A piece of information I didn’t share with the blog was that I’ve recently acquired yet another fish tank. I was given an old tank by a client of mine (let’s say customer rather, client sounds too kinky) who had found it in his garage and was considering to throw it away. The tank was in good shape and, unable to resist, I decided to fill it up with fish.

Cause that’s what you do with a fish tank.

I was at a mind to get another Betta, but the tank was too big and I couldn’t help but feel that my Betta Lan wanted to remain a single child. So, I settled on guppies for two reasons.
1) They were good beginner tropical fish. I’ve never actually kept a large tank of tropical fish (having been a gold fish keeper all my life) and I felt that they would be excellent fish to practice on.
2) They bred very easily. Why does this matter? Well – I want to start breeding Bettas at some point and figured that guppy fry were excellent to practice on.

I popped 4 into the tank – 1 male and 3 females along with a pleco to keep the algae under control. When I got back home with the 4 I realized immediately that my one female was already pregnant. Whoopee do!

I jumped online, did my research and had to deal with her giving birth that very same weekend. I managed to get 22 baby fry, which did alright the first week but then, over a weekend, 20 died. Epic failure for a first try and I was so irritated with it that I almost sold all of the guppies and just put in more gold fish.

But, I did my research, made better plans and just 3 days after the majority of my babies died, I was rewarded by 9 more from another female. This time, I played it smart, changed my rearing tactics and now the babies are 2 weeks old and doing fine. When they were born, they were about 6mm but now, they’ve already grown to 12mm. The only problem that I have now is that the more adventurous of the babies keep sneaking out of their breeding tank to join the other bigger fish.

And get eaten for their trouble.

When I got back home over the weekend (after spending it with my Other Half and charging my visiting mother with taking care of my babies) I realized to my disappointment that 2 of my fry had escaped. I managed to find one but the other (one of only 2 left over from my first batch) was nowhere to be found. I said a little prayer for fish heaven and resumed to taking care of the remaining 10. Two days passed and I had all but forgotten about the little fry when quite suddenly this morning, I found a dark fry swimming around happily on the surface of my tank. At first, I thought it was the other fry but when I looked into the breeder box he was still there. Amazingly, my baby fry had survived in the tank for 3 days without being eaten and returned to the nest!

I was (and still am) overjoyed.

Now, I’m back to having 11 fry and I have to say, they are looking great!

The Betta part 4

Bubble nest! Whoo Hoo!!

This morning I was pleasantly surprised by a large grouping of bubbles floating on the side of my Betta’s tank. If this was any other kind of fish, I’d have been worried but the sight of it filled me with glee. My Betta Lan blew his first bubble nest in my tank.

Now, for all you none Betta enthusiasts out there, here’s a quick lesson on the significance of this act:

When Betta’s spawn, the males build a bubble nest in which the female betta will lay her eggs. After spawning, the male remains to tend the nest – making sure that the eggs stay in the bubbles and taking care of the small fry once they are hatched (though, you should remove the male soon after as he might decide to eat them…). Generally, they only do this when they are happy – mainly after water changes and apparently (as I read on a website) when the weather’s about to change.
Here’s a quick video of how they do it which I scrounged off of youtube. You don’t have to watch the whole reel, but it’s the one that shows how they blow it the best.

I’m excited about this because quite frankly, it means that my betta’s happy and that I must be doing something right.

The Betta Part 3

It’s been two weeks since I’ve purchased my Samurai Fighting Fish (Betta) and I have to say, this is the most fun that I’ve had with less than 5 gallons of water.

Lan is coming along nicely. Not only has his colours sharpened since I’ve bought him at the petshop, but I believe that he’s grown a little in size. I feel that he recognises me when I come into the room, because the moment I do he starts flaring for attention – rubbing against the glass closest to where I’m sitting. His colour still changes from what they call a Cambodian type to dark, cherry red whenever he’s really worked up and I’ve used his energy to teach him to jump for his food. It took about 2 minutes for him to learn it…

I feed him peas once a week, (chopped up bits) and feed him mosquito larvae two to three times in the week. I clean his tank once a week and perform regular water changes. All in all, I have to say that I’ve spend more time on him than I’ve ever spend on any of my other fish. I can’t help myself, he just sort of demands it.

As a genetists (not practicing) I’ve also become fascinated by the types of fins and colours which you can get when you breed different Bettas. Although it’s not something that’s going to happen now, I suspect that I’m going to try and breed them later when I have more space to keep several more tanks (I don’t believe in Betta Barracks’). I recently went into a petshop and saw such a variety of Betta that I just knew I had to try and make my own. 😉

This has truly become a hobby for me and I’m very excited about it because I haven’t had a new hobby (save for irritating my Other Half…) in the past couple of years. Other Half thinks it’s a welcome change. 😉

If anybody wonders whether or not they should invest in one, I would HIGHLY recommend it. My betta has really enriched my life.

The Betta Part 2

I’m enamored with my new Betta Fish. I have so many other things that I can tell you about including a wonderful night at a safari lodge where my Other Half and I spend the night over the weekend and instead, I find myself happily narrating in my mind the first delightful problems I’ve had with my new roommate.

Any new relationship has its ups and downs. You have to establish what both parties like, and then find middle ground. The first thing I’ve noticed about my Betta is that there is no middle ground with him. It’s his way or the highway. And, as a gold fish owner, I’m almost unsure of how to deal with it.

I like to think that I’m a pretty good fish keeper. Most of my fish live for 4 years or more (and then, they only die when I leave them in the care of others). When I didn’t have a lot of space, I used to keep them in bowls (normally large 10litre glass cookie jars or flower pots) but recently acquired a fairly large rectangular aquarium. Now, I keep my Betta in the one bowl, perched on my printer by my computer because that’s where I spend most of my time in my room. I went through the usual routine of introducing my Betta to his new habitat the moment I got home and made sure that he had enough cover to hide in the bowl. I hadn’t bothered to buy Betta fish food because I had some tropical fish food left over from an accidental purchase and thought that I’d be fine with that (my gold fish love it, why won’t the real tropical fish?!).

That was my first mistake.
Lan Harrison does not like flake food. I watched a bit disheartened the first night as he swam around the bowl, tasting every individual flake that was drifting around on the surface and spit it out.
Luckily, I had some freeze dried white shrimp that I sometimes feed to my gold fish as a treat so I broke that up and gave it to him so he didn’t sleep hungry. He ate it reluctantly and quite suddenly I knew that I had a problem. I went online, googled Betta feeding and realized that most Bettas would rather starve than eat flaked food. I wish the store attendant had told me that.

So, despite having an absolutely CRAZY busy day yesterday, I wrung time out of my schedule and stormed into a petshop to get some proper Betta food. But, I knew as I drove home to feed it, that there was a big chance that he might not even like that. Because, that’s what Bettas do. They are very picky eaters.

Luckily, the Betta pellets went down well and I got some satisfaction from watching him chase the tiny balls around his bowl. Then, he settled in the corner closest to where I sat and watched me. It wasn’t a friendly kind of stare, I could almost swear he was looking at me and going: Yes, I can take you. Just come in here and I’ll show you what I can do. They don’t call me a fighting fish for nothing…

I’ve come to the conclusion that my fish is a very agro fish…

He puffs himself up whenever I put my finger near the bowl, puffs himself up and has a tiff with the plants in his bowl and puffs himself up when I use my custom made gravel hoover to take out the waste (and replace some water). He actually went as far as biting the tiny pipe that I use! I couldn’t believe it.

I’ve been browsing around the net and one thing’s become very apparent. The moment you have a Betta, you’re hooked for life.

I totally agree with that.