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The Many Colors of the French Bulldog

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French Bulldog Colors

About the French Bulldog

The French Bulldog can present in a variety of colors but not all of those colors represent a healthy line of this very popular dog. The Frenchie as it is affectionately known, is one of the most popular breeds in America. How did this cute little toy dog with its smashed face, bat ears and big eyes come to earn that status?

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Developed in the United Kingdom in the nineteenth century, they are descended from the full sized bulldog and the smaller rat terriers of France. They are dearly loved by the French where they were developed and then exported to the United Kingdom. They then became one of the most expensive and most popular breeds in the world.

Grey French Bull Dog

By the late 1800’s, the French Bulldog was being shown in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, one of the most prestigious dog shows in the world. They were also shown in England at the Crufts Dog Show many years before Westminster. Today the Frenchie, no matter what color, is a family dog and a show dog, but only certain colors meet the breed standard.

The colors that are acceptable by breed standards are eligible to compete in conformation dog shows. Unacceptable colored dog are not. They might be able to be AKC registered but they cannot compete in dog shows.

The Question of Color

So many things in the world of the French Bulldog are determined by color. How much a puppy costs is determined by their color. How healthy a puppy might be is determined by color. If a dog can be shown in conformation is determined by color. At the same time, it is no easy thing to understand all the colors and rules about colors for the French Bulldog. The Frenchie can be found in so many different colors it can be confusing and overwhelming to understand what each color means.

Tri Color French Bulldog

In this breed the minute differences in color have a lot of meaning and a lot of impact. Why does it matter if a dog is Black or is Black with Brindle? In this breed it matters because one color is acceptable to the breed standard and the other one is not. The color issue for the French Bulldog is not only about the coat, but it is also about the eyes and the paws. A lot can be learned about the lineage and the health of the French Bulldog by knowing its color. The color of the coat, the eyes, the paws and the mask are all genetically determined and linked to health issues. A white coat on a Frenchie might indicate that she has a malabsorption syndrome. What do the other colors indicate for the health of the French Bulldog? Is it safe to breed all colored French Bulldogs?

Colors of French Bulldogs

The rainbow of colors that the French Bulldog can sport is astonishing in the world of pedigree dogs. Most pure bred dogs have a limited amount of color patterns. The Frenchie is an anomaly in this regard sporting so many different colors, even if they do not meet the breed standard. For the Frenchie the most dominant color is brindle, then fawn. Any solid color is more dominant than any piebald or pied.

Brindle French Bulldog Color

Brindle is the most dominant French Bulldog color being a solid color with lighter shades of the same color mixed in. On the other hand, Piebald is a light color with patches of a darker color mixed in. There are three types of colors in the coats of the French Bulldog.

These types are:

  • Meets breed standard.
  • Fad Colors.
  • Rare Colors.

What colors fit into each of these categories and why does it matter so much? You will find French Bulldogs with coats of chocolate and blue, cream, white, fawn, lilac, brindle to black, black, and sable. We will see shortly why the fad and rare colors are not good for the health and future of the breed. At the same time there is such a demand for any and all of the colors of Frenchies that some breeders will breed for fad and rare colors no matter the impact on the breed.

French Bulldog Colors

Research on the Colors of French Bulldogs

A lot of research has been done into the colors of the French Bulldog and why only a few are acceptable in the breed standard while so many are not. The question of color among pedigree dogs has been studied by scientists, veterinarians and doctors. The experts in gene sequencing are mapping out the genes on all the chromosomes and how they impact color in the fur/hair, mask, eyes and skin of the French Bulldog. Color alleles are being found through DNA tests. All of this is being done in an effort to produce a healthier French Bulldog pup. This information about the colors and their DNA markers can tell the breeders and by virtue of the breeders, tell the buyers as well, what kind of health issues the French Bulldog may be susceptible to in the future.

Brown French Bulldog

How is the non-scientific buyer of a French Bulldog to understand the intricacies of this genetic science? Really good breeders are always participating in research and learning about genetics, heredity, and ancestral lines of their breeds. Buyers are not. The cells that are responsible for skin and hair color are called Melanocytes. These cells are formed invitro by neural crest cells. Without getting too technical, the more neural crest cells you have the more melanocytes. Melanocytes create melanin, and this creates the color black and all other colors that come out of black.

This means a pup with a lot of melanin might have fur that is black, chocolate, blue, brown or liver. A pup with less melanin might have reddish, reddish brown or yellowish tan fur. All dogs regardless of breed carry these color genes. But in the French Bulldog you have more variety than usual, and the color genes have a direct impact on the propensity for health issues.

In the French Bulldog these genes can produce a dog with brindle fur and rose colored ears. You could have a dog with a light or a dark mask or different colored patches anywhere on the body. Buyers of the French Bulldog are more interested in the fad and rare colors than the breed standard ones. This can cause the breed a lot of problems.

Frenchie Colors

Acceptable French Bulldog Colors

The American Kennel Club and most of the French Bulldog breed clubs around the world, accept only cream, brindle, fawn, brindle and white and white as acceptable colors.

Fad Colors

The following colors are considered “fad” colors and they do not meet the breed standard. Yet any acceptably colored Frenchie can give birth to the fad colored pups. These colors are blue, tan, black and white, chocolate, gray and white, cream and white, fawn and black, fawn brindle and white and fawn and white.

The research has shown that the blue Frenchie has a rare gene that dilutes the black color to a blue color. This gene can affect the fur and the eyes of the puppy. These blue dogs can be faced with a medical condition called “Blue Dog Alopecia” causing skin inflammations and baldness. It can cause cracks and ruptures in the skin that can get Staph infections and MRSA. Some puppies die within weeks of being born. The blue Frenchie has more health issues than any other fad color. It can also lead to blindness.

Fad French Bulldog Colors

A blue dog bred to a blue dog will produce all blue puppies and they will all carry defective genes. If a blue breeds with a non-blue all the pups will carry the defective gene. A genetic line with blue in its history can go generations without producing a blue puppy. However, half of all those puppies produced will be carrying the defective gene. They could produce a blue at any time, so good breeders believe that blues should never be allowed to breed.

Even though the blue color has more medical issues than any other, the merle color is the most dangerous of all. The first generation merles are typically bred to each other to produce a second generation litter of merles. These puppies are susceptible to blindness, deafness, eye anomalies, increased fetal mortality rates and structural defects. It is very dangerous to create merle French Bulldogs and contaminate the gene pool either to make money or for the joy of a merle Frenchie.

The “Rare” Lilac French Bulldog

Even more rare than these fad colors is the Lilac French Bulldog. These puppies can sell for $30,000 per puppy. A purplish-blue dog can also be produced by a lilac French Bulldog. The same process that dilutes the black to blue is diluting the colors to lilac. They also have light colored eyes and the same health issues as the blues.

Lilac French Bulldog

Conclusion

The AKC will allow these fad and rare colored French Bulldogs to be registered in the club but since they do not meet the breed standard, they are not allowed to participate in conformation shows. All French Bulldog clubs discourage the breeding of any fad or rare colored dogs.

French Bulldog Shedding and Skin Care

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French Bulldog Shedding

Coming from 19th century England, Nottingham to be exact. They were made to be smaller versions of the English Bulldog and were lapdogs. When craftsmen went from England to France, they took their smaller bulldogs with them. The French people fell in love with these dogs and named them French Bulldogs. Eventually the Frenchies, as they were known, made their way back to England and appeared in dog shows. The coat of the French Bulldog is adapted for life in western Europe.

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French Bulldog Shedding And Grooming

The French Bulldog Coat

The French Bulldog comes from a moderate climate in western Europe and have a short, fine, smooth and brilliant coat. Is this a coat that sheds and if so, how much and how often? Actually, all dogs shed their coats at least seasonally if not continuously. So, what do we know about the French Bulldog that would impact its shedding?

  • The French Bulldog has a single coat. They only have a topcoat. The hair on their topcoat is short and leads to moderate shedding.
  • There is a difference between excessive shedding and seasonal natural shedding. Seasonal shedding is very manageable in the French Bulldog

Factors that Influence French Bulldog Shedding

  • Diet
  • Supplements
  • Brushing
  • Bathing

Sudden shedding could indicate that there is a health issue with your French Bulldog. Excessive shedding or the development of hairless or light hair patches can be the same thing. These shedding conditions might indicate something as simple as an allergy or something as serious as mange.

French Bulldog Grooming

Brushing and bathing on a regular basis will keep seasonal shedding under control and daily shedding reasonable.

Nutrients and Supplements for The Coat

A diet that provides the proper nutrients can assist in keeping shedding under control as can supplements that are made especially for the coat. You can get the proper food and supplements from your veterinarian as well. If you feed a grocery store brand of dog food, you cannot ensure that your French Bulldog puppy is getting the nutrients it needs. Supplements are a way to ensure proper nutrition.

Fish Oil and Vitamin Supplements

The vitamin supplements and fish oil are available at pet stores and health food stores. These supplements help to control shedding and ensure the French Bulldog’s coat is healthy. You can get them from your veterinarian as well. Supplements are a way to ensure the best possible health for your French Bulldog’s coat.

French Bulldog Grooming

Frenchie Baths

Bathing is an important control over excessive shedding, but it can also be detrimental if used too often. Too much bathing of French Bulldog puppies can actually cause increased or excessive shedding. One bath per month should be maximum for French Bulldog puppies using a gentle, dog or puppy shampoo. If you use soap and water, make sure it is not a harsh soap. Harsh deep cleansing soaps and shampoos are expense and unnecessary.

You can do a dry shampoo once a week to keep your Frenchie nice and clean. Test the shampoos and soaps you are using so that you don’t create allergies that your French Bulldog does not have to start with.

Brushing

As previously mentioned, regular brushing has a major role to play in keeping shedding under control. Using just a regular hand brush and daily grooming of the topcoat will get loose hair and fur out before it can be shed. This is true more for the adult French Bulldog as it is for puppies.

French Bulldog Healthy Diet

As previously mentioned, diet is important when considering shedding for any breed of dog. High protein is one major factor that needs to be in the diet. A sample of the kind of diet that would help with Frenchie shedding is:

This is only a sample and the specific brands are not what is important but rather the ingredients.


For many owners of the French Bulldog, there is an unexpected realization that they do shed quite a bit. Their hair is fine and short. You will find these hairs on your clothes or furniture more often then if you had a double coated dog. It is also true that the French Bulldog has a tendency in hot climates to accumulate oil, bacteria and fungus in the coat and hair follicles.

You can use antibacterial wipes to regularly clean above the tail, above the nose and in the vulva area of females.

Causes of Excessive Shedding in French Bulldogs

Since the French Bulldog does not shed that much what are the causes of excessive shedding? If your French Bulldog is white or a lighter color, they may not be shedding more but it will be more visible. However, if it really is excessive shedding it could possibly be caused by:

  • Puppies naturally shed more than adult dogs.
  • Skin irritation.
  • Parasites, lice, fleas
  • Immune diseases or conditions
  • Infections fungal or bacterial
  • Allergies that are inhalant or food related
  • Excessive scratching or licking
  • Pregnancy and lactation
  • Issues with the adrenal glands, thyroid, liver or kidney

These are good reasons to see a veterinarian if your French Bulldog exhibits excessive shedding. All dogs will shed. Your French Bulldog will shed less than most, but these tips can help you to slow it down even more.

Amano Shrimp Care

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Amano Shrimp

Amano Shrimp Overview

Amano shrimp (Caridina multidentata), also known as algae shrimp, yamoto shrimp and Japanese swamp shrimp are a popular shrimp for freshwater aquarists and aquatic plant enthusiasts. The shrimp are said to have been introduced to the aquarium trade by Takashi Amano, a Japanese aquarist. He found that the shrimp excelled at keeping planted aquariums free of algae growth. The shrimp were later given the common name “Amano shrimp” in honor of his work to make them available to the aquarium hobby.

Caridina multidentata have the typical shrimp body form. The body is translucent with a gray or greenish tint, and covered with reddish brown spots along its sides. The top of the shrimp has a white stripe that runs from the head to the tail. Amano shrimp have small, black eyes. The shrimp grow to about 2.0 inches at maturity. Smaller shrimp are often found in fish shops and on-line sellers. Amano shrimp are very popular in the aquarium hobby, especially as a natural algae control in planted aquariums.

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Natural habitat

Caridina multidentata are native to the Yamato River area of Japan and parts of Korea and Taiwan. Typical habitats are slow-moving areas of rivers and rice fields. These environments have very soft, slightly acidic water. Other habitats, closer to urban run-off, have a pH as high as 8.5. The shrimp can tolerate a temperate range of 68°F to 85°F. In the wild, Amano shrimp are found living among aquatic plants, branches and rocks. Amano shrimp prefer slow-moving water. They will venture out of their protected habitat to search for food. They are most comfortable climbing on plants and other structures, looking to scavenge food. Their natural diet is algae and detritus (tiny bits of organic matter).

Amano Shrimp

Aquarium requirements

If you’re a strict shrimp enthusiast, you are probably going to be keeping Amano shrimp by themselves in their own aquarium. The perfect size shrimp aquarium is between five and ten gallons. Caridina multidentata like living in groups, so it’s best to have several Amano shrimp in the aquarium. It’s also possible to keep Amano shrimp in a community or planted aquarium if all the fish are shrimp-friendly. Amano shrimp will scavenge through the gravel, looking for bits of organic matter and other foods. They seem to enjoy working through finer grains of sand and gravel. Experienced shrimp-keepers have had success keeping the shrimp in aquarium without plants but the shrimp are most interesting when there are plenty of plants, caves and driftwood to explore.

Water Parameters

Experience shows that Amano shrimp don’t have special water chemistry requirements. But this does not mean they can tolerate poor water conditions. Maintaining a stable temperature and water free of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are important to keep the shrimp healthy. Even low levels of these pollutants will stress your shrimp. Long-term exposure to ammonia or nitrite will weaken the shrimp’s immune system, and shorten its lifespan.

Amano shrimp can be kept in a pH range of 6.5 to 8.2. Neutral to slightly alkaline is recommended by shrimp experts. Water hardness and alkalinity (carbonate hardness) are not critical. A range of 3 to 10 degrees is acceptable. If the aquarium water has low alkalinity, the pH may become too acidic over time. Alkalinity stabilizes pH. Natural acids produced by the break-down of wastes and biological filtration neutralizes alkalinity. If the alkalinity drops to less than 3 degrees, the pH could suddenly drop below pH 6.0. Test pH and alkalinity every week or two to keep a close watch on these important water chemistry parameters. Water changes, made every three to four weeks, will usually replenish alkalinity and stabilize the pH.

Temperature

Set the aquarium heater to maintain a water temperature of 72 to 78°F. Cooler water seems to prolong the shrimp’s relatively short lifespan. You’ll have to balance the water temperature to satisfy the fish’s requirements if you’re keeping shrimp with tropical fish. An aquarium thermometer is helpful for making sure the heater is keeping the water temperature at the desired set point.

Amano Shrimp Water Chemistry Conditions

pH:7.0 – 8.2
General or Total hardness:5 – 10 degrees
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:3 – 10 degrees
Water temperature:72 – 78°F (22 – 26°C)
Ammonia & Nitrite:0.0

Water filtration

Caridina multidentata don’t like to be continuously exposed to strong currents. Cover from plants and caves allow the shrimp to have a quiet area with low flow. Don’t be surprised to see your shrimp exploring the aquarium filter’s outflow! Amano shrimp will investigate a high flow area, but they don’t want to be continually buffeted with water currents. If you plan on keeping Amano shrimp in a small dedicated shrimp-only aquarium, a hang-on-back (HOB) filter is all you need. A HOB power filter will filter the water and have a water flow rate that is compatible with the shrimp.

Filter media

The filter cartridge should contain activated carbon to remove odors and adsorb dissolved organics. If you’re adding the shrimp to a larger planted or community aquarium, consider a canister filter. Canister filters hold more mechanical filter media to remove particles and keep the water clear. The filter will also hold bags of activated carbon to remove dissolved organics and odors. Canister filters sometime include biological filtration media. The biological filter media provides a place for beneficial waste-degrading bacteria to live. Regardless of type of filter you have, be sure to change the media once a month. A dirty filter cartridge or canister filter will still flow, even when clogged.

Many aquarium filters are designed to allow water to bypass the filter media even when it becomes clogged. This safety feature ensures the filter still circulates water, even if the media are clogged with debris and sludge. The organic sludge will decompose inside the filter if not cleaned out each month. Dirty, neglected cartridges and media release algae-promoting nutrients, like phosphate, into the water. This will cause green water blooms and algae growth on the glass, gravel and ornaments. Maintain the filter and your water will stay clean and clear.

Aquarium lighting Amano shrimp

Amano shrimp don’t have any special lighting requirements of limitations. But if you want to see the delicate markings on the shrimp, you’ll want an aquarium light. If you’re growing live plants, good full-spectrum lighting is essential. Some nano all-in-one aquariums come with a tiny LED light that will provide a minimal level of illumination. This will be good for a tank without plants. But remember, Amano shrimp like to eat algae. Without algae you’ll definitely need to feed them a balanced shrimp pellet. You’ll want a brighter light if your aquarium has live plants.

There are two types of aquarium lighting:

  • Fluorescent light
  • LED light

Fluorescent light fixtures available in several lengths that match traditional rectangular, glass tanks. New LED lighting fixtures are gaining in popularity, especially with the newer designs and modern-shaped aquariums. Fluorescent aquarium lights come with a plastic lid and light fixture. It works as an aquarium cover, lid and a light for traditional-style aquariums. Many fluorescent bulbs are designed to bring out the artificial colors of bright aquarium gravel, plastic plants and ornaments. If you want a more natural color tone or to keep aquarium plants, look for daylight-style fluorescent lighting.

Remember, fluorescent bulbs dim with age. The bulbs gradually degrade over a period of 9-12 months. You’ll have to replace the bulbs to maintain the same level of illumination year after year.

LED aquarium lights are more energy efficient, add less heat to the water and last for many years. Most LED aquarium lights don’t include a hinged hood or aquarium cover. The LED fixture is placed above the open aquarium. LED aquarium lights can be very thin and sleek. Tank-mounted LED lights will have adjustable mounting legs that straddle the ends of the aquarium frame. Many LED fixtures come with a built-in timer. For a little more money, you can buy fixtures having more LEDS for better light coverage. This is helpful for taller aquariums or and raising live plants.

Aquascaping for Amano shrimp

Amano shrimp want to forage for algae growing on live and plastic plants, driftwood, and rocks. Their nature is to explore, picking at everything with their tiny claws. Smaller-sized aquarium gravel is easy for them to sift and clean. Aquascaping essentials for ghost shrimp include:

  • Aquarium-safe rocks or resin structures for climbing and hiding
  • Live or plastic plants for climbing and exploring
  • Driftwood branches
  • Fine or small-sized gravel
  • Optional glass top


Feeding

Amano shrimp are algae-eaters. They’ll patrol the aquarium in groups, continuously harvesting algae cells and stringy algae. Amano shrimp won’t eat aquarium plants. They’ll forage on the plant surface, picking off tiny bits of microscopic life they find tasty. If your aquarium does not have much algae, it’s a good idea to give the shrimp a little extra food. You can feed your shrimp algae flakes, pellets and algae discs. They’ll grab and eat the tiny pieces of food. Java moss is another favorite feeding station.

Amano shrimp compatibility

Expert shrimp-keepers have rated ghost shrimp as compatible with other dwarf shrimp including:

  • Bamboo
  • Ghost
  • Bee
  • Blue pearl
  • Crystal
  • Red cherry
  • Yellow
  • Sakura
  • Red Rili
  • Snowball
  • Tiger

Amano shrimp are often kept with non-aggressive tropical fish. Any fish large enough to swallow a shrimp should be avoided. Juvenile “aggressive” fish, even though they are small, can bite and try to eat a shrimp even though it is too large to swallow. Most community tropical fish like angelfish, platys, mollies, swordtails and even dwarf cichlids are friendly toward ghost shrimp.

Breeding Amano shrimp

Caridina multidentata is amphidromous. This means the life cycle and breeding requires both fresh and saltwater. Pairs will mate in freshwater streams and marsh areas that have access to seawater. Female Amano shrimp release chemical attractants (pheromones) into the water to attract male shrimp. Once fertilized, eggs are released and go through the larval stages in brackish and then salt water as they drift out to sea. The shrimp eventually return from the sea once they reach maturity. They stay in freshwater and mate, for the remainder of their lives (2-3 years). Breeding Amano shrimp in the aquarium is very difficult. It is reported that all Amano shrimp sold for aquariums are wild-caught.

Final thoughts

Amano shrimp have a legendary reputation as algae-eliminators in planted aquariums. They’re perfect for a peaceful community aquarium too. The shrimp’s curiosity and interesting behavior will provide hours of fun!

Dog Foods for Weight Gain

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The best doog food for weight gain

There is a lot of talk in the dog world, especially in the West, about how obese dogs are and how we need food that will slim them down but still give them all the nutrients and vitamins they need every day. Like humans, dogs have a tendency toward obesity. Well we have gotten those obese dogs, all kinds of weight reduction and weight management foods. But what about the other side? What about dogs that need to gain weight?

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How Do I Know?

This is so uncommon in our experience that we don’t know what to do if it happens to our dog. We really don’t even know the symptoms or look of an underweight dog. For the look of an underweight dog, a healthy dog should have a layer of muscle and some fat over his ribs, but you still should be able to feel their ribs if they are not overweight.

An underweight dog will clearly have ribs, shoulders and even hip bones that are visible. If there is an illness associated with the weight loss, they might be sluggish and not interested in anything.

An underweight dog might not have the usual shine to their coat. They might appear depressed or have serious lack of energy.

Best Dog Food

Possible Causes

So now the question is why is your dog underweight? Being under weight is not the cause it is the symptom. There are a variety of causes. Here are just a few. There could be an underlying illness causing either a lack of appetite or normal eating without absorbing the needed protein, fat and calories. Some of these illnesses might be:

  • Diabetes
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
  • Intestinal Parasites
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Thyroid Diseases

Why Weight Gain?

Why would a dog need to gain weight? It is true that in the West, dogs are pampered, and the obesity issue is much more prevalent. However, there is a growing component of underweight dogs for any of the reasons mentioned above. Therefore, there is also a growing need for high quality dog foods for underweight dogs.

With a puppy you want to keep them at an ideal weight so that they will continue to grow. However, puppies should not be overfeed, or they can grow too quickly. An underweight adult dog should be brought to a healthy weight as well, but slowly not quickly. You will want to rush it once you know your dog is seriously underweight but packing it on too quickly can have its own problems. Go slowly.

A good way to bring an underweight dog up to his ideal weight is found below and needs to include an extra or high calorie dog food.

  • First of all, choose the best high calorie dog food that contains high protein and high fat content. We will review some of these in this article but do your homework. Get something that works for your dog in both taste and nutrition.
  • Feed at least 3 times a day if not five to six times. Make the servings smaller but increase the number of times you feed. If your goal is 1000 calories a day you can feed 5 meals of 200 calories or 3 meals of 330, there is a lot of choices of high calorie dog food.
  • Make sure the food is high protein and not just high fat. Free feeding – or leaving your dog to eat when he wants will work for some dogs and not for others. A lot depends on the breed. Some dogs will only eat when they are hungry but a Corgi for instance, will eat anything he sees. You can free feed the first type of dog, but you can’t free feed the corgi type of dog.
  • Use supplements and treats. Choose these carefully as well. There are many supplements that will increase protein and fat content and can be sprayed right onto the food. Don’t use a supplement to replace a high-quality dog food. You can give high protein treats but remember just as it is with humans, read the label. Don’t give too much in terms of fatty treats. That might put weight on your dog, but it will be just fat not the combination of fat, muscle and nutrients that you really want and your dog needs.
  • With a puppy make sure you are feeding it with a high-quality puppy growth formula dog food. Don’t feed adult dog food to a puppy unless it is designed for both.

The best dog food

What Is The Best Dog Food For Weight Gain?

Different dogs will respond differently to different dog food formulations.  Your dog can gain weight one of two ways. You can feed it with a high quality, calorie and protein rich dog food several times a day in small portions or you can feed it more than it is eating now. It is healthier to choose the first way.

If you just feed more of what you are feeding now, your dog will gain weight, but it will be from a lot of “empty calories” from artificial ingredients, meat byproducts and grain or soy. We think feeding a little more of a high protein, high fat food rather than a lot more of your current food. This is where we put our focus.

Should this food be dry or wet? Dry food has more carbohydrates and fillers than wet food. Whichever you choose, make sure the food has enough calories.

High calorie dog food is made from all natural non-chemical ingredients. It has no artificial color, no preservatives and little “filler”. Instead it is full of fats from healthy sources. Ingredients like chicken fat or canola oil are full of calories and should be near the top of the ingredient list. Look for fish oil, flax seed oil and omega-3  & 6 fatty acids.

Size of the Dog

Another factor in your attempt to help your dog to gain weight is that often dog food is identified by the size of your dog. Some brands are beginning to produce breed specific foods, but this is in its infantry stage. The size of the dog has been a factor in dog foods for a long time.

Large Dogs to Giant Dogs – will have more ingredients that add fat and calories quicker than the ingredients you will find in Toy to Medium Size Dogs. We will show some of these as well as brands that can be fed to all size dogs.

Best Dog Food For Weight Gain Made

Sample of High Calorie Dog Foods

1. Bully Max High Performance Super Premium High Calorie Dog Food

 Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog FoodThough this food is named and designed for the Bully dog breeds and mixes, any dog can benefit from its quality of ingredients. It is the highest protein rich food on the market. Yes, it is expensive. Yes, it is worth it as are most foods on this list.

We talked earlier about both puppies and adults gaining weight in a way that is healthy. This dog food does that. With 30% crude protein, it has the top formula in the market for high-calorie dog foods. In addition to helping your dog to gain weight, it is also going to help your dog gain muscle and not just fat. This formula has 20% fat. For pit breeds it is the number one dog food. No other food has 535 calories per cup.

The label list ALL ingredients and nothing is hidden. Previously we said to look for ingredients like chicken fat or canola oil which are full of calories and should be near the top of the ingredient list. Look for fish oil, flax seed oil and omega-3 fatty acids also. The number one ingredient in this brand is chicken meal not to be confused with chicken by-products. By-products are not the best parts of the chicken but rather all the throw away parts, whereas chicken meal is ground chicken and very high in protein.  Chicken fat is #3 on the ingredient list.

  • 535 Calories per cup
  • Crude Protein 30%
  • Crude Fat 20%
  • Digestible Carbohydrates such as brown rice and barley
  • Vegetable and Seed based Omega 3 Fatty Acids

We will not copy the entire ingredient lists for each product we review. We will look for the categories listed above. Calories per cup; Crude Protein; Crude Fat; Digestible Carbohydrates; Source of Omega 3 Fatty acids and where is chicken fat, canola oil or fish oil in the list of ingredients.

2. Elite K9 Maximum Bully All Stages High Calorie Dog Food

Maximum Bully Elite K9 Nutrition Chicken And Pork Dog FoodThis food is not to be confused with the previous one even though the names are very similar, and the brand names are very similar. This brand is Maximum Bully while the first brand is Bull Max. Even though these high calorie dog food are aimed first at the Bully Breeds, it is just as effective for all breeds of dogs. This product gets its protein from chicken and pork with a strong yeast protein component. Includes digestive promoting ingredients such as oatmeal, probiotics, cranberry and pumpkin. The first three items on the ingredients list are chicken meal, pork meal and chicken fat. It also contains fish meal, pea protein and yeast extract.

  • Calories per cup 481
  • Crude Protein 32%
  • Crude Fat 22%
  • Digestible Carbohydrates oatmeal, rice bran, cranberry and pumpkin 4.0%
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids Flaxseed meal, Vitamins 0.3%
  • For Any Size Dogs


3. Nature’s Logic High Calorie Dog Food Canine Meal Feast

Nature’s Logic Dog Food Canine Meal FeastThis Product is all natural and it’s a very high calorie dog food as well. It is designed for growing dogs to keep them healthy without getter fat. With natural vitamins and minerals and protein of globulin and albumin, your dog will fill out with muscles rather than fat.

  • Multiple Proteins
  • No Grains, potatoes, lentils or peas
  • Probiotics and enzymes
  • Dense with delicious and nutritious meat


4. Nature’s Variety Boost Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food Beef by Instinct Raw

nature variety instinct raw boost dog foodThis is one of the most unusual brands we are examining. It is a product made with raw materials that have been freeze dried into a kibble and it is also high calorie dog food. This line is made from USA raised beef. This is the number one ingredient in Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Natural Dry Dog Food Beef.

  • Raw Ingredients – raw, natural ingredients made from red meat and whole foods, fruits and vegetables
  • High Protein – made with 85% -95% real beef and beef organ meats.
  • Probiotics – a boost in probiotics and additional antioxidants and higher Omega Fatty Acids to assist with digestion, immune system and skin and coat health.
  • No grain, no potatoes, no corn, no wheat and no soy. Only meat, vegetables and fruit.
  • No by-products, no preservatives and no artificial flavors or colors. Only meat, vegetables and fruit.
  • First kibble product to mix grain free, high protein dry dog food with freeze dried raw food.
  • Minimally Processed – never cooked – remains raw.
  • Fresh non-GMO vegetables and fruits for minerals and vitamins 5-15% of the recipes.
  • All ingredients are freeze dried at the peak of ripeness. Ingredients are as close to the natural state as possible
  • Made, packaged in the United States with only meat and vegetables, fruits grown in the United States.

As you can see, I have spent more time on this brand than any of the others. This is because the Instinct brand is different from any of the other high protein, high calorie dog food. The philosophy of the brand is to use only the very best ingredients in the closest to nature state. This is the grass-fed beef and non-GMO vegetables and fruit, no use of synthetics, or artificial vitamins and minerals. No powdered proteins. This is true of all their brand products using only cage – free chickens and grass-fed lamb as well as the USA raised grass fed beef.

The Instinct brand started by making raw pet food and since then have been attempting to make it more accessible to the general public. These dry kibble formulas are a large step in that direction as all the public has to do is feed the kibble as usual.

The first line of ingredients in this formula are: Beef, Turkey, Herring Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat, Tapioca, Chickpeas, White Fish Meal, Dried Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor Freeze Dried Beef, Lamb Meal, Menhaden Meal, Freeze Dried Beef Liver, Pumpkinseeds, Freeze Dried Beef Heart, Freeze Dried Beef Kidney, Freeze Dried Beef Spleen.

As you can see the initial ingredients are almost all meat protein and interspersed with good vegetables. Compare these ingredients to the ingredient list on your current dry dog food. There are 12 meats or meat meal in the first 17 ingredients. No other food we have found packs in this much protein in so many different forms, especially the organ meat which we know is packed with protein.

5. Blue life protection dry adult high calorie dog food

best dog food for weight gainThis is a holistic dog food with glucosamine and no meat byproducts, no grain, great flavor. Not designed only for underweight dogs, it is great for puppies through elderly dogs. Yes, it is labeled an adult dog food and that is what it is, but it is safe for your large growing puppy. Meat will always be the first and primary ingredient in any Blue Buffalo dog food. This particular formula starts with deboned lamb and fish meal.

    • Crude Protein 20%
    • Crude Fat 12%
    • Omega 3 Fatty Acids 1%
    • Omega 6 Fatty Acids 1.5%
    • Also contains calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine and chondroitin


6. Taste of the Wild Canine Formula

taste of the wild dog foodAll of the formulas in this brand contain meat first and not just chicken. They all contain three meats. This not only gives dog the best proteins, it also makes the food very tasty for them. It contains blueberries, raspberries, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and peas.

  • Calories per cup 370
  • Crude Protein 28%
  • Crude Fat 17%
  • Omega 3 and Omega 6fatty acids


7. Purina Pro Plan Smart Performance Grain Free Dry Dog Food

purina proplan sport dry dog foodDesigned for highly active dogs, this formula is great for putting weight and muscle on your dog. This is one of the best dog food with glucosamine. With chicken as the first ingredient followed by chicken meal, it has the protein your underweight dog needs. However, it is not grain free.

  • 475 calories per cup
  • Crude Protein 30%
  • Crude Fat 20%
  • Crude Fiber (grain) 3%
  • Glucosamine and Omega Fatty Acids.


8. Purina One Smart Blend Grain Free

Purina One Smart Blend Grain Free Dog FoodMost of us do not think of Purina as high quality, specialized dog food, rather an ordinary, grocery store brand. Still this is a high protein formula that creates a balanced diet with all its nutrients and vitamins, grain free. Chicken and chicken meal are main ingredients.

  • Crude Protein 30%
  • Crude Fat 17%
  • Crude Fiber 3%
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids
  • Glucosamine


9. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dog Food

  • This food comes in 4 flavors – Salmon, beef, turkey and chicken, this is grain free as well
  • Crude Protein
  • Crude Fat
  • Vegetable – tomatoes, egg, peas, dried potatoes, alfalfa
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, Vitamin D, A, B12


10. Eukanuba Premium Active Adult Dry Food

Eukanuba Premium Active Adult Dry Dog Food This is the only Eukanuba product in the dog weight gain category, and it is one of the best. This product has the most protein that Eukanuba has in any product at 30%. The same is true of the level of fat at 20%. It is especially made for sporting and working dogs. No artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors.

  • Crude Protein 30%
  • Crude Fat 20%


11. Tim’s Premium All Natural Pursuit Active Formula

Active dog formula dog foodThis is an interesting high calorie dog food as it is slow cooked to increase the ability of the dog to digest it. It was developed by a Ph.D. Canine Nutritionist and a Competitive Canine Sport Veterinarian. There is a strong emphasis on the immune system and the dog’s gastrointestinal health. It contains chicken, salmon, eggs and Porcine Plasma for protein.

  • High protein
  • Low Ash
  • No corn, no soy


12. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Natural Adult Dry Dog Food Red Meat

 Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Dog FoodThis Blue Buffalo formula is made with red meat rather than chicken, pork or salmon. Red meat is the first ingredient. Grain free and all natural, no by-products of any kind are used. Nothing artificial such as flavoring or preservatives.

  • Crude Protein 30%
  • Crude Fat 15%
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids


Conclusion

Let’s review what we have learned about feeding a low weight dog. There can be a variety of reasons why a dog is seriously underweight, including a poor judgement, a disease, homelessness and more. As a Western culture we are consumed by weight, ours and out pets.

Unfortunately, it is obesity we are concerned with not underweight. Most people would be glad to be underweight and probably feel that their dogs are healthier if they are a little underweight. Veterinarians warn us about our obese dogs and friends on Facebook harass us if we post pictures of overweight dogs.

The problem of underweight dogs might not be as wide spread as obesity, but we need to change our mindsets and notice those underweight dogs. Even if your dogs are never underweight, there could come a day when they are. Yes, being underweight can be caused by homelessness and living on the streets or being abandoned. In fact, those are the things that bring our attention to underweight dogs.

Recall the reasons for underweight dogs that we have talked about earlier.

  • Inadequate diet- if you feed a medium dog with food designed for small or toy dogs.Also if you feed a large or giant dog with food designed for a medium or small dog. That food would not give your dog the nutrients and calories he needs to have adequate weight and muscle mass.
  • There are diseases that could cause your dog to lose too much weight. This includes kidney disease, heart disease, cancer and diabetes are just a few. Checking with your veterinarian is the first thing to do if you notice your dog is losing weight even if it is eating normally. Worms and parasites can take the nutrients your dog needs. If your dog is lethargic, doesn’t want to play AND is losing weight, see your vet right away. If he is vomiting, has diarrhea, coughs or needs to urinate a lot more than usual AND is losing weight, see your vet right away.

So, what can you do?

Once the underlying cause of your dog’s weight loss is addressed and you need to get the weight back on, do what we have been talking about throughout this article. An underweight dog needs between 20 – 30% protein and 15-20% crude fat in every meal and depending on their weight need 300+ calories in every meal. The average dog food has 7% protein and 5% fat.

The answer is what we have been saying here, feed them a high calorie dog food, high protein and high fat dry food. You can supplement this with wet food that is 100% meat and therefore will have a very high amount of protein and fat. You don’t want to feed this wet food exclusively because it doesn’t have all the nutrients your dog needs and dry food provides.

Choose one of the foods listed here or another that offers enough calories, protein and fat to help your dog to gain weight and muscle mass. Once you have the food, be sure to feed it in a way that will lead to success. Here are some options:

  • Free feed if possible. Free feeding means leaving the food out in their bowl, so the dog can feed himself whenever he is hungry. Some dogs like to snack all day long instead of one fixed meal. Some dogs are shy and don’t like to eat in front of people. Put the bowl in an out of the way site if this is your dog.
  • If you are a multiple dog household, free feeding isn’t usually successful, and you need to know how much your underweight dog is consuming daily. If you need your dog to eat 1500 calories in a day and free feed in a multiple dog household, you can’t be sure no other dog has eaten any. So, for you multiple private feeding per day is recommended. This means you take the 1500 calories and divide it into at least 3 but preferably 6 smaller meals every day.
  • There are many other ways you can get your underweight dog to eat enough to gain back the weight. You can add supplements, vitamins and raw meat to any of these foods. Be careful with raw beef as it can cause pancreatitis and that can be fatal. Use small amounts.

These foods that we mentioned gives your dog a serious boost in calories, crude protein and crude fat. Most also have probiotics and Omega fatty acids. Before you choose one make sure you have checked with your veterinarian about the amount of calories, protein and fat you dog needs daily to gain weight and build muscle.

Remember, you don’t want a fat dog you want a healthy dog. So, don’t overfeed. It will take time to get him back up to the healthy weight you want him to be at. These foods will help you to do it. Just check with your veterinarian before you start any new feeding regimen.

Aquatic Mosses For The Aquarium

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Peacock moss

Most aquarists are accustomed to aquascaping with traditional aquarium plants, collectively known by biologists as aquatic macrophytes. We all are familiar with sword plants, Vallisneria, Anubias and crypts. By a new type of aquatic plant is taking center stage in the planted aquarium world.

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Aquarium moss offer a whole new way to aquascape a freshwater aquarium. Some aquarists use aquarium moss alongside traditional plants. Others use moss exclusively, creating a surreal or bonsai effect with drift wood and other “sculping” structures. These tiny plants help control algae by removing nitrate, phosphate and other nutrients from the water. Want to know more? We’ve compiled a list of the best aquatic mosses along with what you need to know to create your own moss paradise in your aquarium!

Java moss

java moss

The true and original Java moss is (Vesicularia dubyana) is sometimes confused with Taxiphyllum barbieri, a similar-looking moss. Java moss is one of the most common and familiar of the aquarium moss catagory. Java moss is native to South-East Asia. It is actually a terrestrial moss, but will grow under water. It grows well even in low light and is not demanding about water conditions.

T. barbieri will form a carpet on the bottom of the aquarium. You can attach pieces of the moss to driftwood or stone with black thread. It won’t be long before the moss will begin to attach and grow on its own. Java moss is a slow grower but can become aggressive in aquariums with carbon dioxide fertilization and brighter lights. This moss should not be allowed to form thick matts. Dead layers underneath will eventually rot. Frequent pruning is required to maintain the shape and a healthy plant density. This moss responds well to heavy pruning.

pH:6-8.2
General or total hardness:Any
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:Any
Water temperature:57-86°F (14 – 30°C)

Phoenix moss

Pheonix moss

Fissidens fontanus is a native of North America and a favorite food of the trumpeter swan. Phoenix moss is delicate and feathery. The moss forms clumps of leafy stems up to 5-inches long. They can appear light green to darker olive green.

Phoenix moss is a slow grower, requiring bright light. It likes water movement too. This moss will attach to driftwood and rocks. Thread can be used to attach the moss the solid surfaces. This moss normally does not need pruning. Some aquarists have observed damage caused by liquid carbon dioxide fertilizers. CO2 injection is advised if strong growth and nutrient removal is desired.

pH:5-7.5
General or total hardness:1-6°
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:3-8°
Water temperature:72-82°F (22 – 28°C)

Christmas moss

Christmas moss

Vesicularia montagnei is a native of the Sunda Islands of Indonesia. The name for this moss is related to its growth form. Vesicularia montagnei looks like evergreens or Christmas tree branches. The moss will attach to solid surfaces.

Christmas moss seems to look most beautiful when its graceful stems flow over a cave or overhang. This way the sweeping branches conjure up the image of evergreens. Christmas moss enjoys brighter light. Pruning is required to keep the graceful evergreen boughs in check. Moss growers suggest using CO2 injection and light fertilization.

pH:5.5-8.2
General or total hardness:Any
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:Any
Water temperature:68-82°F (20 – 28°C)

Peacock moss

Peacock Aquarium Moss

Peacock Moss is a generic name for moss in the genus Taxiphyllum. Peacock moss can be confused with Christmas Moss. But a closer look shows that Peacock moss has much softer, velvety texture. This is a light-loving moss that looks best growing on upright driftwood branches. It can benefit from CO2 injection if fast growth is desired.

This moss is also a favorite for egg-scattering fish and nano shrimp. Some moss enthusiasts believe this moss is the same as Spikey moss. CO2 injection is advised if strong growth and nutrient removal is desired.

pH:5.8-7.5
General or total hardness:Any
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:Any
Water temperature:68-82°F (20 – 28°C)

Taiwan moss

taiwan moss

Taxiphyllum alternans is native to the southern United States and east Asia. This moss is naturally found growing on rotting trees in swamps and on waterfalls. Taiwan moss can appear similar to Java moss. Under bright light the moss will appear very soft and velvety.

It can be used as a lush carpet, on driftwood, caves, rock and attached to smooth pebbles. It is slow-grower but undemanding about water quality. Taiwan moss will grow well in stronger currents. Nano shrimp will find this moss an excellent “playground” for exploring.

pH:6-8.2
General or total hardness:Any
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:Any
Water temperature:57-86°F (14 – 30°C)

Nano moss

Aquarium nano moss

Amblystegium serpens, called nano moss and creeping feather-moss in the aquatic trade, can be found in North America, South America, New Zealand and Australia. It is naturally found on moist soil, rocks and rotting trees. It will grow submerged in aquariums. It’s easy to grow and seems to thrive in an a slightly alkaline pH. In the aquarium, Nano moss grows slowly, forming dense mats with upright shoots. It tolerates shade and strong lighting. CO2 injection is advised if strong growth and nutrient removal is desired.

pH:6-8.2
General or total hardness:Any
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:Any
Water temperature:57-86°F (14 – 30°C)

Barbula moss

Barbula Moss

Barbula species of moss form a soft cushion. It is sometimes called Millimeter moss. This aquarium moss was imported from Asia for the aquarium trade. It has even been found growing in the United States. The mosses are not naturally aquatic in nature but some can be grown submerged in aquariums. The growth habit is a tuft of moss on the bottom of the aquarium. Aquarists are experimenting with millimeter moss to see the best way to culture it in aquariums. It’s a slow-grower so don’t expect quick results.

pH:6-8.2
General or total hardness:Any
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:Any
Water temperature:57-86°F (14 – 30°C)

Final thoughts

True aquarium moss or mosses that can adjust to be being submerged in an aquarium, are growing in popularity and availability. The knowledge- base for moss grown in the aquarium is expanding based on experimentation by aquarists like you!

Fortunately, most mosses are easy to grow and provide a unique look all on their own or used with other live aquarium plants. If you’re looking for an easy plant to grow and reap the benefits of algae-reduction, be sure to give one of these mosses a try!

Best Cages For Pet Rats

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Best Rat Cages

Introduction Of Best Rat Cages

Whether you are getting your first rat or your tenth, the thing you need to know is what are the best rat cages . Maybe you already have a cage? Does it suit your current rats’ needs? Is it large enough? Does it have built in play or activity areas?

Your rat is going to spend most of its time inside the cage. This makes the cage one of the most important things you give your pets. If you have multiple rats it is really important that you have the right cage.

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What is most important when considering what cage to get for your rat or rats? There are obviously certain things that are essential and others that are nice to have but not essential if cost is a factor for you. What are the essentials?

Essentials Before Choosing Best Rat Cages

  • Material – get a metal rat cage. Don’t get cages made of wood, ones with wire mesh on floor or old aquariums.
  • Space – get the most you can afford. Rats need space. Each one of your rats need at least 2 cubic feet of space. Obviously, the more rats the more space is needed.
  • Floor – try to avoid wire floors as rats have sensitive feet. If the floor is wire and you really want that cage, you will need to cover the wire with wood.
  • Spacing between wires on sides and top – depending upon whether you have adult rats or babies the amount of space between the side wiring is critical. You don’t want your rat getting through the wires. For adults these openings should not be more than 1×2 inches.
  • Number of floors – this is not that important, but it is a nice to have. If you have more than one floor, don’t forget that you don’t want a wire floor on the second level either.

So Which Are The Best Cage For Your Pet Rat? Best Rat Cages:

Midwest Critter Two Story Nation Double Unit With Stand 

Midwest Critter Two Story Nation Double Rat Cage

This is a nice cage that will last forever. It is very sturdy and durable. No rats will be chewing through it. It comes in a one story version as well. The bar spacing is excellent at one inch.

Pros:

  •  Lots of room to play and run around.
  • Chew proof sides and walls.
  • Made of metal and is very durable.
  • Both horizontal and vertical play space.
  • Chew proof wire that will keep your rat from getting out.
  • It’s a hybrid cage – could be used for a variety of small animals.
  • Because of the double doors and shelves that can be removed, this cage can be easy to clean.
  • The floor is solid.
  • It has a manufacturer warranty of 365 days.
  • Height adjustable with removable and adjustable shelves.
  • It can be moved where ever you want with it being on wheels.

Cons:

  • If you want to take your rats with you this cage is not a good choice. The fact that it is durable and made of metal also means it is very heavy. It is difficult to move or carry.
  • You really could use deeper trays for bedding and litter.

Prevue Hendryx Earthtone Dusted Rose Rat & Chinchilla Cage

Prevue Rat Cage

This is an ideal cage for rats, chinchillas and any other small rodent. It has small wire spacing, solid metal platforms and ramps.

Pros:

  • Large door in the front and small door in the roof.
  • excellent, practical and innovative design with a place to store extra supplies.
  • It is made of metal and the solid metal floors and ramps are easy on your rat’s feet.
  • It has easily removable tray and grille for easy cleaning.
  • It has rolling casters
  • Hybrid cage –could be used for a variety of small animals.

Cons:

  • The casters have no locks.
  • It is a little hard to assemble.
  • There might be a space and cleaning issue with the hanging hammocks.

Kaytee My First Home Habitat Multi-Level for Exotics

KayteeMy Pet Rat Cage

Even though this is one of the smallest cages it is large enough for one to four rats. Because it is a multi-level cage it will help keep your rats happy and healthy. This is a very basic cage. It has plenty of room along with spiral slide, safety ramps, hammock, comfortable shelves and a FerreTrail Fun-nel.

Pros:

  • It works for adult and baby rats with 1/2” spacing on the bars.
  • Deep base for the litter and bedding.
  • Multiple levels.
  • It’s made with solid plastic ramps and shelves for safety and comfort.
  • Lots of room for playing.
  • Hybrid cage – could be used for a variety of small animals.
  • Durable with chew proof wire for latches.

Cons:

  • Rats might chew through the plastic.
  • Difficult to clean.
  • It has good horizontal space but cramped on vertical space.
  • The ramp takes up much of the horizontal space.

Critter Nation 2-Story Small Animal Cage

Critter Nation 2-Story Small Animal Cage

This is a nice cage with lots of room for your rats. It has multiple ramps and shelves for their pleasure.

Pros:

  • Your rat’s feet will be comfortable on the solid floor.
  • Easy access for cleaning due to the double doors.
  • Due to casters it can be moved around with you.
  • It has plenty of room for multiple rats and accessories.
  • It is a hybrid cage – could be used for a variety of small animals.

Cons:

  • It might be difficult assembly for some.

Prevue Hendryx Black Feisty Cage

Prevue Hendryx Black Feisty Rat Cage

This is a very large cage with all kinds of accessories at a great price. It comes with platforms, hammock and ramps.

Pros:

  • It has a platform bottom and grille that can be removed for cleaning.
  • Lots of room for playing.
  • Easy to assemble.
  • It is a Hybrid cage –could be used for a variety of small animals.

Cons:

  • You will have to cover the floor because it is made of wire.
  • It has kind of a bland design.

Kaytee My First Home Habitatfor Pet Rat

Kaytee Pet Rat Cage

Pros:

  • Deep base for litter and bedding.
  • Multi levels for playing room and comfortable sleeping for your rat.
  • Sturdy, solid shelves made of plastic.
  • It includes ramp and feeding dish.

Cons:

  • This is a very basic cage with nice accessories and little else.

Mcage 3 Levels Pet Rat Cage

Mcage 3 Levels Pet Rat Cage

Pros:

  • Large cage with three levels.
  • Wire spacing ½ inch.
  • Wire shelves and ladders.
  • Safe for your rats’ paws
  • The bottom pan slides out to make cleaning easy.
  • It is foldable. It has handles for easy carrying.
  • Hybrid cage – could be used for a variety of small animals.

Cons:

  • The floor pan is made mostly of plastic and some rats can chew through it.
  • The materials are somewhat flimsy. Even the metal. Some users had to hold it together with zip ties.
  • It comes without instructions. Not easy to assemble and after assembly can be unstable.

Living World Deluxe Habitat

Living World Deluxe Habitat Rat Cage

A smaller one level cage that probably is not good for more than one rat.

Pros:

  • Well ventilated and comfortable for one or two rats.
  • Wire cage with plastic bottom.
  • Accessories including ramps, untippable food dish, drip proof water container and hay guard.
  • The assembly is easy.
  • It is a company that is committed to the well-being of small animals and birds through the products they produce for small animals and birds.
  • Red wire top and white wire sides. Attractive.
  • Access through wire top and also through wire front door.
  • A balcony included with a hiding space under it for your rats’ quiet space.

Cons:

  • It has some large spaces above door that rats might be able to get through. It might be better for larger small animals or large rats.
  • Some of the materials seem flimsy and unstable after assembly.
  • Rats can chew through the plastic parts that connect the wire sides.
  • It has instructions for assembly that are not very clear.

Conclusion

Remember what matters when choosing the best rat cages for your pet. There are a lot of high quality rat cages on the market to choose from. Decide what matters most to you and what you are willing to pay. Keep in mind that the most important factors are:

  • Size – so your rats have plenty of space for playing, sleeping, eating and defecating.
  • Quality – make sure your cage won’t fall apart and you won’t have to keep it together with zip ties.
  • Materials – remember that your rats can chew through a lot of things. Plastic is not as good as metal, and wood is not good at all.
  • Floor – what is the floor made of? Is it solid? You don’t want a wire or mesh floor. Your rat’s feet are very sensitive.
  • Space between wires on sides and top – make sure you have enough spacing for ventilation but not enough for your rats to escape.

Follow these guides for best rat cages and you will find the cage that suits you and your rat best.

The Importance Of Dog Supplements And Multivitamins

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Best Dog Vitamins And Supplements

Many dog owners wonder about the food they feed their canine companion and whether or not it has all the nutrients that he needs. Often the question is one: whether or not to give it some type of supplement or vitamin.

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Why are Supplements And Multivitamins Important?

There are several reasons why supplements and multivitamins are important, not the least of which is the quality of the food you are feeding.

Some reasons for supplements and multivitamins include:

  • Inadequate nutrition in prepared dog food being served
  • Young puppies and senior citizen dogs often need supplements and vitamins
  • Arthritis or any type of joint pain
  • An illness or disease that depletes the dog’s nutrients
  • Skin allegories or conditions
  • Diseases of the eyes
  • Anxiety and stress for whatever reason

There are supplements and vitamins available for all of these and more. The question is which supplements and vitamins are the best?

The Best Dog Supplements And Multivitamins

We could look at each of these categories separately and all the products in that group. Instead, we are going to look at the best supplements and multivitamins no matter what they are for and look at the pros and cons of those products.

Glucosamine– this is a supplement for a dog who has joint pain and/or arthritis. Because of the activity level of most dogs in running, jumping and playing, dog’s cartilaginous joints can be worn away. This happens most commonly in the hips, knees, lower back, elbows or wrists. Here are some of the best of these products.

Extend Joint Care Natural Glucosamine with MSM for Dogs

Extend Joint Care Natural Glucosamine with MSM for Dogs

Extend is one of the best Glucosamine supplements on the market today. Over time it will repair cartilage and joints and restore flexibility in the joints. The formulation provides better connective tissue functioning, better hydration and better health for the joints.

Pros:

  • Beef flavored.
  • Most dogs show improvement within two to three weeks.
  • Easy to mix with any type of dog food.
  • Best formulation with glucosamine, MSM, Ascorbic Acid, and type II chicken collagen
  • Instant money back guaranteed.
  • 100% natural and safe. Veterinarian recommended.

Cons:

  • Some dogs don’t like the flavor.
  • Some dogs did not show the improvement that the majority of dogs did.


Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM Chewable Tablets

Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM Chewable Tablets

This supplement is chewable and contains only natural ingredients including things like soybean and avocado to strengthen bones, green tea in addition to glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM. This supplement is particularly geared to larger dogs over 60 pounds (27 kg).

Pros:

  • Good taste, natural flavoring.
  • Does not need a prescription.
  • Many saw results in 5 to 7 days.
  • More than ten years of research went into the formulation.
  • The most complete joint relief formulation on the market.

Cons:

  • Only for dogs over 60 pounds (27 kg).
  • Some owners felt the product did not work as well as it had in the past.


VetriScience Glyco-Flex III Bite Sized Chews

VetriScience Glyco-Flex III Bite Sized Chews

This product has an unusual formulation compared with the others we have discussed. For active or working dogs and for older dogs this is one of the best supplements, made with Perna canaliculus – a New Zealand green-lipped mussel – is the building block for well-developed and strong cartilage.

Pros:

  • A unique and highly effective formulation designed for active, working or older dogs. Contains Perna Mussel.
  • Natural chicken flavor that dogs find appealing.

Cons:

  • This is for ordinary joint issues not for serious cases.


Skin, Coat and Immune System Issues

Dog supplement for skin and coat can provide a variety of functions. The best of this group are those that treat a variety of disfunctions with one formulation. These issues are often allergy related but not always. Food intolerance or flea dermatitis are often the causes but no matter the cause all have inflammation, itching and sometimes pain.

Fish Oils – there is research evidence that Omega fatty acids are very effective in dealing with skin, coat and immune system issues.

DLPA (di-phenylalanine) reduces inflammation especially in the back.

Vitamin E and C for antioxidant functions.

Zesty Paws Allergy Immune Supplement for Dogs – with Omega 3 Wild Alaskan Salmon

Zesty Paws Allergy Immune Supplement for Dogs

This product is made with Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil and vitamins, fiber and antioxidants in a chewable treat that dogs enjoy. It also contains immune systems boosters and helps to deal with allergies that your dog might have to food or environmental agents.

Pros:

  • Contains EpiCor – an ingredient that has undergone extensive studies that shows its award winning support for the immune system. It contains nutrients, vitamins, metabolites and polyphenols.
  • Most dogs really like the taste.
  • Within 3 weeks your dog’s coat will be allergy free, softer and thicker than before.

Cons:

  • Somewhat expensive.
  • You have to be patient. Doesn’t work immediately for all dogs. Could take 3-5 weeks.


Vet’s Best Healthy Dog Supplement For Shedding

Vet's Best Healthy Coat Shed and Itch Relief Dog Supplements

It’s very good supplement for shedding. This product does a very good job on itching and shedding skin issues. It contains only natural ingredients like yellow dock root, MSM, omega fatty acids and quercetin. It is made in the United States.

Pros:

  • Product was formulated by a veterinarian.
  • Contains essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 and Omega 6. Good for hydration of the skin and a soft healthy, silky coat.
  • The yellow Dock Root is a herb with many antioxidants for the coat and skin.
  • MSM helps to keep the histamine levels normal for dogs with allergies.
  • It is made in the USA.
  • It is approved by the National Animal Supplement Council.
  • Chewable tablet tastes good.

Cons:

  • It doesn’t work for every dog.
  • Does not have a 30 day guarantee.


Amazing Nutritionals Omega-3 Fish Oil

Amazing Nutritionals Omega-3 Fish Oil

This fish oil product is excellent for a dog’s health including a shiny coat. It contains a fish oil tablet with Omega 3,6,9 fatty acids. Also you can get a bottle with 60 free tablets.

Pros:

  • Made in the US at a certified organic facility.
  • Tasty bacon flavored chews.
  • Money back guaranteed.
  • Treats skin, coat, and prevents or heals hot spots and protects immune system, heart and joints as well.
  • Reduces inflammation, pain and discomfort while increasing mobility.
  • Veterinarians recommend this.
  • No ingredients that are not safe for your dog.

Cons:

  • Even though the bottle contains 120 pills you give 3 in each serving and they don’t last as long as you expect them to.
  • Some dogs don’t like the taste and won’t eat them.


Active Chews Pure Omega Fish Oil for Dogs All Natural Omega 3 for Dogs Skin and Coat Supplement

Dogs Skin and Coat Supplement

This product is good for a healthy dog heart, brain and skin. This is a combination of fish oils including salmon.

Pros:

  • Promotes a healthy immune system.
  • All US ingredients and made in USA.
  • Contains Omega 6,9 and 3 with a natural flavor of chicken, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin H.
  • Produced at an FDA approved facility. Inspected annually by APHIS.
  • Money Back 100% guaranteed. Certified by an independent lab.
  • No adverse side effects for most dogs.
  • Contains sardines, herring, anchovies and mackerel.
  • Developed in a no heat no cook process.

Cons:

  • Some dogs don’t like the taste.
  • Did not help the dry skin for some dogs.


Dog Supplements For Eyes

As your dog ages it might develop cataracts or if it is diabetic, could develop other types of eye issues. There are several preventive or maintenance supplements for dog eyes. The supplements we talk about here can solve eye issues your dog may have now. It is preventative for any possible vision problems.

Ocu-GLO Vision Dog Supplement

Ocu-GLO Vision Dog Supplement

This product has dedicated nutrients for the health of a dog’s eyes. It has 12 antioxidants that support the dog’s eyes on a cellular level. Antioxidants in this supplement protect your dog from oxidative deterioration.

Pros:

  • Scientific formula specifically designed for the protection and nutrition of the eye structure.
  • Produced in the USA.
  • Contains Lutein for retinal and lens issues in dogs. Contains only the best ingredients including pharmaceutical grade omega 3 and grapeseed extract.
  • Brand that you can trust. Ocu-GLO is the world wide leader in scientific research for quality products. Ocu-GLO was developed by veterinarians, scientists, ophthalmologists and pharmacists. All of which are veterinary board certified.
  • Members of the National Animal Supplement Council. (NASC).
  • Contains 12 antioxidants for the eyes, pharmaceutical grade Vitamin C, B and E; zinc, lycopene and coenzyme Q10. Your dog needs no other vitamins.

Cons:

  • The capsules were too large for hiding in food and some dogs won’t take them.
  • If the capsules sit around, they leak a red vitamin fluid.
  • Some dogs do not like the taste and will not eat them.


Conclusion

These supplements are some of the best on the market for their particular functions. All of them seems to have the situation occurring with some dogs who do not tolerate the supplement or vitamin well at all. However, this is only a small portion of all dogs. For most dogs these supplements are very effective.

The best of the best are the supplements and vitamins that have scientific research behind them or a brand name that you know you can trust because of the research and quality care that go into their products. Choose products made in the United States with ingredients from the United States whenever is possible. Again, it is better if the product, its ingredients or even the facility where it is made can be certified and inspected.

In addition to the supplements and vitamins discussed here there are many more available for almost any aspect of your dog’s health. The areas of a dog’s health that can be improved with vitamins and supplements that we have not discussed here include:

  • Digestive Health
  • Anxiety and Brain Health
  • Urinary and Kidney Health
  • Heart Health
  • Liver Health
  • Nutrition
  • Dental Care
  • Prebiotics and Probiotics
  • Herbal Supplements like alfalfa or milk thistle

So, if you want optimal health for your dog, check out the supplements and vitamins that are preventative or preemptive. If your dog already has a condition discussed here, then find  the right supplement or vitamin for it. Just check the reputation of the manufacturer, the quality of the ingredients, the quality of the finished product, and possible side effects. With all the supplements and vitamins on the market, you can surely find what will be the best for your dog.

Heated Cat Bed – Warmth For Your Kitten

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Heated Cat Bed

Those of us who love cats, know how much cats love a warm, cozy place to sleep. They love to curl up and as we know they love to lay in the sun because it keeps them warm.

So how can you help to keep your cat warm when the sun isn’t shining and it’s cold outside? One of the best ways is to give your cat a nice heated bed to keep it warm while sleeping or just lounging.

In addition, if you have an older cat, the heat will help any stiff or sore joints from arthritis.

This article will help you to choose the best heated cat bed in the market.

SEE ALSO:

Introduction and Considerations

So, what should you take into consideration before you buy your first heated cat bed? What makes heated cat bed the best you can buy? What are the factors you need to look for?

  • The unit cannot make your cat overheated. There must be a low wattage regulator of some kind to protect your pet.
  • Does your cat chew on wires or cords? If so, you need a heated bed that does not plug into an electrical outlet.
  • If you buy a low wattage electric bed, check the warmth level yourself before you let your cat use it.

You can choose between an electric heated cat bed or a thermal self-heating one. With the electric version there is a low wattage heater located inside the fabric cover, at the bottom of the bed.

The thermal self-heating bed has thermal material that reflects cat’s body heat back at itself. Each of these types of heated cat beds have their advantages and disadvantages.

Heated Cat Bed



Electric Heated Cat Beds

Pros:

  • Creates more heat than thermal unit.

Cons:

  • Could be a fire hazard.
  • Has to be located near electrical outlet.

Thermal Self Heating Cat Beds

Pros:

  • Completely safe.
  • No additional cost for electricity.
  • Can use it anywhere inside or outside.

Cons:

  • Creates less heat than the electric unit.

No matter which type you choose, you still want the best for your cat. Here are our best heated cat beds regardless of the heating source.

Best Heated Cat Beds

Aspen Pet Self Warming Beds

Aspen Pet Self Warming Cat Bed

The Aspen Pet Self Warming Bed comes in several sizes, but they all operate the same and are made of the same materials. This includes a special heat reflecting material to keep your cat warm. This bed is lightweight and has a non-slip bottom for additional safety. It’s hand washable and comes in a variety of colors and shapes. It features a mylar layer that reflects the pets body heat and faux lambswool, plush and cozy sleeping surface. So what are the pros and cons of this unit?

Pros:

  • Comfortable for your cat – soft and fluffy.
  • Cushiony , soft , not too firm.
  • The mylar layers of self-heating is 100% safe for your pet.
  • Safe for both your house and your pet.

Cons:

  • The filler material at the bottom of the bed moves around and may cause a lump that is not comfortable for your cat.
  • The thermal material is loud and crinkly sounding.

K&H Pet Products Thermo-Kitty Heated Cat Bed

Thermo Kitty Heated Cat Bed

Another thermal self-heating unit that is not quite as large as the previous unit.

Pros:

  • No safety-related accidents.
  • Soft and comfortable.
  • Safe for both your house and your pet.

Cons:

  • The side walls are high, and many cats cannot use them for their head rest.
  • The side walls will bend when cat tries to rest his head on them.
  • The walls are too confining, and the cat cannot stretch out.

Pet Magasin Thermal Self-Heated Bed for Cat

Heated Cat Bed

This package has two units in it, one large and one small. It has mylar film as the thermal material that absorbs the cat’s heat and gives it back. It is a very comfortable unit. These are mats not real beds. They have no sides. It is soft, lightweight, easy to fold and store also flexible to use.

Pros:

  • No fire hazards and extremely safe for your cat.
  • There is no extra electrical costs.
  • No walls allow cat to stretch completely.
  • Having two mats in one package allows use for multiple cats or one cat in multiple rooms.
  • Rubber bottom so mats won’t slip.
  • Hair can be easily removed from velvet like cover.
  • Safe for both your house and your pet.

Cons:

  • Cannot go in the washer or it will fall apart.
  • Makes a crinkly noise whenever the cat steps on it.

Snuggle Safe Pet Bed Microwave Heating Pad

Snuggle Safe Pet Bed Microwave Heating Pad

This is an interesting product and very different from the others we are looking at. This pad is heated in the microwave and then laid out for your cat to warm up on.

Pros:

  • Uses no electricity beyond being heated up in the microwave.
  • Great size for putting under the padding of the cat bed.
  • Non toxic production of soothing and safe warmth.
  • Stays warm for hours – advertised to stay warm for ten hours.
  • Can be cleaned with a damp towel or cloth.
  • Watts and Times chart included.
  • Safe for both your house and your pet.

Cons:

  • Overheating can cause a safety hazard, damage and injury.
  • Be sure cats don’t bite or chew.
  • Must be completely cooled when placed in microwave or it could warp and break. Cool at least 12 hours.
  • Doesn’t stay hot as long as advertised.

Meow Town ThermaPet Thermal Mat Leopard

Meow Town ThermaPet Thermal Mat Leopard

This is another mat as opposed to a “bed”. These are very popular with cat owners.

Pros:

  • Thermal heat generated by cat and reflected back to her. No electricity is needed.
  • The core of the mat is lightweight.
  • The pad is machine washable and reversable.
  • Safe and hazard free.
  • Without walls, so it allows the cat to stretch completely.

Cons:

  • The fabric on the cover is slippery and can slide onto the thermal component.
  • The mat can make a lot of noise when a cat is walking on it.

Best Friends by Sheri OrthoComfort Deep Dish Cuddler

Best Friends by Sheri OrthoComfort Deep Dish Cuddler

This is a somewhat unique cat bed designed to promote and support good health for the pet. It has high walls and even higher back wall, all designed for comfort and extra support for arthritic pets. The covering is Sherpa and reminds the cat of a mother cat’s fur while assisting in deep sleep. The bottom fabric will fight off water and dirt.

Pros:

  • Provides thermal warmth and presents no fire hazard. Materials are not toxic.
  • Flexible material and cozy enough to relieve joint pain and assist with deeper sleep.
  • The higher walls and high rear wall give orthopedic support to the neck and head. The lower front walls is a place for your cat to lay their chin.
  • The bottom of the bed is waterproof, and the entire bed is machine washable.
  • World Class customer service.
  • AirLoft fiber filling is thick and stands up to years of use.
  • Its shape and high walls provide security and comfort for the pet.
  • Safe for both your house and your pet.

Cons:

  • There is a tendency for the bed to tip over and become unstable.
  • Older cats struggle with the height of the walls.
  • Some question its being an orthopedic bed when there is no extra support or foam on the bottom.

Kitty Shack – 2 in 1 Tube Cat Mat and Bed

Kitty Shack - 2 in 1 Tube Cat Mat and Bed

This product is both a mat and a bed providing the best of both worlds. It converts in seconds from a bed to a mat. This unique tube shaped bed provides security, warmth and convert in a way no other bed does.

Pros:

  • 2 choices for the price of 1. Unzip the bed to convert it to a mat.
  • The unique shape is perfect for hiding, playing and keeping warm.
  • It is made with electrostatic material that attracts fur and keeps it off your furniture.
  • The material is extra fluffy and soft.
  • It has a thermal self-heating core. No electricity. No fire hazards. Safe for both your house and your pet.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Machine Washable.

Cons:

  • Some felt the bed isn’t as thick and rich as the picture advertising it.
  • For some customers the tunnel bed collapses because it doesn’t hold its shape.

K&H Pet Products Lectro-Soft Outdoor Heated Bed with FREE Cover – MET Safety Listed

Lectro-Soft Outdoor Heated Bed

Unlike most of the products listed here this is an electrical plug in product.  It is also advertised as an outdoor product and labeled as an indoor-outdoor product.

Pros:

  • Soft, orthopedic warming bed for indoors and outdoors.
  • It has a patented bed designed with orthopedic foam and an electrical heating system.
  • Exterior is a durable, waterproof, and soft PVC fabric.
  • Electrical cord is wrapped in steel for safety.
  • It has a thermostat controlled, energy efficient heater that won’t get any warmer than your cats natural body temperature.
  • Effective to twenty degrees below zero.
  • Removable, fleece, soft and washable cover is included free of charge.
  • Low wattage and good cost efficiency.
  • It comes in 3 sizes.
  • MET safety listed.
  • Easy to clean with damp cloth.
  • Softer than any previous version and offers your cat more comfort.

Cons:

  • Not recommended for cats that chew things.
  • Could be a safety hazard as it is a plug in electrical product.
  • Must be used where there is an electrical outlet, so it is less flexible than the thermal beds.
  • Extension cords cannot be used.
  • Some customers had trouble getting it to warm up to the pet’s internal temperature.
  • The options and sizes are also confusing.

Conclusion

So, what is the best heated cat bed? It depends on your needs and your animals. Will you use it inside or outside? Does your cat tend to chew on cords, wires or material? Do you want a corded electrical unit or a thermal body generating warmth unit?

Remember it is important to make sure the unit you buy cannot overheat and harm your cat. There must be a low wattage regulator of some sort. Check the warmth level on any electric unit before you let your cat use it. Also remember that the electrical unit creates more heat than the thermal unit, so it could cause a fire, shock or electrical hazard. It might increase your electric cost and it is stationary to where you have an electrical outlet.

If you will chose the thermal self-heating cat beds, they are completely safe from fire hazard and usually safe from toxic hazards. There is no additional cost for electricity and since it doesn’t plug in you can use it anywhere. At the same time, it creates less heat than the electrical units.

So, if you have an outside cat, a feral cat, an old cat or an arthritic cat you should be able to find the right heated bed from among these choices. Even if you have a young healthy cat in an older colder home, they would welcome the comfort and warmth of any of these heated cat beds.

Easy Growing Floating Aquarium Plants

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Floating aquarium plants tend to be easy to grow, making them perfect for the aquarists that has an aquarium but not a dedicated planted tank set-up. Floating plants will be closer to the light source, making it easier to give them what they need without having a particularly bright light fixture. If you do have a planted aquarium, floating plants really look great with an open-top tank.

SEE ALSO:

The plants add a new dimension to viewing. You’ll see the submerged plants through the glass and floaters at the surface. The other benefit is nutrient control. Floating plants adsorb a lot of nitrate, phosphate, iron and other nutrients from the water. This will starve the algae and keep the aquarium looking great. This guide outlines a few of the more common floating aquatic plants available to aquarists.

Floating Aquatic Plants

Floating Aquarium Plants

Crystalwort

Floating Crystalwort

Crystalwort floating aquarium plantsRiccia fluitans, known as Crystalwort, is a liverwort. Liverworts (Riccia) usually grow on land. Crystalwort is true aquatic form of Riccia. It has been found growing in many parts of the United States. The plant has no roots. Clumps float at the water surface.

In the wild, Crystalwort thrives in stagnant, nutrient-rich waters with bright light. It forms clumps that float at the water surface. In the aquarium, Crystalwort thrives under medium to bright light. The fast-growing plant will need pruning to prevent it from covering the surface of the water.

pH:6-8.0
General or total hardness:Any
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:Any
Water temperature:59-86°F (15 – 30°C)


Water lettuce

Water Lettuce aquarium plant

Pistia stratiotes, often sold as water lettuce, water cabbage, Nile cabbage, or shellflower, is a popular outdoor water gardening plant. Water lettuce was discovered in the Nile river in Africa. The plant is now considered an invasive species in many tropical and subtropical areas of the world. The genus name, Pistia, comes from the Greek word for water (pistos).

The fuzzy plant leaves form a rosette above the water surface, with long, fibrous roots hanging in the water. Water lettuce thrives in bright light, sending out runners with new plants. Under normal aquarium lighting the new plants are smaller, only about an inch across. The long roots are a favorite place for fish to explore.

Water lettuce will dramatically reduce the levels of nutrients in the water. They’re often used in wastewater filtration systems to scavenge out phosphate. Fertilization may be necessary if the plant leaves start to yellow. Be sure the fertilizer contains trace elements like iron and copper.

pH:6-8.2
General or total hardness:Any
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:Any
Water temperature:60-86°F (15 – 30°C)


Pellia liverwort

Pellia liverwort

Monosolenium tenerum is a dark green liverwort that normally grows on moist soil. M. tenerum is originally from areas of Nepal, Eastern Asia and Hawaii. It can be a challenge to grow as a floating plant but aquatic plant enthusiasts are working with it to find the best way to do it.

Pellia will grow under low light conditions. The plant may need trimming if growth is vigorous.

pH:5.5-8.2
General or total hardness:Any
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:Any
Water temperature:64-86°F (17 – 30°C)


Hornwort

Hornwort

Ceratophyllum demersum, also known as coontail and hornwort, grows just about everywhere in the world. In the wild, Hornwort is found in slow-moving water, rich in nutrients. It is a rootless plant that can be anchored under aquarium gravel but grows very well as a floating plant. It thrives in medium to bright light.

Hornwort is a hungry plant and will remove large amounts of phosphate, nitrate and trace elements from the water. This will help limiting algae growth. You’ll have to periodically remove some of the plants to keep the water surface open and stimulate the plants to produce new green, attractive shoots. Fish like to explore Hornwort. Baby fish will hide in the plants to escape predation and search for food. Hornwort is especially sensitive to copper-based snail-control products.

pH:6-8.0
General or total hardness:Any
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:2+
Water temperature:59-86°F (15 – 30°C)


Dwarf Ambulia

Dwarf Ambulia Floating Aquarium Plant

Limnophila sessiliflora is native to Southeast Asia. Sold as Ambulia and marshweed, it is one of the most common aquarium plants. It is a hardy, easy to grow plant with leafy, light green leaves. Ambulia is normally grown with roots in the gravel. It can also live as a floating plant. The leaves will spread out across the surface of the water.

This plant thrives under low to medium light conditions. The pale green color is not a sign of nutrient deficiency, but it may be necessary to add trace elements as part of the fertilization program.

pH:5.8-8.0
General or total hardness:Any
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:2+
Water temperature:70-86°F (21– 30°C)


Mato grosso milfoil

Mato grosso milfoil

Myriophyllum mattogrossense comes from South America. It grows as an all-green upright plant in the aquarium. Bright light brings out the best growth pattern. Rooted plants will eventually grow to the surface and act as a floating plant. Instead of rooting it in the gravel, strands of milfoil can be floated.

The plants will adsorb nutrients and continue to grow. You’ll have to cut back old portions of the stem and leave the young, growing tips in the tank. Milfoil is a great plant for breeding live-bearing fish. The fry will hide out on the plant and scavenge for tiny live foods. Mato grosso milfoil is easy to grow and helps control algae growth by limiting nutrients in the water.

pH:5.8-8.2
General or total hardness:Any
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:Any
Water temperature:70-86°F (21 – 30°C)

Tiger lotus

Tiger Lotus Blossom
The Nymphaea lotus is a tropical waterlily from Africa. While the tuber is planted in the gravel, the plant will send out leaves that rise to the aquarium surface. You’ll end up with leafless stems rising up to floating leaves on top of the water. It is not uncommon for the plants to send up fragrant white flowers that bloom above the water surface. This a fun plant for the well-lit aquarium.

Tiger lotus grows best with a nutrient rich gravel or potted in soil. Fertilizer tablets will also provide the plant with proper nutrition.

pH:5.8-8.2
General or total hardness:Any
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:2+
Water temperature:60-86°F (15 – 30°C)


Final thoughts

Floating aquarium plants give a new twist to the planted tank segment of aquarium keeping. Most floating plants are inexpensive and easy to grow. In fact, you don’t even need an aquarium. Floating species can be grown in a glass container near a bright window. The main idea is to remove over-grown branches from the aquarium. This is how nutrients are physically removed from your fish tank. Allowing the plants to grow “forever” permits older, less productive stem to die back and release those algae-promoting nutrients back into the water. Young, growing stems are the best nutrient absorbers its like fish tank filter, so keep your floating plants trimmed back to the younger selections.

Ghost Shrimp Care Guide

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Ghost Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp, also known as glass shrimp, daggerblade grass shrimp and Mississippi grass shrimp are all members of the Paleomonetes genera of shrimp. Species include kadakensis, paludosus, pugio and others. Ghost shrimp are among the most abundant macroinvertebrates living in the Atlantic and Gulf coast estuaries. Ghost shrimp are similar to crayfish in body form, but much smaller.

SEE ALSO:

Ghost shrimp grow only to about 1.5 inches at maturity. They have a slender, transparent body. Sometimes the shrimp have a yellowish tint. The rostrum or “beak” on top of the head of the shrimp, has 6-8 saw-like teeth along the top edge. The first two pairs of legs of ghost shrimp have pincers. The first set of crayfish pincers are larger, like lobster claws.

Paleomonetes play a very important role in the natural food chain in the estuary. Ghost shrimp transfer “energy” up the food chain. That is a fancy way of saying ghost shrimp are a favorite food for larger carnivorous fish, birds and mammals.

Ghost shrimp are very popular in the aquarium hobby. Some aquarists use ghost shrimp as a live food for large, predatory fish. Others keep them in planted and community aquariums. Ghost shrimp make excellent starter shrimp for someone getting into shrimp aquariums.

Ghost Shrimp

Natural Habitat

Ghost shrimp inhabit a wide range of aquatic biotopes. They can survive a temperature range of 41°F to 100°F in the wild.  Paleomonetes shrimp are found living in freshwater and highly saline estuaries. They can thrive even when there are wide swings in salinity. Biologists have found ghost shrimp living in salinities ranging from 0 ppt (parts per thousand) to as high as 55 ppt. As a reference, seawater has a salinity of 35 ppt. Overall the average salinity range is from 0 to 36 ppt.

The shrimp tend to thrive in well-oxygenated waters. But researchers find that Paleomonetes can survive brief exposure to almost water with almost zero oxygen levels. In low-oxygen conditions, The shrimp will even climb out of the water to get some air, then jump back into the water.

Ghost shrimp are considered very tasty food to many fish, birds and mammals. In the wild, ghost shrimp are found living among reeds, logs, branches and submerged aquatic plants. The shrimp prefer slow-moving water. The cover protects them from  high water flow and predators. They are most comfortable climbing on plants and other structures, looking to scavenge food.

Ghost Shrimp Care

Aquarium Requirements

If you’re setting up a dedicated shrimp tank or “shrimpatorium,” you are probably going to be keeping more than one shrimp, but no fish. The idea shrimp aquarium is in the range of five to ten gallons. You can also add a group of ghost shrimp to a community or biotope aquarium containing shrimp-friendly fish. The shrimp like to pick at the gravel and prefer smaller grains to sift through, looking for bits of organic matter and other foods.

Paleomonetes don’t have special water chemistry requirements. But like all aquarium life, maintaining a stable temperature and water free of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are important. Even low levels of these pollutants will stress your shrimp. Long-term exposure to ammonia or nitrite will weaken the ghost shrimp’s immune system, which result in disease problems.

Ghost shrimp can be kept in a pH range of 6.5 to 8.2. Water hardness and alkalinity (carbonate hardness) are not critical. A range of 3 to 12 degrees is acceptable. If your water has low alkalinity, the pH may tend to drop to the acidic pH range over time. Alkalinity stabilizes pH. Natural acids produced by the break-down of fish waste and biological filtration neutralizes alkalinity. If the alkalinity drops to less than 3 degrees, the pH could suddenly drop below pH 6.0. Test pH and alkalinity every week or two to keep a close watch on these important water chemistry parameters.

Water Changes

Water changes, made every three to four weeks, will usually replenish alkalinity and stabilize the pH. Set the aquarium heater to maintain a water temperature of 70 to 85°F. An aquarium thermometer is helpful for making sure the heater is keeping the water temperature at the desired set point.

Ghost Shrimp Water Chemistry Conditions

pH:6.5 – 8.2
General or Total hardness:5 – 10 degrees
Alkalinity or carbonate hardness:3 – 10 degrees
Water temperature:70 – 85°F (21 – 30°C)
Ammonia & Nitrite:0.0

Water Filtration

Ghost shrimp are not strong swimmers. They don’t like strong currents unless they have a place to escape the flow. You will probably see your shrimp periodically exploring a high flow area, but they don’t want to be continually battered with a stream of water. If your plans are to set up a dedicated shrimp tank, a simple hang-on-back (HOB) filter will be ideal. A HOB power filter will keep the aquarium clean and provide adequate water flow that won’t disturb the shrimp. The filter cartridge should contain activated carbon to remove odors and adsorb dissolved organics.

If you’re adding the shrimp to a larger aquarium, consider a canister filter. A canister filter will provide more mechanical filter media like filter sponges, along with activated carbon and sometimes optional biological filtration media. Mechanical filter media traps and hold solid particles, helping the water stay clear. The biological filter media provides a place for beneficial waste-degrading bacteria to live. No matter what type of filter you choose, be sure to service it once a month. A dirty filter cartridge will still flow, even when clogged.

Most aquarium filters are designed to allow water to bypass the filter media if it becomes clogged. This safety feature ensures the filter still pumps water, even if the media are clogged with sludge. The sludge will decompose inside the filter if not replaced frequently. Decomposing organic matter releases algae-promoting nutrients, like phosphate, into the water. This can stimulate green water blooms and algae growth on the glass, gravel and ornaments. Maintain the filter and your water will stay clean and clear.

Ghost Shrimp Aquarium Lighting

You’ll have several options for lighting your ghost shrimp aquarium. You can keep the shrimp in dim or bright lighting. Some nano aquariums come with a tiny light that will provide a small level of illumination. You’ll want a brighter light if raising aquarium plants.

There are two types of aquarium lighting:

  • Fluorescent
  • LED

Fluorescent light fixtures are common and have been used for over 30 years. However, modern LED lighting fixtures are gaining in popularity. Here’s what you need to know about both kinds of lighting. Basic fluorescent aquarium lights come with a plastic lid and light fixture. It works as an aquarium cover, lid and a light. Most fluorescent bulbs are designed to bring out the artificial colors of bright aquarium gravel, plastic plants and ornaments. This is great if you’re going for the fantasy look.  If you want to grow live aquarium plants, look for daylight-style fluorescent lighting. Also know that fluorescent bulbs degrade over time. The bulbs gradually dim over a period of 9-12 months. You’ll have to replace the bulbs to maintain the same level of illumination year after year.

LED aquarium lights use very little energy, produce less heat and last for many years. Many LED aquarium light fixtures do not come with a typical “hood” system. The LED fixture is placed above the open-top aquarium. This provides a clean look and recreates that “sunlight shimmer” as the light is refracted through moving water. The LED light will have adjustable mounting legs that straddle the ends of the aquarium frame. Some fixtures even have a built-in timer. You’ll also find upgraded LED light fixtures that have more LEDS for better light coverage. This is important when you have a deep aquarium or are focused on raising live plants.

Ghost Shrimp Photo

Aquascaping The Ghost Shrimp Aquarium

Ghost shrimp love to climb on live and plastic plants, driftwood, and pebbles. If you build a cave or overhang, the shrimp will cling to it, hanging upside down. Smaller-sized gravel is appreciated. Ghost shrimp like to sift through small grains of sand and gravel. Ghost shrimp don’t like to be startled. They’re known to dart right out of the aquarium when scared. Move slowly when working inside the aquarium. Aquascaping essentials for ghost shrimp include:

  • Aquarium-safe rocks or resin structures for climbing and hiding
  • Live or plastic plants for climbing and exploring
  • Driftwood branches
  • Fine or small-sized gravel
  • Optional glass top

Feeding

Ghost shrimp feed on a variety of live foods that live in the aquarium. These include small worms, plankton and algae. Ghost shrimp don’t eat aquarium plants. They forage on the plant surface, picking off tiny bits of algae and other microscopic life they find tasty. Grass shrimp are detritivores.  That means they like to pick and scrape the gravel, rocks and drift wood, looking for pieces of nutrient-rich organic matter.

Ghost shrimp will help clean your aquarium! You can feed your shrimp flakes, pellets and algae discs. They’ll snatch and eat the tiny pieces of food. You’ll be able to see the food particles inside their clear body. Live Java moss is an idea natural feeding station for ghost shrimp. The moss provides a protective environment for tiny live foods to. The shrimp will explore the moss, eating the live foods that live inside.

Ghost Shrimp Compatibility

Expert shrimp-keepers have rated ghost shrimp as compatible with other dwarf shrimp including:

  • Bamboo
  • Bee
  • Blue pearl
  • Crystal
  • Red cherry
  • Yellow
  • Sakura
  • Red Rili
  • Snowball
  • Tiger
  • Amano

Ghost shrimp can be kept with non-aggressive tropical fish. Any fish large enough to swallow a shrimp should be avoided. Juvenile “aggressive” fish, even though they are small, can bite and try to eat a shrimp even though it is too large to swallow. Most community tropical fish like angelfish, platys, mollies, swordtails and even dwarf cichlids are friendly toward ghost shrimp.

Breeding Ghost Shrimp

Breeding ghost shrimp is not difficult. You will need to provide a dedicated breeding aquarium if your shrimp are normally in a community aquarium. This is because the fish will eat the baby shrimp. The water conditions should be as described in this guide. A sponge filter or air stone is recommended as “safe filtration” for baby shrimp. Create dense cover with live plants or moss.

Place four or five shrimp in the tank. If there is a pair, they’ll breed. Just before mating, the female shrimp molts. The pair will mate about seven hours later. The green, fertilized eggs are carried under the female’s body. The eggs will turn clear as they mature and ready to hatch. When the eggs hatch, the larva will hide in the dense cover, protected from the other shrimp. Eventually you see them crawling around, looking like tiny fully-formed shrimp.

Ghost Shrimp picture

Final Thoughts

Ghost shrimp are great for getting into shrimp keeping. They’re great for the peaceful community aquarium too. If you’ve got a planted aquarium ghost shrimp will help keep the plants free of algae. If you’re looking at shrimp tanks as a new hobby or want to expand your existing aquarium experience, be sure to check out the world of ghost shrimp!