Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reef Tank Update

OK, so I said I would do an update on whether my DIY protein skimmer worked or not. Well, it DID! :) It took a while to break in (2 days) but it is now collecting very light colored skimmate (dirty stuff from the water) and should hopefully start to collect more as the tank and skimmer mature. The tank has had a LOT of diatom and other algae growing in it because it is so young but the pod (amphipod and copepod) populations are up and, at times, I can see over ten of them on one side of the aquarium. The corals seem very happy and are open (most of the time). I now have one of the new lights (20 watt Coralife 50/50 bulbs but I only have one) and am considering getting a Finnex 26 watt bulb for the other side instead of the Coralife. I also re-aquascaped the tank and added some more rock. It looks nice now (there is a little "island" now) and I am happy with the scape. I'm ready to add corals and inverts but our local pet store is redoing their saltwater systems so I have to wait a bit. :( Well, pictures coming soon!
Oh and please pray for Socks from "Alasandra, The Cats and a Dog"

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A New Gerbil Buddy for Clark!

Well, today I got a new male gerbil buddy for Clark! Right now I am split-caging them (a process which gets them used to each other) and will introduce them directly once everything looks good with them. So far, they are getting along pretty well (no fighting through the cage bars) and are curious about each other. Will post pictures as soon as I can!

Monday, December 6, 2010

My New 10-Gallon Nano-Reef!

Well, my new 10-gallon nano-reef is set up and has corals in it now (my 5-gallon is no longer set up). The equipment consists of a standard 10-gallon glass aquarium, an unknown brand hang-on-back power filter, a Whisper filter (mainly for flow), a 50 watt Jr Heater, and (right now) a Coralife 50/50 10 watt PC screw in bulb plus a house PC screw in bulb (the coil type) which will both be replaced in a few weeks with two 20 watt Coralife 50/50 PC screw in bulbs (to provide a total of 40 watts of light, or 4 watts per gallon). I am working on a DIY protein skimmer and will be testing it hopefully tomorrow! I'll post results on that and instructions on how to make one if it works! Here are some pictures of the tank.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

End of November Update

I have some good news and some bad. The bad news is, on November the 18th, my gerbil Lewis died. I don't know the cause. Gerbils are supposed to live a fair amount longer than a year (most live 3-5 years) so there must have been something wrong with him. Now Clark is by himself and is very lonely. I am strongly considering getting another gerbil to keep him company (and soon) because gerbils don't like to be alone.
On a brighter note though, I finally got my under-tank heater for Gex and I also am setting up a 10 gallon reef tank, which is currently cycling. The contents of the 5 gallon (live-rock, polyps, mushroom coral, and all the equipment and sand) will go into the 10 once it is stable. I'll post pictures once there is something to post pictures of (right now it is pretty boring looking because all that is in the tank is sand, water, equipment, and 4 rocks) which will hopefully be soon. I am going to use (I have to order them) 2 Finnex 26watt power-compact screw in (regular socket) bulbs for the lighting.
For my saltwater tanks, I don't use protein skimmers at all because I think the natural method works better: you don't have to dose lots of elements back to the water daily (skimming removes them so you have to add them back), you don't remove the food that the corals eat, and there is less expense. My method involves doing monthly water changes of about 50% (to keep nitrates down), feeding Kent Marine Micro-Vert every day, feeding whatever fish are in the tank a very small amount of good quality food (usually frozen) doing filter maintenance every couple of weeks, and finally, realizing the limits of whatever tank it is (I don't even try to keep SPS corals because I know they are demanding in their water quality needs).
Smokey and Sunny have been extremely cuddly lately and have been (for the most part) sweet. Smokey has learned how to UNZIP stuff lately and has managed to do this twice! I had her in her carrier the other day and I turned around and there she was so I went upstairs (expecting a torn up carrier) and found out that she had unzipped it and gotten out! If I have to take her to the vet or anywhere else for whatever reason, I'll have to make sure she can't do that!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cold Weather Comes (And Issues Arise)

Well, the cold weather is here now (we've had a freeze for three nights in a row now) and with that comes the need for heaters (for us, and the animals) and for most of my animals, the heaters are fine, HOWEVER, for my African fat-tailed gecko, the under-tank heater that I have had for several years quit working! I don't know what is wrong with it but it is so thin (paper thin) that there is not much you can do, so I went to our local pet store to get one (they are pretty common) and they had every heater but the one I needed. They had the Exo-Terra Rain forest heaters in every size, the Exo-Terra Desert heaters (the type I needed because the rain forest ones are half the wattage of the desert ones) in the larger sizes (medium, large, and X-large) but not the smaller ones (Small and X-small) so they said they would order it for me. Well, I went back a week later and asked about it and they said that it had been back ordered and should be there by Friday the 12th. So right now, I am waiting on the heater to come in, having to heat up a reusable hot/cold pack (you microwave it) every few hours and also using a heat lamp (only when I am here because it gets REALLY hot) on my fat-tailed gecko. Smokey and Sunny have taken to sleeping with me more because of the cold weather and I must say that having a kitty (or two kitties) to cuddle with at night and keep you warm is very nice! Fiona likes the cold weather (compared to summer anyway) but still gets cold at night sometimes. My gerbils (Lewis and Clark) get cold and cuddle together at night which is really cute but I give them bedding to stay warm with. The fish tanks are for the most part doing well. The reef tank is not doing as well as I would like (the only thing that is growing and thriving is the mushroom, the polyps are surviving but not growing) because the lighting is NOT strong enough (it is only two watts of PC where as I SHOULD have between four and eight) so I have to start working on that. My leopard gecko (Seze) is doing very well and has a HUGE appetite for crickets (doesn't like meal worms though)! I am trying to keep warm because I am NOT a cold weather person... Brrrr.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall is Finally Getting Here!

Well, the temps are FINALLY starting to drop a little bit (it is NOT cold by any means) and the leaves are starting to turn (still pretty green though). Now that the house is cooler all the time without the air conditioner going, the cats are more playful and also more likely to "snuggle" with you. I actually see the fish tank heaters turn on sometimes now (instead of me having to use ice and a fan!) and I actually have to use the under-tank heaters for the geckos all the time and use the heat lamp for my leopard gecko Seze! Fiona has enjoyed out of cage time even more now and gets out several times a day usually. Lewis and Clark (my two gerbils) are very frisky and playful too and love getting out daily in their "Run-About-Ball's". All my new fish are doing well (a few weeks ago I got 2 guppies and 3 black-skirt tetras, and then last Saturday I got a royal gramma)! Hopefully this weather will stay for a while because it is so pretty now!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Trip to Arkansas: Coming home with a new critter and nursing it back to health

On August 15th through the 18th I was in Arkansas and had a great time exploring a state that I had never seen before (the Ozarks are really beautiful!). On the 17th, I went to a Petco store and got a baby leopard gecko. The next day I had to travel back to MS and (of course) the gecko had to go also. She did really well with the trip and once I got home, I immediately got her setup in a nice terrarium with a heater, water dish, hideout, and food. She ate several crickets a day (she is only 4 inches long!) for about 4 or so days and then stopped eating completely. I tried mealworms and dead crickets (my other gecko will eat both of the latter plus live crickets too) with no luck. Finally I called a vet in town who referred me to another vet (exotic animal vet). I called the exotic animal vet and talked to her. She told me to bring the gecko in that day so I did. I was really afraid that she was going to find out that the gecko had Cryptosporidium (a deadly, non-curable disease that affects reptiles and many other animals) but she came back and told me that it just had a bacterial infection and POSSIBLY some internal parasites so she gave me some Baytril and Panacur to give the little girl for 7 days (for the Baytril) and 3 days (for the Panacur). She also gave me a can of Hills A/D Canine/Feline food to give her. I did this as well as I could (the gecko did NOT like it at ALL) and after about 4 days, she was eating again! After completing the medication she is still eating (2 crickets a night) and is gaining weight! The vet told me that the infection was likely due to Petco not keeping the cages sanitary. I won't be buying any more reptiles (or any other animal for that matter) from Petco, Petsmart or any other chain pet store. I have not named the new gecko but I am considering these names: Neyteri (Avatar), Seze (the name of Neyteri's Ikran in Avatar), Nala (The Lion King) and Sabor (the leopard in Tarzan and also means lioness or tiger in Mangani).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Baby fish and fish tank updates!

Not too long ago, I went to a local pet store and bought a female platy. I knew when I bought her that she would have babies soon (that is part of the reason I got her) and so I put her into a tank that she could have them in. The next night I was feeding and looking after the fish and noticed a baby in the tank with her. Well, I knew that she would have more (fish almost always do!) so I watched and waited and sure enough, she had 14 more babies! Unfortunately, the mother fish died a few days ago but her babies (well, 13 of them) are still doing really well and growing fast! Pretty soon I will have 13 adult "Fire Wag Platies"! All the other tanks (the marine community, nano-reef and the non-stocked African cichlid tank) are doing well. Hopefully I will be getting more saltwater fish, corals, freshwater community fish and cichlids soon! It has been really hard this summer to keep the temperature down in the nano-reef because it is only 5 gallons and also has to have a really strong light on it (the corals require it) so it gets really hot. The record temp. for that tank is 88F which is WAY to hot (should be 78F) but the corals are doing well so I guess I can't complain that much...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Terrific Tuesday

Today has been VERY hot! Sunny and Smokey have been lying around not doing much of anything. Fiona is doing well and was moved to the downstairs because of the heat. Lewis and Clark are very active most of the time and have decided that "Carrot Crunchies" are the best treat EVER. Gex is doing well and still has her little burrows that she dug (well, one of them at least). All the fish are doing well and I am currently setting up a lake Malawi cichlid tank. I got some new coral (polyps and a mushroom coral) and it is doing very well. I have 14 new baby fish (platies) that were born Sunday July 25th from 6:00-9:00 PM. I will post pictures when I get the chance (of the new tank and new corals). Have a cool day!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunny Sunday

Sorry for the delay in an update but I have been really busy. Sunny is getting well from being spayed and is almost a year old (will be Thursday July 1st). Smokey has been very playful lately but is also very lazy at times (typical cat). They are both eating Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul Adult Dry formula and they love it! I like the fact that they eat less because it is nutrient dense (which means less cleanup for me) and that Smokey is loosing some weight (she was a little overweight). They also eat Fancy Feast Classic because they are grain free (the ones I feed) and I don't MIND the few by-products (at least there is no corn, wheat, or soy) that Fancy Feast has. Lewis and Clark (the gerbils) have been active lately and are so different in personality. Lewis is a very calm gerbil and a bit shy while Clark is curious and hyper. Gex (the gecko) is doing well and has dug her own little hideouts in her cage on the cool side (her regular hideout is on the hot side). I recently bought a Ocellaris Clownfish (captive bred) but it ended up getting Marine Ich. I treated it and it is well now and is in the display tank (it had been in quarantine). I have been having to re-stock my 20 gallon display tank (marine) because it crashed about a month ago but it is doing great now! Here are some pictures of a few things!

Here are some pictures from a wildlife refuge!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sunny is at the vet.

Sunny is at the vet (was taken this morning) to be spayed. She will be home on Friday and will have to be kept from jumping and playing too much (that should be interesting). She was FINALLY large enough to have it done safely (she was really small at 6 months)!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Canned Cat Food Comparison

Here is another cat food comparison but this time, it is for canned food! The food, top ten ingredients, and guaranteed analysis are listed first and then a review of the foods.

Wellness Chicken Recipe
Chicken, Chicken liver, turkey, chicken broth, carrots, natural chicken flavor, sweet potatoes, squash, zucchini, cranberries
Crude protein: Not less than 10%
Crude fat: Not less than 5%
Crude fiber: Not more than 1%
Moisture: Not more than 78%

Chicken Soup for the Cat Lovers Soul
Chicken, chicken liver, salmon, turkey, duck, chicken broth, whole grain brown rice, white rice, oatmeal, potatoes,
Crude protein: Not less than 10%
Crude fat: Not less than 5%
Crude fiber: Not more than 1%
Moisture: Not more than 78%

Blue Buffalo
Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, water, dried egg whites, potato starch, ground brown rice, spinach, flaxseed, sodium phosphate
Crude protein: Not less than 10%
Crude fat: Not less than 5.5%
Crude Fiber: Not more than 1%
Moisture: Not more than 78%

The top ingredient is Chicken in all three, which is a good healthy muscle meat. Wellness and Chicken Soup for the Cat Lovers Soul (from here on called Chicken Soup) have chicken liver as the second ingredient which is also healthy and provides several very important vitamins and adds flavor for the food while Blue Buffalo has chicken broth which is not quite as good as chicken liver (chicken liver provides more vitamins) but still a nice addition. Third we have Turkey in Wellness, which is another sound inclusion because it is another high quality muscle meat. In Chicken Soup we have salmon which is also a great meat to include and provides fish oil with it (great for the skin and coat). In Blue Buffalo we have chicken liver (YAY, they include it here) which is good (as explained above). Fourth in Wellness is chicken broth, which is a good inclusion. In Chicken Soup we have turkey, which is a good muscle meat. In Blue Buffalo we have water, which I don’t have an issue with although it seems a little high on the list. In the fifth spot Wellness has carrots, which are a good source of vitamins, and is NOT a high cause of allergies in pets. In Chicken Soup we have duck, which is a good source of protein and is a great muscle meat that is a little different. In Blue Buffalo we have dried egg whites, which are a great source of protein. Sixth in Wellness we have natural chicken flavor which is a good flavoring to add because it is not artificial. In Chicken Soup we have chicken broth, which is a good inclusion. In Blue Buffalo we have potato starch, which is a good ingredient because it is not usually a cause of allergies and is healthy. Seventh in Wellness we have sweet potatoes, which are a good healthy ingredient to include because they supply vitamins. In Chicken Soup we have whole grain brown rice, which is a good form of rice to include because it is the best part of the grain. In Blue buffalo we have ground brown rice, which is good for the same reason that the whole grain was. Eighth in Wellness we have squash which is good to include because it provides vitamins. In Chicken Soup we have white rice, which is not a high allergy cause and provides vitamins. In Blue Buffalo we have spinach, which is good and provides vitamins. Ninth in Wellness we have zucchini, which is a good ingredient and provides vitamins. In Chicken Soup we have oatmeal, which is a good ingredient and provides more vitamins. In Blue Buffalo we have flaxseed, which is also a good ingredient and provides a great fat source. Tenth in Wellness is cranberries which are a great source of antioxidants. In Chicken Soup we have potatoes, which are another good inclusion because they provide starch and vitamins. Blue Buffalo has sodium phosphate, which is a good inclusion, and I have no issues with.

Now I will go over the guaranteed analysis for the foods. Crude protein in all foods is 10% minimum. That is a fairly high protein content and it comes from a good source so no issues there. The Crude fat is 5% minimum in Wellness and Chicken Soup for the Cat Lovers Soul, and 5.5% minimum in Blue Buffalo. Not much difference there and it is also high quality fat so that is fine. Crude fiber in ALL the foods is 1% maximum which is good. Moisture is 78% maximum which is good because you don’t want TOO much water but do want a fair amount.

So, the answer to what food is better is: It is up to you because they are all good. I would choose Wellness or Chicken Soup for the Cat Lovers Soul but Blue Buffalo is also very good. They all provide solid nutrition for your cat.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stormy Saturday!

Well, today started out really pretty (blue sky) and HOT. Now it is stormy and breezy. Smokey and Sunny have taken to playing with each other and being crazy. Fiona has mostly been relaxing and eating (being herself!) and the gerbils are also being themselves by playing around and being silly! I did some work on the fish tanks today and they look much better although I have WAY to many apstasia anemones in the nano-reef right now (they "breed" like crazy!). Sunny is most likely going to the vet on Tuesday to be spayed and will be home Wednesday afternoon (my vet keeps them overnight). I wanted to get her spayed at 6 months of age (she is almost a year old now) but she was underweight AND the Ketamine recall kinda turned me off for a while. I have been feeding the cats some store bought treats but I need to make some more homemade ones. Here are a few recipes for homemade cat treats!

Kitty Treats!
1 1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil (or Canola or Olive)
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Tuna Oil, Chicken broth, or Beef Bouillon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients into a dough. Dust hands with flour and form small, 1/2 inch thick, round biscuits. Set on greased cookie sheet. Bake 30 minutes or until biscuits are slightly browned. Cool before serving.

Savory Cheese Treats!
3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
5 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup cornmeal
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine cheeses and yogurt. Add flour and cornmeal. If needed, add a small amount of water to create a nice dough. Knead dough into a ball and roll to 1/4 inch. Cut into one inch sized pieces and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool before serving

Tuna Squares!
8oz can of tuna in oil
2 cups cornmeal
2 cups flour
3/4 cup water
2/3 cup oil
Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a cookie sheet. Mix ingredients just until combined, and on a floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut dough into small squares, place squares on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool before serving.

Wishing everyone a safe, wonderful day!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Understanding Cat Food Labels

There are many articles, videos, etc about what should (and shouldn't) be in your cat's food. It can be quite confusing but is a good thing to know.

The first thing you should do is look at the label on the bag, can or pouch. What are the top ingredients? Are there by-products? Is BHA/BHT present (NOT a good preservative to have in the food)? Is corn or wheat in the food (if so, where on the list?)? Here are two example cat foods of similar price and their first ten ingredients.

Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul Adult Formula
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Cracked pearled barley, Chicken fat, Ocean fish meal, White rice, Potatoes, Oatmeal, Millet, Natural chicken flavor

Purina ONE Chicken & Rice Formula
Chicken, Brewers rice, Corn gluten meal, Poultry by-product meal, Wheat flour, Animal fat, Whole grain corn, Fish meal, Soy protein isolate, Animal liver flavor

So, which one looks better? Well, let's compare. The top ingredient in both is chicken, which is good to see because it is a muscle meat. In the Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul, the next ingredient is chicken meal (the dried form of chicken) which is GREAT to see because it also is a muscle meat. In Purina ONE the next ingredient is brewers rice which is NOT so great to see because it is one of the lowest quality forms of rice. In Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul, the third ingredient is cracked pearled barley which is a great grain choice because it is a whole grain that is also a slow burning carbohydrate source and is high in protein. Purina ONE has corn gluten meal which is known to cause allergies in many animals and is of little nutritional value. Forth in Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul is chicken fat which is a great form of fat for the food. Fourth in Purina ONE we have poultry by-product meal which is not a good form of meat (if they wanted us to know what meat it was they would have listed it as chicken by-product meal or turkey by-product meal, etc). Fifth in Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul is ocean fish meal which is dried fish and is good to see because it is a high quality meat that is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Fifth in Purina ONE is wheat flour which is another cause of pet allergies and is also of little nutritional value. Sixth in Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul we have white rice which is a sound inclusion because it is one of the better types of rice to put in cat food because it is a good carbohydrate source and is high in protein. Sixth in Purina ONE we have animal fat: um, where do I start with this one? Well, "animal" is not very descriptive and if it were beef, or chicken fat they would say it was. It is MUCH better to see a specific animal listed so you know the source. Seventh in Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul we have potatoes which are a great form of starch and is great to see because they are a highly digestible carbohydrate source that is not likely to cause allergies. Seventh in Purina ONE we have whole grain corn which is again, NOT good to see (for the same reason as the corn gluten meal). Eighth in Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul we have oatmeal which is another great grain to include because it is a whole grain. Eighth in Purina ONE we have fish meal which is not bad. Ninth in Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul we have millet which is another great grain choice and is a sound inclusion because it is high in protein. In Purina ONE we have soy protein isolate which is bad because cats don't need soy (it is a cause of allergies in cats). Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul uses natural chicken flavor for their kibble and Purina ONE uses animal liver flavor. I would prefer to see a specific type of animal listed instead of just "animal".

As I said before, these foods are very similar in price and there is a HUGE difference in quality so just read the label on any food(s) you are considering! Now, Purina ONE is NOT a BAD food (there are MUCH worse), you can just do better!

Now look on the "Guaranteed Analysis". What percentages of crude protein, crude fat, and crude fiber are in the food? A lot of people think that the higher the percentage of crude protein, the better the food but that is not always true. While a higher percentage of crude protein is good to see most of the time, it depends on where the protein comes from. If it comes from soy, by-products, etc then it is not a high quality protein and therefore, not as good as a food that is lower in protein but has a high quality source such as chicken, fish, duck, or turkey (or a meal of any of these) and barley, rice, millet, potatoes, etc. So for instance, a food that has 34% crude protein that has by-products, soy and corn is not as good as a food that has 30% crude protein that has chicken, fish, and barley. Crude fiber in most cat foods is between 1%-5% which is fine (this number can vary but for the most part, they all have similar amounts). The crude fat in cat food is usually somewhere between 12%-20% but can be more depending on the food. The moisture content will vary depending on whether you feed dry, or wet (I have given dry food examples). The dry food moisture level is usually about 10%-12% and the moisture content in canned food is usually about 78%. I recommend feeding a combination of wet and dry foods because cats tend to not drink enough water and can get dehydrated, but all wet or all dry is also OK. If you feed all wet, make sure to keep the teeth clean. If you feed dry, also make sure to keep the teeth clean and also make sure your cat gets enough water.

Now I know that there have been a lot of pet food recalls lately and it can be hard to pick a brand to stick with because we don't want a brand that has been recalled but from what I have read and seen, there are VERY few brands that have not ever been recalled at some point so just stick with brands that have a good reputation and keep up with what is safe and what is not.

Every cat deserves the best food possible!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Very Hot Wednesday!

The temperature outside right now is about 88°s but it feels MUCH hotter. The cats are being lazy and are shedding like crazy. I put ice in their bowls to cool them off and brushed Sunny to help with the shedding. Fiona and the gerbils have a fan on them during the day so they stay cool and the fish tank heaters are off. Last night the power went off for no apperent reason and did not come back on till about 4:30AM so it was VERY hot. I hope it cools down a little bit in the next few days but I doubt it will. The beach would be very nice right about now except for the oil. The oil slick has (so far) killed 20 sea turtles that they know of and is getting worse. I get sick anytime I think about it so I try not to. I hope to go camping soon and am planning on doing the Great American Backyard Campout sometime later this month. Last year was fun and I really enjoyed it but it was REALLY HOT because we did it in late June. So stay cool and have fun!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rainy Friday.

Today was a rainy day and it seems that tomorrow will be too... The cats mostly slept except for a small play session between Sunny and Smokey. Sunny likes to sleep on high spots or on my bed, and Smokey likes soft places like chairs, my bed, or her bed. I was a little concerned about Sunny earlier this year because she was very thin but after feeding her some high calorie treats and keeping her on kitten food instead of adult food, she has gained weight. Smokey is slightly overweight so it is complicated to get Sunny to the right weight AND make Smokey loose or keep the same weight. Fiona's cage has had to be cleaned a lot more than usual (more than once per week) due to a leaky water bottle but that was fixed today because I got a new water bottle for her! About a week ago I used an exercise ball (http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=6067+10378+11158&pcatid=11158) for the gerbils and they (unlike my first gerbil) LOVED it. They were VERY good at making it roll and turn and were seemingly happy in it. Gex has also been doing well and is getting more and more active as the weather gets warmer. The fish tanks are doing well although the nano reef needs some maintenance work. A few weeks ago I added swordtails to the big (47 gallon) freshwater tank and they are doing well. As usual, Smokey has been putting her soft (plush) toys in her water dish (does ANYONE know how to stop this?). Hopefully the weather won't be too bad tomorrow. Wishing everyone a safe and wonderful day tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sunny's Travel Problems (and solutions)

Well, as you may know, I raised Sunny from a week and a half old and therefore, I had to take her with me if I was going to be gone for more than a couple of hours. That meant I had to feed her in the car. I was able to do this (after some practice bottle feeding) and she would eat, and then go to sleep. On her first vet visit she was fine in the car but when we got to the vet, she freaked out (understandable since she was getting vaccinated) and ever since, it has been a nightmare to travel with her because she gets carsick. Well, I know that she doesn't have an inner ear problem so she just freaks herself out. I have been working with her and getting her used to the carrier and today I made the step of taking her with me for a short trip in town. She was nervous but was NOT sick and was calm for the most part! So I would say we had success! Now for longer trips...
Happy Traveling!


Well, Tuesday was HOT! I have had to turn my fan on and use it to cool Fiona, Lewis, and Clark because they don't like the hot weather. My fish tank heaters have, needless to say, not been on at ALL lately. Gex has been more active and has been out of hiding more lately too. Smokey and Sunny have been just lounging around and drinking LOTS of water (GREAT for them because cats tend to be slightly dehydrated). I have fixed Fiona's wet cage problem. Her cage was getting wet and dirty really fast and I was tired of changing her bedding ALL the time (I usually do it once a week) so I tried to find out what was wrong and discovered that her water bottle was being pushed up against the gerbil cage and it was being squeezed so it leaked. I moved the water bottle and the cage is not dirty as fast now. I plan to add more fish to my tanks pretty soon and will post pictures as soon as I do. It was very pretty (from inside the house) today with blue sky but if you went outside, it was HOT!
Have a good (cool) day!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Today was Easter! The cats got a special food as a treat (a Whiskas Purrfectly Fish pouch!) for breakfast and also lots of treats! I let them pick out some different toys to play with (out of their toy box) and they got some turkey and cheese to eat. I gave them catnip to play in/with too! Fiona got a special salad to eat and Lewis and Clark got some treats (carrots, Yogies, etc). I re-decorated Gex's cage the other day and will post pictures as soon as I can. The weather has been beautiful for the past few days (except for a storm Friday night) and I have thoroughly enjoyed it! Unfortunately I was not able to spend much time with them because I visited with realities.
What a GREAT day!

Just an update: As some of you know, Sunny broke her leg in November and she was in a cast for 3 weeks. She has been out of the cast for a while but still favors the other leg when sitting down (when she walks, you can't tell she ever broke her leg). But she has basically made a full recovery!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Terrific Tuesday!

Today was a great day! Spring is officially here! Smokey and Sunny have been having fun chasing toys and looking at the birds that are outside the windows. Smokey has decided that my mushroom chair is HERS and has taken to relaxing in it lately. I am trying to get Sunny to gain some weight because she is slightly underweight. On a side note, I am about to switch them BOTH from Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula to Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul. Fiona has enjoyed the nice weather (warm weather). Lewis and Clark are quite hyper most of the time now and are not sleeping much. Gex has come out of the winter sleeping that she goes into and is now active (for her) more often. The 47 gallon tank is now cycled and ready for more fish. It is getting some good algae growth. The 20 gallon tank is doing well and has gotten beautiful lately. The nano-reef is GREAT and has gotten lots of coralline algae growth, scroll algae growth, and lots of apstasia anemones. I went to a local wildlife refuge on Saturday and got some good pictures! What a GREAT few days...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Adding New Fish to a Tank (a dangerous thing)

If you are a fish keeper you MUST at some point add fish to an aquarium. But how do you go about it without harming your already existing critters? Well, you MUST quarantine new fish for at least a week (longer if possible) and look for signs of disease. Most fish keepers KNOW this but few do it. I never did until after ONE addition. A few years ago when I had a ten gallon aquarium that was already stocked with neon tetras, cardinal tetras, serpae tetras, platys, guppies, and danios, I had an older cleanup fish die. I wanted to replace it with another because they are great fish to have and I like them. So I went to Petco and got a seemingly healthy fish from a seemingly healthy tank. I thought, "This fish is fine; I don't need to quarantine," so I didn't. Well, a few days later, I was feeding the fish and noticed one or two white spots on a couple of the tetras. At this point I KNEW I had made a mistake and started treating the WHOLE tank for ick. In the end I lost all six neon tetras, all three cardinal tetras, all the platys, all the guppies, all the danios, the new cleanup fish, and one of the serpae tetras (one is still alive to this day!). Since then, I have quarantined all new fish and intend to keep doing it. A few weeks ago I got some black skirt tetras that looked healthy, but they developed ick and died a few days later. If I had put them into my main tank, I would have not only lost them but also my danios. So, if you are buying fish, PLEASE quarantine!

Monday, March 1, 2010


Yesterday was a GREAT day, except ONE thing that happened. I was downstairs cooking when I was called by my sister who said "I think I have a gerbil in my room but it might be a mouse so please see if your gerbils are both in their cage.". So I looked and sure enough, Clark was out. I immediately saw how Clark got out and secured it so that Lewis would not get out too. I went to my sister's room and blocked the bottom of the door with a pillow (to keep the gerbil in her room because he obviously got in under the door!) and started trying to get Clark. Well, HE thought it was a game and would come out, run around, let me ALMOST get him, and dart back under the bed. This went on for about five minutes before I decided that I would have to trick him. I got out of sight and got my sister to run him out and then I grabbed him. Back into his cage he went. He (and I) were VERY lucky because I have two cats (Smokey and Sunny) and, thank goodness, they were both downstairs asleep. I added more room to their cage today and plan to get some more toys for them too! Hopefully this will NOT happen again!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


What a GREAT Wednesday! Smokey and Sunny seem to like the new place for the kitty tree (by the window) and are on it a lot more than they were before! Fiona enjoyed the time spent out of her cage, and the tomatoes and hay that she got today! Lewis and Clark (my two male gerbils) enjoyed the time spent with them working on gerbil agility outside the cage and the time spent inside the cage cuddling with, playing with, and grooming each other. Gex is nocturnal but always loves being held outside the cage on my arm and got to enjoy that activity today. The marine community tank is doing well but does need a large water change. The freshwater tank is also doing well and is still cycling. All is not well with the nano-reef however. A few months ago I replaced a Coralife 50/50 bulb with a different CFL. I just discovered that it is not the right spectrum (was not posted on the box so I had to look it up) for the corals I am keeping, so my cabbage leather coral is not doing well (I really hope is doesn’t die). The mushrooms are doing OK as are the polyps but not doing as well as they could/should be. I plan to replace the bulb with a new Coralife 50/50 bulb on Friday and hope I don’t loose anything before then. I moved the live rock around and placed the corals in high spots in the hopes that it will save them

before I get the bulb.

Since it has been cold outside, I have been reading some books. I am reading a book called Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World and hope I will like it. I have heard it is sad but really good so we’ll see. I finished Carl Hiaasen’s Sick Puppy and will read his book called Lucky You when I am done with Dewey.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sunny’s Gotcha Day Story

I don’t really know what happened because I was only 1 and ½ weeks old, but here is what I remember. I found myself being dropped off and abandoned in some shrubs outside someone’s house that was close to a busy street. I was scared and cried for help, but no one knew I was there. I was hungry, cold, and lonely. One night went by and I was now starving. I finally cried loud enough, and the owner of the house heard me crying and felt sorry for me but is allergic to cats and could not take me in. The next day, she told someone that she knew about me, and that person came over to see about me! When I heard her get out and walk around, I crawled out of the shrubs where I had been hiding and came to her. When she saw me she realized that I was very young and needed help, so she took me in her arms and cradled me. She got in the car and we went somewhere where she got some yummy kitten milk for me! She fed me from a bottle when we got home and gave me a heated blanket to sleep on. She had to wake me up and feed me every 4 hours. Most kittens won’t eat from a bottle because it doesn’t feel the same as their mother, but I was HUNGRY and did! I was not the only cat around the house. There was another cat named Smokey. She did not like me at first, but she is my buddy now! I LOVE my foster mother and my new “sister” Smokey!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Terrific Tuesday!

Today was a great day! Smokey decided to spend the day napping on the couch, and Sunny wanted to spend time in my lap being cuddled. Sunny also decided to climb my shoe rack on my door and perched on the door (TOO FUNNY)! :D She was 7 months old yesterday! I have had her since she was 1 and a half weeks old. My gerbils (names coming soon) have been cuddling together and played outside the cage today. I am going to have to feed them separately for a while because one is bigger than the other and he tends to push the other away from the dish. :( The new aquarium should be ready for fish on the weekend and I plan to add zebra danios and maybe platys or swordtails. Gex (my African fat-tailed gecko) has been out and about today and I am going to work on her cage setup tonight or tomorrow.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Meet My African Fat-Tailed Gecko

Meet Gex, my African Fat-Tailed Gecko. She was captive bred and raised. She is very sweet and calm and is content to sit on a hand, shoulder, or arm. She has been used as an education animal for children at the Hummingbird Migration Celebration in 2009. She is a "White Stripe" phase and is about 4 years old. In this photo she has just shed her skin so she is very pretty.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


What a beautiful Wednesday! Smokey is enjoying sitting by the window and Sunny is curled up on the bed. Fiona enjoyed being out of her cage and eating (well, she IS a guinea PIG!) some carrots. My two gerbils have practiced their agility course and are chasing each other around and playing with each other. My African Fat-Tailed Gecko is going to shed in the next day or so and has enjoyed being out of the cage and resting on me. Now for the aquariums. The nano reef is doing well. I did tank maintenance yesterday and moved some of the corals around to get better light/water flow to some of them. The marine community is also doing quite well and the fish are very healthy. The royal gramma is very shy and will hide if I get too close to the tank or make sudden movements. The clownfish, however, is anything BUT shy. It will swim around my hand and nibble when I am doing work in the tank. The new tank that is 47 gallons will house angelfish, black skirt tetras and/or penguin tetras, platys and/or swordtails, rainbow fish, zebra danios, and corydora catfish. It is currently cycling and just had driftwood added yesterday. Hopefully it will be ready for fish soon!