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Ferret Diseases & Conditions

Ferret Diseases

Here is a look at some of the most common ferret diseases and conditions.

Ferret Adrenal Disease

One of the most common conditions that affect ferrets is adrenal disease. The growth or enlargement of the adrenal gland typically requires surgery.

External signs of this condition are loss of hair, usually starting at the tail and working forward. Sometimes the back of the neck loses hair. In some cases, the vulva of females becomes enlarged too.

If you catch and treat this disease early, prospects for recovery are good. If left untreated, it is fatal.


Aleutian Disease Virus (ADV) is a parvovirus that can infect ferrets and their cousin species, such as minks. It produces excessive and rapid weight loss. There’s no cure and it can be fatal, though in many cases it produces symptoms that are treatable.

ADV can be transmitted through urine and feces, so it’s possible for one ferret to be a carrier (but not infected) to infect others. Tests can show whether an animal has the virus and it’s helpful to have one done before introducing a new ferret to your other ferrets. CEP or CIEP (Counter Immune ElectroPhoresis) is the most common test.


Epizootic Catarrhal Enteritis, also known as Green Slime Disease, is an inflammation of the mucous membranes. It leads to green slimy, foul-smelling feces during diarrhea (hence the name). Yes, all feces smell, but ferrets can get greenish diarrhea for a number of reasons. These are distinctive. The causes are not entirely understood.

This condition may last only a week or two and go away untreated. But in about 20% of cases it can become more serious, leading to wasting away. In any case, owners should seek treatment as early as possible. Only known for a little over 10 years, it’s still being heavily researched. Treatments vary, such as the use of slippery elm bark powder, but should be applied by a vet.

Ferret Ear Problems

It’s very important to keep your ferret’s ears clean – and it’s pretty simple too. Wax can build up, or they can get ear mites and other conditions.

You can use a weak solution of ear cleaner to help loosen the wax then, like a dog, they will shake their heads vigorously to expel the wax.

Treating ear mites requires only a little ear cleaner, then Tresaderm. The procedure should be repeated every day for at least a week. Careful examination with a flashlight and magnifying glass can help reveal any substance that might still be in the ear. A ferret’s ear canal is L-shaped, so piercing the ear drum isn’t a common problem. But they are delicate, so take care.


Older ferrets, around 4 years or more (like other aging mammals) are prone to develop tumors and other cancers. Some of these are treatable by surgery, others eventually take the life of the ferret. But ferrets are no more prone to cancer at a young age than a dog, cat or humans.

Still, since they are very curious and exploratory, it’s helpful to ensure they don’t come into contact with common household items that can encourage cancers. Benzene and other organic solvents are known to increase the risk. Be sure to ferret-proof your house.

Types Of Tropical Fish

Types of Tropical Fish

There are many types of tropical fish for you to choose from when setting up an aquarium. It’s wise to understand the different types before making a purchase.

Some varieties of freshwater tropical fish are easier to take care of than others. And not all tropical fish get along with others. This article will point out the best types of fish for beginners.

Among the easiest types of tropical fish to care for are zebra danios. They are pretty little fish with 4 horizontal gold/silver stripes running down their sides. They can grow to a size of 11/2 to 2 inches and look great in groups of six or more. They require no special water hardness or pH levels and do best at a temperature range of 65 – 78 degrees Fahrenheit. They are a non-aggressive species that can be kept with any other non-aggressive fish.

Swordtails and Platies are another type of fish perfect for beginners. It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between swordtails and platies, except male swordtails have a long sword-shaped tail. These fish do best in a pH range of 7.0 – 8.0 and require no special water hardness. The temperature should be kept in a range of 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. They are a non-aggressive species of tropical fish that can be kept with other non-aggressive fish. They are live-bearers and breed frequently.

Tropical Fish Types

Guppies are another type of livebearer fish that come in plain and fancy varieties. The fancy guppy varieties come in an assortment of beautiful colors. The males are much more beautiful and colorful than the females. They prefer a temperature range of 72 – 78 degrees Fahrenheit, a pH range between 7.0 – 8.0 and hard water. They should be kept in groups of more females than males. Guppies are fin-nippers, so shouldn’t be kept with any long-finned variety of tropical fish.

The Betta or Siamese Fighting Fish is a gorgeous tropical fish that is normally sold in small jars in pet stores. They are easy to take care of, but cannot be kept with another male – as they will fight to the death. And males are usually all you see in pet stores, as they’re more beautiful than females. Bettas can be kept with other peaceful species, but it’s not recommended because of their long flowing fins and slow movement. They do fine in small aquariums or bowls of room temperature water.

Barbs such as Tiger Barbs, Rosy Barbs and Cherry Barbs are very hardy and colorful tropical fish that are easy to take care of. Rosy Barbs and Cherry Barbs are not very aggressive, but Tiger Barbs can be. So proceed with caution when introducing Tiger Barbs into community tanks, especially with slow moving or long-finned fish. All barbs do well at temperatures between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. A pH range of 6.0 – 8.0 is recommended and they tolerate a wide range of water hardness.

Tetras come in various shapes and sizes. Most varieties are peaceful and go well in community tanks, except for the larger varieties like the Black Skirt Tetra and the Serpae Tetra. The larger varieties are fin-nippers and shouldn’t be kept with slow-moving or long-finned fish. And they will attack smaller species of fish. Most tetras like a temperature between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH of 6.0 to 8.0. Water hardness isn’t much of an issue.

Tropical Fish

Traits Of Himalayan Kittens

Himalayan Cat

There are many traits of Himalayan kittens that make them one of the most popular breeds of cat.

Although the Himalayan breed hasn’t been around for very long, they are one of the most sought after breeds of cat for good reason. Their beautiful appearance and wonderful personalities make them a perfect pet for any cat lover. But make sure you’re aware of the special care required before going out and buying or adopting one of these lovely animals. They’re definitely not your average, run-of-the-mill alley cat.

History of the Himalayan

Himalayan cats (Himmies) began in the 1930’s when a couple of folks had the wonderful idea of crossing Persian cats with Siamese cats to produce a long-haired, Persian-bodied cat with the points of a Siamese. They succeeded and eventually had their new breed recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 1957. In the mid 1980’s, the CFA moved the Himalayan breed into its Persian division. So the CFA considers a Himalayan to be a Persian Himalayan.

Special Traits of Himalayan Kittens

Himalayan kittens are born without colorpoints, they’re either pure white or cream. After a couple of weeks they begin to develop their colorpoints which are located on their faces, ears, tails, and legs. These points come in blue, seal, lilac, chocolate, flame, tortoiseshell (tortie), lynx (tabby), blue-cream, and cream.

Himmies have distinctive personalites. They inherit a calm and placid nature from their Persian bloodlines and an outgoing and social personality from their Siamese bloodlines. This results in a wonderful combination. Many Himalayans exhibit kitten-like behavior their whole lives. They are very playful and want to be with you much of the time, but they do value their private time.

Caring For Your Himalayan

A Himalayan cat requires special care that any longhaired cat would. You should brush their hair every day and try to bathe them every week or two. If you don’t do this, their hair will become matted and will have to be shaven. They’re also more susceptible to hairballs than shorthaired cats.

A Himalayan’s flat Persian face can also present breathing or respiratory problems and watery eyes (which requires frequent cleaning). This breed is also prone to joint and organ problems, as well as Polycystic kidney disease due to the excessive inbreeding of certain breeders. So do your homework when picking a Himalayan kitten. Stay away from big commercial breeders and ask about the health history of a litter’s parents. Also be sure to get any health and veterinary records for your new kitten.

The traits of Himalayan kittens and cats make them a great pet – if you’re prepared to give them the care that they require and deserve. You’ll probably find that their personality and beauty make up for any special care or work required. It’s very difficult not to fall in love with a Himmy.

Cat Won’t Eat Or Drink

Cat Won’t Eat Or Drink

It can be frustrating and scary when your cat won’t eat or drink. You’ll need to investigate to determine how serious the problem really is.

A cat that won’t eat could either be just fussy or have a serious underlying health problem. Likewise a cat that won’t drink could be getting his/her water from another source or it could also be caused by an underlying health problem. How can you tell the difference? .

First of all, many cats are picky eaters. If you switch them to a different brand or type of food all of sudden, they may protest and not eat at all until you give them their preferred food. It’s always best to gradually change their food over time, when you want to make a change.

Environment is also a factor in their eating habits. If you feed them in a high-traffic area or change where you feed them, they may refuse to eat until you change the situation.

If you’ve remedied any situation that may be interfering with their eating habits and nothing seems to work, then you need to take them to the veterinarian. They may have some health issues that need to be taken care of such as a broken tooth, mouth sores, or any number of serious internal problems.

A cat that won’t drink water could not have a problem at all – he or she may be getting water from some other source that you’re not aware of. They may be drinking water out of the toilet or if you have an outside cat, they may get all of their water from any number of water sources – puddles, streams, flowerpots, etc.

If you’re sure that your cat isn’t getting water from any other source, then they might not like their water bowl or the taste of the water you give them. Get them another water bowl and/or give them dechlorinated, spring or distilled water. And cats that eat moist food get a good bit of water from their food.

If you still don’t believe your cat is getting any water, then it’s time to take him or her to the veterinarian. There may be a serious health issue. And no animal can survive long without liquids.

Always observe your cat closely and be aware of what’s going on in their life. When your cat won’t eat or drink and exhibits behavior that’s out of the ordinary – mood changes, less energy than normal, hissing at you, losing or gaining weight – then it’s time to take him or her to veterinarian. It’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Types Of Home Aquarium Sharks

Aquarium Shark

Certain types of home aquarium sharks add a beautiful touch to any tank. But do your homework before purchasing one.

There are a few types of sharks for home aquariums commonly found in local pet stores. They are the Bala Shark, Iridescent Shark, Rainbow Shark, and the Red Tail Shark. This article aims to take a look at each type and how best to care for them.

The Bala Shark is a beautiful fish that is a shark in name only; it’s really a member of the carp and minnow family. It has: large eyes; silver body with black trim; and an upright dorsal fin. Its silver body shines and reflects light in a striking manner.

Before bringing a Bala Shark home, you should be aware of his special requirements. He does best when kept in a school of six or more, and can grow fairly large: 7 – 12 inches long. This means you’ll need an aquarium of at least 72 – 90 gallons.

The Bala Shark is a peaceful fish that is compatible with a wide range of other fish. They tolerate a temperature range of 72 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit, and will be content with a pH range of 6.0 – 8.0.

The Iridescent Shark is another one of the freshwater aquarium fish often seen in pet stores. It is not really a shark, but a type of catfish. They have a grayish, black body with an iridescent stripe running down their sides.

They do best when kept in schools of 5 or more, but really grow too large for a home aquarium. In the wild they can grow up to 4 feet long and weigh up to a hundred pounds. In home aquariums, they’re usually not given enough space to grow adequately, and so reach only about 6 – 12 inches long. In addition to stunted growth, they usually suffer premature deaths due to organ failure.

Rainbow sharks are another of the small aquarium sharks commonly seen in local pet stores. Once again, they’re not really a shark, but a type of minnow. Their body is a greenish black and their fins are orange or red. They can grow to a size of 4 – 6 inches and shouldn’t be kept with other Rainbows, because they’re very aggressive and territorial. If you’re thinking of adding a Rainbow Shark to a community tank, make sure the tank is large enough – at least 29 gallons or more, because these sharks can be terribly aggressive towards any tankmates.

Rainbow Shark
Rainbow Shark

A Rainbow Shark prefers temperatures between 70 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. They are fairly tolerant of a wide range of pH and water hardness levels.

The final type of home aquarium shark that is readily available in pet stores is the Red Tail Shark. They appear similar to the Rainbow shark, except their body is darker and only their tail is colored red. They typically grow to a size of 4 to 5 inches long and have the exact same compatibility issues as the Rainbow shark. They prefer the same temperature range as the Rainbow, but are a bit pickier about their pH requirements – 6.0 to 7.0.

So there you have it, the most common types of home aquarium sharks found in pet stores. All four types are very beautiful and fascinating additions to an aquarium. But the Iridescent Shark is probably a poor choice for all but the extremely largest of home aquariums.

The Scarlet Macaw


When shopping for a Scarlet Macaw parrot, be sure you choose a bird that was born in captivity from a reputable breeder.

Scarlet Macaws are among the most beautiful of pet birds, but they’re not a pet that you should buy on the spur of the moment. You need to think long and hard about your decision, and make sure you’re well prepared before purchasing any Macaw parrot.

Scarlet Macaws Are Beautiful

Scarlet Macaws are large parrots that are native to areas of Central and South America. Their numbers in the wild are dwindling due to poaching, deforestation and the pet trade. They are predominantly scarlet red, with strips of yellow and blue on their wings. A bare white patch surrounds their eyes. They can grow to a length of 35 inches from head to tail and weigh up to 2.5 pounds.

Scarlet Macaws Are Needy

Of all the Macaws, the Scarlet Macaw is probably the most susceptible to loneliness, depression and behavior problems. These problems can be prevented with diligent attention and proper care – beginning when they’re babies and continuing throughout their whole lives. And they can live a long time – 40 – 80 years.

Scarlet Macaws can be extremely affectionate towards their owners, and aggressive towards others. Their behavior depends on: their individual personality; how they’re socialized when young; and how their cared for on an ongoing basis. Children should always be supervised when interacting with a Scarlet Macaw.

A Scarlet Macaw requires as large a cage as possible – at least 3 or 4 feet wide and deep by 5 or 6 feet tall. The cage will ideally have a perch or play area attached to the top or side of the cage for exercise and stimulation. Provide them with plenty of toys to play with and objects to chew on such as wood blocks and mineral blocks.

Scarlet Macaws thrive on a varied diet of special Macaw pellets (primary), vegetables, fruits, nuts, and many other foods.

Macaws require plenty of attention and stimulation everyday, so they’re not a good pet for the frequent traveler or the person with a job requiring long hours. They get depressed and aggressive when left alone for long periods and engage in loud screeching and even pull their feathers out in protest.

A Scarlet Macaw can be sold for $2000 to $3000. This explains the illegal smuggling and sales of wild caught Macaws. Do your best to stay away from illegal wild-caught birds. Do your research and make sure you’re buying a captive bred Scarlet Macaw. And it’s wise to pay a little extra to get one that’s been Veterinary checked and certified to be free of disease and problems.

Before purchasing a Scarlet Macaw, do your homework and think long and hard about your decision. Make sure you’re 100% comfortable with the responsibility of owning one of these highly intelligent and beautiful pet birds for the next 40 – 80 years.

Ferret Care Information

There’s quite a bit to learn when it comes to good ferret care.

Ferrets are more of a challenge and require more attention and care than other pets like dogs and cats. But they’re so intelligent and fascinating, you’ll probably find that they’re well worth the effort.

Though they sleep about 18 hours per day, when they’re awake they’re very active. They’re also extremely curious and love to explore. Unless they’re always caged, that makes them somewhat accident prone. If they’re always caged, they may not get the proper stimulus and exercise, representing the other side of the dilemma. Just make sure they’re always supervised when out of their cage. And keep them confined to a small, safe area.

Beyond basic safety, though, there are regular actions that any caring ferret owner will want to take to ensure their companion is kept in optimal mental and physical health. Ferrets live on average between 6-8 years and much of those they will need attention and checkups.

The most basic care starts with a vet visit for a general checkup and vaccinations. Rabies and canine distemper are the two most common diseases vaccines prevent, but ask your vet about others that may be a concern in your area. At the same time, the vet will check for lumps (evidence of possible insulinomas and other tumors), dental issues, possible adrenal problems and other ferret-specific conditions.

Ferrets have abilities that can more easily lead them into trouble. They can find their way into spaces that even a small cat wouldn’t consider. Ferret-proofing the house against ingress behind the stove, getting inside the couch, falling off the second floor landing and other areas is essential.

Bathing twice a year is a good idea, both to reduce odors and keep the skin healthy. But beware of removing essential oils. Only use a shampoo designed for ferrets. Regularly look for any skin lesions or sores. Ferrets have sharp claws and, like dogs, can produce hot spots that lead to pain and possible infection.

Ear cleaning should be performed at least once per month. Like dogs, ferrets can easily build up wax that leads to yeast and other problems. A simple ear cleaning solution injected with a plastic syringe, followed by gentle massage for about 20 seconds, will do the trick. The ferret will shake his or her head vigorously and expel the softened wax. Careful follow up with a Q-tip is a good idea.

Regular examination of both ends of your ferret may not be pleasant, but it’s best for your pet. They often burrow into litter box material that, if not the proper kind (and sometimes even then), can cause nasal blockage. That can lead to upper respiratory problems, irritation of the membranes or other conditions.

Also, make sure they have no swelling of the vulva (evidence of disease) or a prolapsed rectum. The latter can result from inadequate water in the diet or a bacterial infection that results in straining. Treatment with an antibiotic, such as Clavamox or Baytril may be called for.

Regular activity outside the cage helps keep your ferret mentally stimulated and works all those muscles that some cages don’t allow. Take care they don’t get outside off a leash, though, unless the area is enclosed and free of holes. Ferrets naturally seek out burrows and small spaces to explore. But they are much better at getting in than getting out.

They also don’t tolerate high heat or extreme cold well. Above 80°F (26.5°C) or below 45°F (7°C) represents a risk to your ferret. The warmer it is, the more important it becomes to have cool, fresh water available. And, unlike their cousins the minks, their fur isn’t designed for very cold weather. Keep them inside when the temperature dips.

Get as much information as you can about ferret care from your veterinarian, other ferret owners, and through books (available at your public library or at Amazon). Learning how to care for ferrets is something that won’t happen overnight, but you should know the basics before bringing a wonderful ferret into your home.

Ick on fish

white spots on fish

What are white spots on fish?

Ich in fish is probably the most common of all fish diseases. And with most problems in life, prevention is always easier than the cure.

Fish Ich (ichthyophthiriasis) – pronounced ick – is a type of parasite that attaches to a fish’s body, feeds for a while, and then falls off. It lands on the bottom of the tank and reproduces thousands of offspring which continue the vicious process over and over.

How do you know when a fish has ich? Fish with ich exhibit small white spots on their bodies. In the beginning stages you’ll notice a few scattered white spots that resemble grains of salt. As the condition worsens, the ick will cover the entire fish, eventually leading to respiratory problems (among others) and death.

fish ich

Many experts believe that ich is present in all aquariums, but only attack weakened or stressed fish. Healthy fish have a strong immune system and are able to resist ich. Stressed fish have a weakened immune system and are therefore susceptible to the ich organisms that are already present in the tank.

Fish can get stressed and weakened in a variety of ways. Those that have been transported from their breeding tanks to the pet store, and then scooped up and quickly transported to another home are dealing with a good bit of stress. And fish in a home aquarium can get stressed when they’re subjected to temperature fluctuations, changing water conditions (ph, ammonia level, etc.) and the introduction of new fish to their tank.

Preventing a fish from catching ich is dependent on your eliminating stress in their lives. In your home aquarium, try to avoid drastic temperature fluctuations and changing water conditions. Also, make sure you perform regular partial water changes and provide good filtration.

When shopping for fish in a pet store, examine all the fish in a particular tank closely. If you see even one fish with white spots, then move on – the whole tank is probably infected. The other fish may just not be showing the white spots of ich yet. Another thing to do is talk to the manager of the pet store and find out when they get their fish shipments in. Try to avoid buying your fish on the day of, or the day after delivery day. You want to give them a few days to recover from the stress of delivery and introduction to the pet store tank, before subjecting them to the stress of adding them to your tank.

And it’s always good to have a quarantine tank set up for any new fish you buy. You can keep them in there for a week or two and see if they develop any diseases. If they don’t, then you can feel pretty safe adding them to your community tank.

You’ll find quite a few brands of ich treatment medications available in most pet stores. Many of these medicines contain Malachite Green, which is a proven remedy for ich. It usually comes in liquid or tablet form which you add to the tank on a regular basis for a period of about two weeks. Follow the instructions carefully. In many cases you’ll use the half the dosage for scaleless fish such as catfish or tetras. And these medicines work faster and are more effective at higher temperatures.

Love Birds

Love Birds

Choosing and Caring For Healthy Love Birds

Love Birds are beautiful and intelligent small parrots.

Their name comes from the way they like to groom and snuggle with their companion — whether that companion is another Love Bird or a human.

Origins and Varieties

There are 9 species of lovebirds. They all come from the continent of Africa except for one species — the Grey Headed — which comes from Madagascar (an island off the coast of Africa).

Although there are 9 species of love birds, only 3 are commonly found in pet stores. They are:

  • Peach Face – These are the most commonly available. They have a green body with a peach colored head, throat and face. There are also mutations seen such as yellow and pale blue bodied birds.
  • Fischer’s Lovebird – Another relatively common pet lovebird. They have green bodies with orange and yellow on their head, face and throat. Their beaks are striking red.
  • Masked Lovebird – Another common pet Love Bird. Their body is green and they appear to be wearing a mask that’s dark brown. They have a ring of yellow feathers around their throats, just underneath the mask – somewhat resembling a scarf.

Picking Out a Lovebird

Always buy a captive bred Love Bird (as opposed to a wild caught variety). If at all possible, purchase a hand-fed baby that is about 6 to 8 weeks of age. Young, hand-fed Lovebirds are tamer and much easier to train. You can train older birds and non-hand fed birds, but it’s a bit more difficult and time consuming.

Can You Keep One Lovebird?

Contrary to popular myth, you don’t have to keep two lovebirds — one will survive just fine if you’re prepared to offer them plenty of companionship. Like any other parrot, lovebirds need a great deal of attention and companionship every day — and if they don’t get it, there can be problems.

These problems can include depression, aggressive behavior, constant screeching and extreme plucking of their own feathers. If you’re not available for them a few hours a day, then you really should get them a partner to keep them occupied. This partner should be another lovebird of the same species.

It’s not a good idea to mix species of Lovebirds. For example, don’t mix your peach-faced lovebird with a black masked or any other variety. They can be highly aggressive towards other species.

Most Love Birds reproduce often, so be prepared. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell the sexes of lovebirds just by appearance alone. You’ll need to get a DNA test performed. This can be accomplished through your veterinarian or you can mail a few feathers in to a DNA testing company.


While larger parrots such as Macaws can live 60 years or more, Lovebirds aren’t so long-lived. They typically live 10 to 15 years (with a few reported cases of 20 year old birds).


You should buy a large cage designed for parrots such as lovebirds. It needs to be large enough so that your single bird or pair of birds can stretch their wings out to their full span.

And try to get one constructed of mostly horizontal bars for them to climb on, and be sure the spaces between the bars are not so large that your bird’s head can get caught between them.

Bird Cage

Provide 4 or 5 perches at different levels of the cage. Ideally, these perches will be made of different textures to help prevent arthritis. And provide plenty of safe toys for them to chew on and play with. Lovebirds are constantly chewing things – this helps to keep their beaks trim.


Lovebirds do well on a good seed mix designed for parrots such as Love Birds. Do not overfeed and provide them with plenty of other food choices such as fresh, clean, vegetables and fruit that are safe for parrots such as carrots, bananas, peas and greens.


Just like any other creature, lovebirds can become overweight and unhealthy when they don’t get enough exercise. How do they get exercise? Through flying. It’s important to let your birds out of their cage each day for free flight.

This should take place in a well-secured room with all windows and doors closed. And keep an eye on them when they’re around electrical cords or important papers, because they love to chew on just about anything they can get their beaks on.


A love bird usually does a pretty good job of keeping his/her beak trim by chewing on seeds and other things. But they aren’t able to keep their nails trim, so you’ll have to trim them.

Buy a nail trimmer designed for birds (such as the guillotine type) and make sure you know what you’re doing before-hand. You can get guidance from your veterinarian, pet store, books, and/or online.

Like most other pet birds, Love Birds enjoy baths — it helps keep their skin and feathers clean and healthy. You should try to mist them every day with luke-warm. And many love birds enjoy taking showers with their owners.


Training a love bird requires plenty of patience and persistence. Some birds learn faster than others. Young birds learn faster than older birds; and hand-feds learn faster than parent-feds. And many people say that the Peach faced species learn faster than the other species.

You should begin training them immediately by talking to them in a gentle, sweet tone every chance you get. And begin introducing your arm and hand into their cage while talking and singing to them. Do this a few times a day for 15 – 20 minute sessions. During these sessions start training them to hop on your hand or finger on command. Use a command such as “up” or “come here” while gently placing a perch, your hand or finger under their breast.

Although Love Birds chirp and sing all day, they don’t talk. But some love birds learn to mimic certain human tones.

Altum Angelfish


In the world of tropical fish, it’s hard to disagree, Altum Angelfish are among the most beautiful of all species. With their amazingly long fins and striking coloration, they’re much sought after for good reason.

Altum Angelfish are one of the three species of Angelfish, and they’re not readily available for sale in pet shops. Breeding them in captivity is not an easy task and they need just the right environment to thrive and survive. But when you do find them available for sale, you just might discover that the challenge is well worth it.

Unlike the common Angelfish (P.scalare), the Altum Angelfish (P.altum) is not readily available for sale in most pet shops. This is because they’re not as easy to breed in captivity (they’re usually wild caught) and are much more of a challenge to care for than the common Angelfish. They can’t tolerate quite as much fluctuation from the ideal temperature and water conditions as the common variety.

They do best at temperatures of around 80 – 86 degrees Fahrenheit. They prefer soft water and a pH below 6.5. You should feed them live or freeze-dried brine shrimp and some quality flake food. Be careful not to overfeed them.

They grow taller and larger than the common Angelfish and have a pronounced notch above their noses – it kind of resembles a beak. Common and mixed varieties sometimes have a slight notch, but Altum’s are very prominent.

Like all Angelfish, the Altum requires a tall tank to accommodate their vertical fins. A 29 gallon tall aquarium is okay to begin with, but after a while they’ll more than likely outgrow it – they can reach a height of 12 – 14 inches. A 55 gallon aquarium is ideal.

And provide plenty of broad leaf plants for cover, as all Angelfish can be both territorial and shy at times.

Altum Angelfish are relatively peaceful Cichlids, but they will pick on and hunt smaller fish. Some people have had success keeping tetras with them and Corydora catfish are always a good choice. And always keep in mind that Angelfish have long fins that are tempting targets for fin nippers.

Altums are probably not a good choice for the beginner aquarist to purchase. But for the intermediate to advanced fish-keeper, they might be just the type of challenge you’re looking for.

All species of Angelfish come from the Amazon River basin of the tropical areas of South America.

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