Cats are one of the most popular pets for many pet lovers. This may be due to their playful personalities, affectionate behavior or adorable appearance. However, aside from being cute, cats do require proper care in order to stay healthy and content. Here are some general cat care tips that will help you learn how to take care of a cat.
Choosing your cat’s food is one of the most important decisions you can make regarding your cat’s health. There are many different cat food formulas available on the market today, which all may advertise as being the right type of diet for your cat. However, when choosing a cat food, it’s essential that you do not choose based on price alone. Low-quality cat food formulas can be very harmful to your cat’s health, resulting in expensive veterinary bills. Never feed your cat a formula that is corn-based, or that contains a high percentage of simple carbohydrates. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they will thrive when given a diet rich in meat-derived protein. A quick way to evaluate a cat food formula is to read the first five ingredients, which make up the bulk of the formula. For cats, it’s recommended that at least three or four of the first five ingredients are protein-based.
Cats are interactive animals, and will require constant entertainment in order to remain happy. There are many great cat toys available for purchase at choice aqua$ pet stores, which can help keep your cat entertained. If you are unsure of what type of toy to purchase, you may also simply purchase some catnip, which can be used to stuff homemade toys or cloth balls for your cat.
Veterinary care is incredibly important for cats, especially since many cats can develop serious health conditions. It’s best to keep up to date on your cat’s vaccinations, and have a checkup at least once every two months.
Litter box training a cat is fairly simple, since most cats have an instinctual desire to bury their waste. Place your cat’s litter box in a private area, where any residual odor will not bother the other members of your household. It’s recommended that you clean your cat’s litter box once per day, with a complete replacement of the litter in the box about once per week. You may also want to disinfect the box with a non-toxic cleaner to help control odor - See more
How to take care of a dog
It is best if you do a bit of research about how to take care of a dog before deciding to accept a dog as a member of your household. Caring for a dog involves a lot of responsibility, since you will be the sole provider for your dog’s social, dietary and health-related needs. You will also need to be prepared to train your dog, since this is also a very important part of understanding how to take care of a dog. Here is a general guide that will familiarize you with how to take care of a dog, as well as provide tips to help you keep your dog healthy.
Being aware of how to take care of a puppy requires a bit of a different approach than knowing how to take care of a dog. Puppies require special attention, since they are still in their “learning” stage. Encourage your puppy to interact with the world around them, and be open to new situations or environments. This is also known as “socialization”, and involves exposing your puppy to as many new things as possible. Socialization is a very important part of how to train a puppy, since it sets the foundation for future dog training. Most well-socialized puppies will be much easier to care for, since they tend to exhibit better behavior. It’s also important that you feed your puppy a special puppy-food diet for at least their first year. Growing puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs, and need to be fed accordingly. Just like knowing how to take care of a dog, knowing how to take care of a puppy requires that you do some research beforehand.
Knowing how to take care of a dog involves proper attention to your dog’s diet. Though it may be tempting to purchase a low-quality dog food formula that is inexpensive, this can negatively affect your dog’s health. Understanding how to take care of a dog means that you are accepting the responsibilities associated with proper dog care. It’s recommended that you feed your dog a high-quality, nutrient-rich dog food formula that is balanced enough to ensure proper digestion. Checking dog food reviews is an excellent way of picking a high quality dog food.
In general, the first five listed ingredients in a dog food formula will make up the “bulk” of the food. Be sure that at least two of the first five ingredients are derived from high-quality protein sources. It’s also best to avoid dog food that contains artificial preservatives, colors or chemical flavoring.
Part of knowing how to take care of a dog involves knowing how to train a dog. Dogs that are properly trained are much easier to manage, and can adapt more easily to new training programs. Proper dog training should ideally be started as soon as you bring a dog into your home. Understanding how to take care of a dog means that you will have to be sensitive to how quickly your dog can learn new commands. Different breeds of dogs have different levels of intelligence, and will learn at different speeds. The best way to be aware of how to take care of a dog in relation to training involves a lot of patience. Potty training in particular can be difficult, as some dogs need a bit of time to adapt to going to the bathroom outdoors.
Knowing how to take care of a dog also involves an adequate level of exercise. Each year, thousands of dogs experience obesity-related health problems. If you truly care about how to take care of a dog, it’s important that you incorporate exercise into your dog’s daily routine. Exercise can be a brisk 30 minute walk, or an extended session of playtime.
Another essential part of knowing how to take care of a dog involves attention to your dog’s grooming. Most dogs will need to be groomed at least twice per week, though some long-haired dogs may require more frequent grooming. Be sure to check your dog’s eyes, ears teeth and nails during the grooming process. In some cases, early identification of a health problem can save your dog from a serious medical condition. Decent grooming equipment can be found at any discount pet supplies store.
Proper veterinary care is extremely important when understanding how to take care of a dog. It’s best if you bring your dog in for veterinary checkups at least once per month. If you’re worried about costs, you may want to invest in pet insurance for your dog. Pet insurance can cover some or all of your veterinary bills, and will usually also cover emergency procedures. Many dog owners often underestimate how important veterinary care is for knowing how to take care of a dog.
NUTRITION- Improper feeding is a major cause of disease and death in pet birds.
This section describes general feeding recommendations for your pet bird. Ideally you should research the species you have chosen and learn about their specific needs. Each species has its own unique dietary and environmental needs. By knowing their habits in the wild, where they live and what they eat in their native habitat, you can better understand how to be more successful in keeping them healthy and happy in your home. You can obtain information by talking with successful reputable breeders and owners, and by reading books dealing with your type of bird.
DIET- Balanced diets are only achieved by offering a variety of foods. Remember that a bird's diet in the wild is whatever is available. Earthworms in the spring, berries in summer, buds of flowering trees in fall.
SEEDS- Historically the basic diet for many pet birds has been a variety of seeds. Some mixtures have been accepted as the more essential seeds and are sold commercially as finch, canary, parakeet, and parrot seed. This does not mean it is a natural food supply--only that if all of the different seeds in the mixture are eaten, it will sustain life.
It is important that all varieties of bird receive from 15-25 percent of their diets in the form of vegetables, fruits, and "treats." The smaller seedeaters (finches, canaries, etc.) should be given the lesser amount. The Conures, Amazons, and Cockatoos, somewhere in between, and the fruit-eaters (Lories, Toucans, and many Macaws) the greater amount.
Vegetables are a great source of protein and carbohydrate which tend to offset the higher fat content of some of the "favorite" seeds of many birds, such as sunflower and safflower seeds. Try a wide variety of vegetables like green and other beans, fresh or cooked corn, peas, broccoli, peppers, squash, cauliflower, potato, carrots, cooked spinach, beets, yams, sweet potatoes, etc.. Avoid iceberg lettuce, particularly in young birds. It has little or no nutritive value. Also some vegetables such as tomatoes tend to be acidic and should be avoided.
Fruits are an excellent source of carbohydrate and a moderate source of protein. They supply the bird with a readily digestible energy source, and are a valuable source of many vitamins and minerals. Fruits such as berries, grapes, papaya, and sometimes citrus fruits and apples tend to give birds what we call "functional" diarrhea. These fruits and berries are said to have a "cleansing" effect on their digestive tracts, but anything can be overdone. Offer these items once or twice weekly. Some fruits such as pineapple and most citrus fruits tend to be acidic, and also should only be fed in limited quantities.
Peaches, pears, and bananas have better nutritive value for birds and are less apt to cause diarrhea.
Yogurt, the all natural type with no additives, is an excellent source of protein and calcium.
Treats can be an excellent source of nutrition for birds. In addition, the pleasure of both bird and owner can be greatly enhanced. Do not hesitate to offer a variety of snacks, including cooked egg, toast or bread with peanut butter, graham crackers, rolls, low salt cheese, noodles, cookies, etc..
SOFT FOOD DIET
Some bird fanciers prefer to feed an all soft food diet, rather than use seed as part of the diet. Many diets have been developed which work well. One which will supply adequate nutrition is the following:
Mix equal portions of the following four groups:
1. Cooked whole grain rice
2. Cooked legumes (beans, peas, sprouts, etc.)
3. Cooked mixed vegetables
4. Dry dog or cat food
. No soft food should be left in the food dishes or cage for over 12 hours.
FOOD SELECTION- These facts must be considered when feeding. Food is selected by:
1. HABIT- which is instilled when the mother is feeding the young in the nest box.
2. APPEARANCE- more than taste and smell. A bird is apt to be suspicious of strange foods or other objects for a period of time or may never accept anything new placed in his cage.
1. Your bird requires adequate sources of the fat soluble vitamins A and D3.
2. Vitamin B Complex-- It is becoming more obvious that vitamin B complex should be supplemented in the diet.
3. Birds being treated with antibiotics also require a source of lactobacillus to replace the normal intestinal bacteria. This can be supplied by yogurt.
4.If your bird is receiving a properly balanced pelletted diet, you do not need to add extra vitamins to its food or water. Over supplementation with vitamins can be as dangerous, or worse than no supplementation at all.
5. If you do need to supplement with vitamins, use a type that goes on the food, not the water. Many vitamin supplements cause very high levels of bacteria to grow when the supplement is placed in the water. Good on the food supplements are Nekton and Nekton-S.
Minerals are an essential part of the daily diet. The best sources are: Cuttlebone, Mineral Blocks, Milk, Oyster Shells, Egg Shells, or a supplement specific for birds.
African Grey parrots have a higher requirement for Calcium in their diet which must be present in either the pelleted food, high calcium vegetables, or supplements.
Budgerigars ("parakeets") require Iodine supplementation to their diet to prevent thyroid dysplasia. One drop of Iodine solution weekly in the drinking water will satisfy this requirement.
Besides fresh water, other liquids may be offered. Some birds have a real fondness for nectars. Many birds like orange juice which may be offered in limited amounts. Milk is a very excellent food and can be added to drinking water. Remember, it must be changed the same day. We recommend using bottled water rather than tap water as the household plumbing can harbor bacteria that are of little concern to people, but quite dangerous to pet birds.
GRIT- Birds that hull their seeds do not require grit. Although they seem to enjoy picking at it, overeating grit can irritate and even obstruct the gastrointestinal tract. If grit is used, it should be provided in very small amounts. A few grains of grit a week is more than enough. Do not use sand paper or gravel paper on the bottom of your bird's cage, nor on the perches. We recommend a firm no-grit policy (exception is passerine birds such as finches and canaries).
HOW TO BROADEN A BIRDS DIET- Many birds have developed poor eating habits, and as a result have or are bordering on malnutrition. It may be difficult to overcome these bad habits, but persistence usually pays off. Do not try to starve your bird into eating new food. A small bird will die in 48 hours if it does not eat.
1. Begin with sweetening the water, and then after he has developed a "sweet tooth" add other nutrients such as juices, milk, and honey.
2. Introduce only small amounts of new food.
3. Try feeding hot foods. Try hot nuts, hot cereals, hot cheese and hot soup.
4. Mix new foods with the regular basic seed.
5. Place new foods below a mirror or adjacent to a favorite toy.
6. Try feeding outside the cage.
7. Change bird from ad-lib feeding to three 15-minute feeding periods.
8. Hand or spoon feed.
Be aware that variety in food in addition to being more nutritionally sound, also helps as it is a major source of mental stimulation for pet birds.
A, Consideration must be given to the cage, the surroundings and all activities in that area. Many birds in this area do well if kept outdoors as on a screened porch. The change to this type of environment must be made slowly. Remember to cover the cage if the temperature drops below 50 degrees.
B. LOCATION OF CAGE-- Except for the first week, when introducing your bird to a new environment, birds generally are the happiest and do their best in areas of activity. Place the cage on the porch or in the family or living room. Direct sunlight is stimulating and enjoyable to birds; care being taken not to overheat them on a summer day.
C. TEMPERATURE-- A healthy bird can tolerate a change of temperature of 10 to 15 degrees. Sick birds chill readily and need a room temperature of 80 - 90 degrees.
D. HUMIDITY-- An ideal humidity for a bird seems to be 30 - 50 %. Air conditioning does not come close to this ideal. A screened porch is perfect in warmer climates.
DANGERS--Consider these seriously:
Glass Mirrors Open windows
Open pans of water Unwashed fruits and vegetables Tropical plants
Overeating grit Long toe nails and beak Spoiled foods--moldy grain
Paddle fans Thread Paint fumes
Leg bands Burnt Teflon Carbon monoxide
Smoke Loud noises Overheating--sunstroke
Cats & other pets Leaded glass windows Cigarette butts
Alcohol Small amounts of insecticides or poison--especially aerosols
Any volatile material including cleaning agents, spray wax, hair spray, paint fumes, insecticides etc.
Droppings are one of the best indicators of your bird's health and reflect the digestive and urinary systems. Observe and count the number of droppings daily. The droppings are an instant guide to the amount eaten by the bird. If your bird begins to eat less, the number of droppings will decrease indicating a medical problem and he should be seen by a Veterinarian.
A. INTERNAL PARASITES
1. Include worms and protozoans.
2. A fecal specimen no more than 2 hrs. old for examination for large parasite eggs, and an immediately passed fresh stool to examine for protozoans are required to do a thorough parasite examination.
3. Uncommon in caged birds.
B. EXTERNAL PARASITES
1. Cnemidocoptic mange (scaly face / scaly leg ) is common on the face and legs of budgerigars("parakeets") and on the feet of canaries. It is confirmed by microscopic examination of a skin scraping.
2. Lice, red mites, and other forms of mites are found less frequently.
MENTALITY AND EMOTIONS
Birds have a personality, definite likes and dislikes, feelings and a surprising amount of sensitivity and emotions. Birds are very social in the wild. We need to create a lot of stimulation for them in our homes. A variety of toys which are placed in the cage a few at a time and rotated weekly should be present. A variety of food should be made available. (However make sure there is a part of their diet that is consistent -ideally the pellets. Daily interaction between you and your pet bird should be the norm. You can use the cleaning and feeding time to your advantage. You will be there doing it anyhow, so you should make it a fun experience. Let the bird out while you are preparing the food. Give it some paper to shred, talk to it, or do whatever it enjoys. Certainly the more time you spend with them the better they feel, and the more enjoyable pet they become for you. Some species, such as finches and canaries prefer to be kept in groups in larger cages where they may fly around and interact with other birds. These species do not require as much stimulation or other interaction with their human caretaker as the larger species.
It is difficult to locate any statistics on the life span of pet birds. This is due in large part to the recent advances in diet, husbandry, and Veterinary care available.
Finches 8 - 10 years
Canaries 10 - 15 years
Budgerigars ("parakeets") 10 - 15 years
Larger Psittacines 25 - 50 years or more
A. CARE OF BEAK-- Beaks grow continuously and are worn off by their normal eating habits and the interaction of the beaks. A budgerigar ("parakeet") beak grows 3 inches per year. At times, beaks must be trimmed.
B. CARE OF NAILS-- It is important to keep the nails trimmed short. Sandpaper perches are useless for this purpose and can cause disease of the feet.
C. CARE OF FEATHERS-- When feathers molt annually, no special care is needed. Feathers that become dirty or oily have to be bathed. This happens from smoke, dust and greasy cooking. Ragged-looking birds are sick and are affected with some deeper problem. Within two weeks of the loss of any feather, a few feathers should be replacing it. If baldness begins to occur, seek Veterinary assistance. Never use any ointment or other oily or greasy medication on your bird's feathers. This will cause it to be unable to regulate temperature properly.
D. CARE OF FEET--Foot infections occur in spite of many precautions. Be certain to keep perches clean, have at least one soft perch, vary the size of the perches, and if you notice any weight shifting, sores, or lameness - immediately seek Veterinary assistance.
E. CARE OF LEGS-- A leg band's purpose is for identification. They should be removed to prevent problems. Large birds can now be permanently identified using microchips without risking damage to the legs. Scales on a bird's legs and feet may thicken and form a hard - tight crust. These can be removed by applying a skin moisturizer and then working the scales off with the fingers or lifting them off with a forceps. String or lint can wrap around the leg or toe of a bird and cut off circulation. If you see discoloration of the leg or toes or a depression around the bird's leg - seek Veterinary assistance.
F. CARE OF SKIN--Since the skin is protected by feathers, no special care is needed. Most important though, is not to apply oil or grease to the skin. Any oil can cause heat retention and heat prostration.
G. CARE OF EYES, EARS AND NOSE-- A discharge from any of these areas indicates trouble. Slight crusting or wetness of the hairlike feathers above the nasal opening is not normal. Until the bird can be seen by a Veterinarian, the area should be kept clean. Wipe the area with a mild antiseptic solution. Do not apply anything oily, nor give proprietary medication before a diagnosis is made.
H. CARE OF THE UROPYGIAL, EAR AND ANAL GLANDS -- These should be checked annually by your Veterinarian. If the bird is pecking excessively at the top of the tail near the body, the uropygial gland may have to be carefully examined.
Once a bird has become an adult, the weight should never vary. Checking the weight occasionally, especially at the annual examination will give valuable information about your bird's health. Birds who eat excessive amounts of oil containing seed may become obese. Sick birds may lose weight. Learn to check your birds pectoral muscles frequently and be aware of any noticeable change in their size.
One of the main forms of expression for a pet bird is using its beak. This does not mean that biting should be allowed. On the other hand, neither does it mean that every time a bird puts its beak on you they are going to bite. As you become more familiar with your bird and its habits, you will be able to understand its moods. Biting is something you should deal with. If your bird is aggressively biting, talk to your Veterinarian, breeder, or members of a bird club to learn how to deal with it.
DETERMINATION OF SEX
This can be very difficult. In most instances, there is no need to know the sex of your bird. Some species have observable differences. Budgerigars have different color ceres. Males have a blue cere and females a brown or pink cere. Cockatiels have characteristic spots on the underside of the primary wing feathers of females and solid color on males. This can be difficult to determine on some color patterns, pearly for instance. Eclectus parrots have greatly different color patterns with females being red and males green. Most other species of psittacine birds are more difficult or impossible to determine sex by external appearance. In these species, sex can be determined either by surgical examination of the internal reproductive organs, of by chromosome analysis of newly forming feathers.
At some time or other, you may have to catch and hold your bird. Properly done, this will do no harm. for the inexperienced or beginner, the first step may be to lower the perches. With the obstructions removed, small birds may be caught with your hands, but larger birds should be covered with a towel and then picked up. Birds breathe by expanding their chest. This is why a bird cannot be held by its body, and must be restrained primarily by holding the head and neck tightly.
ALERTNESS IS THE KEY TO BIRD HEALTH
Birds hide their problems very effectively, and when they begin to obviously manifest their illness, they are already seriously ill. The bird that dies "suddenly" has probably been sick for some time and was not recognized as being abnormal. Birds are actually very hardy and tolerate problems as well as any other animal. If given a chance, birds live a long time. Because of this difficulty in detecting illness early, the following is recommended:
A. Observe closely for any signs of illness.
B. Take your bird to the Veterinarian annually for a check up. This will include a physical examination, a 24 hour dropping analysis and a blood test (total protein, packed cell volume, and white blood cell count estimate).
C. Watch for any of these signs of sickness:
1. Change in the character of the droppings or a decrease in the number or volume.
2. change in food or water consumption.
3. Change in attitude - generally observed as a decreased activity ( inactivity ), talking less ( or more poorly ), singing less, or no response to stimuli.
4. Change in bird's appearance or posture. A sick bird generally ruffles his feathers, begins closing his eyes in a sleepy fashion, and will be sitting low on the perch (droopy).
5. Any noticeable breathing while resting, heavy breathing after exertion, change in character of voice, and any respiratory sounds (sneeze, wheeze, or click).
6. Any enlargement -- even fat is abnormal in a bird.
STRESS IN CAGED BIRDS
Birds experience stress from the day they are born. Their dependence on the parents to provide them with proper diet, environment, and protection against enemies and weather is absolute. Any accident to the parents during this "weaning stage" would mean the certain death of the chicks. Graduating from this stage means that it must be taught by its parents to fly, find its own food including the killing of prey in some species.
The young bird is clumsy, usually hungry, and always afraid of its environment. It is also the time when many of these adolescent birds are captured and confinement begins. Confinement is always a stress to any young bird deprived of its parents, its nest, and freedom all at the same time. This confinement lasts until the next pickup from the native area which may be days or weeks, at which time they are transported over rough terrain under crowded conditions and with poor food and water supply to a holding area not much better in hygiene.
Then this impressionable bird is flown to an area where it is stuck in quarantine for a period of thirty to sixty days. It is subjected to great physical and emotional stress. The birds are released from quarantine and sold either to large pet shop owners , bird wholesalers, or to jobbers, who in turn sell them to smaller pet shops, who in turn sell them to you. Then the ultimate comes, when a bird is sold to an individual and, here again, is another change of environment, hopefully to a desirable one. This is the bird's first exposure to affection, good nutrition, some degree of solitude, and a clean environment.
Is it any wonder at this point that their feathers are broken and dull. They are fearful, defensive, and confused. They are lucky to be alive.
Just one more thing is required, and that is a trip to the Veterinarian for a complete physical examination, detection of disease, trimming of nails, wings, and beak properly, removal of any leg bands, and gaining information and literature regarding proper diet, caging, perching, vitamin and mineral supplements, and parasite control.
Have patience with this very stressed, new member of your family, he doesn't know that this is his lucky day!
The above information depicts the situation for imported birds. Many of the undesirable steps now can be avoided by purchasing a domestically raised bird. The cost may be higher, but your problems are likely to be much fewer. Remember, however, that even domestically raised birds undergo many stressors before they reach their final destination. They should also be thoroughly examined by a Veterinarian soon after purchase.
RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS OF BIRDS
After nutrition related diseases, respiratory disease is the most common disease of birds. Birds have a unique respiratory system. There is no diaphragm and so the majority of air movement results from movement of the chest and abdominal walls. Remember this when holding your bird to give medication of any type. Excessive pressure on the chest and abdomen may produce respiratory arrest in the bird!!
Signs of respiratory diseases may range from ruffled feathers, failure to talk, loss of appetite, to tail bobbing. Discharges from the cere or mouth, and sneezing, tail bobbing, or flicking the tail down indicates severe respiratory impairment. This bird should not be picked up under any conditions by inexperienced handlers. Most respiratory diseases in a bird are far advanced by the time that the owner recognizes it.
Examination includes observation of breathing habits, palpation of the sternal musculature to give an idea of the duration of the disease, and listening with a stethoscope. Any discharge present in the opening to the cere should be cultured to define antibiotic therapy, and the mouth thoroughly examined for swelling or discharges. It is not uncommon to place the bird in an incubator for an hour or two prior to handling to ease the stress and to improve the lot of the bird. Observation of the bird after replacement in his cage is one of the Veterinarian's greatest tools in determining its reaction to this stress, and the prognosis for treatment. Once the bird is stabilized, it is extremely important to evaluate chest radiographs. Many times the radiographs reveal abdominal masses pressing on the respiratory system. A blood sample is vital to indicate the length of time the bird has had the disease, its severity, and other organ system diseases present, and therefore aid in determining the diagnosis and prognosis.
Most emergencies in companion birds involve gastro-intestinal or respiratory diseases, trauma, or bleeding. Cage birds tend to hide signs of disease, thus making apparent sudden onset of illness common. Small birds such as budgerigars ("parakeets") and finches should pass 40 or more droppings daily if they are eating enough for maintenance. Decreased dropping counts indicate inadequate food intake. Normal droppings consist about equally of urates and fecal material; abnormally high urate levels may indicate kidney disease.
Bile causes greenish discoloration of droppings. Bits of tissue or blood indicate severe intestinal inflammation, and undigested seeds are a sign of gut hypermotility. Nasal or ocular discharge or conjunctivitis may indicate localized upper respiratory inflammation or deep - seated respiratory disease. The bird's reaction to light and heat as well as the character of respiration should be determined. Examination of birds which can perch and are eating can usually be postponed until the next day.
Trauma following collision with an object is seldom immediately fatal; usually the bird's condition deteriorates as inflammation develops for 6 - 8 hours. Trauma should therefore be suspected when the bird has been in good health, has no visible signs of respiratory or enteric disease, and is in good flesh. For trauma involving the brain, prednisolone or dexamethasone is given to reduce shock and control inflammation. A bird maimed by an animal is also given antibiotics and fluids since , wound contamination and fluid loss are almost certain.
Fractured legs and wings are usually held abnormally, and should be examined and treated as soon as possible. Antibiotics should be given in compound fracture cases, with steroids as needed to alleviate shock. If bleeding occurs, apply simple compression or, if this is impractical, ice, Kwik stop, or flour. Keep the bird warm, calm, and immobile. If much blood has been lost, the bird should be given steroids, antibiotics, and fluids. If bleeding from a broken feather or feather follicle cannot be controlled by compression for 10 -- 15 minutes, the bird should be brought to the hospital while compression is maintained.
1. Foods that contain large amounts of salt; such as saltines, potato chips, popcorn, etc.
2. Foods that contain large amounts of sugar; such as candies, syrup, etc..
3. Foods that contain large amounts of fat or oil; such as meat trimmings, avocado, etc..
4. Any food containing a stimulant or depressant; like caffeinated sodas, alcohol, etc.
Furthermore, you should exercise common sense in choosing your pet's food. As a general practice do not feed parts of food items that are not commonly eaten by people. For example do not feed the pits of fruit such as peaches, plums, or cherries as these contain cyanide and therefore are toxic. Another example is the tops of carrots, these contain very large amounts of nitrates which also is toxic if enough of them are consumed. Also, when feeding fresh foods do not leave them in the cage so long that they spoil or grow large numbers of bacteria. If you think about whether the food would be safe for you to eat after being left out for a period of time and apply that same reasoning to your pet bird's food, you usually will be safe. Do not put a food that will spoil in the cage and leave it there all day long, your bird will get sick just like you would if you left dinner on the table all night and ate the food off the plate for lunch the next day.
A cozy, comfortable, clean cage is the best thing you can do for your bird. Setting up the right environment for your bird will not only make your bird happy, it will make it easier for you to maintain the bird cage.
First of all get an idea about the species you are trying to adopt as a pet.With that idea of species, you can justify the bird cage size. If you are going for a large bird, then the cage should be long in width and tall enough so that the bird can play, fly from one end to other and get sufficient area to spread its wings.
If your bird is small in size, there is no need of a big cage and some species of birds like parakeets, finches, canary’s love small and compact cages. But, other species of small birds get along well with the cages which are taller than its width.
Points to remember
A. Cages should be as long as or longer than they are tall. Birds tend to fly lengthwise, not up and down, and we can make them feel more comfortable with a long cage. Tall cages are fine for canaries, but certainly do not meet the needs of budgerigars("parakeets"), cockatiels, or other hookbill birds.
B. Perches in cages are best made of natural material. The ideal perch would be a branch from a citrus or fruit tree, oak, manzanita, or eucalyptus tree with the bark still intact. One need not worry about mites if the perch is first sprayed with any common mite spray available at your local pet shop. They are easily replaced, and are excellent nutrition and excellent exercise. Never use sandpaper covered perches as this will irritate the feet. Try to have perches of several different diameters to avoid pressure sores from continual pressure in one part of the foot.
C. The bottom of the cage should be covered with wax paper or newspaper or an appropriate litter material designed for birds. This makes an excellent bottom cover, as it does not spread moisture all over the cage from a single accident or dropping. Furthermore, the paper can be lifted out daily, allowing one to estimate the number of droppings per day and thus monitor the bird's appetite. Do not use sandpaper on the cage floor.
D. No gravel or mineral grit should be used in any cage used by a pet hookbilled bird. Canaries, doves, and finches may have grit if desired mixed in food at the rate of one teaspoon per pound.
E. Cuttlebone should be placed in all cages with the soft side in. This means the flaky side out where the bird can get to it and the hard shell near the outside of the cage. The cuttlebone should be placed at head height, within easy reach for the bird.
F. Aluminum cages are more suited to today's bird care than painted cages, and will give much longer service, well compensating for their cost. Be careful to avoid old painted cages or imported cages that may contain lead based paint since this is toxic to your bird. Galvanized cages may also contain lead as do many soldered cages.
G. SEED AND WATER CUPS-- One large cup is needed for water. Usually one large cup and at least 3-4 other small (treat) cups are needed for food. Wash the water and fresh food containers frequently.
H. TOYS-- These depend on the type of bird. For some birds they are very important and may help prevent feather picking. Do not use small weighted toys for large birds. Avoid toys that are potentially hazardous. Toes or beaks may become caught in small holes such as those present on jingle bells.
Fish: Diseases and Pests
Booklet No. 535
Fisheries and Aquaculture: FACS - 3
II. Diseases of Fish
III. Pests of Fish
Like all other organisms, fish also get sick and is affected by various kinds of diseases and pests, especially in the intensive and commercial fish culture, resulting in huge loss to the farmers. Some of the diseases are epidemic and contagious and therefore, special precautions are needed to prevent them. Therefore, some basic theoretical knowledge about the common diseases and their management practices is essential for the growers to take precautions as well as to treat the diseases. This knowledge is especially needed for the common people and the social workers who are promoting fish farming as an income generating programme among the people.
Dr. K.T. Chandy, Agricultural & Environmental Education
Fishes are infected by many disease causing organisms such as virus, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, and internal parasites like tape worms, crustaceans etc. Besides these, there are problems caused by harmful insects, voracious fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. I have tried to enumerate the different organisms causing diseases to the fishes, just to give an idea of the various sources and causes of diseases. Each disease is very complicated and different from the other. Therefore, dealing with fish diseases is not as simple as people usually think.
The fish farmers are usually poor and illiterate, so they are unable to understand that there are millions of micro- organisms which cause various diseases to the fishes, because they cannot see these micro-organisms. However, there is a need to educate them in these complicated matters. It is not only the fish farmers but also all the social workers who are working among the poor farming people, need to be educated in the basics of fish farming and fish diseases. Quite often they prepare a project on fish farming for the people without knowing anything about the fish farming and finally end up in utter failure with bitter experience.
It is not possible to describe all the diseases that occur to the fishes as there are too many in number. Only the most common diseases, that are affecting the Indian and Chinese carps, a few diseases affecting the eels and catfishes are de- scribed here. It must be clear to the reader that an ordinary illiterate person normally cannot identify all the diseases of human beings and animals however much he tries to educate himself on those diseases so also a fish farmer will be seldom able to identify correctly each disease. This booklet never intends to make anyone a specialist in fish diseases, but it is meant to introduce a common man into the whole world of fish diseases:
II. Diseases of Fish
As already mentioned, diseases of fishes are caused by various types of micro-organisms like virus, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, etc. Hence, the best way to study them is to study under the classification of causal organisms.
A. Viral diseases
Virus is considered to be the lowest form of life and the link between the living and non-living. Some of the important viral diseases of fish are briefly described here.
1. Spring viremia of carp (SVC)
Spring viremia of carp is also known as infectious dropsy of carp (IDC). This is caused by a virus belonging to the Rhabdovirus group with ribonucleic acid (RNA) structure and is called Rhabdovirus caprio. It occurs in the spring when the water temperature is raising (13 to 200 C) but it occurs most commonly when the temperature of the water is 170 centi- grade. It is noticed that the outbreak ceases when the temperature exceeds 200 centigrade. This disease usually occur in fish which are to one year old. It spreads fast and the mortality ranges between 80 to 90 % in, 2 to 3 weeks time.
This disease is common among the carp in Europe and fortunately, it is not yet reported in our country. Because the virus cannot survive in temperatures above 20oC and our country mostly falls within the tropical and subtropical climates. The affected fish show darkening of their body, and then tend to assemble at the water inlet. They exhibit sluggish breathing and finally tilt to one side. In the advanced stage of disease, symptoms like abdominal distension, protrusion of the eyes, reddening and swelling of the anus, anaemia and haemorrhagic spots in the gills are seen. Various internal organs like intestine, spleen, kidney, etc, show swelling and degradation.
Scientists are of opinion that IDC is often mixed with bacterial disorders. However use of antibiotics like chloramphenicol, streptomycin and oxytetracycline in the fish breeding ponds is found to be effective. The antibiotics are better, if given through the artificial feed or through a bath or through injection. The dosage depends on the strength of the medicine and as per manufacturers instruction. The farmer should seek the help of specialists on fish diseases.
2. Swim bladder inflammation (SBI)
It is caused by SBI virus belonging to the Rhabdovirus group with Deoxy ribo Nucleic Acid (DNA) chromosome structure. This is also a common disease in the Europe. Usually, young fishes up to two months are infected more and the mortality could reach 100 per cent. In the grown up fishes the incidence of this sickness is rare. Unlike the SVC/ IDC this disease occur at medium temperatures. The suitable temperature range for the replication SBI virus is found to be between 15 –28o C and no growth takes-place above 33°C and below 5° Centigrade.
In the initial stages the inflammation occurs in the wall tissue of the swim bladder, especially at the bottom of the swim bladder walls. Gradually, bleeding spots appear and brown or black spots appear leading to necrosis and the swim ' bladder is destroyed. By this time the infection would have extended to the other internal organs also.
Administration of antibiotics either by injection or orally through feed is found to be effective to control this disease. A dose of 40 mg of chloramphenicol per kilogram weight of the fish either as abdominal injection or orally through feed is found to be effective. In the case of yearlings 3 -4 administrations lasting for 10 days, and at 5-8 day intervals 20 -30 mg of methylene blue per individual is reported to be useful. For two-year old fish 2-4 administrations of 35-40 mg and for adult fish administration of food for 3 days in which 3 gm per kg of dry feed followed by feed without drug and the cycle being repeated three times.
3. Viral renal disease of eels
The virus is identified as EV-E virus but to which group it belongs is not yet confirmed. This disease is particularly affecting the eels. It causes inflammation mainly on the gills and kidneys and hence is called "gill kidney in11ammation". Eventually the inflammation leads to necrosis and degeneration of these organs and death of the eels.
Fortunately, so far this disease is not yet reported in our country. Providing antibiotics through the feed as mentioned in the previous diseases described is probably the best way to control this disease.
4. Channel catfish viral disease
This disease is mainly affects the catfish and hence it is called catfish virus belonging to Herpes virus which has the DNA structure of chromosomes. It usually affects the finger- lings of less than four months old during the period between June to September when the temperature exceeds 230 centigrade.
The affected fish exhibit abnormal swimming patterns, circling on their sides, exhibiting convulsions, sinking to the bottom of the pond and finally floating on the surface of the water and die. They exhibit abnormal distension and protrusion of the anus in the terminal stages. The disease is also characterized by the protrusion of eyes and extreme fading of gills.
Treatment with antibiotics as mentioned in the previous diseases is found to be effective besides the prophylactic measures like cleanliness and proper maintenance of the pond.
5. Pox disease of carps
The virus causing the pox disease is identified as Carp pox virus belonging to a group of virus called DNA Herpes- virus. This is also called papilloma disease since it is characterized by the dense formation of papilloma in various sites on the trunk, head, and fins of carp fish. The papilloma are white or pink in colour.
The disease does not seem to be fatal however, it affects the growth and development of the fish. The virus is not yet isolated and hence its preventive and curative measures are not finalized. However, administration of antibiotics already mentioned through feed is found to be effective.
6. Lymphocystis disease
It is fairly certain that Lymphocystis is caused by virus. Though it is commonly occurring in the wild fish the cultivated fishes are also affected by it. However it is not reported to be really fatal.
Small blister-like swellings appear scatteringly or in clusters on the surface of the trunk, head, fins and other parts of the body. The disease occur in high temperatures (summer months) and automatically disappear when the temperature becomes less.
Antibiotics may be used at the beginning of the infection. However, proper sanitation and other prophylactic measures are necessary to control the incidence of the disease.
Proper feeding through the natural and artificial feeds is also a necessary element in the prevention and control of this disease.
B. Bacterial diseases
There are a number of bacterial diseases occurring among the cultivated fish. The common ones occurring in India are briefly described here.
1. Tail and fin rot
As the name indicates this disease is characterized by the white margins on the fins and putrefaction of the fins and tails. All the Indian major carps such as catla, rohu and mrigal are susceptible to this disease. It is caused by the bacteria called Myxobacters and Aeromonas sp.
This disease occurs mostly among the young ones during summer months. Besides the high temperature high organic material settled at the bottom of the pond is also a predisposing condition for the outbreak of this disease.
As curative measure feed the fishes with a feed mixed with either the antibiotic terramycin or sulphadiazine at the rate of 100 mg per kg of feed. The fishes are also given common salt bath or formalin bath in 3% salt solution. Dipping in a solution of 250 ppm potassium permanganate for , two minutes is also found to be effective.
2. Eye disease
This disease is more common among the catla fish. The eyes look reddish the lens become cloudy affecting the movement and feeding. Eventually the fish become weak and die resulting in poor production.
The treatment for this disease is the same as those pre-scribed for the previous bacterial disease namely the salt water bath, antibiotics and dip in a solution of potassium permanganate.
3. Dropsy disease
Dropsy disease is characterized by the accumulation of water in the body cavity or scale pockets. It is mainly because of the dysfunction of the kidney. Excessive accumulation of the organic matter is considered to be one of the factors causing the occurrence of this disease. It is caused by the bactcria called Aeromonas species. This disease is common during the summer months.
The treatments are the same as those prescribed for the above bacterial diseases. General sanitation and removal of excessively accumulated organic matter are additional help in controlling this disease.
The ulcers commonly occur among the Indian carps catla, rohu and rnrigal during the summer months and it is caused by some unidentified bacteria, Ulcers are formed on the body of the fishes. These ulcers vary in sizes from pimple like structures. to very conspicuous sores.
Besides contamination from other affected fishes excessive accumulation of putrefied organic matter at the bottom of the ponds and canals is a favourable Condition for the incidence of this disease.
Besides general sanitation and removal of excessive organic matter treatments prescribed for the other bacterial diseases are administered for this disease also. However, treatments should be done at the beginning of the incidence of the disease.
5. Columnaris disease or reddish blotches
Columnaris disease is characterized by the reddish bruises, oozing of blood and formation of clots at the posterior part of the fish. Though all the members of the carp family are affected by this disease silver carp, rohu and catla are found to be more susceptible. The causal organism is still to be identified and named.
Unlike other bacterial diseases described so far this disease occur mostly in the post winter months. Besides excessive accumulation of the decomposed organic matter higher stocking density is also a reason for the incidence of this disease.
The treatments are same as those prescribed for the other bacterial diseases besides the general sanitation and prevention of excessive accumulation of the organic matter.
C. Fungal diseases
These diseases are caused by various organisms belonging to fungi family. There are many fungal diseases affecting the fishes in the commercial culture. Only the important and more relevant ones are discussed here.
This is also known as "water mold disease" or "aquatic fungus disease". This is caused by a group of fungi belonging to Saprolegnia mold. The hyphae of the mold grow extensively giving the appearance of cotton like growth on the outer tissue of the body of the fish and can be clearly seen by any body. Several species of this fungus are known to cause the disease showing the main symptom of cotton like structures.
Almost all the species of fishes are affected by this disease. High amount of decaying organic matter settled at the bottom of the pond is an addition cause for the incidence of this disease. A bath of 5% solution of common salt is found to be eftectivein controlling this disease. By treating the pond with Malachite green at the rate of 0.1 gm per litre of water is another method of controlling the disease. A bath of 0.5 gm of copper sulphate per litre of water or one gm of potassium permaganate per litre of water is another alternative to the bath at common salt.
Branchiomyces is also called gill rot from the symptom seen in the fishes. Almost all the species are affected by this disease. The blood vessels are blocked due to the disease, leading to the death of the fishes. It is caused by the fungus called Branchimyces. Accumulation of highly decayed organic matter at the bottom of the pond is also said to be the,.
reason for the incidence of this disease.
Addition of lime at the rate of 150 kg per ha and bath to the infected fishes in 3-5 % solution of sodium chloride for 3-4 minutes are also found to be effective in controlling this disease.
D. protozoan diseases
Protozoa are microscopic and unicellular organisms found every where. Some of these are pathogenic and some are nonpathogemc.. Numerous protozoan parasites live on the bodies of the fish causing various types of diseases. They attack the skin both on the surface and underneath, the gills and later on spread to the other organs. Some of the common protozoan diseases are described here.
1. Gill spot disease
Gill spot disease usually occur during the post monsoon and winter months. The young ones 'of catla fish are more susceptible to this disease. The exact causal organism is called Thelohane/lus catlae.
The affected fishes are seen with white cysts slowly spreading over to the gills and other parts of the body. The growth is retarded. Excessive mucus secretion from gills and irregular growth of gills epithilium are also observed.
Higher rate of stocking, general weakness due to loss of appetite or lack of feed availability in winter and .he presence of the spores of the causal organisms in the pond are the factors encouraging the incidence of this disease.
Dipping in 2 -3 % salt solution for 3 -4 minutes and pond treatment with a mixture of malachite green at the rate of 0.1 mg per litre of water and formaldehyde at the rate of 25mg per litre of water are the recommended control measures. Liming of pond for sanitation helps in controlling the disease. Proper feeding of the fishes is necessary to prevent as well as cure this disease.
2. Scale and body spot disease
The scale and body spot disease occur during pre/post and winter months mostly to the young ones of mrigal and rohu. It is caused by the protozoa called Myxobolus mrigalae and rohitae. The affected fishes show white cysts embedded in the scales and body surface leading to emaciation, degeneration of the scales and ulcer formation,
The presence of the spores of the protozoa, the excessive deposition of the decaying organic matter and the lack of proper feed are the aggravating conditions for the incidence of this disease.
The treatment for this disease is the same as those pre- scribed for the first protozoan disease.
Trichodinosis is a ciliate protozoan disease affecting all the Indian and Chinese carps during the post monsoon and winter months. Excessive secretion of mucus from gills and body, pale gills clubbed or worn out are some of the symptoms observed in the affected fishes.
The treatments for this disease are the same as those prescribed for the other protozoan diseases already described.
Chilomastosis is a disease caused by a group of organisms belong to phylum protozoa and class mastigophora. There are many types of mastigophora. They parasitize on different parts of the body and cause diseases. They can be prevented or eradicated by giving the same treatment explained for other types of protozoan diseases.
Ciliates are protozoans having hair like structures on their body, called cilia. The cilia are used for transportation, feeding, sensing, protecting etc. There are many types of ciliates which cause various .types of protozoan diseases to the fishes.
Coccidia are parasitic protozoans usually residing in the alimentary canal of the fishes and disturb the proper functioning of the digestive system thus digestion and absorption of the food materials. There are many species of coccidia causing various types diseases to the fishes.
Myxosporidiosis is the name used for a number of sick-nesses caused by a number of organisms belonging to the protozoa and its subdivisions. They cause various types of diseases to the fishes.
8. Microsporidia diseases
These are diseases caused by microsporidians which parasitize on the fishes. From the name itself we can understand that they are spore producing organisms to multiply themselves. Their infestation results in various types of diseases.
E. Helminth disease
Helminths are worm like organisms causing diseases to the fishes. Helminths can be round and long or flat and long. Trematoda diseases are caused by flat helminths or platyhelminths. The important helminth diseases are dactylogyrosis- gyrodactylosis, black spot and ligulosis.
1. Dactylogyrosis and Gyrodactylosis
The name of the disease and the name of the organism are the same. Both the Indian and Chinese carps are affected by these diseases. They infest the fishes during the post monsoon and winter months. Fading of the normal colour, dropping and folding of fins, feebleness and frequent surfacing are the symptoms observed. Excessive secretion of the mucus and damage of the epithelium of the gills are also observed.
Higher stocking rate and loss of appetite during winter are aggravating factors for the incidence of this disease.
Dipping treatment of the infected fishes for 3-4 minutes in formalin dissolved at the rate of 200 -250 mg in a litre of water or in 2-3% salt solution can control the disease.
2. Black spot
Black spot usually affects the Indian carps and is caused by the organism called Diplostomum spp and Dilostomulum spp. They usually infest the catla fishes during the post winter months. Black cysts are found allover the body of the fish. Excessive secretion of the mucus from the gills is noticed. The infected fish show signs of irritability and tendency to frequent surfacing.
This disease can be controlled by giving a bath to the infected fishes in 3-5 % solution of salt or in 200 ppm tormalin solution. Eradicatition of molluscan population tram the pond vicinity reduces the incidence of the disease.
Ligulosis is a helminth disease affecting the catla fishes. The infected fishes show abnormally enlarged abdomen and dark coloured body, Birds around the ponds is an aggravating factor for the spread of this disease, The causal organisms spread through these birds especially through their droppings. Therefore control of these birds itself is a means of controlling this disease.
4. Tape worms
The nature and functioning of tape worms is familiar to all. It is a deadly parasite in the sense that once it is infested it cannot get rid oft' easily as it can hide its microscopic head in the tissue of the host even if the body segments are detached.
F: Crostacean diseases
Crustaceans are the organisms with segmented body and jointed legs. Some of these are parasites on the fish causing diseases to the fishes. Argulosis, Lernaeosis and Ergasilosis are the three important crustaean diseases that infest the fishes.
Argulus sp is a crustacean organism affecting the Indian and Chinese carps during the summer and pre-monsoon months. The organism attaches itself to the body of the fish causing irritation and as a result we can notice rubbing behaviour of the fish, trying to get rid of the irritating organism. Continued infection leads to emaciation and pigmentation on the body surface. Excessive deposition of decayed organic matter at the bottom of the pond is an additional cause for the infestation of the disease.
Hence prevention of deposition of decayed organic matter is a prerequisite to control the disease. Pond treatment with gamrnaxine at the rate of 0.2 mg/litre of water or bath in 3% salt solution of infected fishes for 3-5 minutes are the measures that can control this disease.
Lemaeosis disease is caused by Lernae sp which affect the Indian carps. The incidence of this disease is found to be common in the summer months. The body of the infested fishes is covered with pin like white bodies allover. There will be excessive secretion of the mucus. Due to severe infection the gills may be damaged.
As in the case of other diseases described excessive deposition of the decayed organic material is one of the causes of infestation by this organisms.
The treatments for this disease is same as those pre- scribed for the other crustacean diseases.
Ergasilosis is a crustacean disease caused by Ergasilus sp and occurs mostly in the summer and winter months. The infected fishes appear restless, frequently coming to the surface and fading of the normal colour is seen. Excessive secretion of mucus and the gills becoming pale are other symptoms observed in the infested fishes. This disease also is encour- aged, as we have seen in other diseases, by the excessive loading of the pond bottom with highly decayed organic material.
This disease can be controlled by the same treatments as those prescribed for the other crustacean diseases.
G. Nematode diseases
Nematodes are microscopic type of worms that are found in the soil, plants and animals. Some nematodes live on fishes as parasites. Nematodes which parasitises on fish are divided into two: those which use fish as the final host and those which use fish as the intermediate host. Majority of the first ones resides in the alimentary canal while some in the gills, eye sockets, body cavity, muscles etc. So far the problems due to infestation of nematodes have not come up to any significant level. However, the farmers should be aware of the existence of such organisms that are harmful to the fishes.
H. Environmental diseases
The physical and chemical characteristics and general condition of water, temperature, amount of dissolved oxygen, amount of decayed organic matter accumulated etc. are the environmental factors that contribute to the growth and well being of the fishes positively or negatively.
If the amount of dissolved oxygen is less then the fishes show stress by gasping for air at the surface of the water.
If there is excessive accumulation of highly decaying organic matter then as we have already seen a number of diseases occur.
If the water is muddy or turbid the sunrays will not reach the bottom of the pond and the growth of plankton will be affected.
Similarly, if the water is too acidic or alkaline it will affect the fishes. For example, if the pH of the water is below 5.5 it becomes toxic to most of the fishes. And it the pH is at or below 5.00 mortality may start. There will be excessive secretion of the mucus, the body will be covered by a thin whitish film and the gills turn brownish in colour. Ponds with such low pH should be treated with 500 kg calcium carbonate (lime) per hectare. As far as possible run off water or water from the melted snow should not be allowed to enter the pond.
If the water is too alkaline (PH above 9.0) then also it is dangerous for the fish. The pH should be brought down to normal or slightly alkaline by the application of gypsum at the rate of about 250 to 500 kg per ha depending on the pH value of the pond.
Excessive shading, periodic flooding by the run off water, incoming of sea water into the pond, excessive drought and water scarcity are some of the other environmental factors that adversely affecting the health of the fish.
I. Nutritional diseases
Artificial feeding is the main source of feed for the fishes cultured in ponds. Over feeding as well as under feeding will cause diseases and mortality among the fish. In certain fishes over feeding results in Lipoid hepatic degeneration characterized by a yellow-brown colour of the liver. Treatment includes avoiding over feeding.
Entritis is a feeding disease. If we press the abdomen of the affected fish a yellow-red liquid will come out through the anus.
The feed should be balanced to supply all the essential nutrients to the fish in their proper quality and quantity. The feed should be distributed regularly at different locations close to the bank of the pond and ensure that all the fishes get sufficient feed and at the same time no excess feed is supplied at a time to avoid chances of overfeeding. For more details about feeding of the fish consult Booklet No. 525 on "Fish Feeding".
III. Pests of Fish
As for all the living beings so also for the fishes there are several natural enemies which are called in general pests.
Some of them are insects, amphibians, reptiles, bird, mammals and even fishes themselves. Among them some are permanent enemies (of eggs, fry, and adults) while others are occasional enemies and those competing for feed. However, they are described here under insects, amphibians, voracious fish, reptiles, birds and mammals.
The most note worthy among the handful insects are the water beetles, water bugs and dragon flies. They attack the eggs and fry. They also compete for feed. In some insects, only larvae are harmful while in other both the larvae and adults are handful.
a. Water beetles
Water beetles are 'found abundant in pond with lot of aquatic plants. The great diving water beetles is the most important among them. The adults of these beetles eat on the fry and are very voracious in nature. The larvae suck in the eggs and small try. They can do a lot of harm in the nursery ponds. The adults of black beetles, another harmful beetle, being vegetarians are not dangerous to the fishes however
their larvae are voracious eaters of eggs and fry.
As a preventive measure do not place nursing ponds under water more than 15 days before stocking in order so that harmful larvae have no time to develope. Secondly clean up swamps and grassy ditches in the neighbour hood of the fish farm.
b. Water bugs
Water bugs are of several types. They are harmful to the fishes at varying degrees: some eating up the eggs, some fry etc. But they are in real competitors for feed. Cleaning up of all aquatic weeds regularly will control the water bugs.
The nymphs of dragon flies are aquatic, though the adults fly in the air, and they can eat up eggs and small fry. Yearly drying of the pond is the best way to control the nymphs of the dragon flies.
The larvae and adult of the amphibians are harmful as predetors and competitors of feed. Frogs are the most harmful among the amphibians to fish. Some of the species of the frogs live on the fry while the tadpoles mostly eat on the eggs.
The adults and the tadpols can be scooped out using a scooping net. They also can be destroyed by quicklime.
Reptiles especially the crocodiles can destroy the eggs, fry and even the adult fishes of bigger size.
Kingfisher, grey heron, duck, swans, water hens and other water bird are predators of fish. Some of them prey on fry, some on eggs, some on the small and medium size fish and they do the harm at various degrees. These birds could be chased away using appropriate birds scarers or could be caught on suitable bird traps.
Otters (Lutra lutra), musk rats, brown rats, water rats and water shrew are some of the mammals that prey on the fishes. They live in the pond area in burrows on the sides of the pond. These burrows themselves are dangerous to the ponds. Several of them destroy or feed particularly on eggs and fry while others feed on adult fish. Among them the others live only on fish and they can do great harm. Use locally available methods to trap and eradicate the mammals.
6. Voracious fishes
By nature, some fishes are more voracious which can be noticed from the way they eat: eating fast and greedily. When such fishes are grown along with the less voracious fishes the latter ones will be at a disadvantage of getting less feed for themselves.
7. Carnivorous fishes
Carnivorous fishes are those which prey on other fishes eggs, fries or growing or adult ones. In each locality there are several types of carnivorous fishes and the fish farmer should identify them using the local peoples knowledge. Catfish is a ubiquitous carnivorous fish which can do a lot of havoc to the cultivated fishes.
From the description of the diseases and pests of the fish certain things are very clear.
Excessive deposition of decayed organic matter at the bottom of the pond leads to the incidence of a number of diseases though organic matter is essential for the maintenance of the flora and fauna in the pond. Annual or biennial emptying of the pond and removing the excessively deposited organic matter and allowing the bottom of the pond to dry for at least 15 days is probably the most important preventive measures to control most of the diseases. Secondly, sanitation in the surrounding area of the pond should be maintained. Thirdly the fishes should be fed properly with feed balanced in all the nutrients. Both over feeding and under feeding are harmful. Fourth: ensure that no animal burrow the sides destabilizing the side walls of the pond. Fifth: maintain the optimum range of pH of the water in the pond. Sixth: use only eggs and fries from uncontaminated breeding stock or from reliable nurseries. Seventh: ensure that no wild fish enter the pond. Eighth periodic bath of the fish with 3-4% solution of salt for 3 -5 minutes is very effective. Therefore at the time of the construction of the pond itself facilities for such baths and treatments should be foreseen. Ninth, provide antibiotics along-with feed as a preventive measure to most of the bacterial diseases. Tenth, regular liming of the pond should be carried out. If these ten points are put into practice the fish farmer can make sure of a successful crop of fish.