Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cat Furniture - Every Cat Needs Some

By Jennifer Akre

You have decided that it's time for your family to get a pet. So, one Saturday everybody piles in the van and you head to the local animal shelter to pick out a new cat, but before you go any further, do you have everything in place for that new family member? To start with, you are going to need to get some cat furniture for it.

Cat furniture is the perfect way for your new cat to feel right at home because it will give him or her his or her own place to go whenever it might want to. One of the must have purchases that you need to make is getting a cat house or kitty condo. This will offer your companion a nice place to sleep instead of on your bed at night. One will generally by thicker and circular in shape, featuring enclosed sleeping areas where you cat can go to get comfy. Sometimes, they will be only one level with one opening, but other times there are two, three, even four level options available, ideal for if you have more than one cat. Typically, it will be made out of some type of durable material, like wood or plastic, that will then be covered in a sturdy fabric, like carpeting, so your cat won't ruin it.

In addition to a cat house or kitty condo, another must have cat furniture selection is a place where your cat can go and let off some of its steam. One great option where he can do just that is a cat tree.

It has the general shape of a real tree with a center pole with additional poles sticking out of it. Like the cat house, it is made from a wood/plastic and carpeting combo, providing your cat with an awesome place to run, jump, and play. If you are short on space, then a scratching post would be a good investment since it still offers your cat a place to get rid of its pent up energy by scratching.

These are just a few of the cat furniture selections that are available as well because there are many, many others. Like, deluxe cat gyms, perches, hanging ropes, and stairs. To see all the choices that you could purchase for your cat, along with all those must needed supplies that one will need like a collar, toys, brushes, a litter box and kitty litter, food, and anything else your cat might need is by jumping on the Internet for some online shopping. In no time at all can you get everything that you need for your new pet and it will be shipped right to your home. Now, that is convenient, especially with today's gas prices.

So, if you are planning on welcoming a new cat into your family, make sure that you purchase some cat furniture for it so it can really feel at home. Otherwise, it might feel lost if it doesn't have a place all to its own.

Author Jennifer Akre is an owner of different niche online stores like that offer customers not only products, but information relating to furnishing and decorating indoor and outdoor living spaces. There is also a lot of helpful advice to create one comfortable place for your cat. Today, she shares her insight when investing in luxurious cat furniture. Every cat deserves some.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Create Your Own Bird House

By Keith Londrie

It's great to hear the birds chirping in the morning making it sweeter and brighter but how can you get them near you? Yes, create your own bird house and lure them in there so that every morning will be sweetened with your birds singing.

You need to create a comfortable place for birds not only to attract them in there but also to keep them coming inside.

Like building any type of house try to make a plan of what you are going to do. Take a piece of paper and draw the bird house, then calculate how much wood and nails you will need and what shapes are you going to use.

After you're done that is time to buy the materials; choose some hard wood if you want the house to resist weather for many years, also buy some paint, nails and glue. Make sure you paint the wood well. Rain might damage the birdie's place.

Make sure, when you build the house, to leave a lot of free space inside so that you can place branches for the birds, water and food dishes and different toys; also space is very important if you don't want your birdies to fight over it.

Don't use improvised dishes from metal because they can harm the birds and they can also poison them; try to buy some special feeders or dishes where you can place the food and water with no problems.

To prevent water from staying in the bird house make some little holes at the base to get rid of any rainwater that might get inside; this also keeps fresh air inside. Make sure that you place the bird house a little higher because you might have a surprise and see your cat very happy one morning hiccupping because of the feathers; this also prevents any other animals, like mice or dogs, to mess with the birds and scare them away.

Place only bird food inside the house and only if this is a must, otherwise my advice is to place the bird food in another part of your yard because it can attract a lot of insects inside the house. A good option is to make a place near the house where you put the bird food.

When you paint the house make sure you don't even touch the inside of it because paint may be dangerous for the birds; they tend to chew a lot of things and painted wood might not be a good option. Limit yourself and only paint the outside of the house; also try to avoid any chemically treated wood.

After you build the house you will feel excellent, not only because you manufactured something but also because you helped some poor creatures by giving them shelter and food.

Keith Londrie II is the Webmaster of A website that specializes in providing information on bird houses that you can research on the internet. Visit now!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dog Feeders - How to Choose the Right One for Your Dog

By Caroline Miller

It's an accepted fact that dogs these days are not pets, but family members and companions. Would you plop a bowl of food before your child, and ask her to gulp it down? No, of course not. You would get her a divider plate if she's a toddler, so she doesn't mix up all the foods on her plate. You would fill a short and stout glass like a shot glass, with water, and place it by her plate, so she doesn't accidentally knock down the glass, and spill the water.

Similarly, a dog is a unique living being with his own special needs. He's someone who brings great joy into your life, and as such, he deserves every bit of the care and attention you bestow on his lifestyle.

So if you've been plunking a dog bowl full of food in front of your dog, and expecting him to gobble it up and not complain, it's not really your fault. Maybe you just don't know any better. Well, now there's no reason to be unaware of what's right for your dog. Read on, and find out what kind of dog feeder is right for your dog.

Smaller dogs and puppies or dogs with short noses can easily eat from a shallow bowl. These don't suit long nosed dogs, however. For a long nosed dog, buy a narrow and deep dog bowl that allows him to get to the food without smashing his nose.

Some dogs like cocker Spaniels have long and floppy ears that can dip into their food while they are feeding. If your dog is a long eared breed, get him a feeder with a narrow opening. This allows him to reach the food, while keeping his ears safely out of the scene.

Tall dogs need to eat from an elevated dog feeder. An elevated dog feeder is a feeder in which the bowl is placed a few inches above ground. The distance from the ground can vary depending on the dog, and you should easily be able to find a feeder that's perfectly suited to your tall dog.

Feeding from a shallow bowl can cause a tall dog to develop indigestion, because the food takes a longer time to travel though the stomach and into the digestive tract. It also increases the amount of strain on the dog's neck and shoulder muscles. Older dogs who suffer from arthritis also benefit from an elevated dog feeder. Don't forget to get your senior dog an orthopedic dog bed or a dog bed with extra padding to cushion his body.

Feeding is an important part of looking after your dog, but how you feed him is just as important. Keep these points in mind to buy a suitable feeding bowl for your dog.

Caroline Miller lives in Flemington, NJ with her husband and 3 month old daughter and is an expert contributing author for, a luxury baby gifts boutique offering variety of baby shower favors, baby gift baskets, handprint footprint kits and more. Babygiftstation is also dedicated to providing valuable and informative articles on childcare, baby safety tips, pregnancy health, parenting training and more.

Parrot Care Tips: Choosing the Best Parrot Cage on the Market

By Ispas Marin

The cage is your beloved parrot's home. Any living being should have good home so you have to be sure that you can provide your parrot with the best conditions. Also if you choose the parrot cage wisely than you will avoid some parrot care problems that can appear in the future.

The parrot cage should be the largest expense after practically buying the parrot. So if you are going to spend some money then be sure to spend them on a good deal.

The parrot is going to spend a lot of time in the cage so you'll have to choose the right one for your pet. There are three parrot care issues that you should take in consideration when you are decided to buy a parrot cage. The most important parrot care issue is you bird's safety. There are many cases where parrots got injured or killed because of their cage.

I will try to discuss al this three parrot care points that you should have in mind when you are going to buy a parrot cage.

Safety - Like i already said safety is the most important thing when choosing a parrot cage. You can find Knock down cages on the market. You you buy one of those than you'll have to examine it very good to see if there are any pieces that can be easily removed by you parrot. If there are than i don't advice you to buy this kind of parrot cages because the little pieces can be swallowed by you parrot.

The majority of parrot cages i saw in pet stores are built from different metals like wire, stainless steel, zinc. From what i found so far the wire parrot cages are the most economical. but you mustn't forget to inspect the cage regularly for broken welds or broken wires.

You can find metal parrot cages at a medium prices on the market. This parrot cages are built in a variety of metals shapes and colors.

The most expensive parrot cage that you can find in your search is the Stainless steel cage. The advantages of this type of parrot cages is that they will never rust or cause metal poisoning. So i think that if you are ready to make a good deal, buying a stainless steal parrot cage would be the perfect choice. Even if it's expensive i can ensure you that you'll never have to replace it.

One important safety issue is the bar spacing. When you buy a parrot cage make sure that the bar spacing is smaller than you parrot's head. This way you can be sure that your pet's head won't get stuck between the bars.

Size - another important aspect for a parrot cage is it's size. The best thing you can do is to go to a pet store and buy the largest parrot cage that you can find in your budget range. A big parrot cage gives more freedom to your parrot and it will have a happier life. Keep in mind that the width of the parrot cage is more important than the height. Mostly, your parrot will fly from side to side.

The components of the parrot cage is the last but not least of the important aspects when buying parrot cages. Swing out feeders are a good way to feed your parrot especially the aggressive ones.

You can also buy food dishes for you parrot cage. This accessories also come in different styles and colors.

Try to find a parrot cage that has an entry door big enough to get the bird out easily. Remember that parrots are very smart so they can learn how to open the cage doors. If this happens then you will have to take some security measures and ad some new components so the parrot won't be able to open the door anymore.

Also try to look for a parrot cage with removable litter trays. This way You will clean the cage with no effort and your bird won't reach the old left over food.

In conclusion if you want a happy and healthy parrot you must provide him with a good home. If the parrot cage meets all he parrot care aspects that i mentioned above then you can be sure that your pet will live healthy in peace.

Looking for great information on parrot care problems? Then you must visit us at the best parrot care site on the Net and don't forget to check our parrot cages section.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hip Dysplasia Relief For Dogs

By Scott Beatty

A little about Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is the result of abnormal development where the hip attaches to the body and usually causes painful inflamation of the joints. Hip Dysplasia can become evident when the dog reaches early adulthood, although symptoms may not show up until the dog reaches old age. It usually manifests itself in the larger breeds and sometimes in medium sized dogs. Some breeds that are prone to Hip Dysplasia are German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Great Danes,
Golden Retrievers, and Saint Bernards.

Owner - Dog with Hip Dysplasia

I am a proud owner of a German Shepherd with severe Hip Dysplasia. Her name is Tinika. At a young age when she went to get spayed, the vet took some x-rays while she was under anesthetic. He found severe Hip Dysplasia in her hips. The veterinarian told us Tinika would start to develop symptoms at the age of 8. Well she just turned 14 and only started to have problems at age 13. In her younger years she showed no symptoms at all. She was able to live her life fully without the problems involved with Hip Dysplasia. Most of the time your dog will develop symptoms at an older age, some dogs will develop them at a younger age. We all hope that the dog will only start to show symptoms once he/she reaches old age. That way she can live a fun filled life. Many dogs with Hip Dysplasia do live great lives.

There are some ways to help your dog. Read On!

1 Regular exercise - When Tinika was young she was just like any other dog. She could run, swim, jump the fence,
and get onto high places. I would walk her every day, and take her for a swim in the river once a week. This helped develop her muscles. Exercise helps the joints by producing muscle mass!
2 - Diet : Be careful not to let your dog get overweight. This puts a lot of strain on the hips. Choose the types of food carefully and limit the quantities. Consult pet stores, owners, vets for a good quality food. Feed your dog two small meals per day rather than one large one. A dog should eat in the morning and the evening.
3 - Supplements - Give your dog glucosimine every day. Read the list of ingredients in food as some foods contain glucosimine.

Some things associated with Hip Dysplasia are : Inflamation of the hip joints, bunny hopping ( when the dog is running but moves both back legs at the same time. ) , not able to get onto the couch or bed, inability to stand up for long periods of time or go for a walk. Tinika has experienced all of these symptoms, but still gets around.
By choosing a dog ramp you will give your dog back the independence he/she needs. There are many dog ramps available but our ramps use very high quality materials.They are easily assembled and lightweight. They also support heavy dogs.

Alleviate your dog's struggles. Empower your dog. Avoid back strain associated with lifting a heavy animal. We offer a variety of dog ramps to our customers so you can get all you need here!
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Happy Holidays

With all the hustle and bustle, the holidays are an exciting time of the year. However, as the preparations begin, pets are exposed to new hazards. Decorations are mistaken for chew toys and ham on the unattended table can make for quite a treat. During the holidays, vigilance is key to making sure the pets stay healthy.

Watch out for the "pretty things". Ribbon, tinsel, wrapping paper, ornaments, and extension cords may all be Fido's next meal. Cats especially love shiny items such as tinsel which can be deadly. String-like items known as linear foreign bodies can cause serious damage to the intestine. If one end gets stuck while the other is pulled through, the contractions can cause the string to cut through the intestine. The cuts may result in infection of the belly cavity which prognosis for is very poor. Pets that have ingested linear foreign bodies will quickly show signs of belly pain, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and possibly fever. Some foreign objects may pass through the intestine on their own, but if they do not, surgery is required for removal.

Decorative lights are another attraction for pets. Check the cords to make sure there are no chew marks as they could result in electrical shock. Always, follow the manufacturer's guidelines during installation to minimize the risk. If a pet is shocked, immediate veterinarian treatment should be sought.

Pets love to find their own source of water, and during the holidays, there are many new resources readily available. A favorite generally is the Christmas tree stand. If the water is treated with chemicals, check the bag labeling for indication of it being safe for pets. Also, the fragrance potpourri pots are an attractive source as well. Keep them covered and out of reach. It is difficult to combat a pet's fascination in holiday decorations. However, installation of child gates can be most helpful in solving this problem.

Well-intentioned guests may show their friendliness by sharing their holiday food with the four legged family members. Since holiday foods are often high in fat content, the consumption could result in more than just a typical upset stomach. Pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas, is primarily caused by the consumption of fatty foods. If the guests want to feed the pets, make sure they give food which is suitable for the pet's diet.

For more information regarding pet holiday hazards, please consult

Joseph Devine

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Completely Free Guide On Fleas Control To Help You

As much as you and I love cat or dog, the bitter news we have to swallow concerning our pet is the despicable work of the fleas on out pet. However, the good news is that we don't have to lose the company of our pet to these unwanted visitors. We can prevent them from infesting our pets. What you can do to put these unwanted visitors at bay forever is the main thrust of this article.

The beginning of keeping fleas at bay forever starts from your yard. A clean and sun drenched yard is hated by fleas. Take your time to clean your yards by raking up any leaf litters or yard debris. Make sure you compost it far away from where you and your pet resides. Another better option is to haul it away entirely. Once you have accomplished a clean surrounding, it is not over yet. Visit a reputable local farm and garden store near you and acquire some beneficial nematodes. Inform the owner or representative of the store that you are dealing with fleas and therefore need a product that will help you. I'm sure you will be given the best.

Now, you have just dealt with the outside of your home, the next battle place is right inside your home. The best weapon to use to fight fleas inside your home is vacuum cleaner and borax. Ensure to let the borax sit for a few hours before you vacuum it. Please ensure that there are no pets around! Once done, get the vacuum bag into the trash immediately. With this treatment, you can be sure that your pets and ultimately your home will be safe from fleas and other pets for a long time. But I must warn that the manufacturer of borax is not the author of this idea. You are doing it at your own risk.

Now, lets move to flea infestation on your pets. It is highly necessary for your pet to be clean and well groomed regularly. If you like, you can take him to the groomer and get him cleaned up. Another method you can use is to bath him and apply a topical spot treatment after he is dry. Use spot treatment such as front line or advantage. This can last for up to three months and it does an effective work of killing fleas or ticks on your pet. However, it is suggested that you see your vet doctor before buying any particular one.

When you make use of the afore-mentioned tips, you can be sure that you and your pets will free from fleas. These are the most effective ways of getting rid of fleas for a long time.

Get more free info on Fleas Control from Fleas Control Guide


Friday, June 6, 2008

What You Need To Know Before You Buy A 100 Gallon Fish Tank

By Sharon Price

You Will Need To Know The Following Things Before You Rush Out And Buy Your 100 Gallon Fish Tank:

• What Kinds Of Fish?

• Is It Going To Be A Saltwater Or Freshwater Tank?

• What Types Of Heater Or Filter Do You Need?

• Accessories And Decorations?

• What Shape Tank

• Do You Need A Fish Tank Stand Or Cabinet?

• How Much Is It All Going To Cost?

All of the above questions need to be answered before you rush out and buy your 100 gallon fish tank. I will try to give you a rough idea as to what you need to know, however professional advice from your local store is the best advice I can give.
A 100 gallon fish tanks are a bit more expensive than smaller tanks but they give you lots more options when choosing which and how many fish you want to put in it. You will also need to decide on what shape tank and whether or not you want it made of glass or acrylic? Another factor to consider is that of where it will be positioned in your home and does it need a stand or cabinet to house it? Cabinets provide useful additional storage for homes where space is limited and a 100 gallon fish tank would need quite a large cabinet but would provide some extra much needed storage space.

Saltwater Or Freshwater?

The most important thing when choosing your fish is to first decide whether your 100 gallon fish tank is going to be a freshwater or saltwater fish tank. Freshwater tanks are cheaper and easier to maintain, while saltwater fish tanks need more attention to detail as you need to concentrate on the ph levels of the water and therefore have more expenses in buying the chemicals.

Which Fish?

Fish tanks are a blank canvas, void until you fill it with a variety of fish and decorations, and the larger the tank, the larger the canvas, so you can go out and buy more or bigger fish. The type of fish you put in your 100 gallon fish tank all depend on whether or not you have chosen a saltwater or freshwater tank? The best freshwater fish include catfish and Oscars whereas saltwater fish include a variety of puffer fish, lionfish, moray eels, and sea horses. Make sure you get advice on what types of fish, eels, anemones, etc that you put together as some fish do not get on with the others and cannot live in certain water.

Filter, Accessories, Cabinets Etc

The accessories that you will place in your 100 gallon fish tank are also going to depend on whether or not you want a freshwater or saltwater tank. Do you wish to place artificial or real plant-life in your tank? What types of decorations will be best for the species that you are placing in your aquarium? Filters and heating combinations also need to be addressed as well as biological and chemical factors. Advice is needed when you are embarking on a hobby of this size but it will provide you with a very relaxing pastime which will be the envy of your friends. provides information and advice associated with fish tanks, aquariums, fish and fish products.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Where to Buy Fish Tank Supplies

One of the biggest questions that people who are new to fish tanks have is, "Where can I buy fish tank supplies?" This is often an easy question to answer. There are three places that you can look for fish tank supplies: your local pet store, a pet superstore, or an online store. Try all three sources until you find exactly what you want.

Your local pet store should have a good selection of fish tank supplies. They may not have all of the specialized goods that you are looking for, but for basic supplies such as gravel, you should be set. These local pet stores are also a good place to go if you are in need of advice on which fish tank supplies to buy. Store employees at these smaller shops often love to converse with their customers. Use this to gain all the knowledge you need to find supplies or care for your fish and fish tank.

A pet superstore is the place to go if you are in need of a wide variety of fish tank supplies. These bigger stores offer many of the supplies that you would never be able to find at a local store. Whereas the local stores have the basic necessities, the bigger stores will have everything that the advanced aquarium keeper may want to buy. They also offer a wider variety of the basic supplies. For example, a small local pet store may only offer a couple colors of gravel, whereas a large superstore will have all of the colors that a manufacturer offers. The pet superstore, found in many modest to large cities are hard to beat when looking for supplies for your fish tank.

If the pet store route does not work, you can always turn to an online pet store. These stores offer up all of your needs at the same place. If you are looking to get everything you need at one place, you may want to check online. Online, you can try Ebay or do a search on google to find supplies. Individual online pet store can also be found with a search on google.

Fish tank supplies can be found in abundance at all three of the outlets listed above. Check all of them out before making a final purchase. You may be surprised at what you will find. Styles, types and prices will vary greatly.

Keith Londrie II is a well known author. For more information on Fish Aquariums, please visit for a wealth of information. You may also want to visit keith's own web site at

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Which And When - 6 Useful Tips To Choose Cichlids For Your Aquarium

By Radha Deep

All the fish swimming around, involved in their various antics, the aggressive, not causing any damage or harm to the other fish- is an ideal compatible status of a fish tank.

In contrast if you see most of the fish crowd over at one point while a couple swim around unchallenged, or if you see a group of fish lying on their sides with noses above the surface of the water, then this isn't what compatibility is about! You have probably have a wrong combination of fish in your aquarium.

Before you buy Cichlids for your new tank. This is what you need to do.

Decide on the shop where you plan to buy the fishes and visit it several times. Observe the aquariam kept and talk with the people in the shop, getting to know about the varieties of fish that are available for sale. Enquire about livestock guarantee and ensure that the shop owner takes it seriously.

Most aquarium shop personnel are helpful and are willing to spare the time to tell you about the fish you can buy, given your budget and the size of the tank you plan to have.

On your visits you may come upon a lone fish in a tank. Find out why he has been isolated... It may be for a reason that you do not want repeated in the tank you set up.

These useful tips will help you populate the tank effectively

  • Always purchase two or more fish at a time. If you buy one aggressive fish in the beginning, it becomes difficult to add on more docile ones later. However, there is less chance he would take on two new comers at a time

  • Carnivorous fish are aggressive; herbivorous are not - This is a MYTH and you need to remember that! Most African Cichlids are pure herbivores and quite the most aggressive fish in a tank!

  • Being aggressive is really relative. If you think your tank will be better if you remove the most aggressive fish out of it..... what really happens is.. the second most aggressive fish establishes rule within the tank!

  • Some fish are hyper active, some are very placid. Do not mix these varieties. Observe the tanks and the combination of fishes well to select fish with relatively same activity levels.

  • By doing so you will avoid having an aquarium where two fishes rule the roost, while the rest crowd in a corner!

  • Make a list in the following manner:

  1. Make a list of all the fish you want to have in the tank, keeping in mind the size and your budget

  2. Find out as much as you can about these types by reading, research on the internet and asking other aquarium owners and the fish shop personnel. You must now know enough about them to identify the most aggressive and the least

  3. Sort them in a manner that the the first fish on the list has relatively the largest size and is relatively least aggressive

  4. So the last fish on this list will be a diminutive sized one, with the most aggressive tendency as compared to the other fish on the list.

  5. The size of the fish according to which you sort is the size of a full grown fish, not the size of the fish when you buy it

  6. This is the order in which you will now buy the fish! By the time this is done, you would probably have added or deleted some names from the original list. No matter, you now have a list of fish you know will live together in relative compatibility!

  7. Now go ahead and buy the first two fishes on the list... two fish that are large but docile

  8. After a couple of days, buy the next two fishes on the list; go on buying in this order until the tank is populated with just the number of fish you plan to rear.

The basic idea of this strategy is to have a tank full of fish living in good compatibility. In case an aggressive little fish wants a fight, he will refrain from it because of the huger fish around him!

Be cautious about these issues:

  • If the fish shop personnel tell you that a particular specimen is "probably ok I guess", or "maybe not too aggressive" then do make it your business to find out EXACTLY how aggressive he is or how really fine the specimen is.

  • Also get a second opinion about this fish. it always helps

  • In a relatively peaceful tank think twice before you include African Cichlids... They are known to be highly aggressive

  • Observe the size of the fish's mouth. .If a fish has an enormously large mouth, never mind his puny size. A big mouthed fish usually has his companions in the tank for breakfast lunch and dinner! Never mind if the fish he want to swallow is twice his size... If his mouth is big then the big fish is MEAL!

  • A very good example for this are the Haps of Lake Malawi, Africa. have you seen them? They are piscivorous fish species (fish eating) of the genus Haplochromis Hilgendorf

  • Another important thing you should remember is that most fishes of the same genus, color, feeding habits, shape, geographical location and behavior usually do not get along well.

Are you ready to start that aquarium? I recommend that you begin you research by reading "Aquarium Fish handbook: The Complete Reference from Anemonefish to Zamora Woodcats", by Derek Lamberts and Dick Mills. here's wishing you success in rearing the fish you always wanted to have.

Free tips and resources are provided on on dogs, fishes, management concepts. The author contributes regularly to the following sites.

What to Look For to Buy a Healthy Betta Fish

By Mary Jensen

Many of the betta fish available to buy at stores are already sick from being kept in unhealthy conditions. You'll have a better chance to find a healthy fish from a pet store than a convenience store. Your best chances would be to purchase one directly from a breeder, however. In any case, you want to choose a healthy fish to have the best start, giving it a good chance for a long life. Did you know that Betta fish can live up to five years? A fish that starts out sick, however, may only live up to six months after purchase. It's easier to care for a healthy fish than to revive an unhealthy one.

Here are the different aspects to look for when choosing your fish:

Environment: Are the cups clean or are they full of dirty water? Is there a bad smell in the air? It could be from dead fish.

Color: Bettas are known for their vibrant coloring. Of course, there are variations that are pale or white. More likely, however, the dull color is a sign of stress or poor health.

Behavior: You want an active fish, floating upright, not spending too much time on the bottom. If a fish is motionless it could be sleeping. Don't tap on the glass as that will stress it out. Be subtle trying to get his attention.

Body: The body should be full and sleek, with no noticeable bumps. If it has white splotches it could have a fungus.

Fins: The fins should be free of wholes or tears, and spread fully instead of clamped together.

Scales: The scales should be flat and smooth. They shouldn't be loose or peeling.

Gills: Gills should be smooth, not red or stringy.

Eyes: The eyes should be dark and clear. They should not be bulging or sunken.

If something just doesn't look or feel right, pass on that fish and look at another one. It's good to trust your instincts. If there are many healthy fish to choose from, then go with personal preference.

You can use these same signs to watch the health of your betta fish after purchase. There are many resources on the web that you can find to increase the health and longevity of your fish. Put "Betta Care" in the search engine to get started. Good luck with your new fish!

This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.PetLovers.Com/ which is a site for Pet Forums.

Monday, June 2, 2008

How To Raise Baby Chicks (and Then Buy a Great New Chicken Hutch!)

Begin with a plan. Once you bring your baby chicks home, where will their "brooding area" be? The brooding area is the contained place where your baby chicks will live until they can go outside. A large cardboard box, a rubber stock tank, or a suitable tub or other containment system can work. Ideally, for the chick's safety and your sanity, the sides should be at least 18 inches tall. It must be completely clean and dry before putting the baby chicks into it. It is important to provide adequate ventilation, but also keep the baby chicks from being near drafts. Ideally, locate this brooding area in a protected area of your home, safe from small children, other pets and drafts, but a garage or basement area might be best. Baby chicks can be a messy, as they love to pick at their bedding, which can create a bit of dust. Some folks could also find their smell to be a bit offensive. Plan ahead to pick the most suitable area!

The brooding area should be larger enough to provide up to 2 square feet per chick. The bottom of the area should be covered with one or more inches of pine shavings or ground corncob bedding. Remove all soiled litter as often as possible, but at least weekly, and add new litter as necessary.

For the first few weeks, baby chicks need a heat lamp. When using an infra-red heat, place it 18 inches above the top of the bedding for the first week, and raise it 2 inches per week until the bulb is about 24 inches above the litter. Another way to judge this critical step is by actual temperature. When taken at the level the chicks are at, the first week the temperature should be between 92 to 95 degrees. You then lower the temperature by about 5 degrees per week until the temperature remains at 70 degrees. Put the heat lamp on and check the temperature before you bring home your chicks, to make sure all works well.

Provide water in a poultry fount or waterer, specifically made for baby chicks. Clean it daily along with providing a constant source of fresh water. Use feeders designed for baby chicks, and try to position them near the waterers, but slightly closer to the heat lamp. Keep fresh food available at all times as well. Baby chicks, unlike ducks, generally need medicated feed and supplemental antibiotics in their drinking water. Check with the hatchery for proper recommendations.

Check on the chicks at least a half dozen times a day. Look for some obvious signs. If all the chicks are gathered in the center in a tight circle, they may be cold and you need to slightly lower the lamp. If they are around the perimeter and seem to be avoiding each other, they may be too hot and you need to raise the bulb.

Once the babies are 2 to 3 weeks old, if the temperature is at least 70 degrees and sunny, you might let them outside for a short bit of air, assuming they are completely protected from all dangers or just getting away. When they begin to get feathers and are almost 6 weeks old, they should be ready to put outside in their new chicken home.

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Tips on Setting Up Your First Fish Tank

Let's take a splash into the world of fish. Studies show there is a calming effect on watching fish. Having a fish tank relives stress, overall improving ones health. This is why you find many fish tanks in doctors offices. Don't forget the entertainment that fish provide. All around, fish make great pets.

First thing before purchasing a tank is to know where you are going to put it. Remember three main things. First is stability. Is it going to have its own stand or be on a table? This is very important especially if you have pets or children. Flipping fish and water all over the floor because of an unstable table is not something you want to experience.

Second, fish tanks don't do well in a place where there is an abundant amount of sun because algae will form. A green fish tank is not pretty sight. Don't place your fish tank near heat, air conditioning or exterior doors because you will have problems maintaining constant water temperature. Don't forget that you will need electricity. Do not use extension cords, you need an outlet less then three feet away. Trust me, its a pain to set the whole tank up and realize there is no outlet near by.

Okay, now you are ready to purchase a tank. What type of fish do you want? Tropical fish or cold water fish. Tropical fish need a heater in the tank to keep the temperature between 74-78 degrees Fahrenheit. There are basic two types of tanks, glass or acrylic. Personally, I find acrylic much easier due to the fact that it is a lot lighter and acrylic won't crack.

One mistake to avoid is purchasing the fish tank, all accessories, and the fish all at once. Buy only the fish tank and accessories because the environment for the fish has to be established first. You need to place the water in the fish tank 24 hours ahead of time and let it acclimate to room temperature. Letting it stand also de-chlorinates the water. You can purchase drops of sodium thiosulfate to de-chlorinate the water but that does not allow the water to reach room temperature. My advise is skip as many chemicals as possible and wait the 24 hour time period.

Don't forget gravel, rock and decorations. You can get plastic plants or live plants. I personally like live plants because most fish like to eat the plants. Also, make sure you have extra carbon filters on hand.

Now you are ready to purchase fish. A good fish store will be able to assist you on how many fish to buy for your size tank. While you are there don't forget the fish food. Your choices are flake food or pellets. I have found that pellets keep the tank much cleaner. Remember only to feed the fish what they can eat in a few minutes.

You think fish can't jump? Think again! Make sure your aquarium comes with a hood. This is very important because it keeps little hands from putting things in the fish tank. The hood has a lighting fixture that usually comes with a incandescent bulb. I replaced mine with a 13w compact fluorescent light bulb because of heat build up and the possibility of getting burned. I usually keep my fish tank light on when feeding the fish so I can watch their strange antics.

Your next step? To take what you've just learned and go to the pet store and purchase a tank.

Gary Nave helps consumers choose the right fish tank for their needs

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