Feb 28, 2008

A whole week!

Sorry, I've been kind of busy with college applications and whatnot. I still am, but I'm taking five to post on here because I haven't in a while.

So... I'm dealing with a lot of fin rot lately. Been doing daily water changes instead of every second day as usual and adding aquarium salt. And... I don't really have much else of interest to report. I've ordered a lot of plants for my 12 gallon and they should be coming soon, and those five females should be coming (finally) on Tuesday, because we finally have a few days of above zero coming.

Other than that... I donno, give me something to talk about. I might not manage to post features tomorrow, we'll see... definitely don't have time to do it today.

Feb 21, 2008


I was so preoccupied with bad news and features that I forgot to say everything else I had to say! So now that I'm done those water changes, I'm posting again.

I moved Maddi to the 12 gallon by herself for now. She has always had a chronic case of fin rot in the .5 gallon, even when I change her water every day, so hopefully she'll do better in there. When the other five females come, I'll take her out temporarily before putting all eight females in together. Don't have to worry about her claiming territory because there are only a couple decorations in there right now, and I'm going to be adding tons of plants before putting all the girls in, so she won't recognize it. I have a couple live plants and tons of silk ones on the way, so by the time I get the fish and quarantine them for a week I should be all set.

I should be (finally) getting those five other females in the next week. I'm getting to be less and less of a fan of winter. I don't normally mind it all that much... but it's keeping me away from my fishies.

Also, I'm moving Sky to the 2.5 gallon. Alpha's not happy to give up his tank... but Sky is so jittery about everything, I don't want to freak him out with water changes every second day.

And... I joined Technorati. So if you've got an account, there's a link to fave this blog on the left.


So I lost Spike last night... didn't even have a chance to get rid of that ich and show you guys some pictures first... and I'm not really sure what caused it. Only had a couple spots from ich in the morning, was dead when I came home late at night. It looked like columnaris, but I've never seen it move that fast before.

Anyways... in an attempt to be more cheery, I'm posting features a day early.

The first image is by Daniella Vereeken and was actually one of the ones I was considering using in the layout when I redid it, but it didn't match. Just something about the way he's looking right at you always gets me. And his colours are really neat.

The second one is by Zara and it's just really cool. I don't really have much more to say about it.

And the last one, which is by Spyzter, is neat too. Check out the rest of his photos - the bowl makes them look really neat.

And that's it... I've gotta go clean my tanks.

Feb 19, 2008

Fin Rot

With all the holidays happening around here (Valentines for real on the 14th, then Valentines with me and my bf on the 17th, then his birthday today) I've been exhausted most of the time and busy the rest. The result being me falling behind on water changes... and the result of that being fin rot for Maddi. She tends to be prone to it... and I figured she'd be fine until I get her and the others in the sorority tank. But this morning she had fin rot again. So I stuck her in the 12 gallon by herself for now because I didn't have time to do anything else. She seems to be improving already, though. I might leave her in there until the other fish come (next week hopefully) and then take her out, add the decorations and put all of them in.

Um... ya, just an update. Not really any useful info there for you guys. Open to questions as always, though.

Feb 18, 2008

Buying Bettas from a Pet Store

Alright... so we all know how tempting those rows of little cups can be - and sometimes in our eagerness we concentrate too much on the colours and finnage and forget about things like health. I always pick the most active, colourful betta I can find - and yet every fish I have ever bought from a pet store has gotten ich. For that reason, I've decided to add salt to the water of any new fish for at least the first week.

Some signs of a healthy fish:
-Bright colours - an unhealthy fish will often get pale and develop stress lines (horizontal lines from nose to tail)
-No signs of disease - keep an eye out for clamped fins, cottony patches, ich, damaged fins and anything else that seems out of place. Last time I was at a pet store, most of their bettas had fin rot (i.e. edges of fins are red or black, there may also be holes in the fins or they'll look deformed). If you're looking for a rescue, make sure the fish isn't too far gone to rescue. Things like fin rot are usually cured with clean water, but things like columnaris (cottony patches) are fairly fast killers and contagious.
-Look for one that's active - swimming around, but not darting around (darting is a symptom of ich and a few other things)

And... good luck ^^

If you go to PetSmart, I don't know if this is all of them, but the one near me has blue water in the betta cups for some reason... I suspect it's ich meds, but if that's the case then why do all my fish get ich? I'll try to remember to ask someone next time I go - and if anyone else finds out before me, please tell me.

Feb 16, 2008

Hum... felt like I should say something...

... but I don't have much to say.

I've been too busy planning for Valentines (Devin and I are celebrating tomorrow) to find photos to feature, so that'll start next week... not that anyone's suggested any.

And... hum... I still haven't taken photos of Spike, I'll do that over the next week sometime hopefully. Sky made a bubble nest today ^^ so proud of the little guy - and Alpha's bubble nests are getting bigger all the time. I'm not going to try breeding until I have a bit more money and it's a bit warmer in case I have to ship any of the offspring.

Stupid weather - it was supposed to warm up this week, but it doesn't look like it's going to. So I have to wait even longer for my females. I'm starting to get quite a collection of plants for their tank, though, and I'm gonna go buy some nice mugs to use as caves later.

Oh! There's something I've been meaning to post: what is generally safe to put in your tank.

Anything sold as dinnerware has to be high enough quality that it's safe for us to eat out of. So it's safe enough for the fish, too. I generally don't use anything that isn't dishwasher safe, but a lot of people don't worry about that rule and are perfectly fine, it's just a comfort level thing for me. Also, terracotta pots work really well, just plug up the hole in the bottom so no one will get stuck.

Feb 12, 2008

Photo Features!

Alright, so I've been meaning to start this up, I just wasn't sure how. And now I've figured out how... so here it is:

Every week (or maybe every two... depends how well this works out) I'm going to feature three new photos. These might be photos I find on Flickr or dA or some other photo site, or they might be photos from you guys that you've sent me, or photos that you guys have found somewhere. I'm looking for good photos of bettas - any kind, any gender, any age. The more original the photo is, the more likely I am to feature it. Once I've chosen photos to feature, I'll post them and give credit to the person who took the photo as well as the person who found it - unless it's me, because that's just redundant.

So... if you've got photos, or know someone else who has photos, link me.

I think I'll start doing features every Friday or something...

Spike has ich

So I was going to post pics of Spike this morning, but apparently he has ich (why do all my new fish always get ich?) so I've added salt to his tank (1/2teaspoon per gallon) and I'm keeping it dark and hopefully he'll get over it in the next few days.

Feb 11, 2008


So, being in Canada, it gets kinda cold in winter... and my house can get a little chilly. Right now my fish are all getting kinda pale and showing stress lines (horizontal lines from head to tail) because they're colder than they're used to. They're all in small tanks, so it's not as easy as turning up the heater - I can't even put a heater in with them for the most part. Last time this happened, I floated them in a heated tank - but I don't currently have the means to do that. So I put them as close to the heat vents as I could manage... and they seem to be doing a bit better.

If you're having heating troubles, too, here are a few ideas that might be useful:

-Get a larger tank or just a big container of some sort - a Tupperware container works fine - and put your smaller tanks in that. Then fill it up with water so that it's near the top of the smaller containers and stick a heater in (remember the thermometer!). It will warm up the larger container of water, which will warm up the smaller ones.

-A spacial heater, if you already have one lying around the house, might be the most cost-effective solution, just make sure you're around to keep an eye on the temperature.

-You can get heating pads that are meant to be used for reptiles, but work fine for fish if you keep an eye on them (or so I've heard). Just make sure you have a thermostat attached to it and it's set up properly so you don't cook your fish.

-There are also lights and mats used for heating germinating seeds that would work for heating tanks - but again, keep an eye on the temperature.

Feb 10, 2008

Amusing diagram of useful knowlege

Just thought someone else might be as amused by that as I was. It's the best diagram I've found... because it's not boring, and it's useful information, too.

I also got a new fish yesterday. Spike... he's blue and red and just cool-looking in general because he's a crowntail. I'll post pics later.

Feb 8, 2008

Small tanks

Ok... so I figure it's time I tackle this issue. Small tanks are acceptable to a point - and they require a lot more care to keep up without your fishie getting sick. Stores and companies will often try to sell you a smaller tank, saying that it's perfectly fine to keep them in that small area because it mimics their natural habitat... at the same time as saying that you only have to do a water change somewhere between once a week and never. All my half gallons came with instructions, and they all said to change the water once a week - when with a half gallon you should be doing water changes every second day or every day.

Frequent water changes can also be stressful for the fish, because they're being taken in and out of the water all the time. A solution to this is to use a small scoop rather than a net. I found mine at PetSmart, though I'm sure they can be easily made (tell me if you figure out how, and I'll post a how-to giving you credit). It pretty much looks like a clear plastic pipe, so you can scoop out the fish along with a bit of water. Still stressful, but not as stressful.

Another solution taking a large tank (like 20gallons) and putting in dividers (cheapest are made out of plastic craft canvas), then you have to take into account the fact that there are more fish but you can also filter. Or you could set up betta barracks - though this is only practical if you have lots and lots of fish. However, both of these methods involve sharing water. So make sure you keep an eye out for diseases and whatnot - because if one gets it, they're all likely to get it, and fifty bettas with ich is not fun.

Some fish will get so stressed that they start losing fins after water changes... these are the ones you don't want in a little tank. If possible, keep him/her in a larger, cycled tank.

Next step up is a 1 gallon or a 2.5 gallon. Still too small to bother filtering, in my opinion, and water changes should happen once a week. If you're looking to filter, I think 5 gallons and up is what you need (though the only filtered tank I have is a 12 gallon). You can get kits that have a tank, filter and light included, for about $20-30 depending on the size, and they tend to come with free samples of food and purifier too (though don't count on it).

Now, on to the worst of them all. Betta in a vase.

Pretty, right?

This is a fairly big craze these days... and I'm not saying you should totally discard the idea, just that you should use some sense. Most people buying these set ups are being told that it's the perfect, hassle-free live centerpiece. These vases are typically a half gallon or less, and the companies making money off this craze are saying that you don't need to do water changes or even feed the betta - the plant will take care of it. This is completely wrong. For one, bettas are carnivores, so you will need to feed them pellets. They may eat the roots, as the companies are saying, but they can't survive off of them and will still end up starving to death - as well as killing the plant. For two, water changes are still necessary, the plant may even pollute the water more depending on what it is. Also, the vase is too small to share between a betta and a plant. If you're going to do this, I suggest at least a 1 gallon vase (that's four liters), and a fake plant... or one that's made to live in water. Otherwise it's likely to start rotting because it's not made to live in that much water, and then you'll have a nice deadly tank.

And lastly, make sure your tanks have lids, or the water level is kept a few inches from the top. Bettas can and will jump, and you don't want your fish to be flopping around on the floor. Any questions, comments? Everyone going to run off and do a water change now?


Just wondering what info you guys would like to see. If you've got questions, I can usually find answers - though checking out forums might be better for more urgent questions. Not only do you usually get a quick reply, you get multiple replies and opinions based on different experiences. I usually reply quickly, since I'm usually on the computer about 10 hours a day, but forums are still a better resource. If you're in emergency mode, though, there's no harm in sending me an e-mail or replying to a post on here. If I'm on, you'll get info quickly.

Anyways, here's what I've been planning to post, tell me if there's anything else you'd like to see:

-Anatomy/Fin Types
-Ideal tank readings
-Sorority tank how-to (putting that off until I get mine up and running so I can add in anything I encounter along the way)
-Gallon to cleaning schedule ratios
-List of Breeders (might just link someone for that one...)
-Some simple DIY decorations

... that's all I can think of right now. I'm like halfway through researching most of those topics, so I'll get them up eventually...

Alpha and his bubble nest

Alright, so I keep on saying I'll add photos of Alpha... and here he is. He's much happier since I moved him to the 2.5 gallon - he's much bigger than any of my other fish, so he needs the extra space. In the 1 gallon he just kinda... sat there... But now he's happy and I had fun taking pictures. He even flared at the camera! Unfortunately I wasn't focused properly and that photo's just kinda a blur... so it's not here. I'll try and get another one sometime.

And yes that's a beer bottle, even though beer is disgusting... I needed to put something in the tank and the bottle was there XP If you're going to use that idea, make sure you clean out the bottle really well and fill it part way with gravel or something, especially if you don't have any ground cover, and fill it with water.

And today I came home and went to feed him and there was a bubble nest! It's not a very big one, but I've never seen one in person before... so I was really excited. I'm going to try breeding him... with Maddi, I think... when I have the space and time. Also have to wait for a little tear in one of Maddi's fins to heal - think it was a bit of an ammonia burn, I didn't have time to do any cleaning on the day I normally would have cleaned all the tanks out so I had to leave it an extra day.

Feb 7, 2008


Ok, so I updated the layout to make it more fishy. All the photos I used were found by doing a CC search on Flikr... and I think I'm going to start featuring photos in my posts, because some of those photos are awesome!

Anyways. Credits.

The layout is still the one designed by Douglas Bowman. So he deserves credit for that one, even if I did change the images.

Here are the three photos I used, click on them to see the profiles of the people who shot them:

And there you have it... all I did was take those photos and the original images from the layout into photoshop and fool around for like half an hour. So they deserve the credit, not me.

Tip re: Water Purifier

So, one thing I've been looking into lately is water purifier. I tend to use AquaPlus and BettaPlus - which are exactly the same thing, so far as I can tell (please correct me if I'm wrong) except that Betta Plus is diluted to make it easier to measure out for use in smaller tanks. The catch is that because BettaPlus is specifically made for use with bettas, they get away with charging a lot more and only selling it in small bottles, which don't even last me a week.

So I switched to AquaPlus - it's cheaper and comes in bigger bottles. The problem was that with BettaPlus, measuring had been easy - 1 cap full (1 teaspoon) for every 2 liters (.5 gallon). With AquaPlus, it's 1 cap full (still 1 teaspoon) for every 10 gallons, and I only ever purify one gallon at a time because that's the size of the containers I use and what I find to be easily manageable.


Find an empty water bottle and put in 1 tablespoon of water for every gallon. So my purifier says 1 teaspoon for every ten gallons, which means I'll put ten tablespoons of water into the water bottle. Then add the amount of purifier you would use for that number of gallons (1 teaspoon in my case). You can repeat this until the water bottle is full if you want, just make sure to keep the ratios right.

Then, every time you need to purify a gallon of water, you add 1 table spoon of the solution in the water bottle.

And of course you can modify the numbers to suit your needs. Just remember to double and triple check your math.

Feb 6, 2008

Just a post...

Ya, felt like writing something. So Alpha's doing fine. He wasn't eating for a while, but now he is, plus he's getting his colour back. I'm going to move him to a 2.5 gallon later - my other fish are all fairly small, but he's like twice their size and I think he'll be happier in a bigger tank. I've also been hearing from his previous owner that he's great at making bubble nests - and I've been meaning to try breeding. So maybe he'll be the male I use. Sky is still too young to use for breeding, I think. I'll post pics of Alpha later once I have him settled in the 2.5 gallon.

And Sky has got his colours back, so more pictures of him will be posted soon. I liked his previous colours better - but at least now I know he's happy. He's a solid turquoise-blue colour now, where as before he looked more like a blue/purple-ish iris. That little guy makes me smile all the time, he's so full of energy.

Feb 4, 2008

It's getting there...

So I got Lisa over here on Saturday to help me set up the 12g. She's the one I bought it off of, so set up went a lot faster with her help. I'm sure I could have figured it out on my own... but then I might have made some tiny mistake somewhere that made it not run smoothly.

So I now have a huge tank full of water... still need six more caves and a lot of plants. I bought some tumbled stones at Michaels and got some aquarium sealer and was planning on making some caves with that (using the sealer as glue) but when I got home I realized the stones said "not for use in aquariums". So learn from my mistake and read the fine print before buying these things. If it was summer, I'd just head to the beach and find my own rocks... stupid Canadian winter... but now I've wasted like $15 on useless rocks. They're not even anything worth putting in my old stone collection (that has been sitting under my bed untouched for two years now).

So, I'll continue my cave search... and if anyone has any plants or caves to donate, let me know. I'll pay shipping. Right now I have two clay pots in there as caves, but I need more. There should be one cave for each betta - and I think I'm going to try putting in all eight and I'll pull out the more aggressive ones if there's a problem.

I'm also looking into bottom feeders to cut down on the work I have to do. I wanted a little catfish, because catfish are cool, but they don't like temperature fluctuations too much - or rather they like them less than most fish - and with the thermostat in my house being constantly fiddled with, sometimes my heater can't keep up. So corries are being recommended - but I really don't like them that much.

So... ya, that's my update.

As for next year when I run off to a different city for school... my half of the dorm room will be a box of clothes, a bed and the rest will be covered with clothes XP I can do homework on campus somewhere, right? The rate I'm going, I'll have my 12 gallon and like ten half gallons. Really, so long as I can find a place to set up the 12g, I should be able to find space for the others easily enough - and most dorm rooms have a desk... I should be able to share a desk with a 2'x1' tank.

My mom doesn't think I'll manage. But I always do.

Feb 1, 2008


Ok, so this is like the best "slideshow" template photobucket has come out with yet and I'm going to change all my fish slideshows to this style. Mouse over the pictures to see them properly.

So this is Sky, my new male. He's tiny, barely an inch long (not including fins), but he's still a baby. And I think he's absolutely gorgeous. The pictures don't even do him justice. I wanted to call him Sunset or Iris because that's what he reminded me of... but somehow I started calling him "Sky" for lack of another name and now I can't convince myself to call him anything else. I tried, I just forget.

I was also supposed to get Alpha today, he's a male in the area who needed a home... but we had a pretty nasty snowstorm, so I'll be getting him on Sunday.

And... I bought some females from Ontario Betta. There were two solid orange ones! So excited! I also got two dragon/orange crosses and one blue one. So that's three females I already have, plus five more on the way - and the owner of the site said she might even toss in a couple more because they need homes. I finally got started on actually setting up that 12 gallon, too. So it'll be ready when they come. I think I'm still only going to put 6 in there, though, 8 might be pushing it.

But I'm so excited! Everyone over here is laughing at me because I can't stop talking about my fish tanks!

So... ya, that's all, I think. Check out Ontario Betta if you're looking for fish (and you're in Ontario), and join the mailing list. It's one of the better sources for fish in Ontario, in my opinion.