Archive | March, 2012

The Eagles have hatched!

31 Mar

Just a reminder to check out the Decorah Eagles. The third eaglet has just hatched.
See them at:

Walter the Cat

31 Mar

Our new cat has a name…Walter.

Here are our 4 cats spending a sunny day on a messy bed.
When we got Walter we were told he had been a solitary cat and was afraid of dogs. Walter is 16 pounds and has his front claws. Walter is not afraid of anyone. Walter and our Golden Retriever get along just fine.

Lionfish eating Smelt

27 Mar

I fed the Lionfish this morning before I cleaned up the tank .

Frozen Smelt are too big for my Dwarf Lion and even though I sliced this one, it was still too big.

The Clownfish and Royal Gramma get a meal of Smelt eggs and scraps.

Saltwater tank maintenance

27 Mar

Every few months I need to pull out the Caleurpa (a macro-algae) that grows in my salt tank. I donate it to our local fish shop, along with Hornwort and Java Moss from my freshwater tanks. I also like to do a water change at the same time.

Too much Caleurpa! I can't see the rocks and coral and shells.

I mix salt into the aged fresh water.

After I yank out the Caleurpa the water gets a little cloudy from disturbing the bottom. That's the best time to siphon out the old water.

While the water is low I clean the glass.

Use a hydrometer to get the Specific Gravity (essentially the salt concentration) correct.

It's best that I have no idea how much the petshop sells these for!

Additional maintenance on this tank includes changing, or washing, the filter cartridges, and cleaning the protein skimmer. The protein skimmer is so important I think I’ll write a separate post about it sometime soon.

The Cardinal not Tetra

27 Mar

My wife and I have been watching this male Cardinal for a few weeks now. He and his wife have a nest in our neighbor’s arborvitae so he must protect his realm.

Here you see him fighting another male Cardinal that simply will not go away.

Clownfish don’t always clown around

27 Mar

I have two Ocellaris Clownfish. I bought them over 4 years ago and they are going strong.

The most commonly  kept saltwater fish such as Clownfish and Damsels can be aggressive and territorial. They are similar to keeping freshwater Cichlids, such as the South America Firemouths and Convicts, or the various African Cichlids.

In this video clip you see my two Clowns tussling over a dead minnow. The minnow wasn’t dead about 30 seconds before this video started. The first Clown to grab it nearly tore it in half. I don’t recall Nemo the Clownfish tearing another fish to pieces in the movie.

When you put your saltwater fish together keep a close eye on them for awhile until they work out their differences.  If the fighting doesn’t settle down in a few days, you will have to decide what fish to remove.  Do you remove the most aggressive one, the most or least expensive one, or the prettiest one?  It’s  up to you.

If you add a new fish to your tank, give it a chance by re-arranging the decor of your tank so your old fish think they are in new surroundings, too.

Five Turtle Eggs: Start the countdown!

19 Mar

I dug out the turtle nest today and there are five eggs.
Before I touched an egg I marked it with a water-based felt tip marker so I could place it in the “incubator” in the exact same direction as it faced in the nest.

I lightly sprinkled more Coconut husk to cover the eggs.

The “incubator” is a small plastic aquarium. I have some Coconut husk fiber that I soaked, then squeezed out the excess water. I’ll put the top on the aquarium to keep it humid yet still allow some air movement.
At 85F degrees the eggs should hatch in two months. I haven’t dug around in my aquarium supplies to see if I have a good heat pad. I’ll make sure to keep them in a mildly warm area until I find, or buy, the heat source.
If the eggs or substrate show any signs of mold I can replace the substrate and rinse the eggs with water.
Baby Red-eared Sliders are one of the most adorable animals on the planet, ranking right up there with puppies, warthogs, kittens, naked mole rats, and bunnies.
Here is a cute photo of a baby Red-ear that I found on a blog. I hope the author doesn’t mind if I use this wonderful picture. Her story about this little turtle is very interesting, too.

Red-eared Slider digging a nest

18 Mar

When I came home from work this afternoon I saw my big female Red-ear out wandering around the turtle enclosure. I told my wife that the males tend to go out and stroll around a bit but the females are usually in the water or basking. I wondered…is she looking to lay some eggs?
Most definitely, yes!
The ground is very dry but she must release fluid from her body to soften the ground because it looks like mud now.
I will be checking this out first thing in the morning.
It still could get very cold here in the coming weeks so I will bring the eggs indoors.

Pond Cleaning Day!!!

11 Mar

Our weather has improved so quickly that I was shocked into cleaning the pond. In past years I haven’t done it until late April.
I have the weekend off and the weather forecast calls for 70 degree temps for the remainder of the week. Wow, Spring is here already!!

If you ever want to build a medium-sized backyard pond I will caution you that it takes a lot of physical work. When I built my pond I worked hard for 7 days straight.  Now, every Spring , it takes a full day to clean out the pond and fill it for the new year.

Last night I drained the pond about halfway. It was smelly and gross and I knew it was only going to get worse as I got closer to the bottom. My backyard was crowded with buckets and nets and hoses and it STUNK like mad. I apologize to my neighbors if they detected the aroma of turtle poo. This morning, I finished pumping out the rest of the so-called water, then actually climbed into the pond and scooped and scraped and almost slipped and swam.

This smells worse than it looks.

Yucky-foo is all I can say.

YAY almost full and ready for fish and turtles.

These are the minnows who survived the winter and will go back into the pond once the water ages a day or so.

I also cleaned my 30 gallon pond. This a great size to begin with. It only took an hour to clean up.

The cat who has no name

11 Mar

We are in danger of this becoming the Practical Catkeeping Blog.
After nearly a week of owning this new gigantic cat we have not settled on a name for him.

This was so damn cute I ran for my camera.

I read that our local animal shelter brought in 1601 cats in 2011. 836 of them were euthanized.