria for making it popular and easy to care for—not to mention looks pretty cool too. The common name for this new reptile is the Steppe lizard. (Well, it’s not really a new reptile; they've been around for thousands of years, just new to
The scientific name is Eremias Arguta and in its indigenous country it’s known as the Steppenrenner. I've also heard it called a Desert Racer—probably because it is usually found near sandy beaches and will dart off into hiding in low bushy vegetation when threatened. No matter what you call them, they are hitting the pet scene in a big way. Reptile enthusiasts rejoice.
There are a couple of points that make them interesting. For one, they don’t get very big, only 6 inches full grown. Number two, they are easy to feed and don’t eat very much (I like economical) and number three, they are hand-able—they don’t bite and they don’t freak-out when you hold them (this is a big plus in my book). Bonus feature—they’re inexpensive—$30-35 (that’s even a bigger plus in my book).
Steppe Lizards have a plump body with nice markings and a head that’s similar to a Tegu monitor, and a serpent type tongue. Although, I’m not sure if it’s split or not, but it is narrow and long. The tail has small spikes and the body is relatively smooth. Click here to check-out a video of his forked tongue.
There is not a lot of information on these guys at the time of this posting, but we do know the basics for keeping them healthy and active.
- Insect eaters, (crickets, meal worms, etc.)
- Calcium powder with vitamin D3
- UVA light for assimilation of D3
- Daytime heat source between 80-90 degrees
- Nighttime heat source about 70-75 degrees
- Best kept dry, but provide water
- 10 Gal tank with lid (adequate for one or two adult lizards)
- Shelter (rocks, caves, or bushes)
- Aspen bedding, coconut fiber, or indoor/outdoor carpeting (not sure if sand is a good idea. Let me know if you find out it works for you)
Feel free to contact me if you have more information or different information on these lizards.
Years ago, when my sister Cathy and her 7 yr old son visited our house, our Brussels, Chula, came up missing. After a thorough search of the house we began searching the neighborhood. We lived on one of the fingers in Indian Rocks beach and our house backed up to the inter-coastal waterway, as did the houses on the opposite side of the street. Needless to say, our biggest fear was Chula fell off our seawall, and that’s were I began our search. I sent my wife, Linda, and my sister, Cathy, along with her son, Jackie, to begin searching the street, door to door.
Chula was well known in our small community and many knew her by name. Chula was the typical Brussels; independent, cat like, and she often seemed to scoff at us mere humans. Rarely did she bark...it seemed beneath her dignity. She had expectations, and as long as they were met there seemed no reason to bark or carry on foolishly. She often showed up at a neighbors house—unannounced. We were, after all, at her disposal. Think of the comic strip Garfield, only in a dog.
After an hour of searching, knocking on doors, and calling her name we decided to regroup back home to make a few calls to authorities. I went to the kitchen and pulled out the phone book while Linda offered to fix lunch and get some drinks together before we headed back out on our search. Linda opened a cupboard door to get some snacks, and there sat Chula. We all begin yelling and cheering while Chula just sat there with the look of “What’s the big deal. I’ve been right here all along, while you've been searching like idiots everywhere—except in this cupboard”. When we finally tired of hugging and kissing and passing her around, she nonchalantly walked over to get a drink of water and then headed back to her favorite resting place on the back of the sofa.
To this day we don’t know who closed the cupboard door on Chula, but we are pretty sure that, for Chula, it was one more piece of evidence convincing her that those humans are the inferior beings. She lived to be 18 years old and was one of the biggest joys in our life.