Mar 27, 2008

Making care booklets, anyone want to help?

  • If you don't want to read this monster of a post:
    making two booklets, one of general care and another directed at people
    working in pet stores to try and convince them to take better care of
    their bettas. Any ideas you guys have about content and any pictures
    you'll let me use would be great. These will be for free distribution
    and I will post them as PDFs when they're done so you guys can print
    them and distribute as you please.


so I go to pet stores a lot... I'm sure I'm not the only one. It's like
"I have ten minutes to kill... hey, pet store!" and then I spend more
money and tend to come home with a new fish... and it's all bad.

Recently, I was standing in PetSmart staring at their female bettas.
They were in with some other fish that obviously weren't the best tank
mates and they all had really, really dark stress marks. My boyfriend
comes up behind me and says "no", which is a fairly common occurrence.
"But look at them! They're so stressed..." to which he said something
that has been bouncing around in my head ever since "So don't buy them.
They'll just keep buying more so long as they sell." Now, I already
knew this, it just hadn't really sunk in... because really, staring at
those poor fish, what could I possibly do other than buy them? It's the
same with the males, even though every single male I've ever bought
from a pet store has died within the month - usually within the week -
due to a combination of ich and columnaris, usually.

yesterday I stopped into the pet store near my work on the way home and
was caught staring at the bettas. The lady working there walked up and
asked if I wanted to buy one and seemed kind of surprised when I said
no... because I had been standing there playing with one of them for
about five minutes already (gorgeous... almost black body, royal blue
fins... I wanted him...) so I explained that every pet store fish I buy
dies. Then she asked where I get my fish - Big Al's, breeders - and I
tried to tell her a few ways they could keep the fish healthier for the
week they're usually hanging around the store. She obviously didn't
know much about bettas, but she seemed concerned.

So that got me
thinking... if I made a booklet about this stuff - highlighting the
main problems with how bettas are kept in pet stores - something might
come of it. The higher-ups might not care, but at the level of the
employees actually working in the stores it's generally just ignorance.
I plan to give it to whoever I see working in the stores and somehow
make it clear that I'm not trying to make them stop selling and it will
be beneficial to them to not have their fish dying all the time. People
kind of like pets that live.

While I'm at it, I thought I might
make a simple "caring for your betta" booklet to distribute for free to
new owners. I'm sure at least some of the smaller stores won't have a
problem handing them out for me.

Now that I've said all that...
I need some input. Anything you think I should include would be great,
as well as some pictures of the most common ailments among pet store
fish. I plan to put these online somewhere as PDFs that you guys can
print them out aswell, once I have them done.

I'm about to start a list of things to include right now... just so I can be sure not to miss anything.

I won't take offense to you guys tearing my idea apart, if you feel
like it... so long as you don't take offense to me fighting back.
Arguing is one of my favourite pastimes ^^

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Mar 24, 2008

Maddi died...

I have no clue why... she was acting strangely... but I have no clue why, and now she's dead. She was totally my best fish - total brat, but definitely had the most personality out of the bunch. I knew it was too much of a risk to put her in the sorority. I don't think she got killed by the others - she was the alpha - internal parasites, maybe? That's what I'm treating the tank for for now. None of the others are clamped or acting strangely yet, which were the only symptoms she showed.

So... ya... I think I'm going to carve her a little tomb stone decoration that'll go in my sorority tank. She deserves it. It's not like I haven't lost other fish before, and I do get upset over the others... but this was Maddi! I don't think I'll ever find another like her...

Anyways, using Jungle medicated fish food and aquarisol on the tank right now, going to try and find some Maracyn later...

Mar 19, 2008

Another Update

So after getting home from work I started doing water changes and stuck that new tank in the tub and filled it with water - 20 gallons! If it doesn't leak, it should be perfect for breeding, there'll be enough room to leave the fry in there much longer and just keep adding more water as they grow.

Also picked up another male... he's from the pet store, and I named him Glorp... because I'm exhausted and that's what I ended up calling him XP. I added melafix and extra salt when I put him in his new home... and I'll still be surprised if I wake up tomorrow and he doesn't have ich or columnaris. The water in the pet store obviously hadn't been changed in a while and it smelled funny, as well as being yellowish...


Sorry... again, I've been so insanely busy... I'm trying to catch up and keep up with school work, and portfolio time is coming up, and I'm applying to other schools and looking for a summer job and... and... *collapses*

But I figured I should update you guys.

My sorority tank seems to be doing well. There's some nipping, but they seem to be doing ok. I still want to add in more girls but I don't have any others I can add in - Maddi's sisters are too aggressive and all my other females are suffering from diseases I don't know how to diagnose.

I did manage to acquire a breeding tank, though. It's so cool ^^ six-sided, about a foot and a half wide and like two and a half tall. It'll be my breeding tank once I clean it and set it up... the previous owner lost all her fish and just left the tank sitting there for weeks on end, so it definitely needs some bleach and elbow grease. I also want to make sure it doesn't leak, there's a fairly large crack in the bottom that has been repaired. I'm guessing it holds about ten gallons, and it would not be fun if it exploded on me one day.

Once I get that set up, I'm going to have to go on a search for males... preferably from breeders or other betta owners who can't take care of them... I still haven't had any luck with pet store bettas, unfortunately. They always get columnaris!

So... um... I think that's all I have to say. I'll try to update more often.

Mar 12, 2008

Sorority Tank

So, as I said, I have gotten the sorority tank going. Here are the pics I promised. The top one shows the whole tank - and I'm pretty sure you can see all the fish too, if you look hard enough. The slideshow is just the same as always - mouse over to see any of the pictures properly, click to see them full sized.

The girls (in pecking order):
Maddi (big red one, you've already met her)
Big Blue (the bigger of the two blues)
Runt (little reddish one... orange/dragon mix, I believe)
Little Blue (the smaller blue one)
Silk (a.k.a. that little white one)

Not very original names, I know... but often I start calling them something before coming up with a real name and it just sticks. That last image of Runt is my fave... she's so cute ^^

Anyways, they seem to be getting along. I tried adding in Specks and Iri, but they're too aggressive, which is strange because when I had my three original girls (Maddi, Specks and Iri) together, Maddi was the most aggressive. In some of those photos you can see them chasing each other... Maddi chasing Big Blue and Little Blue chasing Silk... but there hasn't been any damage yet. Silk has a bite taken out of her tail, but she was like that when I got her. She also spends a lot of time hiding - there's a pic of her hiding in that slideshow, too, see if you can find her. You might also have noticed that some of them look a little bloated... I haven't gotten the hang of how much to feed them yet.

One kind of pellets in my inventory are too big for any of them to eat all at once... and I love watching them eat them... they all grab one and dart off to their caves and then repeatedly let go of their pellet and attack it again until it's gone... so amusing...

Only other thing I wanted to talk about was how I decorated the tank. Went out and got some more gravel and buried an air stone in the front left corner. Then I went to Sears and found a whole bunch of mugs on sale for $1 each, so I bought six of them. That log ornament in the middle was on sale at WalMart for less than $10, and I got the plants mostly on ebay, though some were donated by other betta owners who didn't need them anymore.

So it really didn't cost me much to set up this tank. Got the tank, lid, light, gravel, filter and aerator along with a bunch of other useful stuff for under $50 from a friend and the decorations cost me around $30 all together. It may seem over planted, but female bettas like crowded tanks, they need places to hide from each other.

Mar 10, 2008


Just testing out a new firefox add-on. If I like it, this'll probly make me likely to update more often... I've kinda fallen behind.

Sorority Tank!

Alright... bad news first. I lost two of the girls that got shipped to me and two others are still sick... hoping I won't lose them too.

But, me being impatient, I can't wait for them to all get better before starting my sorority, even if it means extra work in the future if I want to add more fish in eventually. So, I bought two more females yesterday and stuck them in the 12 gallon tank with two of the females I got from Ontario Betta. They seem to be getting along fine... which is good, because that tank is so stuffed with hiding places that I don't know what I'd do if they still couldn't get away from each other when they needed to.

I want to put my three original females in, but they're really big now, so I'm going to wait for the new girls to grow up a bit and then see if I can add in the older girls.

I'll try and get you guys some photos later.

Mar 5, 2008

Got the girls!

Ok, so they finally came. The five girls I ordered plus two extras that Ashley (from Ontario Betta) decided to throw in. They're all alive, despite the delay. They were supposed to be shipped overnight, meaning they should have been here yesterday, but I assume the delay was due to the weather.

Anyways, they're alive and seem to be ok for the most part... which is better than I expected with that delay. Still, one of them appears to have dropsy, which I have never dealt with before, and it's usually caused by kindney failure, which means there isn't really a cure. Another has some cuts (I think they're cuts... I hope they're just cuts...), which should be ok with clean water and aquarium salt and I suspect that a third may have ich, but that should also clear up with the salt.

Now... I have school work to do... I'll keep you guys posted.


Still really busy, as I'm sure you guys guessed. Still, felt I should update you guys, let you know I haven't forgotten about you.

So those five females I keep hoping will get shipped soon? Ya, they got shipped on Monday... but they were supposed to get here yesterday, and they haven't. So according to the tracker, they're on their way here now... but alive? I'm not sure yet. And I'm about to run off to work until 8... so... we'll see.