We have some really great pet shop Gloucester offers from Best Pets this month.
Some of our most popular lines are at fantastic prices. Click the link below for the offers.
Goldfish are generally rated as one of the easiest fish to keep. However there are basic requirements for all fish that must be provided for the fish to remain healthy. Goldfish come in a wide variety of colours and shapes. Whilst most are capable of being mixed as they have similar water quality requirements, not all should be mixed. Mixing normal or comet types with fancy fantails for instance can result in the fins of the fancy fish being attacked. Fancies and fantails with thier long flowing fins and tails tend to be slower moving than the “normal” types and cannot get away from boisterous tank mates.
A fish tank is a sealed system. With the exception of perhaps oxygen and carbon dioxide, which can enter and leave the system at the surface of the water, anything you put into the tank stays in the tank and nothing can get in unless you put it in. Put food in and you have added energy and nitrogenous waste (from the protein in the food). So the fish will grow (and so may plants) and the waste will build up. In a natural system such as a river or lake, this waste is washed away and broken down (recycled and reused by other organisms). In a tank it cannot go anywhere and you have to establish and maintain the natural waste disposal mechanisms to deal with it.
Solid waste will build up in the gravel or sand and in the filter. Left alone a sludge would eventually build up and begin to rot, releasing toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). To prevent this is easy. Simply stir up the gravel at each partial water change (more on that later) or better still, buy a gravel cleaner that cleans the gravel as you remove water for the water change. Every second water change rinse the filter element in the water you have taken out to remove the solids. Do not rinse under the tap. This will kill all your lovely beneficial bacteria and you don’t want that. Some filters also contain carbon. This does become saturated and will need replacing periodically. The same is true if there is a nitrate removal sponge. Leaving this in for too long will seriously effect water quality.
Dissolved nitrogenous waste is released into the water by the fish in the form of ammonia. Ammonia is highly toxic to fish so it has to be removed. Bacteria that eat the ammonia live on the surface of the gravel and in the filter medium. They break it down into nitrite, which is less toxic and then into nitrate (much less toxic). Nitrate is plant fertiliser. If you do not remove this then your tank will suffer from excessive algae growth. For this reason and those already given you should carry out a partial water change (remove some of the water and replace it with fresh, i.e. treated if using tap water) every couple of weeks as a minimum. How frequently you need do this depends on a number of factors, size of tank, size of filter, number of fish, presence of plants etc. but for an established, reasonable sized, not overstocked tank every couple of weeks should be sufficient.
Having an efficient filter (internal or external) will significantly improve the quality of the water (and reduce frequency of partial water changes to a degree) and improve oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange rates at the surface of the water (by the rippling effect of the outlet of the filter). We do not sell goldfish bowls or recommend tanks without some form of filtration. It is possible to do without but it significantly increases the amount cleaning and water changes you will need to do and with the best will in the world people let it slip. In the end the fish suffers so we choose not to sell them.
There are three main ways of adding filtration. Under gravel, using an air pump to drive water down through the gravel and up and over a tube, internal cartridge or element, probably the commonest form in small tanks and external cartridge or element, more usual in larger tanks. All work well and have their own benefits and drawbacks which we will not go into here. Any can be used with goldfish.
Before putting goldfish into a new tank it needs time to mature. A week is normally sufficient. This is to allow the natural systems to establish before being presented with waste to dispose of. The process of maturation can be accelerated by the addition of the necessary bacteria in a liquid form. Fish should then be added gradually over a period of weeks to enable the bacterial cultures to grow with the increased waste load.
Plants make an attractive addition to the tank and can also help use up nitrogenous waste but they are not essential. Fish do like to hide among them and eat some kinds but artificial plants can be used. Ornaments are at your discretion, they can provide hideaways for nervous new fish but again are not essential.
Lighting is also not essential but does bring out the colours of the fish. If using real plants then the lighting is needed to encourage plant growth. Leaving the light on for too long can stimulate algal growth on the glass, gravel and any ornaments and plants though.
We wouldn’t recommend less than a 25 litre tank for goldfish. With regard to the number of fish there is no hard and fast rule but generally it is the surface area of the tank that dictates how many fish it can hold, rather than just the volume of water (larger surface area = higher oxygen exchange rate) so a shallower wide tank will hold more than a deep narrow tank.
Goldfish are omnivores and eat a variety of food stuff. A good flake or pellet food is normally sufficient to provide all the necessary nutrients.
Goldfish are quite hardy. All goldfish are fish farm bred nowadays and can tolerate a wide range of waters. Tap water in this region is medium to medium hard and pH (a measure of the hydrogen ion content of the water) is well buffered (resistant to change)at around 7.4 – 7.6. This is suitable for all modern goldfish and further treatment for pH and hardness is not normally required. Note that if water quality is not made a priority and the tank is not regularly cleaned pH can rise to high levels and effect the health of the fish over time. As long as you do not neglect your routine water changes this will not happen. However chlorine and chloramines are present in the water to keep it safe for us to drink and these need to be remove before being used with fish. Standing tap water for 24 hours will remove the free chlorine but will not remove the chloramines. You must use a chemical (Tapsafe, Aquasafe, Safeguard etc.) to remove these toxic chemicals (toxic to the fish – not you) BEFORE using the water.
Avoid using real rocks unless purchased for the purpose from a reputable aquarist shop. Some rocks will significantly change the water quality to the detriment of the fish (limestone for example). Fake rocks are resin based and will not effect water quality.
After you have bought your tank, set it up, let it mature for at least a week, you can add your fish. Don’t add more than one or two at a time. Check the fish in the shop for any obvious signs of disease such as a swollen body, damaged eyes or fins, sores, excreta stuck to the fish in a long line etc. The shop should carry out these basic checks in front of you and tick off each element of the inspection. When you get home, put the bag with the fish in into your tank (remember to remove some water first or you will have an overspill!) and leave it for about 15 minutes. This is for the temperature in the bag to equalize with that of the tank to avoid temperature shocking the fish (which can be fatal). Then remove the fish from the bag and put it in the tank. Do not bother to try to “acclimatise” the fish to the water chemistry by making holes in the bag etc.. It takes many days for this to happen and is just not practicable.
Feed your fish daily. The food should be gone in 1 – 2 minutes maximum. Any longer and you are overfeeding your fish and this will eventually lead to problems. Check the fish daily for signs of disease. Carryout your water changes and filter cleaning and you should have a healthy fish for many years to come.
For all of you on our customer loyalty scheme there is a change of email address. The old address email@example.com will stop working at the beginning of January 2013. This is the address on the front of existing loayalty cards. This is being replaced with firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use this address, or the old email@example.com address to contact us. We will update the loyalty cards when we have the next batch printed.
For those of you interested in our pet shop Gloucester customer loyalty scheme just ask for a card in the shop. Every time you spend over £10 in one day you will receive one stamp on your card, over £40 you will receive 2 stamps. When the card is full (8 stanps) you will receive a £5 voucher. Don’t forget to register on our email subscriber list first to receive and extra 10% discount
Should you buy pets for Christmas presents? On the face of it this is a no brainer. Pets are for life – not just for Christmas is a phrase that is parroted everywhere and in principal seems obvious. However the phrase is misused these days. What is meant by it is that the pet shouldn’t be bought as you would buy say, the latest trendy toy.
A child see’s a toy that comes on the market and remarks to his/her parent that that’s the one for them, they will be sooo good if only they could have one for Christmas. By the time they open the gift on Christmas morning the fascination has already gone, their friends have moved onto another model, they use it for a couple of days and you hardly ever see it again until you find it amongst all the other rubbish under the bed. If this is your reason for buying a pet at Christmas (or at any other time of year for that matter) just don’t. The amount of times I have had parents and kids in the shop and mum has left convinced that little johnny would do all the housework for the next twenty years if only he can have a rat/rabbit/snake/spider, he’s never wanted anything so much in his life. When we say we’ll see you next week and they return and when shown his favourite ever animal, little johnny says “Yeah great, can I have a look at…” whatever has now caught his fancy; mum realises her lucky escape. At Christmas parents are just as convinced that because they have been in the shop and their child has expressed the same level of interest, on Christmas morning they will still be as interested. Pets should not be bought at Christmas for these superficial reasons.
However a pet, the housing and all the correct equipment can be expensive. If a child and parent come in repeatedly throughout the year and the child (and the same is true for us big kids too) has retained their interest all year but the parent cannot afford to buy it now, in the middle of summer and then get something else at Christmas there is nothing wrong with delaying the purchase until then.
The important thing about buying a pet is what is informing the decision, not what time of year it is. Pets should never be purchased on a whim. So buying a pet for someone because you can’t think of anything else, because someone mentioned they “like” rabbits, because you are “sure” they will like it, is definitely wrong. You can put the jumper someone bought you in a drawer and forget it, you can’t do that with a pet. The person you bought it for is going to have to clean it, feed it, provide it with exercise, enrichment etc. Are you sure they will want or be able to in a few months (or years, or decades!). That should really be their decision, made in the cold light of day with all the information in front of them, not forced on them on Christmas morning. Also children (and a lot of adults I meet) are fickle. You have to be absolutely sure that they will fulfil their commitment and responsibility to the animal. This is best ascertained over a period of time, with repeated visits.
So the basic message is don’t buy a “surprise” present of an animal on a whim at any time of year. The chances of it being not wanted are too high. If you are convinced your recipient really wants a pet and has shown consistently they have the ability and the will to look after it properly over a period of time, you have done you research and know what you and/or they are taking on then don’t let others make you feel guitly about combining a purchase they really want with Christmas. It should really be “A pet is for life – not just for any particular day of the year”
The Angell Pets Team
Most lizards, all spiders and even some snakes (rough green snake for example) feed on livefood such as crickets, locusts, meal worms, morio worms, cockroaches, wax worms, calci worms etc. The best way to feed a reptile or spider is to vary the food as each species has a different energy, mineral and vitamin content. It is also necessary to supplement the food with vitamin and calcium powder because even with varying the species it is still more limited than the animal would be exposed to in the wild. This disadvantage can be further mitigated by “gut loading” the live food. Basically, whatever the insect eats the animal eats as well, as it is eating the gut contents with the insect.
Each type of commonly stocked live food species has its own benefits and drawbacks. There are many tables of commonly (and some not so commonly) stocked feed species with their most important properties detailed available on the net. I have included one such below. However whichever species is used gut loading is probably the most important element of feeding an insectivorous animal.
Without reproducing all those other tables (some of which require a certain level of knowledge of animal nutrition to decipher) there are some basic messages.
Crickets in general (the cheaper to produce and less hardy types in particular) have a poor calcium to phosphorous ratio and fed exclusively the lowest general nutritional value. However they readily eat a wide range of food stuffs so can act as a very effective transporter of nutrients via their guts. A very illustrative example of this occurred in the shop the other day. We feed the crickets we keep on the shelves with carrot. It has nutritional value to the crickets, they like it and it contains enough moisture to keep them alive for weeks without going mouldy in the box. With small and medium small crickets this turns the insect orange as their guts fill with carrot. We fed some of the medium small crickets (“silent”) to a griffin mantis. A small orange blob of gut contents could be seen making its way down the digestive tract of the mantis. Crickets make very effective little food packages.
Locusts are as nutritious as crickets in general and are preferred by some animals. However they tend to be a bit more selective over what they will eat and so gut loading is a little bit more limited, although still sufficient. You get fewer locust for your money though, so there is a balance. Varying between crickets and locusts is probably best (although my beardie rarely eats crickets).
Cockroaches make excellent live food from a nutritional viewpoint. They are also easy to gutload as they eat virtually anything. However there are practical problems. If you keep animals that eat crickets, no matter how careful you are some will escape. With cockroaches this is even more likely. They are also even better at hiding out inside a vivarium and for things such as tarantulas, will eat the the spider when it is moulting if you don’t find them all and get them out. Best fed in small numbers so you can be sure they have all been eaten as you put them in.
Wax worms are high fat moth larvae that are excellent for getting a poor feeder feeding again and up to weight but are so liked that they can turn your animal into a reptile equivalent of a burger stuffing Elvis. They are OK as a treat or to boost weight but would you want to eat burgers every single day. Well OK, but would it be good for you? I have seen bearded dragons that have been hand fed wax worms exclusively that now refuse any other food at all and oh boy, they were fat. Many people throw away wax worms when they pupate. Big mistake, Lizards love the pupae and the moths when they emerge, chameleons seem to prefer them.
Meal worms. I have a bias against meal worms. Their jaws and exoskeletons contain a lot of chitin and when fed exclusively can cause problems with gut impaction. Now I know this is a controversial subject. There are some very well respected leopard gecko breeders that use meal worms almost exclusively and swear by them and (I am sure quite honestly) say they have never had any problems. I am quite willing to accept this and if you want to use meal worms that’s fine. However I have had a bad experience with them. Many (many ) years ago I had two European green lizards and the only live food available locally at the time was meal worms (the Internet did not exists then – even the military fore runner, that’s how long ago!). I lost both lizards to impaction. Used as a staple I think they are OK but I always vary the diet of our animals.
Morios contain less chitin than meal worms. They are reasonably high in fat so I wouldn’t use them exclusively but again they make a good staple. They keeps for ages, everything seems to like them but they are a little too large for a lot of lizards. Our adult leopards like them but they are a bit big so we only give them when she is laying eggs and needs a boost. They are also quite difficult to dust (it doesn’t stick to them very well).
Flies make excellent live food if you can get them. Obviously some animals (like the wandering violin mantis) only really eat flying insects. Fruit flies (flightless or otherwise) make good food, due both to their small size and good nutritional content for hatchling lizards (chameleons go crazy for them) and spiderlings. Calci worms are actually fly larvae and make a nutritious change for growing lizards and again chameleons love them, especially when they have turned into flying insects. As thew name suggest they are higher in calcium.
Pachnoda (fruitbeetle larvae) are big, fat, juicy, highly nutritious grubs. they make an excellent occasional change or energy boost but are a bit more expensive.
With regard to dusting the live food this is important for a couple of reasons. FIrstly as discussed, to ensure a good balance of vitamins and minerals but this is largely mitigated by good feeding of the live food. Give them a varied diet and your animal is getting the same. We still use vitamin powder (we use Nutrobal) once a week. Calcium dusting not only boosts the calcium in the diet where the feeder insect is naturally low in calcium (crickets) but also compensates for the fact that even with the best UVB lamp on the market, it is not as good as the sun and so will not produce as much vitamin D3 in the skin as in a wild lizard. Overloading with calcium helps mitigate this and helps prevent metabolic bone disease, pyramid shell etc.
So to look after your animal, look after your live food and vary the diet as much as you can. Not only is this better for the animal but it is better for your pocket too. You will lose fewer insects in the box, so there will be more available for the animal, they will be more active so more likely to be eaten, you will have to buy fewer boxes over the life of the animal and it will stay interested and be better fed. Everyone’s a winner.
The Angell Pets Team
Click on the link below for our wholesaler’s offers for this December.
We also have our own deals for this Chrstmas. We still have existing running deals such as Whiskas cat treats for only £1, the last few Feelwell dog treats at 1/2 price, James Wellbeloved light and senior 2kg bags for £5.99, Hills Science Plan medium breed and large breed, puppy and adult for only £29.99 many end of line items at a fraction of online prices and an ever increasing range of our own animal food and treats at much lower prices than other comparable brands.
We have also taken another 25% off our stock of Juwel tanks and stands. That’s on top of existing reductions.
The Angell Pets Team