Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Caring for a Japanese Fighter Fish (Betta)

How to care for a Japanese Fighter Fish (Betta)

One of the most common misconceptions of betta fish is that they must be in a bowl all by themselves. Mostly because of the stories that they are fighting fish and because these fish are seen in stores in those little plastic cups. But in reality, they can make a great addition to a community tank.

While Bettas don't get along with their own kind, they can make a good community aquarium fish and get along with other community type fish. I've have one with tetras and an angel fish without any problems. Because they are used to being in confinement and are very shy by nature, I found that my betta likes to hide in the caves and plants I had set up in my aquarium. Having plants, artificial or real, is important for housing a Betta in a community aquarium.

It's been very popular lately to have a betta in a bowl with a plant in it. While the plant may look attractive and make a nice display on a desk or end table, bettas are other words, they don't feed off of the plant. They need  food formulated specifically for them like any other tropical fish.

As with any fish, it is better to house it in an aquarium with a filter. However, if you do decide to house it in one of those bowls, it must be cleaned out frequently, as it needs fresh, clean, de-chlorinated water. Otherwise, the water will contain ammonia caused by fish waste and uneaten food. The ammonia is toxic to fish.

Bettas have a special respiratory organ that allows them to breath air directly from the surface. In fact they inherently must do so to live. Bettas must have access to the water surface to breath air directly from the atmosphere.

In their natural habitat, Bettas often come from warm, tropical climates. Bettas thrive on heat, and will become increasingly listless when the water temperature falls below 75 degrees F.
With a little care and recognition of their needs, a betta fish can be a great addition to your aquarium.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Little Boy Blue - Book Shows Truth of Some Shelters

In the course of the 3 days that it took me to read this book, as many as 42,000 companion dogs died in American Animal Shelters.  I had recently posted some press clippings from the new book, Little Boy Blue in a past post on my blog. I had the opportunity to finish reading the book recently and was moved by what is happening to dogs in many shelters.  

There is a common thought that the best thing to do for an unwanted dog is to bring them to the local animal shelter. However, in this book, author Kim Kavin illustrates the issues in many of the animal shelters in the southern states, including those with a kill rate 95% of all dogs they take in off the streets.

After adopting a dog from a North Carolina animal shelter, Kavin is inspired to do additional research into the life of her new dog, Blue.  The discoveries she makes will make any dog lover cringe.

Did you know that taxpayers spend $15 million a year on shelters where dogs die in gas chambers?

This book not only exposes these truths of animal shelters, but it also tells inspiring stories of the grass-roots rescue network that has exploded across the nation in recent years.

I would suggest this book to any dog lover.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Top Names for Labrador Retrievers

Labs are known for one key trait: Everyone they encounter is their new best friend. Perhaps this is why Buddy is the most popular name for male Labs. Rounding out the top five: Max, Bear, Duke and Jake. The top lady Labrador name is Bella, followed by these equally girly picks: Molly, Daisy, Lucy and Sadie

Monday, August 20, 2012

Top Names for Bulldogs

Sometimes a breed is just built for a particular name, like the Bulldog, whose most popular male moniker is Tank. Other top picks for the breed: Diesel, Winston, Dozer and the very popular choice of Max. For females, Bella is once again the top option, trailed by Lola, Daisy, Lucy and Stella.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Guppy Boldness Studied

Guppy Boldness Studied

Interesting article about the study of the guppy and the boldness of the species.

Boldness increases chances of finding food and mates, but it also exposes intrepid individuals to the risk of being caught by predators.”

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How Many Fish Should Be In My Tank

Fish keepers have heard the rule of thumb for stocking their aquarium. But how many fish is really too many?

Tropical fish, like any other animal, will grow at different rates, consume different amounts of food, behave with their tankmates differently and also display different levels of aggression. Depending on their metabolic processes, fish will even release a different amount of waste. The worst rule in the book is the one-fish-per-3-gallon rule.

As for stocking a freshwater aquarium, always stay conservative with how many fish you have in the tank. A light or moderately stocked aquarium will be easier to maintain and manage over one that is heavily stocked. Also, lightly stocked tropical fish aquariums fare much better in emergencies, (such as power outages) than one that is filled to the brim with livestock.  This will also reduce the frequency of water changes. The general rule of a partial water change every two weeks tends to become almost every week to keep a heavily stocked aquarium healthy.

Instead of looking for a golden rule when stocking your aquarium, look for fish species that are compatible or have been compatible in other people’s experience. Look for tropical fish species that do not grow too large and are recommended for your aquarium’s size in gallons. Aquascape your aquarium to provide plenty of hiding places and retreats in the event that one fish is more aggressive than you predicted. If the tropical fish you have added seem to be getting along well and you’re not having a problem with excessive nutrients in the water you can look at adding more fish that are compatible with your current species.

Once you have established some harmony in the aquarium you can begin to research  other tropical fish that may work well in your aquarium.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dog Lessons For People

  • Enjoy the simpleness of a walk
  • Run and play daily
  • Be loyal, faithful, and quick to forgive
  • Always drink plenty of water
  • Sometimes it is best to sit close and listen
  • Follow your instincts
  • Keep digging until you find what you want
  • Accept all of life's treats with gratitude
  • Love unconditionally

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Natural Balance Donates Food Through Facebook Campaign

Natural Balance Pet Foods ( has launched a Facebook campaign to donate food to a dog rescue group. Natural Balance will donate one pound of food to Angels in Fur for each new Like on the Natural Balance Facebook page through Aug. 31. Natural Balance will donate up to 5,000 pounds of food.

Angels in Fur is a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and restoring dogs to loving homes

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Go Fragrance Free on August 10th

The Environmental Protection Association (EPA) states that fragranced products like air fresheners, fabric refreshers and traditional cleaning products contribute to poor indoors air quality, which can lead to health issues, especially for pets with their faster metabolisms and respiratory systems, and close proximity to the ground.
Fragrance Free Day helps raise awareness about the dangers of fragrances in personal care and household products by giving people the chance to go “fragrance free” for one day. That means no perfumes, colognes, scented lotions or harsh cleaning products with added fragrances for one full day!
On Fragrance Free Day (August 10th), SeaYu will be hosting a live Twitter chat from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST using hashtag #fragrancefreeday. Participants can get all their questions and concerns about fragranced products answered by a panel of experts including:
-Quincy Yu, Founder of SeaYu and green living expert
-Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist
-Dr. Stephan Ziman, organic chemist

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dog Sitting!

For those of us who love dogs, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Especially when the time comes to watch someone else's dogs.

Right now, we have four dogs at our home.  And, since two of them don't always get along with each other, we've had to make sure we keep an eye on all of them to avoid any potential fights. That means removing food bowls, as well as toys, so that there are less things to fight over.

While dog sitting for someone can be a good deed, and in keeping the dogs from having to go to a boarding location, it does add stress on all the dogs involved.  It throws off their normal routines, while adding a dimension of uncertainty. The uncertainty of if this is now a permanent change, of possible new habits, of new, if only temporary, routines.

But as much as I love all the furry friends in the home, having to feed, walk, and clean up after twice the number of pups I'm used to does take it's toll....and I'll be happy to get back to my normal routine soon as well!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Puppy’s Rescue from Death Row and his Owner’s Journey for Truth


A Puppy’s Rescue from Death Row and his Owner’s Journey for Truth

By Kim Kavin

Foreword by Jim Gorant

 When Kim Kavin decided that she wanted a puppy, she did what millions of people do every year: clicked on an online photo and submitted an application. She had no idea that the adorable brindle--advertised as healthy and near her home in New Jersey--was actually a last-minute rescue from a gas-chamber shelter in North Carolina.

Blue had arrived in the Northeast with at least a dozen other dogs in an RV that is just one among countless transports whose sponsors are dedicating their efforts to saving dogs by any means possible. Blue was happy and friendly, but he seemed to have endured some unusual, albeit unknown, ordeal. The dog's manner prompted Kavin to trace his history all the way back to a long row of cages where Blue had been tagged to be put down in just three more days.

LITTLE BOY BLUE: A Puppy’s Rescue from Death Row and his Owner’s Journey for Truth (Barron’s Educational Series; August 2012; $22.99; Hardcover) is the true story of one sweet puppy's journey of survival. It's also a shocking exposé that describes a

brutal ongoing reality inside some of this country's taxpayer-funded shelters. But Little Boy Blue also tells an inspiring story of the grass-roots rescue network that has exploded across the nation in recent years. Readers will come to know and love a very special dog who now brings smiles to the faces of everyone he meets. From a single click of Kavin's computer mouse, Blue's journey of a lifetime began. This is the story of Little Boy Blue, told with candor and love. 

Kim Kavin is an award-winning writer, editor, photographer, and website developer. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism in 1994 and worked as a daily newspaper editor until 2000, when she became executive editor of Yachting magazine. She has been a full-time freelance journalist since April 2003 and is now considered one of the world’s foremost authorities covering the luxury yacht charter industry. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, a member of the Author’s Guild, a past president of Boating Writers International, and a member of the Dog Writers Association of America.  “Little Boy Blue” is her ninth book. In her spare time, Kim does volunteer work for Lulu’s Rescue, one of the charitable organizations that helped to save her dog, Blue. She opens her home to foster dogs and writes biographies of dogs in need for

Barron’s Educational Series will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book to the Foundation (

Read the first two chapters of Little Boy Blue