Building a new aquarium is exciting for families, allowing you to stock it with interesting and unusual breeds of fish as well as plants! The main concern people have however, is finding the most appropriate location within their home to place their new tank. There are a few things to consider when placing your new tank.
- No direct heat source – it is important to keep your tank away from sunlight and heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators etc. The heat can affect the life of the fish!
- Sturdy cabinet – you must place your tank on a purpose built aquarium cabinet, as these are strong enough to support the weight of a fully stocked tank. Just using a table or shelf will not always be strong enough!
- Away from dangers – you need to keep things like cables, electricity points and pets away from your new tank!
One thing beginning fly fishermen struggle with their first time on a trout stream is locating where fish are feeding. It’s not the pattern, cast, or the retrieve that gets them in trouble, it’s the presentation and figuring out how to get that fly in the strike zone. Here’s a look at the four basic feeding zones on a typical trout stream and what percentage of the time you can generally find fish there. You might be surprised to find trout feed under the surface 90 percent of the time.
On the Surface
Trout rarely feed on the surface, hitting insects in the surface film no more than 10 percent of the time. It will be evident fish are feeding on the surface when you see boils at the surface, hear fish slurping bugs off the top or even jump out of the water to haul in adult aquatic insects as they emerge. This is a common sight in the evenings when mosquitoes are prevalent at the water’s edge.
Just Below the Surface
Same goes for the immediate subsurface bite, or the first two or three inches below the surface. Trout consume about 10 percent of their diet here as well, snacking on adult insects as they make their way to the surface. Dry flies will still work at this stage, although switching to a light nymph like a pheasant tail is probably a better idea.
Not sure what you should feed your fish? Is it a meat-eater, or a vegetarian? This list of feeding types will answer that question for you.
Carnivores are meat-eating fish. Some prefer live prey that they can hunt down and kill before eating, such as other fish or insects. Here are some common carnivorous fish, and what they prefer to eat.
Hatchetfish – Prefers live foods but will accept freeze dried and flake foods.
Killifish – Eats small live foods, can be trained to accept flakes.
Knifefish – Eats live foods exclusively
Halfbeak – Prefers live foods, but will eat flakes.
Frontosa – Accepts all types of meaty foods.
Electric Catfish – Prefer live foods, but can be trained to accept freeze dried tablets.
Bettas – Prefers live foods but will accept flakes and freeze dried.
Banjo Catfish – Prefers live foods, but can be trained to accept freeze dried tablets.
Archerfish – Eats live foods exclusively.
Herbivores require a diet of all, or mostely, vegetable matter. True herbivores do not have a large stomach, and therefore must eat more frequently. These fish are primarily vegetarian, and should be fed accordingly.
Molly – Algae-eater that also eats vegetables such as spinach. Will also accept insects and flakes.
Farowella – Eats vVegetable tablets and algae.
Pacu – Prefers fresh vegetables, will eat vegetable flakes and fruits.
Silver Dollar – Feed fresh vegetables, vegetable flakes and tablets.
Tropheus – Acccepts algae, plants, spirulina, vegetable flakes.
Choosing a fishing rod can be a bewildering topic. Here are our hints for choosing your new fishing rod.
Float fishing rods: Float rods can range between 11-14 ft. Generally, the further out from the shore you plan to go, the longer the rod should be. Other types of coarse rods can be used for float fishing. For example, a lightweight carp rod could be used when float fishing for carp. An 11ft rod is perfect for short range fishing, perhaps in a canal or pond. 12-13ft rods can be used on rivers and other places where you don’t need to cast out too far, like a lake or reservoir. 14ft rods (or longer) are used to give you more control in weedy or windy weather. If you’re only planning to buy one rod, we say that a 12-13 ft rod would be sufficient for most conditions.
Action: There are two main types of rod action; tip and through. Tip action rods usually have a carbon tip spliced in – great for playing fish on small hooks and tight lines. Through action rods usaully have a hollow unspliced tip, ideal for larger more powerful fish. Although a soft through action rod can be used for all types of float fishing.
If you have ever taken children on a fishing trip with you, only to find it is a complete disaster and not at all fun, this post is for you! It is possible to keep your child’s attention and catch enough fish to make it enjoyable for the whole family.
Begin with the right fishing equipment. There is no point in getting silly little kids fishing rods – you’ll end up spending more time untangling the thing than actually using it! Simply go for an ultra-light rod and reel. Get the shortest one you can, but not less than 5 feet. A spool of good quality line and some torpedo style flotats will be good. Get someone at your local tackle shop to spool the reel for you and attach the float so that it can slide along the line to the desired length.
Find a good pond to fish at. It is a good idea to go for one which is quiet, kids can get quite excitable with casting and you don’t want to annoy too many others!
There are a range of different fish which are native to the UK waterways. Here is a guide to the different species you might find!
Carp: carp are found in the majority of UK canals and can grow to large sizes. They are easy to spot due to their dark brown and bronze colouration. They have a large, rounded body and strong fins. There are three major strains. The common carp are fully scaled, mirror carp are partially scaled and learther carp have practically no scales at all!
Roach: the roach makes up the largest numbers of fish within our canals. Roach are a shoaling fish, silvery grey in colour. They are often confused with Rudd. You can be sure by counting the lateral line scales (rudd have 40-55) and check the shape of the mouth – rudd have upturned mouths.
Pike: the pike is a spectacular predator! They have large, bony heads with upward looking eyes, a broad, flat snout and large mouth. They have a lot of sharp teeth! A torpedo shaped body allows for speedy movement!
You can find out more about fishing within our canal network over at the canal and river trust.
The spring is a great month to get out and about on the water, so here are our top tips for making the most of the new season.
The number 1 rule in spring is to simply get out on thwe water as much as you can! There is a wonderful saying that even the worst fishing day is better than no fishing day at all! You should also keep a close eye on the weather report – days of unexpected warmth or sunshine are good opporunities to get out and go fishing.
Whilst out, keep looking for the sunnier spots. The cold water will warm up quickly once the sun brightens up in spring, so more fish will be attracted to the warmer shallows.
Use smaller, more brightly coloured lures during spring, when the water can be muddier or murky. This helps the fish to see them better, and the smaller lures will seem like less of an effort to chase around.
Green pond water is a common complaint, especially during the summer months. The reason pond water goes green is because of a growth of algae. Pond algae feeds on the nitrates produced when bacteria break down fish waste, and sunny conditions can make algae grow very quickly indeed.
The main ways to prevent the spread of algae is to remove the fish waste, by scooping out the sludgey layer at the bottom of the pond, and by using algaecides which are chemicals to kill off the algae. These chemicals are dangerous to use when you have pets and children however, so do be careful! You will need to read the instructions carefully, and check if your pond fish will need to be moved into a temporary home while their pond is being treated. Some chemicals could harm your fish.
Decorating your tank is a fun part of keeping fish and reptiles – it gives you a chance to show off your sense of style and can help your fish and reptiles be happier in their tanks with places to hide and sleep if they want to!
Plants are a good way to start, as they also have the benefit of oxygenating the water. You can of course buy artificial plants for your tanks too, which are a good option for those who do not want to have to do too much maintenance.
Ornaments can bring your tank to life and can offer vital areas for your fish to hide in – classic ideas feature pirate themed items such as skulls and shipwrecks, but we are starting to see more and more different ideas coming into play these days. Why not give your tank a zen makeover with some japanese style decor?
Reptiles are a very interesting creature to own as a pet. They have features which are very different to other animals. For a start, they are cold blooded, with scaly bodies and they lay eggs. We lay out some of the facts about looking after your own reptiles as pets.
Compared to some animals, reptiles are actually pretty low maintenance! They are good for people with allergies to fur and for people who work long hours and aren’t always at home. It is however, still a living animal and we are effectively putting it in captivity when we take them into our homes!
Reptiles are not really an expensive pet to buy, with some suitable beginner reptiles like corn snakes and leopard geckos costing around £50. Some larger and more unusual reptiles cost much more. You need to think about the cost of setting up a vivarium too, plus all the accessories. A typical vivarium can cost around £200 to put together, with larger or bespoke designs costing much more!
Feeding your reptile is altogether more interesting than other pets…for a start, many reptiles enjoy eating live prey…so you’ll need to be able to feed them the right things! Corn snakes and bearded dragons need to be fed defrosted mice.