Koi Pond Maintenance 0 1517

So, you?ve finished building a koi pond, waited for things to settle down, planted your plants, added your fish, and now it?s time to relax, right? Wrong! While koi carp are not necessarily among the most time consuming of pets to keep, nevertheless, they do require regular care and attention to keep them healthy, over and above simply feeding your fish!

Read on to learn some tips and trips from the experts about koi pond maintenance…

Water checks

Maintaining the quality of the water within your koi pond is vital to support the health of your fish, and will form the basis of how you care for your pond. Invest in a good quality water testing kit that will allow you to monitor the quality of the water, and if any trace elements are out of balance.

Also, treat any tap water that you use to top up your koi pond with a fish-safe dechlorinator before adding it to your pond.

Good bacteria

Your pond will rely on the presence of good bacteria within the water to help to break down waste and keep the water quality in good condition, and your fish healthy. Take pains not to remove all of this bacteria from your pond – clean biological filtration carefully to avoid destroying the colonies of bacteria that will be helping to keep your pond healthy.

Cleaning the pond

Your koi pond is an ecosystem all of its own, and when in balance and well established, should require minimal maintenance in order to stay healthy and running smoothly. However, you will need to spend some time cleaning and maintaining your pond, in order to keep it looking good and support the health of your koi.

Koi pond maintenance: a well maintained koi pondOn a weekly basis if your pond is manually filled, change out 10% of the water within the pond for fresh water (treat before adding to your pond if using tap water.) If your pond is very full or it has rained a lot, this may not be necessary every week.

Remove leaves and any other surface debris from the top of the pond with a skimmer, in order to ensure that the pond receives enough oxygen and that you can see your fish! Also, trim and maintain any plants within the pond to avoid blocking the light.

Clean the sides of the pond, and any rocks and other ornaments as necessary, in order to remove algae, dirt and debris. Ensure that when you do this, the runoff of any dirty water from cleaning does not flow back into your pond!

Provide shade over at least 50% of your pond. This gives your koi the opportunity to choose bright or dark areas and keeps algae blooms to a minimum. If your pond water is pea green or all of the solid fixtures within the pond are covered in hair algae, the chances are that the pond is receiving too much light, something you will need to correct.

Check your filtration systems regularly to ensure that they are keeping up with the demands placed upon them, and not struggling to cope with the amount of waste generated.

Protect the delicate ecosystem of your pond by ensuring that your pond is not overcrowded, that your fish have room to grow, and that you do not overfeed.

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5 reasons a tortoise is the perfect pet 0 1288

Tortoises are adorable animals and they are great pets to keep in your home. Here we explore the top five reasons why you should consider getting a tortoise as a pet.

1. Low maintenance

With some space to enjoy and some lettuce to chomp on, a tortoise will be pretty happy. This low maintenance pet won’t need walking twice a day and will keep themselves entertained.

2. Tortoises are very affordable

Tortoises are very affordable to keep in your home. Once they are set up with a comfortable space to enjoy, there will be very little cost to upkeep them. Their food is cheap and their space remains clean for long periods without needing to be changed.

3. Tortoises live long lives

Tortoises will also be around for a long time. They can live from 14 to 30 years or more depending on the species, which means you will have a friend for years to come. Unlike most other pets, you will be able to enjoy your tortoise for vast periods of your life.

4. They’re harmless

Tortoises are far more harmless than cats and dogs. While they may bite your finger if you put it in their mouth, little damage will be done. A tortoise is a very safe pet to have in the home and is great when you have children too.

5. Tortoises are loyal

Tortoises are unlike most pets in that they are happy in the space you give them. With room to wander around, food to eat and occasional trips into the garden to play and eat grass, the tortoise will be happy. Tortoises will not try to run away from you like dogs, hamsters or guinea pigs.

Tortoises are adorable creatures to keep as pets and they are a very practical and affordable animal to have in your home. Unlike many pets, it is easy to keep a tortoise and to keep them happy for a long time. With a tortoise, you will have a friend for years and years to come.

Keeping exotic fish as pets 0 1799

Exotic fish

There’s something mesmerising about watching a tank full of brightly coloured fish swim around. Do they make good pets though? Is it hard to keep exotic fish? With the right pet care and pet advice, exotic fish make great, if unusual pets.

Tank size

Go for the biggest sized tank you can afford and have room for. The bigger your tank, the easier you’ll find keeping the balance of the water right. Your fish need plenty of room to swim too. Aim for at least a 20-gallon tank.

Tank set-up

You’re going to need a heater to warm the water. You’ll also need a filter to ensure clean, healthy water, which is crucial for fish to thrive. It’s advisable to add an air pump to boost the oxygen levels.

You’ll also need a light for the tank, and a timer for the light, so it’s not on all the time. Bear in mind a fish tank should be placed out of direct sunlight, away from draughts and heating sources.

On top of the things that make your tank work you’re going to need everything that goes into your tank; gravel for the bottom, plants, and decorative caves and tunnels so your fish can hide if they want to.

You can usually buy aquarium starter kits at pet food stores if you want help in pulling everything together.

Getting the water right

The filter will cycle your water to make it suitable for fish to live in, never add tap water directly to the tank. You need to de-chlorinate it first. You can also add a water treatment to help keep the water healthy between changes.

You should change about 10-15% of the water each week to keep it clean and healthy for the fish. Never do a full tank change once your fish are in the tank.

Choosing your fish

When you choose your fish, make sure you start introducing them slowly – this will help you identify if you’ve got the water balance right, and at this point, your tanks eco-system is still developing, so adding lots of fish can damage it.

There’s a wide range of tropical fish to choose from – Cichlids, Betta and Swordtails are good starter fish, and are nice to look at. Never mix goldfish and tropical fish together.