September 9, 2010

Dietary Types of Fish

Filed under: fish health — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:11 am

Just as with mammals, there are 3 main dietary types of fish: carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores.  If you have recently purchased a fish but you are not sure of its dietary type, you need to speak to the pet store or a veterinarian immediately.  Properly feeding your fish is a basic requirement of owning a pet fish.  In fact, pet fish are extremely sensitive to proper diet and over feeding, under feeding, or feeding your pet fish the wrong type of food can have fatal results.

Carnivores are fish that eat meat, just as you would expect with mammals.  Some fish prefer live prey and may only eat food that they can hunt and kills.  Other fish and insects are the most common type of food for these fish.  On the other hand, some carnivorous fish will eat dried shrimp or other meat-based products.  Examples of carnivorous fish include:

  • Acara
  • Archerfish
  • Bettas
  • Hatchetfish
  • Oscar
  • Piranha

Herbivores are essentially vegetarian fish.  As such herbivorous fish will eat a diet made up exclusively or mostly of vegetable matter.  Since herbivores tend to have a smaller stomach, they need to eat more often.  Examples of herbivorous fish include:

  • Molly
  • Farowella
  • Pacu
  • Tropheus

The final dietary type of fish is the omnivore.  Most aquarium fish are omnivores and they will eat both meat and vegetables.  Veterinarians recommend a varied diet for omnivorous fish to ensure that they get all the nutrients they need.  Omnivorous fish can survive on a vegetarian diet, although it is not recommended.  Depending on the type of fish you have, you should do some research about their preferred diet.  The following are examples of omnivorous fish:

  • Angelfish
  • Barbs
  • Danios
  • Festivum
  • Goldfish
  • Guppy
  • Loaches
  • Platy

September 8, 2010

The Basics of Feeding Fish

Filed under: fish health — Dr. Amber Reed @ 8:56 am

Maintaining the health and well being of your pet fish requires that you choose the correct fish food and that you feed them on a consistent schedule.  Over feeding, under feeding, and malnutrition can have a very serious impact on the health of your pet fish.  In many circumstances, a new fish owner may not even know what kind of food to give their fish.  Always speak to the pet store clerk or a veterinarian about the best way to feed your fish as there is no common rule for every species.  Nevertheless, here are some basic guidelines for feeding fish.

Fish can be omnivores, herbivores, or carnivores so you need to identify which kind of food your fish will eat.  Most small fish that are kept in bowls will survive happily on some kind of fish flake diet, but other fish can have very specific dietary needs.  In addition, fry will need special foods until they develop so you need to do your research before settling on one type of food.  Moreover, adult fish like to have a variable diet so including dry, froze, and fresh foods can help them maintain a balanced diet.

Fish will definitely have different feeding behaviors as well.  Some fish feed from the top of their habitat while others like to feed at the bottom.  Similarly, some fish are day time eaters while others prefer to feed at night.  As a fish owner, you need to find out what time of day your fish prefers to eat as well as where as you’ll need food that sinks for fish that prefer feeding at the bottom of the water.

Finally, remember that fish foods are not good forever.  While they don’t often carry an expiry date, many fish foods, especially fish flakes, can lose their nutritional value very quickly, sometimes in less than a month.  Keep food fresh and make sure that your fish receive a variety of vitamins and nutrients.

June 30, 2010

Caring for Koi Fish

Filed under: fish health — Dr. Amber Reed @ 7:30 pm

The Koi fish is a vibrantly colored fish that is especially popular throughout Asia and is becoming more popular as pets for North Americans.  This ornamental fish often makes a beautiful addition to garden ponds and aquariums and have been widely domesticated for many years.  In fact, the Koi fish can survive in almost any climate and is found in all parts of the world with the exception of Antarctica.  This article will present some of the most important Koi fish care tips so that you can keep a happy, healthy Koi fish.

Many pet fish die every year because of the ignorance of their owners and this is certainly true of Koi Fish.  You may think that fish are a no-maintenance pet but this is simply not true.  In fact, Koi fish are actually quite tricky to care for as their needs change seasonally.  As water temperatures are apt to change with environmental temperatures, it is important to carefully monitory the habitat of your Koi fish.  Water temperatures can change drastically from season to season and even within seasons and this can be dangerous for the health of your Koi fish.

In addition, you must provide your Koi fish with the right type and amount of food.  The size of your pond, the type of filter you’re using, the season, and other factors influence the kind and amount of food you should give your Koi fish.  You also need to ensure that your fish have adequate space and you never want to overpopulate a pond or aquarium as this can also be detrimental to the health of your fish.

It is always advisable to speak to your veterinarian or pet shop about the care requirements for Koi fish.  Depending on your climate, the size of the habitat, and the number of fish, the needs of Koi fish will vary.

June 1, 2010

Creating the Perfect Environment for your Pet Fish

fish tankMany animal lovers enjoy pet fish because they can be very beautiful but relatively easy to care for.  While the fish itself may not be demanding as far as personal attention, feeding, and maintenance are concerned, there are still some things you’ll need to remember if you’re planning on getting a pet fish.  This article will focus on the environment for your fish, specifically the size of tank and placement of the tank, as well as a few other tips to help you get started.

The first thing you’ll need to do before getting a pet fish is pick an aquarium or tank.  The size of your aquarium can vary widely but for novice fish owners an average tank, no larger than 20 gallons but no smaller than 10 gallons, is a good way to start.  It is easier to maintain proper water quality in a moderately sized tank and you can have several varieties of fish living harmoniously in one of these tanks.  Usually, you want to aim for about 1 fish per gallon of water in the tank, but even this depends on the size of your fish.  Some experts recommend 1 gallon of water per 1 inch of full-grown fish.  So, if an adult fish is 1 inch long, you need 1 gallon of water.

Next you need to consider where to place your pet fish aquarium.  First of all, you need to remember to put the tank on a structure that will support its weight.  Generally speaking, aquariums weigh about 10 pounds for every gallon of water so you should choose a stand that will support that weight.  In addition, you should not put your tank in direct sunlight as this can cause the water to overheat.  Choose a room with plenty of sunlight but keep the tank away from windows.  Finally, remember that if you have any questions about how to care for your fish, ask somebody at the pet shop.  With a bit of research you can build a happy, healthy environment for your fish.

January 27, 2010

How can I tell if my fish is sick?

Filed under: fish behavior,fish health,healthy fish behaviours,sickness in fish — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:05 am

You may not be an expert on fish behaviour or health but you know that your fish can get sick. Unfortunately, in many cases fish die before their owners realize that they’re ill but there are signs that you should watch for if you suspect your fish might be ill. In most cases, when a fish develops a disease, its behaviour or appearance will change noticeably. A vigilant fish owner will recognize these changes and take the necessary steps to get their fish healthy again.

signs of a sick fishSo the first thing a pet owner needs to do is observe their fish when it’s healthy. If you don’t know how your healthy fish behaves or looks it will be extremely difficult to recognize behaviours that indicate your fish is sick. Most fish sickness is the result of stress; even in humans stress compromises the immune system and in fish this is often fatal. Some of the most stressful and therefore most detrimental health factors for fish include poor water quality, wildly fluctuating water temperature, insufficient space in the tank for fish, lack of oxygen, or poor nutrition.

If you suspect your fish is ill, there are some clear signs of a problem. First of all, changes in eating behaviour often indicate illness as do changes in exploratory behaviour. If your fish refuses to eat or swim around the tank, these could be early signs of illness. Even when an inactive fish become suddenly active you might be dealing with an illness. Visible spots or lesions on your fish’s scales also indicate illness. Finally, changes in swimming patterns can indicate sickness; so, if your fish is floating, sinking, whirling, or swimming sideways, you may have a problem.

Because fish cannot vocalize illness in the way that humans or other mammals do, it is extremely important to watch their behaviour to discover illness. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, visit a vet immediately.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.