5 Pet Birds That Make Great Additions to the Family

Birds are amazing creatures that could be a great addition to your family. When choosing a pet bird, you will want to find the bird most compatible with your lifestyle and living situation. Here are some of the most popular birds that make the perfect pets.

The Parakeet (Budgies)

This is the favorite of all pet birds. These birds are the perfect choice for new bird owners or adults with children living in their homes. Even though the parakeet is not as large as its cousins, it will still require the same type of respect and care as a parrot. Due to their size, parakeets do not require a lot of space and they are easy to maintain. You can choose from a variety of colors, including red, purple, blue and green. Parakeets are smart enough to learn various words and phrases; however, most of these birds are content with whistling and singing. The average life span of a Parakeet is approximately 12 to 14 years.

African Greys

This is one of the most intelligent birds to choose from. African Greys have a very large vocabulary, and once you learn how to care for them properly, these pet birds are easy to train. Due to their intelligence, African Greys can be very demanding pets; this species of parrots become bored quickly when they are not stimulated. When cared for and fed correctly, these birds can live up to three decades or more. If you are looking for a smart and affectionate pet bird, the African Grey is the best choice.

Finches and Canaries

This is a pet bird favorite to choose from. This popular bird measures at five inches or less, and it requires a lot less space in comparison to other pet birds. Finches and canaries have softbills or waxbills, unlike parrots, a species known as hookbills. Since finches and canaries prefer to travel in small flocks, and they rarely pay much attention to humans, this is the perfect bird to choose if you will only be able to provide your pet with minimal interaction. If you provide adequate care for this bird, it can live up to 10 years.

Cockatiels

These birds are a member of the parrot family and they are delightful pets to have around the home. Cockatiels are natives of Australia and they are medium-sized creatures. These birds have advanced whistling and singing abilities that your entire family will love. Even though cockatiels have the ability to speak when trained properly, this bird prefers to mimic random and quirky sounds, such as the ringing of a telephone. You can choose from a variety of diverse color options when adopting a cockatiel. The average life expectancy of this pet bird is between 15 and 20 years.

Lovebirds

If you want to choose from the parrot species, this is the smallest bird in that family. However, many people prefer lovebirds in comparison to larger parrots that are more demanding. Lovebirds are approximately six inches long and, even though they are small, they have a strong personality and great intelligence. These birds are quiet, making them a great choice for the person who lives in an apartment or condominium. The lovebird has a life expectancy of up to 20 years.

These are some of the most popular birds that pet owners love. Before you take any of these birds home, you should always choose the one that matches your personal lifestyle the most. Choosing a bird that is a good fit for your family is the best way to ensure proper care of your pet.

10 Things to Consider When Shopping for Betta Fish Tanks

Bettas are among the most interesting and low-maintenance fish you can keep. And their ability to breathe atmospheric oxygen and live in very small volumes of water allows them to be housed in a variety of small aquaria that can complement any home or office. However, there are some important considerations to bear in mind when shopping around for the perfect tank for your pet betta. Please read on as we discuss these issues and our own opinions on what to look for in a small betta tank.

Characteristics of The Best Betta Fish Tanks

1) Adequate Size

Yes, it’s true that a betta can live in a small bowl, if it had to. But this is not the most fulfilling life for such a regal fish. In addition, very small bowls are prone to heating and cooling extremely rapidly, as well as suffering quickly from pollution that can easily occur from even slight overfeeding. As a general rule of thumb, we suggest a minimum tank size of one gallon to keep one adult betta. Of course, your betta would be happy if you provided a larger aquarium, but a gallon container is generally sufficient so long as it is diligently maintained. Bettas can also be housed in community tanks, but take care not to keep them with fish that tend to nip fins. For example, tiger barbs are notorious for fin nipping, and will shred a betta’s fins very quickly. Shredded fins are not just a cosmetic issue, unfortunately, and a betta with badly torn fins can easily die from stress and/or secondary infections like ick/fungus.

2) A Good, Tight Fitting Cover

Bettas are not what I’d consider big time “jumpers,” but they can and will jump when given half a chance. Sometimes osmotic or other stress will cause them to jump, and sometimes they will leap simply because the can. To minimize any risk of such escape, for whatever reason, do yourself a favor and put a lid on the tank. Be careful though to leave some air space between the surface of the water and the cover as they are air breathers and need to gulp air occasionally.

3) No Strong Currents or Water Movement

This is a consideration that I often see overlooked, especially in some of the smaller betta tanks. Bettas have evolved to thrive in still or stagnant waters where this no little or no current. And, as a consequence of this design, they are unhappy when subjected to currents typically generated by hang on back filters or powerful aeration. Bettas require water that is either still, or very placid. They do not require aeration of any kind, especially when properly maintained and in a tank by themselves. If you do use a filter at all, make sure that the tank is large enough (e.g., 3 gallons or more) or the filter can be dialed down (e.g., an air release valve on an aquarium pump) such that the betta does not need to exert effort to maintain its position in the water column. If your betta is getting pushed around or fighting to stay still, it will put constant stain on the fish that can eventually lead to disease or death.

4) Bare Floor or Fine Substrates

Bettas don’t need or want any substrate in their tanks. In fact, bare bottom tanks are best for you and the betta since they facilitate easy clean up. If you do want to add some colorful gravel, however, keep it sparse and opt for relatively small grained types, rather than the large, marble-sized gravel that is often sold for small decorative bowls/tanks. Very course gravel makes a great trap for uneaten food, which then decays and causes potentially lethal ammonia spikes. Finer gravel (pea-sized or smaller) allows the fish to get at food that lands on the bottom, and still allows you to see when food is left uneaten and needs removal – both of which is better for your fish.

5) Regular Light Cycles

Fish, like most vertebrates, react profoundly to light cycles. As a species that lives close to the equator, your betta will expect a photoperiod of roughly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. If you don’t use artificial lighting, you don’t need to provide any, but avoid turning the lights on late at night when your fish is preparing to “sleep.” Also, try to purchase a tank that uses LED lighting. LED lights are by far the most efficient and long-lasting type you can buy, and also generate the least amount of unwanted heat.

6) Warm Temperatures

Unlike goldfish, for example, which can thrive in very cold water, betta are a very tropical fish. In their native waters of Southeast Asia, they rarely experience temperatures below 76 F. Consequently, you should always aim to keep your bettas at a minimum temperature of 72F, with a temperature of 78F being ideal. Bettas can certainly withstand cooler temps for short durations, but extended exposure to water temperatures below 72F make them lethargic and highly vulnerable to infections and diseases, particularly fin rot, ick, and fungus.

7) Individual Housing

Although female bettas can be kept together, males cannot be kept with other males or females. The only exception to this rule is if you are attempting to breed bettas, in which case the male will tolerate the female (grudgingly) only until the eggs are laid, after which time he will attack and kill her if the tank is not large enough for her to escape his line of sight.

8) Good Water Quality

Whatever you do, you must keep a betta’s water clean. This means that periodic water changes should be conducted, which involve removing any debris from the bottom of the tank. A good rule of thumb is to change between 30-50% of the water per week. This keeps the water fresh without changing things too drastically. Make sure to use dechlorinated water and try to match the temperature of the new water to the old water.

9) Placement in a Calm Area, Away From Direct Light

You wouldn’t want to live next to a 6-lane highway, and neither would your betta, so keep the tank somewhere away from heavy foot traffic. It’s difficult enough living your life in a small transparent container, don’t make matters more stressful by locating the tank where your betta will be subject to constant movement and/or vibrations. Also, locate the tank away from direct sunlight, which can cause rapid temperature spikes and encourage algae growth.

10) Simplicity!

If you’ve chosen a tank of sufficient size, keep the betta by itself, maintain proper temperatures and keep up with regular water changes, there’s not much else you need. Be wary of vendors that try to sell lots of accessories for beta-only tanks, like sophisticated filters, lighting, etc. These things are usually unnecessary.

What You’ll Have to Do When Finding the Best Pet Fish for Your Kids

If your kids really want a pet then you should start them off on the right path. Don’t just go and get them a cat or a dog. You need to see that your kids are responsible enough to handle a pet. Starting with fish can be a great idea as they are often a little easier to take care of than most other pets. They do require food and a need to maintain their environment but if your kids are able to take care of their pet fish and keep them alive for a while then they may be ready for a greater number of fish or even a larger pet.

The amazing thing about finding pet fish for your kids is that there are so many types of fish to choose from. Of course, your kids might want you to get the coolest-looking one that’s available. It might be fun to get something that’s vibrant in its appearance but you have to take a careful look at several aspects relating to pet fish.

You need to look at the size of the tank that you’re going to use. You can’t just use a traditional fish bowl to store your fish in. You should have a good-sized tank to use so you’ll have space for the fish to swim around in. A good tank should be around ten to twenty gallons in size. It will be enough to accommodate a few fish and their possible growth patterns.

Next, you need to think about the types of fish that you can get. One tip is to check on whether certain types of fish are going to be compatible with each other in the same tank. That is, you need to find fish that aren’t aggressive or likely to devour each other.

Take a look at the sizes of the mouths of the fish you’re interested in. If one fish in a tank is about the same size as the mouth of a larger fish in that same tank then you should avoid pairing them together as the larger one will probably eat that smaller one.

It might be easier for you to get smaller fish for your kids. Small fish require less food and are often easier to incorporate into a new environment.

You’ll have to think about the water conditions that pet fish in particular can enjoy. Some fish will benefit from conditions where the water is cooled off at a reasonable amount. Others will need a bit of salt in an environment to survive.

Finally, you’ll have to think about the types of illnesses that some fish may be more likely to suffer from. Some fish can suffer from illnesses that can cause them to become listless, have funny smells to them or even develop unusual spots on their bodies. You’ll need to see what can be done to take care of these problems too.

You need to be certain that your kids have the right pet fish. Be sure to prepare yourself and your kids for such fish by taking a look at what’s around. These fish can be great pets for kids if you know what you’re doing when getting them.

What You Need to Know About Riding Your Horse Bareback

This seems to be a much debated topic. There is an even divide in response; some people say yes, and some people say no. They think that it hurts the horse, or that it is not natural because the rider’s weight is not distributed as evenly as it is in a saddle. I say, it depends; on the horse and on the rider. Is your horse bony-backed? Are you an especially thin person? If so, you should not ride your horse bareback; horses have extremely sensitive skin and can feel things very harshly. You would dig into his back muscles and cause his back to be tender so that you could not ride him for several days. Riding bones on bones does not mix. A large rider on a narrow or bony horse is also not a good idea; it will put too much pressure on one area of the horse’s back; thus causing the same problem: a sore horse. Fattening the horse up will probably not work, some horses, like some people, are just built very slender and there is nothing to do about it.

Another factor is your seat. How do you sit on the horse? Is your weight always in one area, or are you bouncing around? Do you move with the horse, or clamp your legs against his sides in an effort to stay on and stay still? If you sit stiffly on the horse, with your weight all in one area, it can be very uncomfortable for your horse and he will not ride well. His gaits will be stiff and make your ride difficult. Do not clamp your legs on the horse either, he may take this as a response to move faster and while you try to stop him, he will get confused thinking that he is being told to go faster. This all factors into whether you should ride bareback or not. I was raised riding bareback first, most people are taught in the saddle first, and so while I find it easy, comfortable, and relaxing to ride bareback, you may not.

Develop an independent seat. Feel as comfortable riding bareback as you do with a saddle, and always, no matter what, start out at the walk until you feel secure and then you may move up to faster gaits. Do not ride at faster gaits until you are certain that you are able to; if you fall off, you may lose your confidence all together. If you decide to trot, start out at a slow trot, and if you feel good about it, and comfortable doing it, go faster. The most important thing to remember while riding bareback is: move with the horse. If you had to carry something heavy around on your back, would you rather it stay stiff and hard on your back, or move pliably with you as if it were part of you? Of course you would want it to move with you, so do the same with your horse. Make his load easier by not being a burden.