I know I’ve been posting a lot about bettas lately, but until my tanks are ‘complete’, they’ll weigh pretty heavily on my mind. I know a lot of people really don’t think much of their fish– I mean, dentist and doctor’s offices have bettas in vases on their desks as decor, and most people see them as just a cheap pet to stick in a bowl on the table. That’s so incredibly incorrect 😦 All of the bettas I’ve had so far have had distinct personalities, and a certain– albeit low– level of ‘trainability’. I mean, they learned to react to me. When people walked into the room, they reacted to my voice when I was near the tank, but not anyone elses’. They get stressed and (perhaps) even depressed when their home isn’t as they like it, and they are active and almost seem cheerful when given a new space to explore. I’m not saying they are the same as a dog or a bird, but they seem at least as reactive as my hamster was (he came over to find me when I spoke near him, too… although he was blind, so he kind of relied on me quite a bit anyways…)
Anyways, my point is, I want my bettas to be comfortable and living the best life I personally can give them, so when I see them discontented, I worry, I research, and I try to fix it. Which brings me to my current problems:
Diamine is a neurotic mess.
I know, I know– ‘most tail problems are caused by bad water’— but not in this case. I SAW him chase his tail ’round and ’round, biting chunks out of it! I had to distract him with a red feather (he thought it was another betta…) to get him to stop 😦 Apparently it’s a common problem— one that can become infected and deadly, one that might be genetic— but actually fixing it is a whole new problem. I’m in the process of adding the plants (haven’t arrived yet) and making the tank as comfortable for him as possible, but it might just be something I have to live with 😦 I just hope he doesn’t get fin rot like Bruce came with; that was the beginning of the end for poor Batfish– the medication/infection/fight weakened him, and when the heater broke on his tank while I was at work, he didn’t make it.
Di’s not my only problem, though.
Calligraphy is a terrible swimmer and seems truly unhappy.
I know, I know; anthropomorphising… but he truly seems discontent. His huge, limp tail (I’m assuming he’s at least a halfmoon, possibly a rosetail) is too heavy for him to swim well or even really flare, so for the most part he either just sits at the bottom… or slowwwly swims to the top as best he can. And considering he has to breathe… yeah, I worry for him in his current circumstance. His tail will only grow bigger, and swimming will only become more difficult.
This, too, isn’t an uncommon problem, apparently. Rosetails are kind of a bad idea, although I didn’t know they existed before I bought him. It’s the same with every extreme– Dachshunds have back issues, Bulldogs can’t breed naturally and need human intervention, Persians can have trouble breathing— so I guess a fish that can barely swim isn’t that out there.
I already set a plan in motion to fix this, though– I picked up a 3g ‘tank’ for him to live in; I’d rather he’d be comfortable and in a smaller tank than miserable in a bigger one. This just means more water changes for me.
Which brings me to the next point–
What shall I do with my other cells?
Oh. Wait. Got that covered 😉 I put in an order from a small-time breeder for a pair of Halfmoon Plakat siblings (as in, they are full-blood siblings from the same spawning).
Now I just have to deal with my personal problem–
I can’t stop buying bettas 😉
Part of it is a ‘rescue’ complex, part is a ‘gotta have them all!’ mindset (I refer to it as the ‘collector’s mindset’, which is all fine and good– and expensive– with dolls or video games or kawaii, but not good with fish) and a large portion of it is simply impulse control issues– the same issues I have every time I start or restart a hobby. The logical part of my brain is all, ‘you only have so much space’, while the inner five-year-old that loves sparkles and bright colors is all ‘buy this one buy this one!!’. When the hobby is fresh and new, the five-year-old tends to take control– but only for a little while. Then logic gains control again as I deal with the consequences of my hard-to-control inner child– in this case, a beautiful set of betta dorms that need plants and hidey-holes.
I made the decision to split the 10g into three cells, rather than two. I’m going to be doing water changes for Cal every four or five days anyways, so doing all three tanks at once is no real problem.
These two I almost bought when I bought Cal and Vis, but chose not to. My sister called me this morning to let me know they still hadn’t found homes a week later 😦 I couldn’t let them sit! So may I introduce you to…
I still have two empty cells for Steve and Ginger (when they arrive, of course). Then I’ll be all ‘buy plants, replace lights, buy better filter’… next tank spending spree will be all about the upgrades to their living spaces.
Next thing… I really really really want a betta sorority. Like, so bad. Which in my case would mean taking probably a 20-long or an oddly proportioned 30g. We may be getting a family tank… or I may be clearing out a ton of stuff I rarely/never use to create space. Either way, I have four baby girls in quarantine right now while I decide how to proceed; they are quite young, and if they survive, they should be perfect for this (same age, all relatively docile/non-reactive so far, same size-ish, and three seem to be from the same spawn).
This is where the ‘rescue’ complex comes in– my whole family seems to have this empathy thing, where we struggle to leave a wounded weakling behind, no matter how strained our resources are. Usually I guess this would be considered a good thing, but seeing the number of cats some of my relatives have, and thinking back to the dogs my grandmother has had over the years, I do worry a little about my level of self control and wonder where the line is. Anyways, today Sister One and I actually re-organized the entire betta display at Petco because the ones on the side– babies included– were being grossly mistreated/ignored, and a few had already died. We moved those that most need a feeding and a tank change to the top of the display so the shop people would see them first and take care of them when they next checked the bettas (so many gorgeous young males with horrendous levels of ammonia burn! The white with the head damage and the missing eye! SO MUCH AMMONIA BURN! I CAN’T EVEN! But I can’t save them all…), and we alerted them to the dead ones so they’d be removed. Then we picked the girlies. If all goes well and I do start a sorority, I’ll order a set of ‘matched’ (that is, already have lived together– siblings, probably) females to round out my pack. I’ve heard you can go almost 1-per-gallon for a sorority… I can see having ten total, maybe…
I didn’t want to name the ones I got. Really, I didn’t. But Sister one goaded me into it a bit and the names just jumped out; there was no fighting it. But I will not post them individually until they survive a week. Then they will be strong enough to be considered ‘mine’ and I won’t worry as much that I’m going to introduce everyone to my beautiful fish…only to have to post their death notice two days later. Two in particular I worry about. We dosed them with a little salt, and I’ll be water-changing dang near constantly. Once the heaters arrive, I will probably be heating the girlies bain-marie style (a larger container of water with a heater in it, and the smaller containers sitting within that water to allow equal heat distribution and save energy at the same time) until they are a bit bigger and I’m ready for sorority life.
I love fish. So much. Just having them in my room is so relaxing; I’ve felt my levels of anxiety go down enormously, even when I’m at my job. Sometimes when I’m working, I visualize my tanks and think through any current problem-solving shtuff on my list– best plant placement, best lighting, best tankmates, best ideas for sororities (betta kappa…). It’s wonderfully calming for me, especially when I’m in ‘slicing bread’ or ‘cleaning’ mode, neither of which require much mental capacity to complete (I work for a commercial bakery; most of my job is slicing bread for customers or cleaning or organizing. Sometimes I run samples or dessert sales. Sometimes I restock stuff. But mostly I slice and clean and slice and clean and smile for the tourists. It’s not horrible, but it can be a bit repetitive and boring and sometimes– when we’re really busy and I’m swamped and up to my eyes in bread– very stressful).