Have you ever gone outside to discover a scene that looks like it is straight out of a comic with crater holes everywhere? Well then you may have a dog that is a digger and this is most likely the result of them burying their bones and other treats. In this article we are going to answer the age old question “why do dogs bury bones” and help you deal with any particularly pesky buriers you may have.

To truly understand why dogs bury we must first take a look at their wild ancestors for cues. Obviously, they weren’t hiding tv remotes in couch cushions but the behaviors can still help us understand.

The universal idea as to why dogs do in fact have this instinct to bury is due to their ancestors who were originally wild dogs and wolves. These animals would hunt their food and eat as much as they could for the sole reason that they do not know when their next meal might be. Once they eat as much as they can they would then take the leftover scraps and bury them. Though there is some debate on the official reasoning experts believe they would do this to preserve their food keeping it safe and protected from other predators or the natural elements which allows it to be fresher longer in the cool dirt.

Now we know where the burying comes from but how does this then translate to domestic dogs burying items. This habit is just a part of a dog’s natural instinct nowadays and is a large part of where this behavior stems is from the feeling of security it brings. The main difference is that instead of burying food your dog may be burying toys or treats all over the back yard or in the house.

Often times this is seen more in dogs who come from hunting breeds and the top culprit is the dachshund due to their nature to hunt badgers in their holes. Another factor that has an increased burying rate is if multiple dogs live in one household. Oftentimes these dogs will hide treats and their favorite toys around the house and yard so the other dogs can’t steal them.

How To Stop A Dog From Burying

There are multiple things you can do to stop your dog from burying their items all over and this will be a matter of finding what works best for your pooch.

The first option is to actually reduce the amounts of treats and toys your dog actually has access to throughout the day. Sometimes when we give our dogs treats they are still full from a meal and may end up hiding a treat for later. If this is the case it can be a simple fix and you may need to just slow down on some of the things your dogs get.

Another option is to try and train them out of digging which takes some diligence to do effectively. Once you see your puppy running of to bury whatever they may have, try to take the time to not only stop them but to reinforce what you’d rather them do by playing with the toy they might be burying or having them eat the treat.

One of the options that won’t always work for certain situations is to give your dog space where they can dig risk-free such as a sandbox or dirt pile. This takes space and does not necessarily remove the behavior which could lead to further digging in other areas as well. If you do try this option make sure to cover the digging spot once your dog is done to avoid any public litter box problems it could attract.

The last option is to try CBD oil for dogs as a daily supplement for your pooch. Sometimes dogs dig due to separation anxiety while you are away. This will involve digging during a time you are unable to stop them. CBD addresses their anxiety directly through the endocannabinoid system which is capable of calming and reducing the anxiety in your dog.

If none of these options work out a good place to get help would be your veterinarian as they will know what to do or even who to contact to help your furry friend.

Dogs burying things is a part of their instincts but this does not mean you must live with holes all over your garden. I hope this article helped you understand the age-old question of why do dogs bury bones.

Whether we notice it or not, all wildlife prepares for fall and winter in its own way. Squirrels busy themselves collecting nuts, rodents look for shelter, and skunks build burrows. Even bugs spend fall figuring out how they’re going to survive winter. While we’re all figuring out how to prepare for winter, however, some birds decide to escape from it instead.

Every fall, thousands of bird species fly hundreds or even thousands of miles to get away from the winter blues. Then, when spring comes, they fly all that distance back. Why do that do that? HOW do they do that?! Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the amazing journey birds take every year. You’ll never look at the birds in your backyard the same way again!

Why do birds migrate?

The bird species that migrate generally do so twice a year: once in spring, and once in fall. You’re probably familiar with the idea that birds migrate to avoid cold winter temperatures. While that’s true, it’s only part of the full story. Many migratory birds, such as hummingbirds, can actually survive in freezing temperatures. The problem is, the food they eat usually can’t. In both fall and spring, birds migrate to areas where they can most effectively get the resources they need.

In fall, birds migrate because the insects, seeds and nuts, or nectar they feed on becomes scarce. They fly south to warmer areas where vegetation and insects aren’t in winter decline. In spring, birds start thinking about nesting. Raising offspring is resource and time-intensive (just like it is for us!). If every bird stayed down south to nest, competition for food would be too fierce. Instead, migratory birds return north to places where they know they’ll be able to nest successfully.

When does migration happen?

The exact timing of migration varies and depends on several factors. An early frost or late spring will alter many birds’ migration schedules, but that’s not all there is to it. Different species migrate to different areas in both spring and fall. Those species also migrate at different times to make sure they arrive at their destinations in peak season. Birds that travel further tend to get started earlier than birds that don’t fly as far away.

In general, birds stick around as long as they’re sure they can get the resources they need. The moment they aren’t sure, birds will begin migrating. As for how or why birds decide exactly when it’s time… we aren’t totally sure! Scientists don’t fully understand the mechanics of how birds decide when to migrate. One theory suggests that birds sense *something* about their environment that tells them it’s time to get moving. This “something” could have to do with temperature, changes in light, food availability, or some combination of many factors.

How do birds know where to migrate?

Did you know that many migratory birds always take exactly the same route to and from their destinations? Or that some migratory birds actually return to the exact same place year after year? Migratory birds possess astounding navigational “homing” abilities that allow them to travel hundreds of miles without getting lost. The full extent of bird’s navigational abilities is still not fully understood. What do seem clear, however, is that birds apply many different “tools” in conjunction when they’re navigating.

Many birds use the sun as a fixed point to keep flying in the same direction. Bird eyes are sensitive to the ultraviolet rays sunlight produces, which are visible even during cloudy days and at night. Some birds can actually sense the earth’s magnetic fields. Many species of migratory birds possess magnetite-based receptors in their beaks. These receptors help the bird intuit true north so they can stay on the right heading. There’s even some evidence that sense of smell may help homing pigeons find where they’re going.

Which birds migrate?

Contrary to popular belief, not all birds migrate, even in climates with very cold winters. There are about 4,000 species of regular migrating birds in the world. Many of these birds only migrate short distances, while others can fly thousands of miles. Swallows, for instance, breed in Europe and overwinter in Africa! Unsurprisingly, migration is most common among birds that spend spring and summer in the far north.

There are 350 migratory bird species in North America. Birds like geese, swallows, wood thrushes, hummingbirds breed in North America and overwinter in Central and South America. Birds like house and barn sparrows and starlings breed in Canada and overwinter in the northern or central US. Some common birds, like crows, doves, pigeons, and cardinals, don’t migrate at all. Other common birds like the American robin sometimes migrate and sometimes stick around. Don’t worry: leaving your bird feeder out won’t keep birds from migrating when they need to. In fact, migrators might appreciate the snack!

Bird migration happens every year like clockwork, but that doesn’t mean it’s never interrupted. If birds end up in an environment where they don’t belong, it could disrupt all kinds of natural processes. That disruption is bad for the bird, its offspring, and the environment the bird is a part of. If that environment is your home, it’ll be bad for you, too!

Many people think cats scratch to sharpen their claws, which is only partially true. Scratching actually removes the outer portion of the claw called the sheath, which exposes a new, sharp tip. If you’re like me, you may have found a sheath once upon a time in your carpet and become alarmed. Me: “Oh no! My poor cat’s claw fell off!” (Runs to check on cat, and then to Google). “Whew, that’s not my cat’s claw, only the sheath.” Once you understand this natural feline process of “shedding” the sheath, it’s rather fascinating and no cause for concern.

Another reason cats scratch is as a form of communication…. they scratch to mark their turf, if you will. Cats have scent glands on their paws, and scratching leaves a scent as well as visible claw marks that send a message to other cats. The message is something akin to “This is mine! Intruder beware.” Cats also scratch for exercise, to stretch their bodies, and to relieve stress. It’s a perfectly natural behaviour that feels good to them. And as you probably already know, all cats subscribe to the motto “If it feels good, do it.”

Establishing Good Scratching Habits

Having scratching posts available in different rooms of your home will ensure that when the urge to scratch strikes, your cat won’t get in trouble for going to town on your carpet or furniture. No one wants that. The cat just needs to scratch, and encouraging good scratching habits will go a long way toward saving your belongings from razor sharp kitty claws. Keep in mind that it’s much easier to train your cat to scratch on his post than to re-train him after he’s developed a habit of scratching up your favourite chair.

Encouraging Your Cat to Scratch

Admittedly, even with multiple scratching posts around the home, some naughty cats will still try out their scratching moves on your carpet or furniture. They may do it stealthily or openly. When you catch them in the act, it’s important not to punish them for scratching. Cats simply don’t understand punishment, and all it does is create a negative association with the act of scratching.

Remember, scratching is a natural behaviour. So if you see them working over your carpet, redirect them to their scratching post, and praise and pet them if they start scratching it. Cats don’t respond quite as happily to praise like dogs do, but you probably won’t have any CANIDAE treats handy (because really, who carries cat treats in their pocket?). So when redirecting them, copious praise and petting will have to do.

You can, however, use the cat treats at other times to lure them to the scratching post, and as a reward for using it. Shake the treat bag to get their attention, and when you see that they’ve noticed, place a few treats on the post. This will get your message across – “scratch here, kitty” – and create a positive association with the scratching post.

You can also use toys to draw your cat over to the scratching post. Get them interested in playing with the toy as you slowly move towards the post. Once there, move the toy around on top of the post, so that when your cat chases the toy their paws come in contact with the post. A word of caution: it’s best to use the fishing-pole type of toys for this, to avoid your cat accidentally clawing your hand.

Many cats love catnip, and sprinkling it liberally – and often – on the scratching post will attract them to it.

Location, Location, Location!

Yes, just like with real estate, the location of your scratching post matters. Put posts in the rooms used most by your cat, so they don’t have to go out of their way to find one when they feel like scratching. Don’t put the scratching post in the back bedroom, the closet or another out of the way place, because it’s highly unlikely your cat will use it there. Out of sight, out of mind.

Training your cat to use a scratching post takes time, patience, and a nice supply of the aforementioned cat treats, a.k.a. the “lures.” In time, you should be able to establish good scratching habits even if your cat has a bit of a naughty streak.

Some male songbirds sing more than 2000 times each day.

The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds.

The bones of a pigeon weigh less than its feathers.

The fastest bird is the Spine-tailed swift, clocked at speeds of up to 220 miles per hour.

The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backwards.

Owls have eyeballs that are tubular in shape, because of this, they cannot move their eyes.

A woodpecker can peck twenty times a second.

Hummingbirds are the smallest birds – so tiny that one of their enemies is an insect, the praying mantis.

It may take longer than two days for a chick to break out of its shell.

The hummingbird’s brain, 4.2 percent of its body weight, is proportionately the largest among birds.

Flamingos are not naturally pink. They get their color from their food — tiny green algae that turn pink during digestion.

An albatross can sleep while it flies. It apparently dozes while cruising at 25 mph.

The owl can catch a mouse in utter darkness, guided only by tiny sounds made by its prey.

A seagull can drink salt water because it has special glands that filter out the salt.

Penguins can jump as high as 6 feet in the air.

A chicken with red earlobes will produce brown eggs, and a chicken with white earlobes will produce white eggs.

The hummingbird, the loon, the swift, the kingfisher, and the grebe are all birds that cannot walk.

A duck’s quack doesn’t echo anywhere, and no one knows why.

Emus can’t walk backwards.

Chickens can’t swallow while they are upside down.

Roosters can’t crow if they can’t fully extend their necks.

The most yolks ever found in a single chicken’s egg is nine.

The egg of the hummingbird is the world’s smallest bird’s egg; the egg of the ostrich, the world’s largest.

The now-extinct elephant bird of Madagascar laid an egg that weighed 12 kilograms.

Air sacs may make up 1/5 of the body volume of a bird.

Birds don’t sweat.

A bird’s heart beats 400 times per minute while resting and up to 1000 beats per minute while flying.

Hummingbirds eat about every ten minutes, slurping down twice their body weight in nectar every day.

The only known poisonous bird in the world is the hooded pitohui of Papua, New Guinea. The poison is found in its skin and feathers.

The common loon can dive more than 76 metres below the water’s surface.

A malleefowl lays eggs in a nest full of rotting vegetation. The decay gives off heat to keep the eggs warm; the male bird checks the temperature often and adjusts the pile as necessary.

Weaver Bird dads spend the majority of their lives building nests to impress females. However, if the female is not immediately impressed by his handiwork, the male takes offense and chases his potential mate off.

Emus run after rain clouds, hoping for water.

The stunning scarlet macaw eats clay from riverside deposits, which may help it process toxic seeds it consumes.

A male sand grouse soaks himself in water, then flies back to the nest so his chicks can drink from his feathers.

In its journey from the Arctic to Antarctica and back, the Arctic Tern covers a distance of 32 000 km, which makes it the farthest traveling migratory bird in the world.

Ostriches eyes are larger than their brains.

The hummingbird can hover and fly straight up, down, or backward.

Mockingbirds can imitate sounds of other birds.

Puffins fly underwater.

Puffins have teeth that point backwards inside their beak.

Mum and Dad puffins rub their beaks together to show affection – this is called ‘billing’.

Puffins can stand on their tippy toes.

Puffins can flap their wings 300 to 400 times a minute.

Penguins sleep floating on the ocean.

Emperor penguins are the largest penguin – they are 115cm tall.

Emperor penguins breed in colonies scattered around the Antarctic continent. Colonies can have as many as 40 000 penguins.

Emperor penguins huddle tightly together and share body warmth during the fierce winter storms.

Male emperor penguins carry their egg on their feet and don’t eat for 4 months while they look after the egg.

Arctic terns don’t swim well even though their feet are webbed, because they have small feet so they swoop down, catch the fish, and keep flying to stay out of the water.

Arctic terns hardly ever land. So they eat while flying most of the time. When terns eat insects they catch them “on the wing”. This means they catch them while flying.

Just before Arctic terns begin their long journey, the entire colony of birds become silent – this is called a dread.
Snowy owls can almost turn their head in a complete circle.

Cats are skilled masters at finding warm, sunny spots, but they still need a bit of help in winter. Here are some tips that will keep your feline friend happy and cosy in the colder months ahead.

1. Food requirements

In winter cats conserve energy by sleeping more. They also tend to go outside less than usual, and this means less activity and exercise. Their diet may need to be adjusted so that they don’t pick up weight. Visit your veterinarian to determine what your cat’s unique food requirements are for winter.

2. Let the light in

Cats love basking in the sun, especially in winter. Keep your curtains open during the day so there are as many warm patches as possible in your home.

3. Cosy beds

Your cat will thank you with lots of purrs and snuggles if you invest in an igloo-type bed – this keeps out drafts and the chilled air. Add a warm, fluffy blanket inside for the ultimate sleeping toasty sleeping spot. For an extra spoil, warm up a bean bag for the really cold nights (avoid hot water bottles – those claws can cause a nasty accident).

4. Heaters and fireplaces

Cats love lounging in the warmest spots in the house. Unfortunately, they also have a knack getting themselves into dangerous situations when they venture too close to the heat, so never leave them unsupervised if you have a fire going or the heater on.

5. Slippery play areas

Rain and ice can make balcony areas and high walls that are usually easy to navigate a real hazard. If you live in a high-rise building, it is safest to keep your cat indoors. After it has rained, or if there is a bit of frost on surfaces like railings, wipe them down before you let your cat out to play.

6. Car danger

There are sadly a lot of injuries – and even deaths – when cats sneak unnoticed into warm car engines. Always check that you know where your cat is before you start your car, and it’s worth doing a quick check under your bonnet for your neighbour’s cats too.

7. Golden Oldies

Cold weather makes old bones feel stiff and sore, so if your cat already has arthritis they will feel it even more in winter. If you don’t already give your senior cat a joint supplement to lubricate her joints, winter is the perfect time to start.

Provide different levels for your cat to sleep and play on. Just because she can reach her favourite high spot at the window in summer, doesn’t mean she can in winter. Those sore joints mean less movement and agility.

8. Body warmth

Even the least affectionate and aloof cats tend to want to cuddle more in winter – far more snug than a hot water bottle, this purring sleeping partner will keep all your winter blues away!

A final note: feral or homeless cats live in SA’s parks, factories and streets. Life is always tough for them, but especially so in the cold, wet winter months. If you see a cat this winter that has just given birth, is injured, sick or starving, please get in touch with our TEARS Feral Cat Project as soon as possible – tears@tears.org.za or 021 785 4482.

Keeping your dog in shape is an important part of dog wellness, but it’s also crucial to provide mental stimulation and enrichment for your dog.

Dogs are meant to live active lives, rather than sleep until their owners come home. Many studies, especially those conducted by zoos, have shown that enriching an animal’s environment improves the psychological and physical well-being of animals.

The co-authors of Beyond Squeaky Toys break down enrichment for animals into six different categories. Read on for simple, practical ways to provide enrichment for your dog each day. Note that all dogs are individuals, so not all of these activities will appeal equally to all dogs. Smaller dogs, for instance, might do better with a pop-up tunnel indoors; some dogs love bubbles while others are indifferent, and some dogs are not food-motivated. The key is to experiment and find what works for you.

6 Types of Enrichment for Dogs

Social enrichment

Provides opportunities for a pet to spend time with other animals and people in new, different environments. Examples include:

  • Trips to the beach. My three dogs enjoy a romp on the beach perhaps more than any other activity.
  • Going shopping. We work on leash reactivity at Home Depot, as it’s a great environment that’s safe and pet-friendly.
  • Going to the office. My husband takes our dog Sherman to work on Thursdays.

Cognitive enrichment

Provides opportunities for thinking and problem-solving. Examples include:  

  • Puzzle toys. These are super-popular in my house and there are many types to choose from. Fantastic for dogs that are constantly busy and need a job between meals. 
  • K9 Nosework. Another sport we’re big fans of. All dogs can excel at this odor game. 
  • Hide and seek. Ask your dog to stay, and then run and hide from your pet before calling them. This also builds a strong recall! Treat generously when your dog finds you.

Physical enrichment

Enhances the animal’s living space by changing or adding complexity to the environment.  

  • Provide a bury/dig pit. This is simple. Buy a dog or kiddie pool and fill it up with sand. You can even hide toys for your dogs to dig up.
  • Blanket forts and tents. Children enjoy this as well!
  • Pop-up tunnel. Similar to what’s used in agility, these can be purchased online, and our doxies love tearing through them in the backyard.   

Sensory enrichment

Enrichment that stimulates any of the five senses. Nosework is another good example.  

  • Bubbles, bubbles, and bubbles! You can even buy bacon-flavored bubbles for dogs. No joke.
  • Herbs and spices. Mint and cinnamon are not toxic and can be added to pet toys to encourage sniffing.
  • Farm animal scents. I gave a friend with goats an old tee shirt and she hung it in the barn for few days. I then brought it home and tied it to a tug toy.  
  • Wind chimes can be fun toys that offer new sounds to cats and dogs.

Feeding enrichment

Make mealtime more challenging and interesting. This includes how food is presented. 

  • Treats under a blanket. Simple—just hide them out of sight!
  • A puzzle feeder can slow down gulpers and stimulate the mind.
  • Ice treats. Try freezing small toys in giant ice cubes and see how long before they can get access to them! Pro tip: do this on a surface you can clean easily.
  • Muffin tin ball feeder. Cheapest nose work game you’ll find. Literally, put tennis balls in the muffin tin and hide food under some of the balls.
  • Hand feeding is a great way to bond with your dog, especially when you first meet. 

Toy enrichment 

Objects that can be manipulated in some way—explored via feet, tail, and mouths! (Always take age into consideration). 

  • Remote and wind-up toys. Allow your dog to watch the toy, but don’t put let them put it in their mouth!
  • Lure and fishing pole toy. Attach a long line of yarn to a fishing pole and while supervised, let your dog tug until they get bored.
  • Stuff old clothing with anything smelly, like grass clippings.

The bottom line 

Enrichment does more than just alleviate boredom. Shelters have discovered that enrichment can make dogs more adoptable. It can also help your dog live a longer, happier life, and improve your bond. In other words, it’s a no-brainer!

Enrichment doesn’t take a lot of time or money. Many of these tips are low maintenance and take just a few minutes, but will go a long way with your dogs. Try a few, see which sticks, and then weave it into your dog’s routine.

For years, it has been standard practice to house reptiles in a minimalistic enclosure, with the thought being that the reptiles simply didn’t care. “Give a reptile a heat gradient, a light source and a place to hide” was the mantra in reptile husbandry. Keep it simple, right? Fortunately, this old-school train of thought is changing.

Reptiles that can normally live for two or more decades under natural conditions often languish in captivity and die at an early age. This is because the diet, ambient temperature, relative humidity and lighting (wavelengths and photoperiods) provided to captive animals often do not parallel what the animal experiences in the wild. This lack of natural environmental essentials is sufficient to induce stress and ultimately weaken an animal’s natural immunity to disease.

In relatively recent times, these basic needs for a healthy life have risen to the forefront, and “environmental enrichment” is now a priority in captive environments. Environmental enrichment, which includes both appropriate physical husbandry management and psychological stimulation, provides the foundation for captive reptiles to display natural behaviours and exist in a (hopefully) stress-free situation. Included is the obvious necessity to provide natural terraria as well as mental stimulation, and an excellent way to provide the latter is to encourage natural behaviours.

Providing physical and mental enrichment has become standard practice at most professional facilities, and doing so should also be part of the private reptile keeper’s repertoire. Allowing captive animals, the opportunity to make choices stimulates them mentally. No longer need they sit idle in one spot, waiting for something to happen. Instead, they should be given the opportunity to occasionally make things happen.

For instance, by hiding food items in various areas within a reptile’s enclosure—inside hide boxes, behind partitions and décor, beneath substrate, high up in branches, etc.—you can encourage foraging behaviour. Giving the animal the ability to make an active effort to find the food will provide it with enrichment.

These behaviours obviously cannot take place in simple, box-type units such as the basic sweater box or shelf units commonly used when keeping reptiles. Although these units are efficient in regards to regular cleaning, maintenance and ease of access to the animals inside, they are environmentally and psychologically limiting.

Although temperatures in South Africa are usually fairly pleasant year round, in winter month lows can still dip down to almost freezing. This can provide a dangerous environment for some dogs depending upon certain conditions and where they live.

For example, if you live in a neighbourhood where antifreeze is used, the key ingredient, ethylene glycol can be toxic, and in some cases even deadly, for dogs and other animals if ingested. What’s even worse, the smell and taste of this dangerous chemical is actually quite pleasant so dogs are actually likely to consume it if they happen to run across a small puddle of the substance.

#1 – After you walk your pet, be sure to wash and dry their feet to remove ice, salt and other chemicals (like mentioned above) that they could have picked up during your stroll. Check their paws for cracks or redness that could need attention.

#2 – Putting petroleum jelly or other types of protectant on their paws before an outing will also help prevent contact with chemicals. Some pet parents have even trained their canines to use booties for further protection.

#3 – Pets usually burn more energy during colder months when they’re likely to be more active to stay warm. Unless they’re on a special diet, perhaps a little overweight or have other dietary restrictions, consider given them a little more food during this time.

#4 – If it’s too cold for you outside, the same is likely true for your pet. Even though they have a fur coat, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be all right outside, especially overnight. Keep an eye on local weather reports if you have an outdoor animal and if significantly cold temperatures are expected, your dog would be better off indoors.

#5 – Again for outdoor dogs, even those both indoor and outdoor, be sure to check their water dish regularly to ensure it’s free of debris that can come from cold, windy, winter weather and make sure it’s not partially or completely frozen.

#6 – Keep trimming and similar hair removal techniques down to a minimum but don’t stop brushing them. Dogs with shorter hair that don’t need regular cutting, those with bare bellies and little fur may be more comfortable in a sweater or coat. For some mutts, this type of winter wear is a regular occurrence.

#7 – For those indoor/outdoor dogs, coming in and out of the moist, cold outdoors and coming inside to a drier, warmer environment can cause dry, itchy, flaky skin. Keep your house humidified and always dry your dog when wet if they come indoors. Both of these practices will help your pooch be more comfortable overall.

#8 – Bathe your pets less often during these colder times since this can remove essential oils from their skin that helps to keep them warm. As mentioned previously, winter is a time of year when skin can become drier than usual. When you do wash your animal, consider using a special moisturizing type of pet shampoo that can help with this problem.

Although rare and unpredictable, snow does fall in some parts of South Africa, especially in mountainous areas. Whether you live in a region where you see the white stuff regularly or rarely, you can still safely enjoy winter with your best friend.

To keep your fish happy and healthy, following these tips will help make maintaining an aquarium fairly easy and trouble-free.

  1. Acclimate your fish. Fish are fragile. For best results, ask the store associate what their water parameters for nitrate, nitrite, ammonia and pH levels are. When home, test your aquarium water for its chemistry. The greater the differences, the longer you need to acclimate your fish.
  2. Float your fish. Float the sealed bag of fish in your aquarium for at least 15 minutes but no longer than one hour to allow for temperature acclimation. Open the bag and slowly add a quarter cup of water from your aquarium. Repeat the process of adding a quarter cup of water every five minutes until the bag is full. This brings the temperature and chemistry together slowly, which allows the fish to acclimate to their new aquatic home without being shocked by sudden changes. Remove the bag from the aquarium and slowly pour off as much water as possible without harming your aquatic life. Lower the bag into the aquarium and allow your fish to swim out into their new home.
  3. Room to roam. Overcrowding can lead to low oxygen levels in the water. Another crisis of overcrowding includes excess waste, which clogs the filter and degrades your aquarium water. In addition, too many fish in small spaces can cause fatalities. Check with a pet specialist for the right size tank for your fish.
  4. Condition the water. Water for fish is like air for humans. It is critical to your fish’s long-term health. Tap water comes with countless properties that need to be balanced in an aquarium in order to support aquatic life. To condition water properly, use a de-chlorinating and biological aquarium supplement available at your local pet store.
  5. Maintain proper pH Levels. pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of your tank water. Buy a pH test kit and use it to check the pH level. Freshwater fish thrive when the pH level is between 6.6 and 7.8 depending on species. This range will offer a natural, antiseptic effect that helps your fish resist illness. If you want a healthy aquarium, be sure to check regularly for any fluctuations in pH levels.
  6. Replace aquarium water.. It is recommended to change 25 percent of your aquarium water at least once a month. It is better to do a small 10% weekly than one big replacement monthly/weekly. This will help maintain a clean and healthy tank, plus it keeps nitrate concentrations at a safe level. Use a gravel vacuum to siphon out water and debris. Keeping your water clean and maintaining stable water parameters helps promote healthy and strong fish.
  7. Maintain adequate water temperature. Changes in temperature can wreak havoc on aquarium fish. Don’t place your aquarium in a window that gets a lot of sun or next to heating or air conditioning vents, as drastic temperature changes can make your fish sick or even kill them. Tropical freshwater fish require a constant temperature of 72°C – 82°C depending on the species, in which case you’ll need to purchase an aquatic heater for your tank.
  8. Clean the sides of the tank. Not everything that’s green is a good thing. Algae buildup on tanks cloud the glass, gives water a murky look, and depletes oxygen, which can create health concerns for your aquatic life. Thriving aquarium plants can also be harmed by the presence of algae. If left unchecked, algae will rob plants of much needed oxygen. Pet stores have a variety of tools to help, which include scrub brushes, some with long handles and aquarium algae magnets to scrape off excess algae from the aquarium.

With a healthy and well-managed fish tank, you will have many happy hours of pleasure watching your fish swim in their aquatic habitat.