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Tiger Oscars

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A Tiger Oscar given to us, coming out to say hi to one of our employees!

A Tiger Oscar given to us, coming out to say hi to one of our employees!

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Cichlids are fierce and powerful fish, and among them the Tiger Oscar is by far the most commonly known (even if people don’t recognize them as cichlids) in and out of the hobby. They are well known for their beautiful colourations and for the variety of mutations that they often come in–such as greens, albinos and golds to name a few. They are commonly found in South America, but they have also been noted to be found in China, Australia and the United States. They are sometimes even considered a delicacy.

Oscars are slow growers (though this isn’t a hard or fast rule!), but in the end they can reach massive lengths of up to 18 inches!

Tiger Oscars are sometimes described as wolves–when put together they seem to hunt in pacts. They are ferocious, veracious and aggressive hunters. They enjoy getting their tanks messy with their remains.

What makes these cichlids widely known and popular, despite their intriguing appearance, is the fact that they are relatively hardy fish able to live in cooler temperatures of waters of 55 Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature, however, like most cichlids is anywhere between 75F to 85F.

Despite popular myths, Tiger Oscars are monomorphic, this meaning the sexes cannot be distinguished by physical or apparent features. They require at least a 70 gallon tank, because they do reach great lengths, and also because of their notorious carnivorous appetite endoparasites are one of the biggest threats to this particular species of fish. Take care that if you have plants (alive or synthetic) as they often enjoy uprooting them, in this case we generally recommend using floating plants which is a good compromise.

For the fact they are well known for their hardiness as a fish species pH levels (unless they are wild caught) are rather irrelevant for this particular fish species♥ I’m not saying throw away the notion of pH altogether, what I am saying is that the levels of pH is irrelevant if you are sustaining and maintaining your pH levels. In general a pH level of 6-8 is suitable for Oscars.

Tiger Oscars are well known to live up to five years in captivity, therefore they should have a committed owner.

Tiger Oscars also have a wide range of foods that they eat, from insects to specialized geared diets such as OMEGA ONE Natural Protein Formula Cichlid Flakes. They’ve even been known to eat various leafy greens. With such a wide range of foods keeping a Tiger Oscar healthy with the appropriate temperatures, lighting and diet is relatively easy to maintain.

Oscars should have a good number of rocks, plants (plastic or real) and other similar camouflaging and hiding tools. Good examples of these are the AquaFit products. Generally speaking Tiger Oscars are interior decorators at heart, they will take these plants, rocks and tools and re-arrange them to their liking–making Tiger Oscars rather eccentric fish.

Though Tiger Oscars can and are often put into tanks with other fish, generally speaking with their seemingly unquenchable hunger and their large sizes for the beginner it’s best advised not to do so.

It’s important to understand that Tiger Oscars (like most Oscar species) are very susceptible to Hole in head. Be sure to keep a close eye on your fish as all Oscar fishes can jump (we’ve found our Oscars once in a completely different tank and had eaten all the other fish) so it’s important to keep a lid on their tank to prevent and discourage such behaviours.

Intelligent fish, Oscar fish are calculating if not sometimes cold. They are more than capable of recognising their owners, which isn’t very common among fish. We once had an Tiger Oscar who didn’t do much of anything until our fish department expert came into the building–in which the Tiger Oscar would come out of hiding and interact with our employee.

With vibrant colours and their curious, almost bold natures, they are active fish than enjoy a personal relationship with their owners; making them unique fish to own. Though health can be sometimes a tricky thing with Oscars, don’t let this discourage you–they are hardy and well maintained fish. Pick the surrounding fish carefully when adding them to the tank, and you will have yourself a beautifully filled aquarium with the Tiger Oscar easily your center piece, pride and joy.

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The Suits Game

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We all like to save a little money, and we all like to learn something new! As such we’ve decided to create our own little game which we like to call “the Suits Game” it’s a simple game really, all you have to do is read our blog posts and find the symbol! Each symbol has a “%” value, this percentile value is specific to the product mentioned in that particular blog post. So if we look at our wonderful blog post of MBD we find we mentioned REPTI-CALCIUM, that particular item would be the item deal. So keep your eyes open and sharp because not every blog post will have a suit for your needs.

It’s not enough to identify the suit of the particular blog post and to know which product (or sometimes products!) are found within our blog post you will be questioned about the blog post itself to see exactly how much you’ve learned from it. That way you can apply your knowledge, test yourself and reap the benefits of your hard efforts!

The following suits have a numerical percentage, and this chart can be referred to so you know exactly how much you will be saving:

Hearts (the symbol, “♥”) will be used to indicate all items mentioned in a blog post are 10% OFF!
Spades (the symbol, “♠”) will be used to indicate all items mentioned in a blog post are 15% OFF!
Diamonds (the symbol, “♦”) will be used to indicate all items mentioned in a blog post are 20% OFF!
Clubs (the symbol, “♣”) will be used to indicate all items mentioned in a blog post are 25% OFF!

*All EXPIRATIONS occur a week after the blog post has been posted when a particular suit and product has been added! So be sure to be attentive and don’t allow these good deals and prices go to waste!*

So before we end this post, we would love to know what SUIT are you? Below we will describe a suit and if that matches you leave a comment bellow and let us know! We want to know which suit you are! Now, because we ARE a pet store it’s important we try to tie animals into this, so each suite also has a ‘category’ of animal. These categories tie into our OWN store. At the end of this blog post there will be a very important question to answer dependent on your suit, so be sure to answer it!

Leave a comment below letting us know your suit and your animal of choice in the respective category and actively join our community! Tell us a story about birds if you are Person of Spades, or maybe about fish if you are a Person of Hearts.

♥PEOPLE OF HEARTS♥
People of Hearts are often passionate and spiritual people who put ideals into practice. They are creative and powerful. People of Hearts can also describe someone who is more sensitive than others. Often times People of Hearts are generous, affectionate and some of them can be described as having ‘hearts of gold.’ In some cases this suit is more suited for people who are emotionally stable and independent. It can also represent someone who is shy or a person who isn’t afraid to speak their mind without apology. THE FISH IS THE ANIMAL OF HEARTS!

♠PEOPLE OF SPADES♠
People of Spades are sometimes called hot headed. Though this certainly those describe some People of Spades it’s more accurate to say People of Spades are aggressive, which can sometimes tie into hot-headed nature. People of Spades are often intelligent and proud people. They can be egotistical, macho and confident; very few things can get them down as they seem to barrel through life. They know what they want and they take it, because of this some can be sneaky–doing anything to get on-top. Some are introverted, hard to express their feelings. They are the people who get things done. THE BIRD IS THE ANIMAL OF SPADES!

♦PEOPLE OF DIAMONDS♦
People of Diamonds can be materialistic, enjoying the finer things in life. They are often hard headed, stubborn and successful. They have a strong head for business. Many are kind and resourceful. They can be intense people to be around, but they are genuine and trustworthy friends. People of Diamonds are often goal-oriented and with a strong disposition. They can also be friendly and creative. THE REPTILE IS THE ANIMAL OF DIAMONDS!

♣PEOPLE OF CLUBS♣
We’ve all met the People of Clubs, the jokester. Someone who doesn’t seem to take life seriously; however just because People of Clubs might make light of certain things, it doesn’t mean they can’t take things seriously. They are often the center of attention using their charms (whether joking or nice smiles) to reel people in. They often confident, intelligent and in many cases knowledgeable about various things. People who are eccentric are perfect for the suit of clubs. People of Clubs often play fair and work hard. Despite People of Clubs being the clowns, many are also tough as nails. With their clownish ways it’s no surprised they are passionate and confident people, with strong beliefs and high values. They tend to get the last word in argument wise and they some of them are said to be ‘know-it-alls.’ THE SMALL ANIMAL IS THE ANIMAL OF CLUBS!

Can you name ONE of our animals in THE TRAVELLING ZOO that fits your suit and animal category? Leave a comment on our blog post or on Facebook page with this blog post specifically mentioned within the next week and you get 10% OFF a single item within that respectable category (example: THE REPTILE IS THE ANIMAL OF DIAMONDS; 10% OFF a single item in the reptile section!)

What kind of animals do you have?

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We at the Urban Zoo would love to know what kind of animals you have! Take our poll and leave a comment about your loveable pet and maybe even a funny story to share! Get involved with the community!

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) in Reptiles

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Metabolic Bone Disease (also known as MBD) is among one of the most common diseases found in reptiles in captivity, and it is a complicated issue all together which doesn’t always stem from calcium deficiencies (however, by far the most common reason). MBD is an umbrella term referring to abnormalities of bones caused by a broad spectrum of disorders. For reptiles it is generally an improper calcium to phosphorus ratio in the body as well a lack of Vitamin D. As such, with a lack of calcium, the body compensates by taking from other areas of the body, such as bones. This leads to the softening of bones, which in turn makes it easier for fractures to appear.

It also causes disposition of fibrous tissue as the body tries to strengthen the bone in an absence of available calcium.

MBD symptoms vary depending on severity, however, commonly noticeable signs of MBD are as followed:

* Limping
* Bowed legs
*Hard lumps along the legs, spinal column and/or jaw
*Softening and unusual flexibility of the lower jaw
*Difficulty raising off the ground
*Tremors, jerky movements and twitching
*Lameness and anorexia
*Constipation
*Lethargy, weakness and paralysis
*For tortoises and turtles their shells become soft and may cause the shell to “pyramiding,” the shell starts looking like a pyramid.

Though there are various treatments that can be done for MBD, they are often expensive, hard to find and can take years. If you suspect your animal to have MBD it is advised you make an appointment with an appropriate veterinarian and get a proper diagnosis.

However, there are measures one can take to help prevent the cause of MBD in your reptile.

Lighting and heating is essential to the prevention of MBD, it’s important to know the appropriate temperatures for your animal (as all reptiles require different temperatures), as prolonged exposure to coolness can cause MBD. Lighting is also essential, by lighting we aren’t talking about the light from the basking bulb, we’re talking about specialised bulbs that emanate ultraviolet radiation, these bulbs are known as UVB bulbs, they generally come in various different watts, sizes and types that are appropriate for your lizard.

Another important factor is how your animal will get it’s calcium, as the main staple diet often rarely fully donates enough calcium for their bones. Generally speaking most reptiles eat insects, as such these insects are sprinkled with a mineral or calcium powder to help supplement and augment the diet. Reptiles that often have a mammalian diet tend to get plenty of calcium from the bones of their prey item. Choosing a high quality calcium and/or mineral powder is crucial because a calcium supplement with too much potassium will actually increase your reptile’s chances of getting Metabolic Bone Disease.

Next on our list is a Vitamin D3 supplement. Though calcium dust and mineral powder are important, it wouldn’t matter if your reptile ate nothing but calcium if he also wasn’t getting enough Vitamin D3. The best way to insure your animal gets Vitamin D3 is a combination of certain calcium powders alongside with a UVB Bulb, make sure you read the label of your calcium powders carefully for the indication of Vitamin D3.

The most commonly used, and one of the highest grade calcium powders (which come in a variety specific to certain reptiles), is REPTI-CALCIUM by Zoo Med which can be a little tricky to get a hold of–luckily we sell it here.

Lastly, regarding feeding, it’s important to use the highest quality insects or animals around. This will guarantee that your animal will get the most of what it’s eating and with the calcium powder and the UVB bulb you will not only be preventing MBD you will also help prolong the life and providing excellent animal husbandry.

It’s also important not to overfeed your animals, as this can also be a factor in causing MBD. Many new comers to reptiles often make the mistake of overfeeding their animals and one should do proper research on the animal of choice before any big purchase.

*It’s very important that you witness signs of MBD that you take the animal immediately to an appropriate veterinarian clinic. As they have the equipment, knowledge and experience to deal with this issue accordingly. Consult the chart above if you feel that your animal is at risk as MBD kills reptiles. The process of MBD may be as simple as injecting the animal with a calcium shot, or it may be a long and gruelling experience for others. This disease and issue should not be taken lightly!*

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Pink Toed Tarantula

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We just got ourselves a beautiful female Avicularia avicularia or commonly known as the “Pink Toed” tarantula. The Chilean rose hair, Mexican red knee and Pink toed tarantula are the three most popular species of tarantulas, and are perfect for the beginners. Today we’ll be exploring the rather peculiar and beautiful Pink Toed Tarantula.

It isn’t hard to see where the name “Pink Toed” comes from when looking at this tarantula species. Simply put they have these pink toes that are striking against their typically blue bodies. Popular among the hobbyists for their beautiful colourations the Pink Toed Tarantula is a South American, though the name “Pink Toed” often refers to more than a two dozen species of Avicularia, the name Pink Toed Tarantula is commonly held for the species: Avicularia avicularia.

This blue bodied tarantula reaching lengths of up to 5 inches are astonishing. Not only are they pretty to look at their habits and personalities make them a very unique tarantula species to own.

Being a New World species of tarantula they are often docile, though they are incredibly swift and agile–making handling this particular species of tarantula difficult. Despite being a tarantula at young ages they can actually be kept socially if the right conditions are met. They also happen to be an arboreal species of tarantula.

An arboreal species of tarantula is essentially a tarantula that prefers to dwell high above the ground, terrestrial being a tarantula that enjoys ground level. Being an arboreal species, the Pink Toed Tarantula is well known for the intricate cobwebs they often make high in their terrariums.

They also require quite a bit of ventilation, temperatures of 75-85 Fahrenheit and a humidity level of 78% to 82%. Traditionally arboreal species of tarantula are fed with feeding tangs, they can be finicky eaters and may not go to the bottom to hunt themselves. Luckily Pink Toed Tarantulas are active little guys and most likely explore it’s terrarium bottom and all. Though feeding tongs should still be a requirement just in case your Pink Toed Tarantula refuses to hunt at the bottom.

Pink Toed Tarantulas also have a unique defence. Though all tarantulas are venomous and you should consult a doctor if one is bit, their venom generally isn’t hazardous. Those who are sensitive or allergic to tarantula venom however can make for a dangerous time. For this reason it is advised that people don’t handle their tarantula, not just for the fear of being bit but also it can be quite stressful on the tarantula themselves. They do not require our interaction and socialisation. Be smart and don’t learn the hard way!

Despite biting, which rarely occurs, they have other defence mechanisms at their disposal. They are fast little guys! They use their speed to their advantage when they feel threatened or intimidated, able to quickly escape from their threat this is another reason why we advise not to handle this particular tarantula.

Like most other New World tarantulas they also have very interesting hairs called urticating hairs which they fling in the air. These little hairs are incredibly irritating, one should never scratch as this will simply push the hairs deeper into the skin which can cause infections and inflammation. If you happen to get urticating hairs on you simply use duck tape and gently wash area with warm water and soap.

Not only are they speedy go getters, throw hairs in the air that are incredibly irritating and can also leave a nasty bite, they also have this notorious habit of squirting faecal matter, essentially flinging their waste of predators. No one likes a face full of feces.

These evolutionary defence tactics make the Pink Toed Tarantula a resourceful creature.

As mentioned above ventilation is important for this particular species of tarantula due to the high humidity, fungus has been known to grow in their lungs and eventually kill these beautiful animals.

They make an excellent beginner species due to their easy diets, maintenance and animal husbandry care. With beautiful colourations and unique defences and personalities they’re a remarkable tarantula species to own.

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