Exotic pets that are perfect for apartments

Four hermit crabs in an aquarium 

Image via Wikipedia

A pet can make a house a home.  It’s human nature to care and nurture and its proven thats it’s also good for the soul to keep pets, particularly if you live alone.  But what if you live in an apartment?  A dog can be difficult unless you have the time and physical fitness to excercise one properly and what if cat hair makes you sneeze or you want a pet to suit your quirky personality?

Choosing an exotic pet may not be an impossibility and in some cases they are clean and easy to look after.  Here are a few suggestions.

  • Hermit Crabs.  These little fellas have their own characters and you can have great fun painting shells of different sizes in non-toxic paints to give them fancy, colourful new homes!
  • Frogs are gaining popularity as a great kids pet. These amphibians may not give you cuddles but will give you many years of joyful entertainment.  Easy to care for and most pet stores will advise you on the tank they need and of course access to water.  They do eat insects tho so be prepared to handle the odd mealworm!
  • Tarantulas.  These are only for the serious exotic pet enthusiast.  They take a lot of commitment and care to keep them in good health.  But for commited spider owners their are years of fascination, interaction with a truly exotic pet which some say display signs of love!

So from the tamest to the almost terryfing there is an exotic pet that you can choose to live happily in your apartment for many years to come!

Changing Water in a Tropical Fresh-Water Aquarium

Fish need clean water periodically. If it is not practical to change all of the water at once, a good way to proceed is to clean waste from the bottom of the tank with a siphon, then replace the water that is removed in that process. Use a siphon hose with a large diameter suction end. The hose may be about six feet long, and mostly a half inch or so in diameter, but the suction end is about two inches in diameter and about six inches long.

Place a large bucket (up to five gallons) near the aquarium for the water to drain into. Then fill the siphon hose with tap water and submerge both ends in the aquarium without letting any air in. Holding your thumb over the small end to prevent leakage, move it into the bucket, pointing upward, so that air cannot enter the hose as water drains from the tank. Remove your thumb, being careful not to let water spray outside of the bucket. The large end of the hose can then be moved around the bottom of the aquarium to suck waste out of the gravel. The large diameter should be sufficient to keep gravel from being suctioned out of the tank with the waste.

Before the bucket gets too full to lift, remove the siphon hose and empty the bucket into the garden or toilet. Refill the tank with spring water or tap water that has been treated to remove chlorine. If the water is too cold, heat part of it and mix well to match the temperature in the aquarium. This is a good way to change between 20 and 30 percent of the water at once. If you do not have a hose with a large diameter end, you may control the flow of water in a regular hose by pinching it, in order to keep from sucking up gravel.

Winterizing a Backyard Fish Pond

A picture of a pond in a residential garden.
Image via Wikipedia

If they are properly provided for, fish can live year-round in a pond in the back yard, and will be a wonderful asset to your property. If you live in an area where it gets cold in winter, there are certain steps you need to take in order for your fish to thrive.

One solution is to keep them in an indoor tank for the winter. If you prefer to leave them outdoors, a few items need to be taken care of. Goldfish can live under ice, but a pond should not be allowed to freeze completely. A pond heater can be used to maintain a portion of surface area that is free of ice. Some people use a stock heater, which ranchers use to keep water for livestock from freezing during cold weather. A stock heater may be more expensive, but also more dependable, and increased durability may mean an increase in cost-effectiveness.

Keeping the pond clean is still important, and if leaves from deciduous trees fall in your pond, you will need to remove them. You can make that task easier by covering the pond with a large piece of nylon or polyester netting before the leaves fall, eliminating the need to painstakingly scoop leaves out of the water with a hand net.

Avoid Frost Damage to Equipment

You may need to turn off the water circulation system, whether it is a waterfall, fountain or stream, during the cold months. You should take pumps indoors, or at least be sure they are completely drained, so they will not be damaged by freezing water. Since water expands as it freezes, this could cause some expensive problems. Stopping water circulation in cold weather does not endanger the fish because they are less active at this time of year. Fish do not need to eat as much during the winter months, so you will not normally need to feed them.

Backyard Pond Fish

Fishing in the Maldives
Image via Wikipedia

A popular feature of many modern gardens is a backyard pond stocked with beautiful fish. If you have the time and resources to set up and maintain such a pond, it can be a source of great enjoyment to you and your visitors.

Some Required Features of a Successful Pond

A pond can be made of concrete, but a vinyl or fiberglass pond that is premade and placed in a hole and leveled will do. Be sure your pond is deep enough to keep fish safe from predators such as cats and raccoons. If the pond is at least four feet across, and three feet deep in the center, the fish will have a place to swim out of reach of danger. You must also provide for motion of the water. A pump with a fountain, waterfall or stream will serve to keep the water circulating and dissolving oxygen from the atmosphere. Water plants, such as lily pads and water hibiscus add beauty and give the fish places to hide, as well as an additional source of food and oxygen. If you live in an area where freezing temperatures occur, you will need a heater for winter. It doesn’t have to prevent ice entirely, but just keep one area from icing over, to protect the fish.

Stocking Your Pond

You may buy expensive koi, or you may use “feeder” goldfish. In Japanese, the word “koi” simply means “carp”, and includes fancy fish as well as wild carp. Feeder fish are sold as food for turtles and other fish, and often only cost a few cents. They can grow surprisingly large over several years in an outdoor tank. A small (less than two inches) goldfish that could have been fed to a cichlid, but is instead released into a backyard pond may be six inches long after several years. Tropical fish that require constant tropical temperatures are not a good choice for an outdoor pond.