Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Small Tetra Tank

Most of this blog has been focusing on my angelfish, but I also have a neon tetra tank. Neon tetras, glowlight tetras, and penguin tetras can not be placed in the same tank as full grown angelfish, because they would be considered food.

So they have their own tank, along with several corydoras and a miniature pleco.

This was supposed to be a fireplace but the contractor never finished it. Rather than to look at a gaping hole, I turned it into an aquarium. This is only 20 gallons, but the small tetras in this tank must think it is spacious.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Redecorating a Community Tank

I liked the castles in Lindsay's and Stevie's Honeymoon Suite so much that I bought one for one of my community tanks.

Above, you can see two rare blue angels, a platinum marble angel named Emmie Lou who is the daughter of Lindsay and Stevie, and a blue marble angelfish. Emmie Lou (at the far left) is the only female. This tank is 55 gallons, and also contains corydoras and tetras.

Below is a video of their new digs:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Smiling at the Vet's Office

You know a veterinarian and his staff is great when this young lady smiles in his office.

Simone is a tri-colored collie.
She was rescued by the Robeson County Humane Society
and the Terrell family adopted her.
She is always the perfect lady!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Angels in the Community Tank

I have two community tanks with four angelfish in each one.

In this one, I have three males and one female. Normally, it's best to have things the other way around, as males can become quite territorial. This tank, however, is 70 gallons so there are places each male can go where they can not be seen by the others.

The oldest in this tank is John McFish. He is a silver angel around four years old. His mate, Christy McFish, was a smoky leopard who passed away some time ago.

The two koi angelfish are from the same brood. However, although one is male and one is female, they have never been interested in one another romantically - which might be a good thing, since they are brother and sister.

The female koi is interested in the blue marble angel, which is about the same age - around two years old. He is the alpha male in the tank, which might be why she is so interested in him. It is important for the male to be able to protect the eggs and fry from predators.

All of the angelfish get along just fine with the other fish in their tank.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Animals? REALLY?

A Special Post From Lucy, the Jack Russell Mix

So, I don't usually get political, but lately I've been seeing comments that have me barking. It all started with the inhuman acts by a group of monsters in Syria who were called "animals".

I beg to differ.

Animals do not attack one another based on their color. You'll never see white dogs on one side and black dogs on the other, facing off and taunting one another. We don't care whether you are black, white, red, yellow, brown, tan, brindle... or all of the above. We treat all dogs equally.

Animals do not wage war in the name of religion. Scientists are just now determining that we have souls. Well, we knew that all along. And we don't label ourselves as Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhists, Hindi or any other religion. We don't care what you believe in your heart, as long as you treat us with love and respect.

Animals don't kill for the sake of killing. You will never see a group of snakes scheming to kill an animal just to watch it die, or to create fear or terror. We kill for these reasons and these reasons only: (a) to protect ourselves from attack; (b) to eat. Period.

Animals do not abduct others. You will never see a group of animals corral another animal and keep it hostage. There are some of us who are trained to keep sheep or cattle within a group, but that's for their protection. We don't do it out of a need for power.

Animals do not dream up ways to kill. We will kill only for food or only when we are attacked. We don't sit around thinking of ways to torture before we kill, or ways to make someone suffer before they die. That is monstrous.

So please stop calling terrorists "animals" when they do hideous things. They are not animals. They are sub-animals. Stop giving us a bad name.

If you agree, please share this post!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Update on the Honeymoon Suite

Lindsay Buckingfish and Stevie Fishnick seem to be enjoying the new decor in their honeymoon suite.

I have noticed them side by side staring at parts of the tank - the castles, the plant leaves, and even the glass. This is common when they are considering laying eggs. I would love to know how they communicate; I can imagine them asking each other if they think the conditions are right in that particular spot for the eggs to flourish.

Here is Lindsay; he is about ten inches tall and about two years old now. He's fathered several hundred eggs!

This is a small tank; only 20 gallons. Though books recommend five gallons for each angelfish, I allow ten gallons for each one. Only Lindsay and Stevie live in this one, so there are no predators and their eggs and fry would be safe.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Redecorating the Honeymoon Suite

It's been quite some time since Lindsay and Stevie mated. I tried twice to return them to the community tank. Stevie was accepted instantly, as female angels are, but Lindsay was bullied and might have been pecked to death had I not intervened.

So I decided that even if they do not breed again, the two needed to remain in the Honeymoon Suite. I didn't want to have Lindsay there all by himself, so Stevie and Lindsay are together again and have all the privacy they need.

However, when they were breeding, it was important to keep the tank spartan. This helps me to clean the tank without disturbing the baby angelfish. Now that they're no longer breeding, I decided to redecorate.

I am writing two books that center around an Irish castle. The first of these two will be released in 2015, and the second either in 2015 or 2016. Irish castles tend not to have spirals on their towers, but I fell in love with these two castles. It has created a fairytale atmosphere for the two lovers. They seem to be enjoying their new surroundings.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cuddle Time

My two Jack Russells, Eddie (with the blue collar) and Lucy (with the pink collar). 

Notice there's no room for me?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Lovers

Lindsay Buckingfish and Stevie Fishnick haven't bred in a long time. The last time they had babies, Lindsay got a sudden midnight snack obsession and thought his children were a sushi bar. Stevie was so angry that she bit him. I suspect that Stevie has decided never to lay eggs with him again.

So I decided to try and reintroduce them to the community tank. They both lived there until a couple of years ago, when they were mating so often that I needed to remove them to their own tank to protect the fry from predators.

Stevie was accepted immediately. Female angelfish are usually accepted without a problem, unless they go after a male who has already been claimed by another female.

Lindsay did not fare well at all. The other males had him cornered underneath a decoration and had I not been observing and ready to intercept, I think he would have been chewed pretty badly. Male angelfish are much more territorial and when a new male attempts to join the school, they can be vicious.

So rather than place Lindsay in a tank completely by himself, I moved both Stevie and Lindsay. Now I have plans to redecorate their tank. If they aren't going to lay more eggs, then I can add more decorations. However, I chose a castle with an eye toward the vertical lines, because angelfish lay their eggs on vertical surfaces. Who knows? The new digs might set them on a second honeymoon.

I'll post pictures of the new tank once all the new decorations are in!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Eddie the Jack Russell

Here are two pictures of Eddie and me. Eddie is a Jack Russell. The Robeson County (North Carolina) Humane Society discovered him at an area dog pound. He was scheduled for euthanasia because his leg was injured. They thought his leg had been broken but x-rays revealed that he'd been shot.

I adopted him and brought him to a surgeon in Cary, NC, who implanted a metal plate in his leg to help the shattered bone heal. He has made a full recovery and runs and walks to such an extent that you wouldn't even know he'd been injured. (The affected leg is the one that sticks out a bit from the rest of his body.)

Eddie has a special fondness for teeth and he cleans his sisters' teeth every day - a collie named Simone and another Jack Russell mix named Lucy. I draw the line at him cleaning mine.

Eddie loves to ride in a car, and he'd follow me anywhere and everywhere - as long as I am alone. When I take him out to the pet shop or someplace busy, he gets frightened and wants me to carry him - which I always do. I can't say "no" to the little fella.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Video of the Pastel Betta

My pastel betta is a bit more shy than my multi-colored betta, so getting him to profile and stretch those fins is more of a challenge. I had never seen a betta with his coloring before - gold, lavender and green on a cream background - and he has become quite the pet. He usually watches me wash dishes and "follows" me around the kitchen from his tank, which is located on the counter between the kitchen and the breakfast nook.

It is also next to the multi-colored betta. This allows them to see each other, but it also gives them privacy when they swim elsewhere in their separate tanks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Video of the Double Comb-Tail Betta

I received so many comments last week about the photograph of my multi-colored double-comb betta, that I made a video this weekend of him.

I placed a mirror near his tank. When bettas see another betta or a fish they perceive to be a threat, they extend their fins as far as possible. It makes them look larger and a more formidable opponent, which hopefully would send "the other guy" running (or swimming) away.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Crepe Myrtle - Flowers in the Sky

With two Jack Russells and a collie that sometimes enjoy digging, I've found that I can't effectively grow flowers in my back yard.

So I have several crepe myrtle, which look to me like "flowers in the sky" ... They allow me to enjoy the beautiful colors of the spring and summer seasons, but the flowers are too high for paws to reach them.

In my back yard, I have one purple crepe myrtle and three white crepe myrtle, and in my front yard and side yard I have four pink crepe myrtle.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Family Portrait

Below is a family portrait of my three dogs.

Lucy is winking in the background; she is a Jack Russell.

Simone is a tr-colored collie.

Eddie is in the foreground, and he is also a Jack Russell.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lavendar and Green Pastel Betta

Earlier this week, I profiled the multi-colored double-comb betta, and I mentioned that his tank is beside another betta tank.

Below is a picture of the second betta, a lavender and green pastel betta.

This betta is younger than my other one, so he has not yet reached his adult size or fin length. He is a double delta betta. He lives, like my other one, in a 2.5 gallon betta tank on the counter between my kitchen and my breakfast nook. One side is beside the other betta tank, which allows him to "profile", stretching his fins and getting some exercise. The other three sides are clear, allowing him to get some needed privacy or watch what is going on outside his tank.

On one side is my kitchen sink, and whenever I am working at the sink, he wants to watch what I am doing. Here he is, swimming among the castle "ruins" and plant in his tank, to keep an eye on me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Multi-Colored Double-Comb Betta

A few weeks ago, I posted a picture of one of my bettas, which got quite a bit of attention.

Below is a better picture of this multi-colored double-comb male betta.

This betta lives in a 2.5 gallon tank that resides on the counter between my kitchen and the breakfast nook. He lives alone. His fins are so long that it takes effort to swim, which makes him a slow-moving fish. That means he would be easy prey for faster-moving fish who enjoy nipping, like barbs.

I also must keep the water movement to a minimum. This tank has a bottom filter with an air stone in the middle. I have adjusted this air stone for very little air, which keeps the current from overwhelming this betta.

Inside the tank are a couple of castle "ruins" and a plant. On one side is another betta tank, allowing him to get some exercise by "profiling" and stretching his fins out, as he is doing in the picture above. The other three sides are clear, which allow him to get some privacy or watch what is going on outside his tank.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Dramatic Pictures of Bettas

My two male bettas have been in top form lately. Their two-gallon round tanks sit side-by-side so they can see each other if they'd like to, but they also have plenty of private space.

Here is the double-fan-tail, a gorgeous pastel fish whose hues change from lavender to green depending on the lighting:

And here is the comb-tail betta, whose tail extends to look like a comb with the teeth set far apart. He is older than the pastel betta, so he is much larger. His colors are blue, green and red in deep, jewel tones:

The bubbles you see on the top of the water shows that each male is building a nest, hoping to attract a female. That means the water conditions are just right for them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lindsay Buckingfish and Stevie Fishnick

I haven't posted a lot lately about new baby angelfish because there hasn't been any in quite awhile. The couple I depend on most for laying eggs every few weeks has been on a hiatus for months. The last time they laid eggs, Lindsay thought the fry wasn't to his liking and decided to eat them. Or maybe they were too much to his liking. Stevie caught him in the act and tore into him. I removed them both to a separate tank and hand-raised their young on my own, eventually raising 17 to take to the local pet shop.

I don't know if Stevie was still angry with Lindsay and refused to have sex with him. Or maybe she was too traumatized by the sight of Her Babies' Daddy eating them. I tried changing their food to pure brine shrimp, specially designed for breeding. No luck.

This past weekend, I decided that it was too much work to clean so many tanks every week so I drained the infant tank. I moved Lindsay and Stevie to a community tank but that turned out to be short-lived. Stevie was accepted instantly, as most females are. Lindsay, however, was perceived as a threat by the other males and promptly driven into a corner. As I observed this, I realized Lindsay's eye had become injured so out he came and back to his original tank.

I added medicine to his tank that day and followed with Bionox the following day. Late yesterday, I moved Stevie, shown in this video below, back to the honeymoon suite. I decided since angelfish mate for life, they were better off together. Lindsay looked lonely in the tank by himself. And Stevie wouldn't leave the corner of the community tank, where she stared across the room at Lindsay.

This morning, Lindsay's eye is almost completely healed. I will continue with the medicine for a week, and then reassess his condition.

So the lovers are back together.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mr. Blue Gets Two Female Friends

Last week I mentioned that my blue marble angelfish had lost his long-time mate. He was pretty blue, hanging out in a corner and staring at his own reflection in the glass.

So I moved Emmie Lou, the platinum marble angelfish who was born to Lindsay Buckingfish and Stevie Fishnick right here in my own home, into his tank. (Shown below)

Because one should never introduce just one angelfish to a different tank, I also moved Alfreda AKA Alfie, a koi angelfish.

If I introduce just one angelfish to a group of angels, the newcomer will often be the target of territorial issues and bullying. By introducing two at once, especially in a tank with only three others present, it changes the dynamics and there is less likelihood of bullying.

Both Emmie Lou and Alfie are females, which is also acceptable in a tank with three males. Had I introduced another male, I would have had definite problems.

So far, Emmie Lou and Alfie have taken up with Mr. Blue, which is exactly what I wanted to happen.

The largest angels in this tank are Walter and Jack, two huge (12 inch tall) blue angels. They are named for Grumpy Old Men Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, because they are always bickering. But they're brothers and I suspect if I moved one, they'd miss each other. Besides, nobody else wants to put up with them.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Super Delta Betta

Last week I purchased a new betta. I have two betta tanks; in one, I have a double comb betta in blue, green and red. In the video below, you can see the double comb fins very dramatically. He loves to swim with his fins completely fanned out, especially since a new betta has joined him in the tank next door.

The new betta is a pearl Super Delta. The tips of his fins are actually pearlescent green, which I believe will be stunning as he goes. He is just a baby now. The Super Deltas can grow to be 2-3 inches in length, which makes them larger than many other betta varieties.

Bettas require little care and are quite hardy and robust. They're the perfect fish for the novice, which is why I got my grandchildren started in fishkeeping with bettas of their own.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Vicki's Angelfish at 6 Weeks

Here's the last video I took of the latest batch of Vicki's Angelfish, named for a character in my Black Swamp Mysteries series.

They were 6 weeks old in this video. At 8-10 weeks, they are ready to go to the local pet shop. Shelli, one of the owners of Carroll's Pets in Lumberton, North Carolina, enjoys coming to my home and scooping out the angels herself. She gets to see the parents and the water conditions. She knows I clean all my tanks every weekend (one reason I am not checking emails over the weekend!) and I will not overcrowd my angels.

Overcrowding leads to angels that have squat bodies and short vertical fins. In severe overcrowding, their vertical fins can also be bent.

I tank-raise my angels, which allows me to monitor the water conditions. It also allows the fish to get accustomed to seeing humans and they come to equate humans with bearers of food.

In contrast, some large breeders have pond-raised angels. The water conditions are more natural, which can lead to big adjustments when the fish are sold to hobbyists intending to keep them in tanks. They are also frightened of humans, and spend more time hiding behind plants or turning their backs on anyone approaching the tank - they think if they can't see you, you can no longer see them.

If you buy a pond-raised angelfish, it really is imperative that you add amazon extract or blackwater extract to the tank. Without it, they often suffer vitamin deficiencies and shortened lives. They can get accustomed to humans but it's important not to frighten them and to approach the tank slowly until they get used to you. They always do better when placed with other angelfish who are already accustomed to humans; they learn faster that we will not harm them.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Vicki's Angelfish at 5-6 Weeks

Here's a video of the latest batch of angelfish when they were between five and six weeks old. Some breeders will sell them when they are this size - their bodies are smaller than a quarter. In my opinion, they are too small to sell when they are this young, and they haven't had a chance to become strong and more robust.

I keep the angelfish until they are between 8 and 10 weeks old. By that time, their fins are tall and carried erect; they are stronger and more resistant to moving to new water and new tanks; and they've had a chance to get to know humans as beings who bring them food. :)
This batch of angels is from Lindsay Buckingfish, a 10-inch-tall black marble and his petite lover Stevie Fishnick, an 8-inch platinum. The result is 7 black marble angels and 10 white marble.

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Dog Who Sleeps Like a Cat

Each evening, Lucy Lou sleeps on top of the couch at my head. I don't know how she manages to remain up there without falling off, but she never has. When I go to the bedroom, I pick up her and carry her to bed. She barely wakes up and snuggles right away under the covers.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Playing in the Snow

Seems like we've gone from winter to spring and back to winter!

Here is a video of the dogs, Eddie (a Jack Russell), Lucy (a Jack Russell/ hound mix) and Simone (a collie) playing in the snow from a couple of weeks ago. All the snow is melted and now the storm is just a memory.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Feeding Baby Angelfish

When angelfish first begin to swim, it's time to start feeding!

The first food I feed my angels are live brine shrimp and First Bites. Live brine shrimp will cause the fish to grow very quickly and become more robust. It's very easy to hatch brine shrimp; one of the easiest methods is with a brine shrimp hatchery. But you can purchase the eggs at any pet shop and by adding aquarium salt to the water and shrimp eggs, you can grow them in almost anything, from old milk jugs to glass jars.

First Bites is an alternative if you don't want to grow brine shrimp yourself. This is prepared especially for newly hatched fish, so it is miniscule. When a tiny spoonful is put into the water (I use an 1/8 of a teaspoon) it floats through the water like live "bait". Angelfish are born with the instinct to go after this tiny food in the water, as well as any algae forming on plant leaves or glass.

Now that the angelfish are four weeks old, I have switched to dried brine shrimp instead of live. By crumbling it into the water, it's larger than freshly hatched shrimp and a bit more filling.

Within the next couple of weeks, I will be adding dried fish flakes to their feeding. By the time the angelfish are between eight and ten weeks old, they will have been weaned completely off the brine shrimp and First Bites and will be eating a diet consisting solely of dried fish flakes. This allows them to settle in much more easily with a community tank.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Angelfish Babies Learning Their World

I'm really happy to report that the angelfish babies are continuing to thrive. Just a week or two ago, they remained near the gravel, as close to the bottom of the tank as they could get. They traveled in a school and whenever I came near the tank, they moved to the far back.

As they've grown, however, and especially once I removed the plants they were hiding behind, they have become more confident with their surroundings. They've begun to swim from the bottom of the tank to the top. And they've fanned out, no longer feeling the need to remain in a school.

In the wild or in a community tank, plants or decorations with very small openings are necessary to keep the baby angelfish from being eaten by predators - even other (adult) angelfish. Remaining in a school can be necessary for survival as well.

But in an infant tank like I have set up, there are no predators. I don't even have corydoras or other bottom-feeding or algae-eating fish, because they can find newborn fry very tasty. So there are no predators and the angelfish are learning they are perfectly safe.

I've been asked about the sponge on the intake filter. I bought the sponge at my local pet shop and cut it so it slips onto the intake. This prevents very small and weak angelfish from being sucked into the filter. It also provides a place where brine shrimp can become lodged, which the babies will pick off without having to worry about getting sucked in. The water can still circulate through the filter, providing both filtering and water movement that is essential to keeping the water oxygenated.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Angelfish Begin to Form Their Shape

The angelfish are just over two weeks old, and they have begun to form their distinctive angelfish shape.

The more angels you have in one tank, the shorter and squatter they become. The more space each one has to grow, the more likely they are to have very tall fins.

It is difficult at this point to count the fry, but I believe there are close to three dozen in this 20-gallon tank, which should give them plenty of space to grow over the next few weeks. When they have reached a body size of a quarter, they will go to the local pet shop. Some breeders sell them when their bodies are the size of a dime. I believe this is entirely too small, as the water changes from the breeder to the pet shop and then to the buyer's tank often results in high fatalities.

I changed the water the day before this video was taken. Water can become very dirty with babies, because of the brine shrimp that is fed to them - it creates cloudier water than fish flakes, which they won't be able to eat for several more weeks. During the water change, I removed the plants. This confuses them for a day or two, but it makes it more likely for them to get used to me, so they won't hide from people in the pet shop - or in their new home. They'll come to associate people with food.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Loving the Snow

My collie, Simone, is loving the snow. This week, a more severe storm moved in (Pax) which brought a reported five inches of snow to Robeson County on Tuesday, and an estimated .75 inch of ice on Wednesday.

Though it shut down the town, Simone loved the cold so much that she spent part of her day sitting in the snow.

In case you're wondering if she was left out there for long, note the doggie door on the side of the house. :) The dogs have three doggie doors so they can come and go as much as they'd like. I have discovered, however, that they will run around and play in the snow for a few minutes, then come inside for Mommy to dry them off, they'll warm up, and a few minutes later, they're back outside in it!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Babies Thriving

Since I moved the parents to a different tank, the babies have been exploring their tank more thoroughly. There are no predators so they are perfectly safe swimming about. There is no need for them to hide among the plants, as their parents were keeping them.

You can see the difference in size. The smallest are most likely female, and the largest are most likely the alpha males - the ones most likely to get to the food first, and who will be more assertive as they age. When looking for a pair, it's often best to select one of the largest (most likely, a male) with one of the smaller ones (most likely, a female). Getting two of the largest often means you've selected two males, which can result in territorial issues.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Parents Fighting

Last evening I was sitting across the room from the Infant Tank when I noticed Stevie Fishnick and Lindsay Buckingfish fighting. I had never witnessed this before; they are usually quite compatible. As I approached the tank, they locked lips and tugged at one another.

There is only reason for this to have happened. One of the parents (most likely, the male) decided to begin culling the babies. In the wild, the parents will often select the weakest to kill (or eat!) which helps the strongest to survive, as there are fewer competitors for food or resources.

However, this can cause a problem if the only parent does not agree with the culling decision.

So I believe that Stevie was continuing to protect her young - but the tables had turned so she was now protecting them from their own father.

I removed them both immediately to the empty tank directly above the Infant Tank. I had planned on moving them anyway when the babies got a little larger, but truthfully, the babies can do well on their own as soon as they become free-swimming. Because there are no predators in the tank and the filter intake has a baby-proof sponge on it, there's no reason for the parents to keep them hidden among the plants and leaves.

Tomorrow: how the babies are doing on their own.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Last Week's Snow

It doesn't usually snow in coastal North Carolina, but last week we received about four inches. This was Lucy Loo's first time to experience snow.

Lucy is the one who is running from one dog to the other, trying to get them to play with her. Even our 87-pound collie looks small with all that snow surrounding her. Her thick fur coat really came in handy. Eddie is a Jack Russell and Lucy is a Jack Russell/hound mix.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Angelfish Babies Growing and Thriving

It's been about two weeks since the latest batch of angelfish babies hatched. Angelfish make terrific parents. In the video below, you'll see the parents in a 20-gallon tank with their young. The young still have torpedo-shaped bodies but within the next week or so, they will begin to get their distinctive angelfish shape. The more crowded the babies are, the shorter and squatter they become, which is why you'll want to look for angels with very tall fins. They should be twice as tall as they are long.

Even at this young stage, you'll see a large discrepancy in the size of the fry. The largest tend to be male and they also tend to become the alphas - those who are more aggressive or assertive when feeding and when mating. The smallest tend to be females, who will not get nearly as large as their male siblings.

Each batch by these parents tend to be half black marble and half white marble. They will go to the pet shop for sale when they are between 8-10 weeks old. At that time, they are completely weaned off brine shrimp and are eating fish flakes, and their bodies are around the size of a quarter. Anything smaller than a quarter-sized body often results in high fatalities, as each move to new water stresses the youngest fry.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Calling for Power Outages

I live in coastal North Carolina, and I particularly love living here during the winter months. While everyone else has been shoveling snow non-stop for weeks, we'd have some rain but no sleet, no ice and no snow. That is customary for this region.

So imagine my surprise to find that a major snowstorm was heading straight for my area and it could dump 8-12 inches of snow on us. You might think that's nothing but consider that snow here is more likely to be sleet, freezing rain, ice and wet snow - all of which can bring down trees and power lines, and result in power outages. In fact, according to the weathermen, we could receive massive power outages lasting some time.

My biggest worry is not for myself or my dogs, but for the angelfish. It is easy for me to keep my dogs in a smaller area with blankets and things that can warm them, and I can put on extra layers of clothes. But what do fish do during a power outage?

There are three issues that can result in fish deaths during a power outage:

(1) dramatic change in their water temperature - fish are cold-blooded creatures, which means their bodies are the temperature of their environment;

(2) lack of oxygen - the air wands and filters in a tank help keep the water oxygenated, and of course without oxygen the fish can die;

(3) waste - with the filters off, waste can build up quickly - from uneaten food to bacteria naturally found in the water to the excrements of the fish themselves.

Last year, I wrote a series of articles on what to do in the event of a power outage. I've pulled these out and I am preparing the tanks in the event of a power outage. I have blankets available to cover the tanks to keep the water from cooling off too quickly. I have the battery powered aerators available and will check the batteries today to ensure they are ready to go. And I will not feed the fish during the power outage; they can actually go several days without food, and this will help keep the waste down. Plus, by keeping blankets over the tanks, it plunges them into darkness, which will keep them less active (except the bottom feeders, and we want them to be scrounging for food, as that keeps the waste and decay down).

In case you missed it, here are the articles on what to do during a power failure:

Angelfish Fry Swimming

The babies that hatched last week are doing great, and Stevie Fishnick (the platinum angel) and Lindsay Buckingfish (the black marble) prove yet again what great parents they are. They are constantly attentive to their babies' needs.

This is a small batch; I imagine there are around 36. They will remain with their parents until they grow to about the size of a dime. Then I will remove the parents to another tank, and continue caring for the babies until they are about 8-10 weeks old. At that time, they will go to the local pet shop to find their Forever Homes.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hatched Eggs - What a Surprise!

Well, Stevie Fishnick and Lindsay Buckingfish have gotten sneaky. Maybe it's because I moved the doggie gate and now the dogs can watch what they're doing. In any event, they laid their latest batch of eggs on the backs of the amazon leaves. I thought something was fishy :) when I changed their water last weekend. They did not want to leave the corner of their tank, and were quite possessive.

This morning I found a group of baby angelfish on the top of the leaf, where their parents had deposited them after hatching.

They will remain on the leaf until they grow strong enough to begin swimming. I'll post regular videos and pictures of their progress. It's been a couple of months since I had baby angelfish, and I've missed them. The infant tank is ready for them when they get ready to leave Mama and Papa.

The father is the black marble angelfish. He is about ten inches tall. The mother is the platinum angelfish, about eight inches tall. In the past, half of their offspring have been black marbles and the other half platinum marbles.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Friends - An Update on Angel

I received quite a few emails about the story of Angel, the collie/ border collie mix who was found half-frozen on Thanksgiving Day with two broken legs. Earlier this week, I received an unexpected visit from Angel and her foster parents. And I have to say, if I didn't already have a houseful of dogs, Angel would not have left.

She is absolutely adorable. Her legs have healed and the only consideration is to keep her from gaining too much weight (bad for anybody's bones) and adopting her into a family in a temperate area, as cold, snow and ice might aggravate the metal pins she has in one leg.

She is about 4-5 months old, and as you can see from the video below, she gets along wonderfully with other dogs. Lucy Loo in particular really enjoyed playing with her. The man in the video is the Assistant Manager at the Robeson County Humane Society, and also along with his wife provide Angel's foster home.

They have already received several applications from folks wanting to adopt her. When she is adopted, I'll be sure to post it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Babies or Sushi?

Last week I posted that after a break, Lindsay Buckingfish and Stevie Fishnick had laid more eggs. A couple of days later, I noticed they were almost gone. Then a day after that, the amazon leaf was completely clean.

What happened to the eggs?

Sometimes the parents will eat their own eggs. This usually occurs because something doesn't feel quite right to them. Maybe there has been an abrupt change in water temperature. Or the conditions of the water don't feel conducive to eggs hatching. Or maybe they realized the eggs weren't fertilized or they were out of shape.

There is nothing to be alarmed about when this happens. If the couple is serious, they'll try again within a few days or another week or two.

One of my friends has an angelfish pair that lay eggs frequently but they are always eaten. Then she noticed the male angel getting very upset with the female. I've seen this happen before when one parent thinks they were opening a sushi bar and the other one wants to raise their young. The conversation usually goes something like this:

"My clock is ticking. I need children!"

"But I enjoy my freedom. I don't want to get bogged down with three hundred fry to feed."

"We're not going to be young forever. Angelfish grow up fast and the time flies by. If we're ever going to have children, we need to do it now."

"But we tried last week and nothing happened."

"That's because you ate them!"

"They didn't look like fish. They looked like eggs. And after all that sex, I was hungry."

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday Friends - An Animal Rescue

So everyone who knows me knows how much I love all of God's creatures (okay, I'm working on spiders and snakes) and this past week an email came to me that was both disturbing and heartwarming.

On Thanksgiving Day, someone found a three-month-old puppy, a Border Collie/Collie mix, nearly frozen in the road. This kind person took the puppy to a local veterinarian, where they discovered both back legs were broken, as well as the right tibia and the left femur. The injuries were consistent with someone having thrown the dog out of a moving car.

She was named Angel and was brought to the Robeson County Humane Society in Lumberton, North Carolina. They paid for surgery and while she does have a pin in her leg, she has recovered very nicely. A foster couple currently has her in their home, and they have potty-trained and crate-trained her. They tell me that despite the cruelty and the pain she endured, she is very, very sweet and loving.

To read more about her, follow this link.

The story was disturbing to me because I do not understand the cruelty of some people. I don't know of any other creature that treats others with such hatred and disregard for their health and safety. Just thinking of that poor puppy lying in the roadway freezing to death with broken legs brings me to tears.

The story was also heartwarming, because a chain of people stepped in to save this dear puppy's life and nurse her back to health... From the person who found her in the roadway, to the veterarians who worked to save her life and her legs, to the Robeson County Humane Society whose volunteers footed the veterinary bills, to the foster couple who lovingly care for her...

Angel will soon be ready to find her Forever Home, and I hope that all of the loving and giving people that have come into her life have completely erased the memories of the cruel and inhumane treatment she endured.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back from a Break

Lindsay Buckingfish and Stevie Fishnick took a break over the holidays and didn't lay more eggs until the night of January 4. They were busy laying eggs on an amazon leaf when I checked on them this past weekend. I'll keep an eye on things and post the progress of the eggs and fry when they hatch.

If I were a serious professional breeder, I could have encouraged them to lay eggs more frequently by performing frequent water changes, perhaps every day or every other day. Or I could add amazon extract or extra vitamins to their water to get the hormones going. Instead, I allowed them to have their break, and I continued my 25% - 33% water changes once a week. I did skip their amazon extract for a couple of weeks to give them a further break, and added it back in during the last water change. Amazon extract is a real boost to angelfish as well as other tropical freshwater fish because it includes vitamins and minerals that we lack in our sanitized city water. Without those vitamins and minerals, angelfish often do not live as long, unless the natural water supply carries them.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

We hope you have a very Happy New Year!

We are all exhausted from a night of partying!