South American discus fish are a colorful and fascinating addition to an aquarium, but do they thrive well in a community tank? Their distinctive coloring and shape make these fish a unique feature in freshwater aquariums. Discus fish—also called pompadour fish—have inherent characteristics that contribute to their compatibility with other fish.

Here is what aquarists should know:

How Many Discus Fish Should be Kept Together?

Discus fish don’t like to be alone, but each fish needs at least ten gallons of water to survive; therefore, a pair of adult discus fish need, at minimum, a 20-gallon tank. A pair of young discus fish can thrive in a 15-gallon tank, but they will outgrow it as they mature.

Can I Keep One Discus Fish?

A single discus fish can become bored pretty quickly. They swim about slowly and prefer to move in schools with other fish. If you do get a solo discus fish, make sure that you keep it in a tank that is at least ten gallons or larger.

Can You Keep Discus Fish in a Community Tank?

Yes, discus fish thrive in a community tank with other freshwater species. The best partners for discus fish in an aquarium are calm, schooling fish, including species from the characin fish family. This makes it easier to set up a habitat and environment that is compatible and healthy for both species.

What Fish Can be Kept With Discus?

If the conditions in the tank are right, you can keep a wide range of species with discus fish. For instance, rosy tetras are easy to care for and docile in nature, much like the discus. Since they are both laid-back species, there is little incidence of aggression over food or space, making a peaceful community aquarium. Both species thrive in freshwater tanks and similar care.

Can Angelfish Live With Discus?

Angelfish and discus fish can live together in harmony, if aquarists follow a few basic rules. Since discus fish thrive in freshwater tanks, you need to choose an angelfish that also thrives in fresh water. This is not the pairing for a saltwater aquarium.

Also, angelfish can become bossy and a bit aggressive over food around other fish; make sure to allow each fish ample room to get along and have their own space. This may also help prevent angelfish from stealing and eating the discus fish’s food at mealtime. When pairing discus and angelfish, keep the water around 80 degrees F, ideally, and at a pH of around 6.5.

Discus fish add visual appeal to your tank, but make sure to get them a mate or integrate fish into community tanks to prevent loneliness or boredom. Use these tips for setting up a community tank that includes discus fish, which bring something fresh and different to an aquarium.

Straight from the canopy of South American rain forests come the Emerald Tree Boa, a gorgeous bright green serpent that is an uncommonly kept pet, although a great companion. These unique snakes get their scientific species name, Corallus caninus, from the “coral” color of their young and “canine”-looking shape of their head.

With proper care and handling, certain varieties of Emerald Tree Boas make excellent reptile friends for new and experienced pet owners. However, not all types of these boas make good pets, and even the ones that do require specialized care.

Are Emerald Tree Boas Aggressive?

One important thing to note about Emerald Tree Boas is that they come from two distinct habitats: the northern parts of Brazil and the southern parts of Brazil and Amazon basin. While the boas that come from the southern habitats are more commonly kept as pets, their northern neighbors are protected under Brazilian law and advised to not be kept as companions. The main reason for this? These two Emerald Tree Boas have very different temperaments.

Northern Emerald Tree Boas are known to be very aggressive and generally do not make for good pets. The government of Brazil created protective laws against capturing these boas mainly to protect unknowing pet owners from buying them for this very reason; however, illegal pet trading still occurs with this northern variety, so anyone deciding to purchase an Emerald Tree Boa from any pet store or trader should ask questions about where the boa originated from.

On the other hand, southern Emerald Tree Boas have a much more docile temperament and are only known to be aggressive around feeding times, as many pet snakes usually are. The southern variety is also known to grow larger, coming in at an adult length of about 7-9 feet, while their northern cousins come in at only 6 feet.

Can You Handle an Emerald Tree Boa?

Because of their temperaments, northern Emerald Tree Boas should not be handled. However, southern Emerald Tree Boas can be handled with some moderation.

These boas have very sensitive tails, and the young are especially prone to tail damage when they are handled improperly. To handle an Emerald Tree Boa, an owner should only use a snake hook to remove the snake from its enclosure, and it helps to only remove the snake during midday hours, when the snake is most awake. If handled during the night, the boa may attempt to bite. And, above all, these boas should never be handled the day before a feeding or for two days after a feeding.

Are Emerald Tree Boas Venomous?

All Emerald Tree Boas are non-venomous. However, they are still very capable of biting, so all owners should still take care when handling an Emerald Tree Boa, whether it is aggressive or not.

How Long Do Emerald Tree Boas Live?

Pet Emerald Tree Boas usually live an upwards of 15 years, a lengthy time for any pet owner. When they are first born, these boas will have a striking red to orange coloring that will gradually change to bright green over the course of a year, so investing time with a young boa is also an amazing journey.

Scratching posts help cats and cat owners alike. They give cats a satisfying place to scratch and they divert the wrath of cats’ claws away from their owners’ furniture. Endless options are available in stores, but if you’re the DIY type, you can also make a scratching post for your feline friend on your own. This article goes over three strategies for doing so, providing the broad strokes of each approach and links to more detailed instructions.

PVC Pipe Strategy

One strategy involves a material-wrapped PVC pipe attached to a base. The YouTube channel Mother Daughter Projects has a video demonstrating this approach. The makers created a felt-covered base, attached and capped the PVC pipe, then wrapped rope around the pipe, starting at the bottom and winding upward. They then secured the rope with hot glue.

To follow their tutorial exactly, you’ll need a variety of materials and several tools, including a glue gun, drill and jigsaw or scroll saw. The makers recommend finding PVC pipe that is long enough to let your cat fully stretch out while scratching. And if they had a chance to do it over, they say they’d use carpet, not felt, on the base. To check out their step-by-step video, click here; to see their materials, click here.

Book Strategy

If you have a damaged coffee table book sitting around, you can follow the example on Hill’s and repurpose it by making it the backbone of a scratching board. You also need a cotton towel, sewing needle and thread. Make sure the towel is free of loose threads—these can cause unpleasant snags for your cat. Also, since scratching posts work better the more the cat can stretch, try to choose a relatively large book.

Essentially, you’ll fold the towel around the book, then pull it tight so that the surface is flat. After that, find where the seams meet on the back and stitch them together. The end product will sit flat rather than rise vertically. For more details and a picture of the process, plus several other ideas, visit this page from Hill’s.

Stair Banister Approach

Another approach, highlighted with pictures and instructions at Inscrutables, is to wrap sisal rope around a stair banister spindle. You’ll need enough rope to cover the spindle, plus glue and a tool for trimming the rope. This approach may be handy if you’re short on space or want to distract your cat from clawing the carpeting on your stairs.


Since cats thrive with multiple scratching posts throughout the home, don’t be afraid to try one or more of these strategies along with store-bought options. That way, your cat will have a full lineup of posts to scratch!

The Angelfish is from South America and has been dubbed ”king of the aquarium” due to its beauty and distinctive appearance. Angelfish have wing-shaped fins and are generally silver with gray and black markings when found in their native habitat. Fish in captivity are found with beautifully-marbled colors and vibrant orange, yellow and blue hues.

Thinking of an angelfish aquarium? Here are some common questions:

How Big Do Angelfish Get?

Generally speaking, Freshwater Angelfish in captivity, such as pets in home aquariums, grow to be around 6″ in length, depending on the specific species. In nature, with access to a steady food source, angelfish can grow up to 12″ long. These fish are usually thin with long fins that resemble wings when they swim.

What Size of Tank Do I Need for Angelfish?

The best tank size is at least 20 gallons for two angelfish. At a minimum, a single angelfish needs 10 gallons to thrive. It is far better to double-up these tank sizes—that is, provide a 40-gallon tank for a pair of fish and at least a 20-gallon tank for a solo pet, as angelfish like a lot of room to swim.

You should know that the Cichlid species of angelfish can become a bit aggressive as they get older, so it makes sense to offer these fish plenty of room. Also allow ample room in the tank for features like rocks, plants and ornaments, as angelfish like to explore the bottom of their aquarium.

Do Angelfish Grow to the Size of the Tank?

If you provide your angelfish with more room to swim, they will grow a bit bigger. For instance, a fish in a crowded tank will grow to be 6″ while the same species may grow up to 10″ in a larger aquarium. These fish thrive in tanks with water that has a pH of 6 to 8. Angelfish grow best in a clean tank with fresh water. Arrange plants along the bottom to give each fish their own “space” to lurk and swim.

How Long Do Angelfish Live?

With attentive Angelfish care, your fish can live up to 15 years. Fish in nature typically live around ten years, depending on the environment.

Angelfish are stunning additions to any aquarium. Carefully consider the care involved with angelfish, as well as the 15-year commitment, before investing in these small beauties.

Like many deceased rodents and birds, countless couches, beds and chairs have fallen prey to the sharp claws of a cat. But if this happens to your furniture, don’t take it personally: your furniture-scratching cat isn’t remarking on your taste in home decor or trying to antagonize you.

Instead, cats scratch because it’s their way of expressing themselves, marking their territory and rejuvenating their claws. To deal with a scratchy cat, the key is to provide scratching surfaces that work for both you and the kitty, then encourage your pet to use them.

Scratching Solutions

Today’s modern housecat lives in charmed times: many varieties of scratching posts are out there, just waiting for claws to sink in. This is good news for cat owners, as scratching posts give cats something to shred that isn’t your furniture. Regarding these helpful items, the ASPCA has several recommendations:

  • Give your cat multiple scratching posts made of different materials. Examples include wood, sisal, upholstery, cardboard and carpet. Once your cat shows a preference, you can purchase more posts in that material in the future.
  • Likewise, different cats have preferences between horizontal, slanted and vertical posts; this is another option to test.
  • Also test the grain direction to see if your cat prefers raking a vertical grain or picking at a horizontal grain.
  • Posts should be sturdy and tall enough to let the cat stretch out fully while scratching.
  • Make posts available throughout your home, including near vulnerable furniture and your cat’s sleeping area.
  • If your cat hasn’t warmed up to new posts yet, try scenting them with catnip.

Toys, too, can give cats ideal scratching diversions. Also, try to play with your cat often, as bored cats are more likely to scratch furniture.

Plastic claw caps are another anti-scratch product but are not suitable for all cats. Consult with your veterinarian before buying them.

Training Your Cat

You can also directly encourage your cat to scratch appropriate items rather than your precious sleeping and sitting surfaces. For instance, when you see your feline using an appropriate post, praise and pet them to encourage this behavior in the future. However, veterinary behaviorist Dr. Rachel Malamed, interviewed by Petco, advises against yelling if the cat reverts to clawing your furniture. This will stress your pet out without changing their behavior.

More productively, you can discourage your cat from scratching furniture by making the furniture less inviting. Plastic covers are a good way to do this. Cats also find aluminum foil annoying to scratch. Additionally, you can cordon furniture off while your pet gets used to scratching toys and posts rather than sofas and beds.

Finally, keep in mind that every cat’s nails require trimming. The Humane Society has published a helpful guide on the topic, but it is firmly against declawing your cat. Instead, most kitties deserve some scratch-worthy surfaces and a bit of praise. And in the unlikely event your cat proves to be a persistent enemy of your furniture, consider professional behavioral help.

Parakeets are beautiful birds that have personalities and behaviors that can make them the perfect pet. Knowing how long they live is a critical fact in deciding if having a parakeet is the right pet for your family.

Parakeet Lifespan

So how long do parakeets live? That depends on a multitude of factors; different breeds of parakeets live different amounts of time and there are over 100 breeds in the world. But for the most common breeds kept as pets,

Here are some of the top breeds kept as pets and their average lifespan.

  •  Budgerigar: 5–8 years
  •  Grass parakeet: 10 years
  •  Barred parakeet: 10 years
  •  Monk parakeet: 15–20 years
  •  Plain parakeet: 15–20 years
  •  Mustache parakeet: 20–25 years
  •  Golden parakeet: 20–25 years
  •  Rose-ringed parakeet: 25 years
  •  Green-cheeked parakeet: Up to 30 years

Each bird is different and some birds may live shorter than their expected life span while others live well past their average age. It all depends on the treatment and overall health of the bird in its environment.

How Long Do Parakeets Live in Captivity?

Knowing how long a pet parakeet may live is the first step in deciding if a parakeet would be a good fit for your home. Parakeets in the wild tend to live about 25 to 30 years; however, once they are taken into captivity, their lifespan tends to decrease significantly.

Below are some tips to ensure you give your parakeet the best possible life while in your care.

  • Keep fresh water in a clean bowl
  • Feed it the right diet at consistent times
  • Provide good cage space—size should be 14 inches long, 16 inches high and 17 inches wide
  • Be patient with training
  • Communicate with them
  • Find a knowledgeable, small animal veterinarian
  • Be careful how many treats you give it
  • Give it fruit only a few times a week due to fruit’s high sugar content
  • Offer fresh vegetables—they can make the world of difference to its diet

 Good Care and a Long, Happy Life

When an animal is well-taken care of, it tends to have a longer lifespan, just like humans who have lower levels of stress in their life tend to have healthier bodies and minds. When selecting a pet (of any breed, type or species), it is important to know how to best take care of that animal and ensure you and the rest of the household are prepared for the task of caring for it. Once you welcome it into your home, it’s everyone’s responsibility to give that animal a long and happy life.