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All about fish! Jessi invites Augusto on to talk about fish as pets and what caring for them looks like.

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 (00:00) to (02:00)

Jessi: Hi guys!  Welcome back to Animal Wonders.  For those of you who don't know, this is Augusto Castaneda.  He's the co-founder of Animal Wonders and also my husband.  Thanks for coming on today.

Augusto: Thank you.

J: A lot of you have been asking if I could do more episodes on fish, and since I'm not very experienced in the care of animals that live in the water, I thought it'd be a great idea to bring on someone who has spent a lot more time and effort learning about the care of fish.  


J: Alright, Augusto, I have some questions for you.  What is something that you would like people to know about caring for fish, like, in general?

A: The most important thing is learning anything and everything you can about the type of fish that maybe you want to get, whether it's freshwater or saltwater.  Read up on it and see if it's something that you can definitely dedicate some time to, and so if you can do both, learn, educate yourself, and take time to set up your aquarium and your system and devote time into cleaning and all these things.  It definitely goes a lot easier, better for you in the long run.

J: Would you say it's, they're an easy pet to take care of?

A: Uhh, I wouldn't say they're easy.  It varies, depending on whether you're freshwater, saltwater, what types of fish.  Some are more demanding than others.

J: What about fish that people think of as easy pets, like goldfish or bettas?

A: Goldfish and bettas are both beginner fish that most people start off with.  Goldfish can get a big size, so you wanna basically kinda plan for the future.  So sometimes you buy a goldfish that's so big.

J: Yeah.

A: And then they turn out to be this big, so depending on the type of goldfish, you know, 40 gallon, 30 gallon tank.  The rule is an inch of fish per gallon, but that's, like, a full-grown adult, you know, so if you have a one inch fish but it's gonna grow to be about twelve inches and you only plan for aquarium to house a one inch fish, then you're gonna run into trouble later on, so.

J: Sure, so no, no goldfish bowls?

A: Uh, no, I wouldn't recommend goldfish bowls.  So in a bigger tank, you can provide filters and just running water and bubblers, things like that that create some oxygen movement.  

 (02:00) to (04:00)

A goldfish bowl, you're kinda getting smaller surface area and less oxygen exchange, so that's why you see goldfish tending to go up, trying to get some air or other things and then going back down.  Goldfish tend to basically consume a lot and they also, since they're consuming a lot, they're going to the bathroom a lot, creating a lot of waste, which creates more work in terms of cleaning up the aquarium.  Bettas are also another beginner fish that most people tend to get.  The origin of the betta fish is basically paddy fields in Asia, so they bred over time those original bettas and have come up with these beautiful bettas that we see in the stores and so for those kind of bettas, even though they can live in a smaller space, it doesn't mean that they should live in a smaller space.  Like a 5 gallon aquarium or so is what I tend to like to have them in.  Usually the males are the ones that we see in the stores with the brightly colored fins and everything and they're very aggressive fish so you put two males together, they can definitely fight to the death.  So they're singularly housed unless you're trying to breed them and then you can add in a female but even then it, you know, you can't just add them in right away 'cause they might go after each other.  Most people, in terms of the goldfish we were talking about and the betta, they tend to overfeed.  For bettas, they only need to have 3-4 little pellets that they sell.  

J: Yeah.  I've seen those.

A: A day, not a lot, and goldfish as well.  When you're feeding them, most people tend to just put flakes on top.  Even though the goldfish can get it, they are also gulping in air, which can create buoyancy issues perhaps with certain types of goldfish.  What I like to do is put a flake food in a little water cup, mix it around, and then suck it in with a turkey baster and then just squirt it directly in the water so they don't risk swallowing some air.  

J: The air, yeah, that's interesting.  So what about people who don't want a goldfish or betta but they are interested in freshwater fish, like those really colorful tetras or mollies or they have this idea of setting up this whole ecosystem with live plants.  

 (04:00) to (06:00)

What are your thoughts on that?

A: I think that's (?~4:07), me personally, I love tropical freshwater fish and basically you can go in trying to create your own type of, kind of, ecosystem where let's say for me personally, I like the Amazon rainforest and there's certain tropical fish that come from there like the rams and little neon tetras that everyone usually sees.  For me, I'm trying to create that habitat, that ecosystem, so I'll get those kind of fish that will live there and also I try to create their environment as close as I can.  I basically try to create live plant aquarium for them, make it feel comfortable, just more natural on those types of fish.

J: So freshwater sounds challenging in and of itself, but I have a lot of friends that want to do saltwater aquariums, too.  Is that more challenging? 

A: I would say it is.  You definitely have to have a lot of experience to get there.  Again, it takes just a lot of studying, not just studying, but maybe going to your local fish store, asking questions, going on the internet and watching videos about how to get things started.  It is a little bit more expensive just because you need more equipment, you're dealing with salt, so you have to provide salt and, you know, for the mixture.  There's stores that definitely sell salt already pre-made, but that's more cost effective, from my experience, to just mix your own salt and do it that way, and also the water, you know, you want to provide not just tap water, but like RO water, reverse osmosis water, works really well for starting a saltwater tank.  

J: If someone's really interested in having a fish as a pet, where would you direct them to get more information so that they can, they can provide that animal a really good home?

A: I would definitely go to your local, you know, fish store, if you have a fish store and ask them.  They're definitely the people that have the most experience.  Not a lot of places have just solely fish stores, they have, you know, pet stores that carry fish, so that's another good place and usually ask for someone that has a lot of experience with fish so you get kinda like, one on one, kinda question time and there's fish magazines out there that you can purchase and read as well as some great beginner books out there as well.  

 (06:00) to (07:43)

My last bit of advice, you know patience is super important and that every aquarium is different, right?  You're a curating a world and everyone's world is gonna be a little bit different.  It would be hard for me to say, you know, do it this way because it might work maybe for my aquarium and Jessi's aquarium but might not work for your aquarium at home.

J: That was really interesting.  Thank you for talking to us about, you know, just--we just barely touched the surface of it.

A: Yeah.

J: It sounds really complicated.  It sounds very similar to all the rest of the animal care, animals that live above water as well.  Each one is an individual, there's general parameters, but things work differently for each of them and don't try doing this on your own.  There are so many people that have done this before you and they've learned from their mistakes, so learn from their mistakes.

A: If you guys have any more questions, leave them in the comments below and if we get a lot of a certain type of a question about fish, we'll definitely do our best to bring out another video and hopefully answer that question for you guys.  

J: Yeah, that might be fun.  We can welcome Gus back.  Thank you so much for coming on and sharing all you know about fish and thank you guys for joining us.  If you'd like to go on an adventure with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel AnimalWondersMontana.  Thanks and we'll see you next week.