Hummingbird Feeder and Swing (Blog/Review)


As a child my parents hung a hummingbird feeder in our kitchen window. We loved seeing one suddenly appear while we were eating. Sometimes we would have two or three birds come at a time! Then we didn’t hang it up one year. The birds came and when they saw there wasn’t any food anymore they left. We never hung it again. The room I spend the most time in didn’t have a location to hang a hook. In our kitchen we hung the hook on the roof gutter, but my room was on the first floor so that wasn’t an option. I had no way to hang a hummingbird feeder! This year I was determined to change this. I decided I was going to find a way to hang a feeder no matter what! A quick Amazon search divulged this feeder ($17)! It has suction cups that can stick the feeder to any window. So I immediately purchased this bad boy. Here is a front view:


As you can see it has everything you could need in a feeder. It has a little perch so the hummingbirds can rest, three opening that they can drink from and an ant moat to prevent any ants from getting in. I currently am not using the ant moat and I am not having any problems so far. A few more Amazon searches later and I discovered suction cup hooks ($11.46)!


So if you wanted you could purchase a standard feeder and use a suction hook like this one. I tied a red ribbon and hung a hummingbird swing ($15) on mine.


I think the red jewel refracted light and attracted some birds because a few days after hanging it I got my first visit. I haven’t had any birds use the swing yet, but I have high hopes! I think it would be so cute to see a hummingbird on this swing!

Lastly, I bought some hummingbird feeder nectar ($7.18). There’s really no need to because it’s really easy to make some yourself, but I’m lazy and so I decided to buy it. I bought a red colored one, but I have found out that people DON’T recommend red dyed food because we don’t actually know how the dye effects the birds. Some say their kidney’s can’t process it, some say it just plain kills them. I haven’t read any actual studies on the subject, but there are a lot of rumors. Here is a picture anyway:


The company claims there is no basis in these accusations, but that may be a biased opinion. I already bought mine, so I’ll go through it and then stick to the standard nectar mix of 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. I’m thinking of maybe doing a half and half mix to help water it down a little. I feel bad, but I really don’t feel like I can toss $7 out into the garbage. So don’t make my mistake. Just make your own, pop it in the fridge and use it up!


So far I haven’t had any problems with either of my suction cups. It’s late Spring early Summer here and we have had some HEAVY, HEAVY rainfall and strong winds and so far the suction cups have stuck perfectly. The feeder’s holes are on the top, but it doesn’t seem to let much if any water in when it rains. The position of the holes also prevents the them from getting gunky and clogged because the nectar doesn’t sit against them. The part that holds the nectar easily detaches from the base without you ever needing to remove the suction cups so don’t worry about that. It also comes with a screw mount you can use if you wanted to mount it to a window or wall. I cleaned my window with Windex prior to hanging and I licked the suction cups to make them stick better. You can use water, but I just didn’t have any on me. The little bit of liquid on the cups helps form a better seal against the window.

The swing is well built and seems like it will last awhile. I love the large red jewel and I have no complaints.

The hook has stuck fine and I haven’t had any issues with it.

That’s it for my hummingbird feeder/swing review! I hope you enjoyed.

Everything About Snails

I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about mystery snails in this post. I have only owned mystery snails and I believe they are the most common snail you can find in pet stores. I would advise you against getting the snails with conical shells (cone-shaped). Since they are so small it’s more than likely you would end up with a handful that would breed all day and night until your tank is overrun with baby snails. I would stick to getting one mystery snail for a small tank. I will start be listing things by pro and con in order to better organize the information. Please read everything carefully before making a snail purchase. Next I will list all the important information you need before actually buying a snail at the pet store. I will tell you what you need to look for and which snail to choose. Next I will tell you what you need to buy after you take your snail home. Finally, I’ll tell you about normal snail behaviors.

Con: Poop factory

You should not get a snail if you have a gallon or smaller tank. You have to remember that adding a snail to your tank is adding another bioload. Small tanks can only handle bio-loads. There are some aquarium calculators online. This link leads to the websites info about their calculator, and this link leads to the calculator itself. I like this one a lot. If this calculator thinks the bioload will be too high be aware that you can still purchase a snail, but you may need to do more frequent water changes.

Pro: Cute poop

This is a little goofy, but their poop changes color based on what they eat. My tank is so overrun by algae that my snail only poops green. And he poops A LOT!

Pro: Algae vacuum

These little guys really do take care of algae problems. My one snail is having a hard time keeping up with my algae problem. If I really wanted to I could add a couple doses of algae removal drops to help supplement the removal until the snail can keep up with the new growth.

Con: Escape Artists

You have to make sure you keep your tank lid on tight because snails are escape artists. If they escape their tank they can potentially fall and break their shell (resulting in their death), dry out (death), or just plain become lost until a funky smell draws you to your dead snail’s location. If you are using something like a large vase or other open mouthed container a snail might not be for you.

Con: Fish Companion?

You have to make sure your fish and snail get along. Both my betta fish have been fine with snails, but I was nervous about introducing my new snail with my new male betta. Male betta fish are more aggressive, loner fish. You should Google your fishes tolerance to tank mates before purchasing a snail. Another tip: I purchased a snail that was a similar size to my betta. My hope was that it would be too big to be appealing to my fish, but too small to promote aggressive dominance behavior. So far my fish completely ignores my snail with one exception; my fish has eaten my snails antennae. The antennae aren’t essential and they do grow back. Even my female betta fish would nibble at the snail’s antennae. I don’t think it hurts the snail to have them eaten, but I don’t know for sure. It’s kinda sad, but otherwise my fish leaves him alone. I think the long, flowing antennae are just too tempting for a fish to ignore. My snail seems perfectly fine otherwise I would remove him.

Also be aware that your snail has its own water and temperature needs. You need to keep your tank at 68-78 degrees F and you need fresh water at a pH of 6.5-7.5.

At the store:

When you are at the pet/fish store there are a few important things to watch out for.

  1. Pay attention to tank conditions

If the tanks look dirty, and the fish and snails are sluggish or even appear dead, try another store. I once encountered this and said screw it and bought a snail anyway. It died 4 days later. Don’t be stupid like me and don’t support stores that don’t take good care of their pets.

2. Pay attention to the snails shell

A snails shell is a lot like rings around a tree. Snails are not like hermit crabs. They do not need you to provide them with bigger shells to move into. Instead they grow their own shells as they grow in size. If they are stressed or given a poor diet their shell will be weak or discolored. You might also spot chunks of shell missing near the entrance where the snails head comes out. This can get bad quick. The part of the snail that attaches to the shell is called the mantel. If the shell breaks past the mantel it’s a bit like a nail breaking past the quick. The snails internal organs become exposed to the outside leading to a slow, painful death. It can be hard to see a snail’s shell inside a tank so ask the attendant to let you see the snails before they bag it up. If you’re afraid or grossed out by snails, don’t worry. They’ll be way too scared to come out of their shell. You will be able to inspect it without coming in contact with any mushy parts.

3. Don’t lose your receipt

If your new snail friend should die within (usually 2 weeks) the return period you should be able to get a refund. Some places require the dead snail to be brought back in order for you to receive your refund so do not dispose of the body until you know your local pet stores policies.

After care items:

After taking your snail home there are very few requirements to take care of them. If you are worried about your snail not having enough to eat buy them some algae thins/wafers. Just be careful that your fish don’t overindulge by nibbling away at the algae wafer. Lastly, the only other thing you need is a source of calcium for you snail. The calcium is what helps the snail grow its shell. You can toss in a couple decorative shells (as long as they are real shells and not plastic). The snails actually eat the shells to get their calcium. You can also purchase cuttle bone. Cuttle bone is actually meant to be fed to birds to help their beaks grow. You can buy this and crush it up and put it in a mesh bag or cheese cloth and just hang it somewhere in your tank. The crushed cuttle bone will release calcium deposits into the water which the snail can absorb.

Finally I thought I’d list some normal behaviors that might seem a little weird to someone who isn’t familiar with snails. Snails actually have lungs so they need to breath air. Occasionally you will see your snail migrate up to the top of the tank. Next your snail will send out a little straw looking thing from under its shell. This is its its syphon which it uses to pull air into its lungs. When it pulls air in it sort of pumps its head in and out. It’s really super cute. This extra syphon is coiled back into the shell when not in use. You can figure out the gender of your snail, but it can be quite challenging. It is hard to describe so I recommend you Google images so you can figure out your snails sex. It doesn’t really matter, nor does it change anything about your snail. Most stores will not know the sex of their snails, nor do they separate them.

Sometimes your snail will pop off a high ledge or the top of the tank and gently float down to the bottom of the tank. This is totally normal behavior and is just another cute aspect of owning a snail. Some people call this behavior parachuting because the snail uses its foot a bit like a parachute to slow its fall (sometimes, but not every time XD).

That is just about everything I could possibly think of. If I think of anything else or you have any questions I will update the blog with answers. Just comment any questions below.

Snail Ownership

I have been meaning to make this post for a while and now I’m finally doing it. This post is all about snail ownership and why I recommend it. If you’re like me you never once thought about getting a snail. In fact they might even creep you out a little. My hope is that I will change your mind.

The position of my tank near a window promoted algae growth. Due to this problem I purchased a product that was supposed to get rid of algae. The product had a weird 3 day dosing schedule and worked very slowly. After maybe 5 doses (15 days) some of the algae had diminished. The biggest problem was that you had to keep the schedule up or the algae would return. The only solution left was to get a little critter to get the algae for me. My 2.5 gallon tank was much too small for an algae eating fish, so that left me with algae eating invertebrates. My local PetSmart only offered mystery snails so those are the only snails I have purchased.

These little snails have a lot of personality. It’s funny but each snail I’ve owned has had its own personality. I have a few pictures to show you what I’m talking about.
Here’s my first snail. She liked to sit under the filter and have the current flow over her. It was really adorable.


My next snail was a scaredy cat. He didn’t have anywhere to hide so he hid under a seashell decoration I had.


I knew what he needed, so I got him a little castle to hide in.


They are really fun to watch. Their little mouths open and close in an interesting way. They have a ton of teeny tiny teeth that scraps the algae off the edges of objects. I have also taken my snail out of water (you can do that for a little while as long as a puddle of water is near by) and let him roam around my desk.

Don’t have algae in your tank? Never fear! You have options. If you still want a snail you can always feed them algae wafers. The only thing is you have to be careful that your fish don’t nibble at it. You could accidentally overfeed your fish that way.


This is the brand that I used when I didn’t have such a large algae supply. If this post has gotten you interested in owning a snail check out this post that will teach you everything you need to know before and after purchasing a snail.

Seachem Stability Review


This will be a review of the nitrogen cycle starter, Seachem Stability. To learn about the nitrogen cycle please visit my page on it here. Because I was starting a new tank and my previous fish had died of a disease I could not risk transferring the infection over by using any cycled substrate or water, so I had to start fresh. There are many different brands of tank starters available, but I chose Seachem because it is a well-known, respected, and trusted brand.

I have also used Seachem Prime which dechlorinates and detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, and provides a slime coat. When I was first cycling my first tank I was worried about ammonia poisoning so I used this product and as far as I can tell it worked. So I decided to check out their other products. Stability had good ratings so I thought I’d try it out.


I started using this product and within two days my tank was reading as cycled. I continued dosing my tank per the instructions. In the 8 months I have owned my tank I have never had it fall out of balance. I haven’t even had to do any water changes. Everything has been balanced perfectly, almost like a self-contained ecosystem. I keep doing readings to be sure, but as of yet there has been no need for water changes which seemed crazy to me but has been fine. I have done the occasional water change within those 8 months, but not on a regularly basis like I had needed to do with my old tank. I got to say this stuff is amazing and I will always use it whenever I need to cycle a tank. 5/5 stars for sure. Highly recommend.  

New Fish Tank Review

After the unexpected death of my female betta fish I figured it was time to move on into male betta ownership. I didn’t feel comfortable placing an adult male in a 2.5 gallon tank. It was just too small. For my 1 inch long female betta it worked out great, but with a potential 2-3 inch male betta it would be really inhumane. So I purchased a new 5 gallon tank. Here is the amazon link. I really like the look of this tank. Here’s my pro and con list for this aquarium.




  • It is very modern and sleek
  • All the equipment is housed in the compartment in the back
  • It comes with one filter pad which I haven’t had to change yet (8 months)
  • It is tall and thin instead of short and wide so it doesn’t take up as much table space
  • The LED lights are really nice and have multiple settings


  • The filter provides too strong of a current for a betta
  • The filter slot is at the top so the dirt at the bottom of the tank is not sucked up
  • It’s a bit hard to decorate the tank because everything has to be tall and thin
  • The back compartment cover is loose
  • The lid doesn’t quite fit and you have to fiddle with it
  • The back compartment is dark and it’s very narrow so it is hard to adjust items inside

Overall I’m happy with this tank, but I probably wouldn’t buy another one or one like it. I really like decorating my tank and mixing it up, but with this one most of my old decor doesn’t fit and I have to stick my entire arm in up to my elbow to adjust items at the bottom. If you’re not into changing your tank decor then this will be a non-issue for you.

If you are planning on purchasing a fish that doesn’t like strong currents (such as betta fish) this tank probably isn’t for you. I didn’t realize until it was too late. The part of the tank that spits out the filtered water has a removable fan shaped attachment. By removing this attachment it does help slow the current a little. Even if you did not remove this attachment and set the filter to high speed I still think the dirt at the bottom of the tank would remain untouched. It is just too tall for any current to pick the dirt up and filter it to the top of the tank. I have a bit of a hard time feeding my betta because the second I drop a pellet in the current pulls it away and then eventually the pellet sinks.

The back compartment is great because everything is hidden and out of the way. All the cords come out the back and can be hidden fairly easily. The downside is that this super dark narrow compartment is hard to navigate when you first set up your tank. Trying to adjust tank flow in that little compartment is very hard. I also purchased a tank heater. Most website I visited recommended that you keep your heater in the main chamber of any tank to prevent the heater from melting any plastic and leeching chemicals into the water. The heater I purchased has many safety measures to prevent such an event from taking place. Also, since my tank is so narrow it would have been very apparent and would have taken up valuable space, so I chose to keep it housed in the back. I tested it out and made sure everything was working fine and so far I haven’t had any problems. I do have a suction cup thermometer placed at the front of my tank to monitor temperature levels.

The final major issue I have with this tank is the lid. Now according to reviews not everyone has this problem so it must be an inconsistent manufacturing issue. The cut of my lid does not fit the shape of the tank. I have to really fiddle with it to ensure it doesn’t fall into my tank and potentially kill my fish or crack my tank. My lid is made of glass while others seem to receive a mesh top. The lid only slides as far back as the back compartment, so if you need anything more you have to fully remove the heavy glass lid.

The light is really nice. It has two settings: day and night. The night setting is actually a blue light that will cause any “glow” decorations or decor with white on it to light up. The day setting is very illuminating and lights up the whole tank. You can easily flip the light up or remove it for cleaning, etc.

Here is a link to my gravel if you’re interested. All the decorations are by Top Fin and cost between $1-4 dollars except the tree which I believe cost between $14-20 I can’t remember. I purchased everything at my local PetSmart.

Non Typical Tools

I thought I would list some tools that I’ve found really helpful, but aren’t listed in any tank manual.

  1. Straw
  2. Chopstick
  3. Baby nose/mouth cleaner
  4. Dr. Clean magic eraser original


I use my straw all the time. It’s useful for pulling up food that might have fallen to the bottom or snail poop. You can also use it to scrape off small specs of algae. If you have a large tank, it of course becomes more obsolete as straws only come so long.


I use my chopstick all the time. It is a wooden chopstick that is dishwasher safe. It is not one of the disposable ones you get with take out. Those are more porous and take in bacteria, which is why you are supposed to dispose of them. You can buy them fairly cheap online or stop by your local Asian market. Mine is called H Mart, so you can check your area for one. It’s a very popular large chain store. I use my chopstick to move or adjust decorations, scrape algae or dislodge a stuck snail.


I’m not sure what the official name for this is so I’m just gonna call it BNMC for baby nose/mouth cleaner. I picked this up from Target for $1.99. I use the BNMC for tank checks. It holds a lot of water and I use it to fill all the little test tubes in my water kit. I also use it for my Marimo holder to remove all the water.


Lastly I recently discovered Mr. Clean magic erasers. The originals don’t contain any chemicals but the kitchen and bath versions do so be careful. The eraser is great because it doesn’t scratch acrylic like the magnet scrapers to. You could also use a regular sponge if you so desired. I like this sponge instead because it dries quickly and doesn’t smell.

If I think of anymore tricks I’ll add them here as an edit.

Owing a Tank at College

When I first read the school handbook I turned to the dorming page. I first checked what pets were available on campus. I was dismayed as I saw fish only listed. As per custom my school only allowed fish. I was super bummed. Fish are boring, I thought; fish are hard to clean, I thought. Well I thought wrong.

I love owning pets, which you would know if you read my about me page. The only problem is almost all of my little loves are nocturnal. I wanted something cheap*, small, and fun to watch. What else but a fish? So that’s were it all started.

College is a super stressful time. I got my fish a little ways into first trimester. She’s provided me a lot of joy. When I was stressed out and/or procrastinating I would just stare at my fish and snail. It was so much more fun than I thought it would be. I know everyone is different, but really give it a try.

Be aware that if you are a party hosting person that you don’t get too crazy. Your fish is your responsibility and if someone knocks your tank over that’s on you, not them.

Stay safe and have fun everyone!!!

*Turns out my fish has been the most expensive start up out of all the others. Even the hedgehogs alone cost $175 and $150 each, w/o cage, food, and accessories. So be prepared to drop some dough, but their upkeep is super cheap.

What Your Snail Needs

This is going to be a very brief blog, because mystery snails don’t need much. They need three to four things:

  1. Food
  2. Air/Water
  3. Calcium
  4. *Some* like a shelter to hide in

So let’s start with number one. Snails are herbivores. They eat vegetation and algae in your tank. If you have an algae problem, a mystery snail can clear it right up. You don’t want to starve your little guy either. An easy cheap supplement for your snail is algae wafers. There are many brands, but the cheapest was Top Fin algae wafers.


Make sure your fish don’t eat the wafers or they might overfeed themselves.

The second thing is water and air. Mystery snails live underwater. They have a vent that the water goes through, kind of like gills on a fish. But, unlike fish, mystery snails have lungs, so they need air. They will go up the side of the tank and stick out what is called a siphon. Once the siphon is above the water line, the snail will start pumping air in. The snail’s head moves in and out as it pumps the air in. It’s really cute! Don’t mistake the siphon as a sex organ. Both genders have a siphon. The siphon expands and compresses so it isn’t always visible.

Next on our list is calcium. Your snails shell is made of calcium and to have healthy new growth, you need to provide calcium. This can be done in the water because they “breathe” water. Any calcium in the water gets inside them. You can use crushed cuttlebone in a mesh bag. You can use a cheese cloth or something similar. Cuttlebone is meant for birds, to help their beaks grow I believe. They are very cheap, and sometimes they are broken in the packaging. Some stores might provide discounts for the broken ones. Crush it up into small chunks and put into a mesh fabric of some sort. Tie it off and hang from the side of your tank.

Another option is calcium powder. I use All Living Things calcium supplement for hermit crabs. I sprinkle a little into my tank on water change day. Just a pinch.

You can also use decorative shells as a supplement option. Make sure you use real shells. I have old, uncolored, hermit crab shells in mine. Your snail will climb the shells and eat the edges. All my shells have little bites out of them.

Here’s where it gets a little bloggy =). My first snail was totally cool sleeping anywhere. I would find her asleep on all the sides of the tank, the filter, the decorations. Anywhere she could fit, she would sleep. After she passed I had to get another snail to keep the algae away and because I love snails now. So I got an ivory mystery snail (the first was a golden). When I got up the morning after I got her I found her like this:


She found the only thing she could hide under. It’s was so sad and pathetic! She was desperate for a place to hide! So the next day I went out and got this little castle for her.

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In the second picture you can kind of see the opening in the back. It’s just big enough for her when she’s full sized. She sleeps in it almost every night. Sometimes, like today, she sleeps behind it between the castle and the glass. She is never not near it in the morning. As she got more comfortable in the tank I would find her sleeping on top of it, or behind it like I mentioned above, but she gravitates to it. It’s really cute. So depending on your snail, you may need to buy a shelter. This shelter was $7.99 I believe and I got it at a Pet Supplies Plus because it is closest to my school and it was raining that whole week.

That’s about everything I can think of! If anything new comes up then I’ll update this post. Thanks for reading!

Feeding Your Fish

Something that is’t common knowledge is that most people overfeed their fish. They do everything right, until they follow directions on food packaging. Back when I was younger, we owned Betta fish. The packaging recommended 8 pellets, twice a day. The fish died rather quickly. We asked a vet and they told us we basically killed our fish by overfeeding it. I’m not sure about other species, but Betta fish will eat everything you feed them, even if it’s way too much. Some packaging recommends as much food as they can eat in three minutes. This is way too much. Fish food companies need you to go through the food and buy more, so take their advice with a grain of salt.

A test for your fish is to check their stomachs. There should only be a slight bulge after you feed them. A Betta’s stomach is only about as big as it’s eyeball. You should only feed them enough food that would equal their eye size. This will create the perfect sized bulge. Here’s a website with bulge sizes. It’s a little unclear, so I’ll post a picture at the bottom of my female Betta overfed and then normally fed.

My tank came with a sample of food. Probably a good 40 pellets. This could easily last me 20-30 days, depending. The Aqueon pellets are very small, so most days I feed Thalia two. Her stomach swells slightly and disappears before her next feeding.

I highly recommend clicking the pictures to enlarge them. Top is overfed, bottom is normal feeding (bad lighting sorry).

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Tank Cleaning


Once your tank is established, you shouldn’t have problems keeping it clean. You should test you water every week using the API Master Test Kit. If the levels look good you don’t have to change the water. Some tanks can go two to three weeks before their levels bounce. It depends on how many fish or live plants you have. Fish and dead plant matter produce ammonia. As you should know by now, ammonia turns to nitrites, which turn to nitrates.

Nitrates cannot be recycled in a closed aquarium. They must be removed or they can poison your fish. Partial water changes, usually 20% fresh water, will keep your tank spic and span and your fish healthy.

Around once a month you can do a minor gravel cleaning. What you do is use your gravel vacuum and clean the top layer of gravel. Don’t dig too deep. Good bacteria grows in your gravel. If you clean all the gravel off, then the bacteria comes with it. Don’t clean your gravel at all when cycling.

If you tank isn’t balancing or the water is getting foggy quickly, you can do a full gravel cleaning. You can dig your vacuum in all the way and clean the gravel at the bottom. This advice is for people with small tanks (<10 gal). With small tanks cleaning the gravel can be hard to do without sucking all the water out of the tank. During your weekly water change you can try and clean around 1/3 of your gravel. The point is to clean up uneaten food and poops. Most food packages recommend feeding your fish waaayyy too much food. Like kill your fish in a month amount of food. I don’t ever have extra food in my tank. The only thing thing to clean is fish and snail poops.

Lately I’ve had to mess around with my decorations. When doing this the gunk got disturbed and fogged up my tank a bit, but the filter sorted it out. I’ve haven’t used my gravel vacuum yet because I was worried I would suck my little ghost shrimp up. They both have died now and so I can proceed to try it. I’ll give tips once I try.


You need to realize that the tank companies need to make money. They will always advise you to use more than you need. Keep this in mind with your filter. A common mantra amongst tank owners is keep your filter till it falls apart. You should not change out your filter every four to six months like the packaging recommends. I’ve heard of people keeping theirs for over a year.

When you change yours out be sure to keep a section of it. Lay that on top of your new filter. That way the water can run through the good bacteria in the old filter and help keep your Nitrogen cycle established. When changing a filter, be aware that you may get fluctuating levels. Be careful of New Tank Syndrome during this time.

I think that’s everything! If I think of anything else I add it in.