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  • Aeration & Filtration
    cool water holds more than warm which means in practical terms that you ll have to work harder to get the same level of oxygen in a tropical marine aquarium than in a cold freshwater one It s something to bear in mind when you re planning the aeration in your tank but don t get too hung up on it your dealer ought to be able to give you all the advice you need and help you find the right pump for the job Under Gravel Filter Some form of combined mechanical biological approach is the most commonly used for filtering exotic pet tanks the under gravel system being one of the most popular The main part of this kind of filter is a perforated plastic plate which sits over the whole of the base of the tank with a tube sticking up towards the top of the tank down which you put an air line and an aeration stone As the name suggests gravel is then layered on top of the plastic plate In use the air moving from the bottom of the tube to the top sets up a flow within the aquarium that draws water down through the gravel under the plate along the channels beneath it and then up again through the tube along with the air Of course this moving current of water also pulls any waste material or other particles along with it which become trapped in the gravel In addition to this mechanical sieving action colonies of beneficial bacteria build up on the gravel which do the biological part of the filtration process by helping to break down the trapped material Over time the plastic filter plate will tend to get clogged and the gravel will become discoloured so it will be necessary to clean both from time to time Other Options There are various kinds of separate box units available which some people prefer for exotic pets because they are easier to clean than under gravel filters and involve less handling of the animals themselves They work on the same basic principle drawing water through them to be filtered and cleaned but instead of gravel they use some type of artificial filter material which can be quickly removed for cleaning or to be replaced Some types of these units are designed to sit inside the tank while other ones are to be positioned outside Although many of them use aeration pumps to drive the whole process for some of the messier aquatic pets particularly the likes of terrapins a power filter can often be a better bet An electric pump sits inside the filter box which attaches vertically to the inside of the tank usually by strong suckers and this pulls water in at the bottom of the unit forces it through the filter medium inside and then back out at the top The actual filter part itself is often contained in a removable cartridge which again makes cleaning and replacement

    Original URL path: http://www.keepingexoticpets.co.uk/aerationfiltration.html#Newcomment (2016-02-16)
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  • Choosing and Using Thermostats
    which have been designed for use with specific types of heaters the most commonly seen being thermostats made to control heat mats or heating strips and those intended for ceramic heater units Clearly if there is an appropriate thermostat specially made for the sort of heating you have it makes sense to use it Environmental Control The major thermostat manufacturers have a comprehensive range to suit any kind of animal all sorts of tank and every variety of heater offering varying degrees of environmental control which is really what these devices are all about The least complicated versions simple on off thermostats for example just switch the power off to heaters when the temperature reaches a pre set value and then turn it back on when the tank has cooled by two or three degrees More sophisticated dimmer stats gradually reduce the electricity supply once the right level of warmth has been achieved This is particularly useful when coupled with heat lamps as it avoids the light on light off effect that traditional thermostats have which some types of animals seem to find stressful and because it s gentler on the element it also helps to make the bulb last longer too Some of the latest forms of thermostats even offer the opportunity to have different temperatures for day and night automatically maintained providing as near a natural environment for your pets as it s probably possible to create in captivity Although we automatically tend to think of thermostats as part of a heating system it s also important to remember a final group of these devices which are designed to work not with heaters but with fans or chillers to cool things down For anyone wanting to keep some of the newts and salamanders of northern Europe for example

    Original URL path: http://www.keepingexoticpets.co.uk/choosing-using-thermostats.html#Newcomment (2016-02-16)
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  • Choosing Tanks & Containers
    is how easily tanks allow you to add any necessary additional equipment your pet may require Many tanks come with openings in their lids which are purpose made to take various items such as heaters light fittings thermostats and filters If your chosen pet doesn t need anything more than a tank and a warm room you might want to opt for something which doesn t particularly if you think escape might be a problem Glass or Plastic Both glass and plastic tanks have their fans and in many respects it s a matter of personal choice although there are one or two considerations which can influence the decision Large all glass aquarium tanks for example become phenomenally heavy once filled up with water while plastic ones are more difficult to clean without scratching If you re thinking of using heating pads under your tank then heat transfer can also be an issue while if your tank s internal environment is much warmer than the temperature of the surrounding air large expanses of single glazed glass will lose heat fairly quickly Tanks on a Budget Elaborate and often rather expensive purpose built tanks are not always necessary or appropriate for many animals much more humble surroundings can be as good if not better places to live A range of plastic containers large glass jars and the like can often be very successfully used to house your pets at a fraction of the cost of tanks bought from the pet shop However if you do opt for this approach it s even more important to make sure you choose wisely It s as well to avoid any second hand plastic containers however tempting or apparently perfect unless you are sure you know their history Anything which may have held chemicals soap cleaning products or similar substances are likely to be a problem no matter how well you clean them the plastic itself can often hold traces of its old contents and your pets may suffer as a result Old glass jars are a safer bet since they can usually be very successfully cleaned large catering size jars are particularly useful for a range of small climbing pets though they are not always easy to come by unless you know someone in the business The clear plastic lunch box in its many sizes and shapes is probably the most versatile and useful of all budget pet containers Sold in a huge number of outlets including supermarkets normally for just a few pounds they are ideal tanks for a wide range of small exotic pets particularly many of the invertebrate species The only essential modification is to drill a series of holes in the lid for ventilation and if you re planning to use yours without its lid as a small aquarium for little creatures such as Triops even this modest amount of DIY becomes unnecessary When picking your plastic box check to see that its really meant for food storage anything that

    Original URL path: http://www.keepingexoticpets.co.uk/choosing-tankscontainers.html#Newcomment (2016-02-16)
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  • Choosing Vivarium Floor Materials
    water cloudy in no time and in the terrarium sand often sticks to food and can sometimes cause problems as a result If you do want to use sand in a Triops tank go for coral sand which is available from good aquarist stores it will let them dig but it doesn t cause the same cloudiness that normal sand does Terrarium Flooring For the terrestrial vivarium gravel can again often be a good choice but a lot depends on the type of animal you are wanting to keep For particularly messy beasts such as tortoises and many of the snakes it may be more sensible to opt for newspaper or kitchen towelling or one of the proprietary brands of granulated paper While admittedly it doesn t look particularly natural or appealing it certainly makes regular cleaning out a good deal easier For other kinds of vivarium dwellers peat bark compost or sphagnum moss may be more appropriate Sphagnum is ideal for many kinds of amphibians for instance because it helps maintain the levels of moisture needed though compost can do this almost as well However since a humid vivarium is as good an environment for fungus as it is for frogs it s important to keep a careful watch on a compost or peat floor and replace it at the first sign of mildew or beginnings of a sour smell if you want your pets to stay healthy Shredded bark or bark chippings have become increasingly popular as a vivarium flooring material over recent years Although bark products are available in bulk from many garden centres principally intended for use as a mulch it s probably worth paying the extra to get the specialist material sold for exotic pets Choosing the right material for your tank s floor needn

    Original URL path: http://www.keepingexoticpets.co.uk/choosing-vivarium-floor-materials.html#Newcomment (2016-02-16)
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  • Common Problems With Aquarium Pets
    by one of two reasons Under Washed Gravel If the tank is really new only set up for a day or two muck from the gravel is the most usual cause You can avoid these problems by making sure that newly bought gravels are washed thoroughly even if they are supposed to be pre washed The good news is if this is the cause the cloudiness should disappear within a couple of days as the particles are filtered out or naturally settle Bacterial Bloom Aerate water and your pets are not the only things which will benefit Naturally present bacteria can grow explosively when they are given nutrients and abundant oxygen and make the water look slightly foggy and grey Once again it tends to be one of the problems seen in new tanks and generally sorts itself out as conditions within the aquarium mature Some pet keepers recommend partial water changes to deal with bacterial blooms replacing no more than a fifth of the volume at any one time while making sure you don t leave uneaten food in the tank can also help clear things up quicker Fungal Problems Fungal infections can be a particular problem for aquarium pets the appearance of white cotton wool like growths on their bodies being sadly an all too common sight Fungus spores are commonplace within the aquarium environment but tend only to cause problems when an animal s skin has been damaged in some way Unfortunately once a fungus infection has taken hold it is difficult for the creature itself to fight it off so it will need treatment and putting into quarantine if it normally lives in a community tank to avoid the possibility of it infecting its fellows There are a number of proprietary treatments available but it is

    Original URL path: http://www.keepingexoticpets.co.uk/common-problems-with-aquarium-pets.html#Newcomment (2016-02-16)
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  • Common Problems With Terrarium Pets
    parasites which attach themselves by their piercing mouth parts and suck the pet s blood their bodies swelling up to the size of a pea as they feed Removing them calls for a bit of a knack if you re going to make sure you get all of the head out leaving anything behind can lead to infection Mites smaller than their tick relatives mites are another pest likely to be encountered on a number of exotic animals Although they normally occur in much larger numbers than ticks their smaller size makes them more difficult to see and many a pet keeper has only become aware of an infestation after they have found mites crawling on their own skin after they ve been handling their pets These parasites can often spread so it s important to stay on top of any mite problems Vets and exotic pet suppliers can provide suitable treatments and many keepers think that it s worth treating new animals for mites preventatively on arrival Tapeworms these are intestinal worms which attach to the wall of the gut and take their nutrients directly from the food the animal has eaten and digested Many kinds require several host species during their lifecycle which makes tapeworms a problem for a wide number of different creatures They are particularly common in carnivorous types of pets Roundworms another type of internal parasite roundworms can often be dealt with by using any one of a number of proprietary solutions though veterinary help will need to be sought for heavy infestations Fungus Problems Although aquatic pets are the most likely to meet fungal problems any animal kept in fairly humid conditions can be affected Problems usually begin once an animal has picked up some small damage to its skin which allows the fungus

    Original URL path: http://www.keepingexoticpets.co.uk/common-problems-with-terrarium-pets.html#Newcomment (2016-02-16)
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  • Food and Feeding
    various sizes of rodents Exotic suppliers and many pet shops sell frozen chicks rats mice and pinkies young un furred mice which will meet most needs Make sure that the meal is fully thawed before feeding to your pet chilling a snake s digestive system down from the inside is a real recipe for disaster With so many snakes now bred in captivity it is fortunately increasingly rare to encounter the stubborn refusal to eat dead food that was once a big problem with wild caught specimens However if your animal does show reluctance to eat a stationary meal moving the rat around on the end of a stick can encourage it to strike but keep your hands out of the way if you do have to resort to this approach Feeding Aquatic Pets Aquatic shops are a good place to try for suitable foods for feeding water living pets The most common options sold are Tubifex tiny reddish worms and Daphnia water fleas both of which are ideal for many small amphibians and other suitably sized exotics in the aquarium Tubifex are particular favourites with hatchling terrapins and many of the smaller aquatic frogs Unfortunately the supply is not always guaranteed throughout the year so it is highly advisable for the keeper of these kinds of pets to make sure that alternatives such as whiteworms or even garden dug earthworms are available Vegetarian Fodder Although it might seem that feeding vegetarians should be easy given the ready availability of fruits and vegetables from all over the world at the local supermarket in reality keeping plant munching pets fed healthily requires a fair bit of effort The trick is to provide a balanced and varied diet that caters for all the animal s needs provides enough nourishment minerals and vitamins and is available in sufficient quantity to satisfy their appetites A range of garden plants can be helpful to achieve this with dandelion leaves cress and parsley being particularly useful largely because they are very nutritious and have a high vitamin and mineral content At the other end of the scale lettuce and cabbage should only be included sparingly in the diet lettuce has very low nutritional value it s mostly water and some tortoises seem to find it addictive while large amounts of cabbage has been shown to slow down the activity of the thyroid It s also important to remember that fruit grown in your own garden may be far more valuable in food terms than something imported and artificially ripened even if your iguana would never have come across it in the wild but only if it hasn t been doused in pesticides Feeding is a vitally important part of keeping exotic pets in top condition Whatever the species and with the exception of specialist feeders that naturally eat only a very limited range of foods in the wild the key to providing a proper diet lies in variety No one food contains the perfect balance of

    Original URL path: http://www.keepingexoticpets.co.uk/food-feeding.html#Newcomment (2016-02-16)
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  • Lighting Your Tank
    common way to achieve this is to use a heat lamp or spotlight often aimed at a rock within the tank to make a particular area significantly hotter than its surroundings allowing your pets to thermo regulate in a very natural way Using spot lamps in the tank however does need care not least to ensure that there is no way a heat seeking reptile can burn itself on the bulb good securely fixed covers are a must Ultra Violet Many kinds of lizards tortoises and terrapins need to receive a daily dose of ultra violet UV light to ensure that they can make vitamin D3 in their skin With this vitamin being crucial for controlling their bodies use of calcium and phosphorous serious health problems can result if their tanks are not fitted with the sort of lighting they need Although it is possible to provide a vitamin supplement to help overcome the deficiency there is strong evidence that even so the UV in sunlight stimulates their appetite Clearly if your pets aren t eating well it doesn t matter how much vitamin powder you add to their food A number of different manufacturers produce UV lighting which is designed for vivarium use either as spotlights some types can be used to provide hot spots or fluorescent tubes in a range of sizes so there s bound to be something suitable for your tank One thing you do have to be aware of is that the amount of UV light being given out drops quite quickly as the tubes get older so check the manufacturer s instructions and replace your tubes accordingly Black Lights Black lights are a fairly new development for exotic pet keepers though they ve been used very successfully for some time by entomologists and other assorted bug hunters for watching the activities of nocturnal insects and other similar animals As the name suggests they produce very little visible light but they have a high UV output Obviously you ll need to use ordinary bulbs or tubes to light up your tank if you want to see anything but black lights have a lot to offer not least because they allow the UV to be delivered independent of the general illumination Night And Day The importance of a proper night and day cycle is sometimes overlooked but many animals regulate phases of their lives especially breeding and egg laying by day length Invest in a good timer and you can simulate life back home for your pet very closely A little research on the internet should enable you to get a good idea of the hours of darkness over the year where your pets originally came from which lets you adjust things so they get a natural seasonal variation Something as simple as this especially if accompanied by a slight tweak of the temperature to make the shorter days of their artificial winter a little cooler too can often pay dividends with any efforts you re

    Original URL path: http://www.keepingexoticpets.co.uk/lighting-your-tank.html#Newcomment (2016-02-16)
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web-archive-uk.com, 2016-10-21