Of conures and koi

The conures have laid a second egg! We just might have babies – fingers are crossed!

There are still some beautiful koi left at very good prices. Most of them are going at $7.49 and $12.49, with a couple of larger ones at $49.99.

The larger koi are the ever-popular kohaku (orange and white), a couple of dark-coloured butterfly koi, and a couple of black and yellows. At least, they’re black and yellow right now, but the yellow on them is going to darken with maturity to red. That means these beautiful, though not showy, fish are going to turn into gorgeous hi utsuri (hee ut-SOO-ri), stunning red fish with black markings.

We buy our koi from a supplier in Southern Ontario. Gord is a knowledgeable and enthusiastic koi keeper. Every time I go to buy koi from him, I learn so much about these lovely fish. When we started to go to him, we saw right away that his koi were better quality than the ones we’ve had from other fish suppliers. Our customers notice it, too; the year we couldn’t afford to make the trip and wound up buying koi from somewhere else, everyone remarked on how much nicer the fish had been the year before.

There’s one good reason for this – he’s a specialist. He has time to know what the qualities of a good koi – or a great koi – should be, and we get the benefit of that knowledge when we buy from him. So do our customers.

Koi can easily live as long as seventy years if they’re well cared for and not overfed. They’re smart and friendly enough to learn to eat from your hand.

There are still several months of pond weather left, and koi kept outdoors get brighter and more beautiful. In part it’s the exposure to sunlight that deepens their colour, but they also benefit from eating algae off the sides of your pond.

Just another good reason to love koi!

Welcome to the Hotel Animalia

One of the things we started early on in the life of the store was a boarding service. Several customers complained that if they went away, there was nobody reliable to take care of their bird, ferret, or – surprise – snake.
We said, “We can do that!”
We don’t board cats or dogs, but we’ve had snakes, lizards, birds, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs and fish. Yes, fish!

A gentleman came into the store a few years ago and announced that he had three discus which he’d owned for five years. He had to go to Europe on business, and he didn’t trust any of his family to be able to care for the fish. Would we do it?

We cleared a tank for his fish. Discus are a South American cichlid, and as adults they can be six, sometimes even eight, inches across. These three were almost five inches across, and beautifully marked. For two months we kept them, checking their pH daily.
Daily, and several times daily, we also had to tell people that they weren’t for sale. It’s the “instant gratification” gene – instead of buying a toonie-sized discus and raising it to adult size, people like to have the adult ones now.

We could have sold those fish ten times over in the time we had them. But we resisted, oh, yes. Their owner was delighted to find them alive and happy when he returned, and they’re still occasionally guests at the “Hotel Animalia”.

Other regulars are Kivi, a Senegal parrot, April, a sweet and gentle rabbit, and Eragon, a bearded dragon. Once or twice we also kept Cato, a Congo African Grey, whose vocabulary and obvious intelligence were impressive.

Oh, and you can check out any time you like.
But you’ll be back.