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.

The Betta

There are a few things in life that I try to avoid and going into Pet Shops are one of them (running in front of a truck being another example). I have a ‘I want it’ kind of personality. I look at all the creatures stuck in their pens and cages and I can’t help myself, I want them all. My first bad pet shop move was when I bought my parrot some 17 years ago. If I had had any common sense when I was ten I would’ve realized that I was setting myself up for a life time commitment but, at that time the only thing I could think of was.

“I want it.”

In recent years I’ve managed to keep these urges to a minimum (after my mother threatened to leave if I brought one more animal home) and of late my obsession for lack of a better way of saying it have been confined to fish. With my new job, all the animals in my life got an upgrade. My parrot got a bigger cage and a ton of new toys, my old geriatric sausage dog got some decent type dog food guaranteed to keep her fit and lean for years to come and I bought a big aquarium for my gold fish (as well as two more fancy gold fish who got pinged on the “I want it,” radar). After I acquired a pleco last week, I told myself that I now have enough creatures in my small garden flat but that resolution was not to be.

Last week I stepped into a pet shop to buy some catfish food for my pleco when I saw a row of jars against the corner. Intrigued, I went over and saw that they were samurai fighting fish (bettas). I found this ironic because an author whose blog I follow recently posted about her own betta fish. I never really thought of them until that moment. I looked around the jars and got the distinct and foreboding feeling of:

“I want it.”

Being a good girl, I left but the nagging feeling of wanting one remained. I resolved to stay away from pet shops for a while but unfortunately that was not to be. Today, for work, I had to go and get some prices of certain products – coincidentally at this very same pet shop that I had been the week before. Unable to resist, I went back to the betta jars and studied them, amazed at all the colours. There were black ones, blue ones, red ones and a strange grey one. I looked at each of the jars, amazed at how beautiful and calm the fish seemed. Then, quite suddenly, as I looked at the last one, it gave me a very direct look and flaired. Its little body changed from pale white (with dusted red tips) to a brilliant red colour. I put it down and stepped away and, sure enough, the fish calmed down. I told myself to step away and managed to get as far as the door when I turned back.

Again I picked up the jar, again the betta flaired all the while looking directly at me.

I couldn’t stop myself so, when the store attendant came closer and asked me if she could help me, I found myself almost uttering the words.

“I want it.”

But, I didn’t take it immediately. I drove back to work in a hurry, only to find myself turning back (as a torrential downpour of rain started) about a block from work. I drove back to the store like a maniac, grabbed the attendant who had helped me before and told her (most probably looking like a soaked, red headed mad woman).

“I really want it.”

So, I brought it home, first hiding it in my office so that my boss couldn’t see that I had wasted valuable company time acquiring a beautiful, slightly aggravated fish. Now, it’s settled in my old fish tank (with new accessories naturally) and I’m vigorously reading up on what I need to know about these fish (as I’ve only ever had gold fish). I have a habit of naming my fish after characters in the books that I’m currently reading. Rightfully, this fish is now called al’Lan Mandagoran after a character from Robert Jordan but, in my mind, I find myself calling it Harrison – after the author who spoke about them first and planted the seed of want in my heart.