Getting Your New Tank Up & Running

There are several things to consider when setting up a new aquarium in your house.  Here are our step by step tips for making an amazing aquarium!

Choose a good fish tank: your tank needs to be big enough to accomodate the fish you want!  You might want to speak to a specialist as they will help you decide how much water you’ll need to work with the fish you want.  They can also help you figure out plants, decor and other bits and bobs to go inside.

Get an aquarium stand!  This is important as most pieces of furniture like desks or tables just aren’t strong enough to support the weight of a fully stocked aquarium!  An aquarium stand is designed for the dimensions and shape of your tank and will definitely be strong enough to hold up the weight of all that water.

Choose the location.  Out of direct sunlight is a good idea, as it away from any air vents or draughts.  Maintaining a constant temperature is vital for your fish.  Make sure the floor is strong enough to support the weight of your tank and try to find a spot near to electicity outlets. You don’t want to have to stretch cords out to reach the plug socket!

Getting the Right Plants for Your Tanks

Aquarium owners should know that aquarium plants available in shops can be “true aquatic plants” or “non-aquatic plants”.  True aquatic plants can be used in aquariums and are able to be put full submerged into the water.  Non aquatic plants are better used in terraniums.  Often, these plants are labelled properly, however there can be mix ups!

Do not assume that just because a plant is displayed fully submerged in water that it is a true aquatic plant for aquariums!  Sometimes, people deliberately choose non aquatic plants because they like the look of them, knowing that they will not last long submerged under water.  It is a good idea to know which plants you have bought so you can expect them to not last for long!

Where to Place Your New Aquarium

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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. Away from dangers – you need to keep things like cables, electricity points and pets away from your new tank!

Where Trout Feed in a River

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.

 

Feeding fish in an aquarium

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

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

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.

Fishing in the Spring Time: Tips for New Fishermen

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.

How to Stop Pond Water Turning Green

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.

Creating an Interesting Tank Interior

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?

Caring for Reptiles – How to Look After Your New Pet

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.

What exactly is spey fishing?

One of the most fun and interesting developments in fly-fishing in recent years has been the rise of fishing with two-handed rods – widely known as Spey fishing.

Most fly-fishing, of course, is done with a rod designed to be casted with just one hand. And most of the time, that single-hand rod is used for “overhead” casting – flinging the line back behind the caster to flex the rod, then flinging it forward over the water to deliver the fly.

The trouble is, there isn’t always room for a back cast. And salmon and steelhead rivers tend to be big, requiring long casts to seek out the fish.

Spey casting makes it possible to throw a long line with very little room behind the caster, because there’s no back cast. Instead, the caster flips the line into position on the water in front of him, then swings the rod back and makes a simple forward cast. It’s not as easy as it sounds – there’s a learning curve – but once you get the hang, you can send 100 feet of line sailing smoothly out over the river.