Koi Carp in the Wild 0 227

The koi carp descends from the common carp, a large grouping of fish that are native to both Asia and Central Europe. Several different species of carp were originally kept in East Asia, where they were consumed as food.

During the 19th century, colorful common carp from wild ponds and lakes were domesticated within Japan, and selectively bred to produce the bright color and pattern variations that we are familiar with in the koi today.

Do koi carp still live in the wild today?

Common carp, the ancestors of our domesticated koi, can still be found living wild in various different countries, including Japan, where the koi carp originated.

Natural color mutations within wild carp populations still occur within the wild, and released koi can successfully breed back to a wild state within existing
common carp populations.

Where in the world can you find wild koi carp?

The koi carp is a coldwater fish that is very adaptable and capable of thriving within water of various different temperatures. This adaptability means that the koi can survive in the wild in many different environments.

Today, koi carp are present in the wild on every continent in the world, except for Antarctica. This wide distribution is due to koi being introduced into native carp populations by owners and breeders.

Are koi carp harmful to native wildlife?

In some countries and areas, wild and released koi carp are considered to be an invasive species, and they often interfere with natural ecosystems.

Koi contribute to the turbidity of water in still ponds and lakes, as they constantly stir up the substrate. This can cause the water to become mucky-looking and churned up, and make it difficult for aquatic plants to take root and thrive.

Koi pond waterfallAs well as upsetting the ecosystem of ponds and lakes for other fish and plants, wild koi can render the water undrinkable for both people and livestock.
This is due to the reduction in aeration of the water that comes from fewer established plants.

In Australia, the koi carp is regarded as a “noxious fish,” meaning that it has been declared harmful to the native wildlife. However, in North America, koi carp are often deliberately introduced into man-made ponds and lakes on golf courses. This keeps the spread of water-borne larvae and the level of plant growth under control.

Due to the potential impact on the natural ecosystem and as domesticated fish are unlikely to survive long in the wild, you should never release a domestic koi carp, regardless of where you live.

Learn more about koi carp…

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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.