Cloudy aquarium water, ferret rabies shots and more: Marc Morrone has answers to your pet questions.

LISA: My veterinarian recommends that I get my ferret inoculated against rabies. But my ferret never leaves the house and certainly never comes into contact with wild animals. Why is the rabies inoculation advisable?

MARC: Although the chance of a pet ferret contracting rabies is remote, vaccination will prevent problems with the state health department if someone should claim that your ferret has scratched or bitten him. A letter from your vet stating that your pet is current on shots will save a lot of time and worry.

LISA: I just set up a 20-gallon freshwater aquarium a week ago. The water was clear at first, but now it has a haze in it. I cleaned the filter and changed the water, but the haze came back. What should I do?

MARC: Called new-tank syndrome, the haze in the water of new aquariums is caused by an imbalance between the ammonia produced by the fish and the common bacteria that consume it. Since the haze cannot be removed or filtered out, the only solution is to wait until the bacteria builds up in the tank enough to counteract the ammonia as soon as it is produced. It usually takes three to four weeks for a freshwater aquarium and six to eight weeks for a saltwater tank.

JACQUIE: My bunny keeps chewing through the wires of my husband's computer. I tried using bitter sprays on the wires, but he still gnaws on them. Is there anything else I can do?

MARC: To prevent rabbits from chewing on electrical cords, run the cords through lengths of PVC pipe. This will also tidy up any tangled wires on the floor.

SHEILA: We have a hamster in a 10-gallon tank, and he loves his exercise wheel, but it keeps falling down in the tank, and the poor guy can't use it. Is there anything better than an exercise wheel?

MARC: Actually, there is nothing better than an exercise wheel for maintaining the health of hamsters. The way to secure one correctly is to hang it from the top of the cage using garbage-bag or electrical-cord twists. This frees up space and ensures that the wheel will not tip over.

JOE: My son is nagging me to get an iguana as a pet. He would be happy with any reptile, but an iguana seems to be the least expensive. Are they good pets?

MARC: Iguanas are extraordinary creatures. Watching them grow from small, curious creatures into adulthood is a fascinating lesson in reptile development. However, it is best to keep the following in mind if you are considering adopting one: They can grow to 6 feet in length; they live up to 10 years; and they require much care. In other words, owning an iguana is a serious commitment. A smaller alternative is the Australian bearded dragon. As intelligent and responsive as an iguana, it grows to only about 20 inches.

Special Thanks

Marc Morrone, pet expert

Comments (3)

Martha Stewart Member
August 6, 2012
Hello my name is Allen. I love hamsters but always run into the same problem. No matter the cage the bedding so how gets every where. A wire cage with a high plastic base so it can't be pushed out, the mess gets everywhere. A totally plastic cage with no spaces what so ever to make a mess, the bedding mess still some how is out and everywhere. What do you suggest for this problem?
Martha Stewart Member
February 21, 2011
Marc, hello from California!My husband and I inherited our son's birds while off at college and exploring the world. This includes 2 parakeets, 1 cockatiel, and 1 senegal parrot.They are all older in age and set in their ways but is it possible to "potty train" them so they do not pooh on my shoulders while out of their cages. The senegal (female) is very aggressive to the other birds-wants to bite them-can this be be changed? we would love to have our birds out at the same time for play.
Martha Stewart Member
January 20, 2011
My name is Nicole and i have red eared slider turtle named Elizabeth. She is about three or four years old and in good health. She lives in 55 gal. tank with a few fish but still seems board. Is there any way i can make her more entertained? a toy or some kind of activity? really anything would be helpful. thanks.