A Beginner’s Guide to Koi Carp 0 273

If you are interested in keeping ornamental pond fish and want to keep something slightly more exotic than the humble goldfish, the beautiful and attractive koi carp may already have caught your eye.

These popular, large-growing and very long lived fish are not hugely difficult to keep, but they can prove more of a challenge than smaller pond fish, so it is important to go into keeping koi carp with your eyes open!

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about koi carp from prospective keepers…

What are koi carp?

Koi carp are a domesticated version of the carp species that live wild in various areas of the world, selectively bred for their color and appearance.

Koi were first kept in captivity in Japan, and are native to Asia and Central Europe. They are classed as an ornamental or decorative fish, meaning that they are bred for their looks and as pets, rather than to provide food or for sport.

How long do koi live?

Koi carp are among the most long lived of domestic fish when kept within an appropriate environment, and should be considered as a lifelong pet.

Koi carpThe commonly accepted average age for a well kept domestic koi is around 50 years, however, it is not unheard of for koi to live to over 100 years – and even over 200 years in one well documented case!

How large do koi grow?

Koi carp can grow very large, given enough time and the right environment, potentially reaching over three feet in length! They are also fast growing, and will soon outgrow a pond that is too small for them, leading to potential health problems.

Are koi carp expensive?

There is no one answer to how much koi carp cost, as prices vary greatly. Small, young koi carp for the pet market can be picked up for under $10 each, while mature specimens that have reached a large size and have particularly desirable colors and markings often change hands for tens of thousands of dollars – and sometimes even more!

However, for the beginner koi keeper, the cost of your first koi carp should be well within your budget.

What do you need to keep koi carp?

Koi carp need a very large pond in order to thrive, something that first time keepers often overlook or underestimate.

They will also require sufficient filtration and aeration within their pond, regular pond maintenance, feeding and general care.

The main thing that you need to keep koi carp, however, is lots of time to research properly! Make sure you go into koi ownership with your eyes open, and ensure that you have a good understanding of what koi need to thrive before you get started!

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5 reasons a tortoise is the perfect pet 0 247

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.

Photo: Tortoise by snowmentality licensed under Creative commons 2

Keeping exotic fish as pets 0 374

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.