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!