Keeping seahorses as pets 0 28

Keeping seahorses as pets

What do you need to know before keeping seahorses as pets?

Seahorses are very sensitive creatures and require lots of attention for them to thrive. The main thing to remember is that they are marine fish, and therefore need a salt-water aquarium.

This can put some people off as it can be expensive to buy all the relevant equipment, however, if you follow good pet care advice, keeping seahorses can be a very rewarding hobby.

What do they eat?

Seahorses are fussy eaters and eat quite a lot compared to other fish, therefore they need to be fed often. They mainly eat shrimp, and this needs to be supplemented with frozen mysis. It’s essential that they are fed every day, so if you plan to go on holiday, make sure you arrange for someone reliable to feed them every day without fail. It’s dangerous for seahorses to be left without food for more than a day.

Where should I buy seahorses?

Try to avoid buying seahorses from pet stores. Instead, try to buy directly from a good breeder with an excellent reputation to ensure the seahorses have been bred in captivity. Never be tempted to buy wild seahorses – not only does this encourage diminishing natural populations but they also rarely survive in captivity. Those born in captivity have already adapted to tank life and are much healthier. Don’t confuse the term “tank raised” with “captive bred”. “Tank raised” can mean the seahorses have been raised in unfiltered seawater and therefore are more susceptible to the same diseases as wild seahorses.

Can I keep other fish in the same tank?

Seahorses thrive with other seahorses. Busy, aggressive fish can frighten them and make them stressed, so if you want to keep other fish in the same tank choose slower paced ones.

It’s also worth remembering that seahorses should be kept at lower temperatures because they are very sensitive to bacteria. If they are kept in water any warmer than between 21 and 23.5C, even for just a short time, then they risk disease. Other marine fish may suffer in the same tank as they require water temperatures that are slightly higher than this.

For more information why not join a reef club? There you will be able to get first hand experience from people already keeping these lovely creatures as pets.

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Can Betta Fish Live in a Bowl? 0 122

Can betta fish live in a bowl?

It’s not uncommon to see betta fish being kept in very small bottles or jars. This doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Many people assume that because bettas are adapted to living in shallow puddles in paddy fields in the wild, that these are the conditions they should be kept in. This isn’t true; bettas enjoy having space to swim around. 

Bettas should never be kept in very small containers or bowls. Being kept in this kind of home can lead to them becoming stressed and ripping their own fins. Although bettas can be kept in bowls that hold more than a gallon, there are issues with doing this…

So, let’s take a more in depth look at the question: can betta fish live in a bowl?

What is the problem with keeping betta fish in a bowl?

Bettas are “labyrinth fish”. This means they have a lung like organ which enables them to breathe oxygen from the air. This helps them in the wild when they are often forced to survive in very low levels of water. This also leads some people to assume that bettas are suited to living in a non filtered environment when domesticated. This is not true. Betta fish benefit from having a filter in their home as it helps to develop a healthy ecosystem.

One of the main problems with using a bowl to house your betta fish is that it’s very difficult to have filtration in a bowl. It’s also difficult to heat a bowl, so you are reliant on using the room temperature to keep your fish healthy. Betta fish need to be kept in a constant temperature of between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit so relying on room temperature can be very risky.

You can see that from a filtration and heating point of view a bowl isn’t ideal housing for your betta. You also need to remember that your fish will enjoy having the maximum amount of space possible to swim around.

Where should a betta fish be kept?

Betta fish should be kept in a tank that holds at least 2.5 gallons. The bigger the betta tank the easier it is to maintain and keep conditions such as temperature and water parameters consistent.

It’s also easier to maintain the right filter flow in a larger tank. Betta fish don’t like a high amount of flow in the water and this can be a problem in smaller tanks.

It’s important to remember that you will need to have a lid on any tank that contains bettas, as they can and will jump from the tank. Your betta also needs to have plenty of artificial plant cover in the tank, as well as a cave if possible. Bettas like to have a place to hide away and keep to themselves.

Your betta will be a lot happier in a tank that contains plenty of space than in a bowl where swimming room is limited.

Do Betta Fish Need a Heater? 0 148

Do betta fish need a heater?

Many people assume that betta fish do not need a heater in order to survive. This is why betta fish are often popular with people who don’t have a lot of money to spend on a setup. However, more often than not, betta fish do need a heater.

Remember, bettas are tropical fish that thrive in temperatures of between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Just because they may survive without a heater in their tank doesn’t mean they are happy or at their fittest. 

Linked to the question “do betta fish need a heater?” are the equally frequently asked questions, “can betta fish live at room temperature?”, and “can betta fish live in cold water?”.

It’s easiest to look at each question separately. We’ll start with the easiest to answer first!

Can betta fish live in cold water?

If anyone ever asks you whether betta fish live in cold water, just tell them straight, the answer is no! As we’ve already mentioned betta fish are tropical, and they need to live in water with a temperature which should ideally be between the mid-70s and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you put a betta in cold water it will become lethargic and ill. Eventually it will die.

Can betta fish live at room temperature?

Whether betta fish can live at room temperature is not quite as straightforward.

If you live in a home where the room temperature is such that the water in the tank stays between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, then your betta fish can survive in that tank.

However, the problem is that most room temperatures tend to change. It’s very risky to rely on room temperature to keep a betta fish fit and healthy. It’s always a good idea to have a heater in the tank. This brings us to our final question.

Do betta fish need a heater?

In order to remain healthy, and live to a good age, betta fish need to live in water of the right temperature. If the water isn’t consistently between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit then they will not be in the best condition they can be. This is why it’s so important to have a reliable heater in the tank.

Here are a few important points to remember when keeping water temperature consistent for your betta fish.

  • Make sure you buy a reliable heater.
  • You don’t just need a heater, you need a thermometer too. This helps you make sure the water is always the right temperature.
  • Smaller tanks are always harder to heat consistently. They are easily affected by changes in room temperature. It doesn’t take much for the temperature to rise and your fish to die. Larger tanks, over 5 gallons, are easier to heat consistently.

Many people will tell you that their bettas do fine without a heater in the tank. And it is true that they can sometimes live without a heater. Remember though, for your fish to thrive, they need to live in water that is always between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The only way to ensure this is the case is to have a reliable heater and to check the water temperature regularly.