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Monday, October 13, 2008

The Answer to A Non-Garden Related Question...

I got a non-garden related question on one of my posts a few posts back...it was from Domestic Diva. She inquired about my collection of Betta Fish that I had mentioned in my seven quirky things post. Since I have a bit of Blogger block, I am going to dive into the pile of great questions and try to give out a few answers...lets get started!

Domestic Diva wrote:
"Thank you so much for showing your greenhouse! I'm jealous! It looks like so much fun. We just don't have the room for one in our backyard (well... it's more about the $ I think). Hey - I noticed your post below and that you mentioned Beta fish. Could you do a post on how you take care of your Betas? I'd love to learn some! My mom gave my 3 yr old a Beta and about $100 later he now has a filtered home with a heater and some decoration. I just couldn't keep him in that little dirty bowl that had to be cleaned every 3 days! "

Yea for you! I am so glad you asked me! I love to share what I learned about these beautiful creatures. You did the exact right thing! I have spent countless hours online learning about these fish. They really are very neat little creatures and believe it or not...each and every one of them have their own little personalities!

Mine are each named....and live in 5 gallon tanks complete with light, lid, heater and filter...not to mention the house and the plastic plant that they have to swim around and nap in....here is some of what I learned about them....


Males cannot live in the same tank as males. They will fight (and sometimes to the death)
They also cannot be placed in a tank with other long finned fish. Cory Cats are one of the only fish they can be housed with. BUT ....in an effort to keep them from being lonely, you can place two tanks side by side so they have someone to interact with....and it is a great source of entertainment for us to watch too...they really are quite beautiful when they flare their fins....
Placing a mirror in front of them where they can see themselves works too.

They will show better color and stay healthier if you feed them not once a day...but two or three times a day...use the pellets and give them three-four at a time...never use fish flakes...it dirties the water fast.

Females, although not as flamboyant...are quite pretty too. They look a little bit like guppies, but are very much more interesting and come in as many different colors as the males...AND you can have more than one of them in a tank together.

Never keep a male and female in the same tank. He will eventually kill her.

They like warm water and will be much more active if the water is between 74-79 degrees. If the water is cold the fish will not be swimming around but to get air.

You do know that these fish breathe from the surface of the water? Yes they do. They have a labyrinth that makes this possible.

You can tell how happy your Betta is .....if he comes to the glass to see you when you enter the room....and if he builds a bubble nest...it is a layer of white spit bubbles on the surface of the tank. They build them when they are either happy or have a female in their sights...either way, they are happy...lol (however...not building a bubble nest does not indicate that he is not happy...but a bubble nest is a VERY good thing) (good grief...I sound like Martha Stewart with that very good thing comment....someone help me!)

Although many people treat these fish like they are a disposable short lived pet...they are not. These fish can live 3-5 years if cared for properly. Many of the fish you purchase in the pet store are already fairly old. The ones in the pet store are also (in my experience) not going to come home and be the same color as when you bought it. Once it is happy and comfortable and has lost the stress of the pet store and the tiny little cup it is in, it will show it's true colors....vibrant and beautiful.

There are a lot of myths that these fish like small and crowded places...and will thrive in a jar with a plant sitting in the top (peace Lilly is a common one). This is WRONG! first...this fish cannot breathe as the opening is plugged with a plant. Second...they can live in a wine glass...but you could live in your bathtub...but would you be happy? NO! pull your head out of your selfish butts pet store! This is just plain cruel. They do not require a huge tank....3 gallons is good enough ...but my goodness let these babies stretch their fins!
The age of a Betta can be estimated by the length of his fins! The fins are sort of like hair. They continue to grow longer for the length of the Betta's life! Neat hey? Yea...so when you are choosing from all the sad little faces in those cups...the ones with the longest fins are the older of the bunch...

There are several types of Betta too....round tail, crown tail, delta tail, veil tail...check with your pet shop for which you have... or look online.
I clean 1/3 of each tank out weekly. I use a siphon and then add my fresh water with a jug. I change the filter every 2-3 weeks...and don't leave the light on in the tank all the time. Only when it is dark outside and I need to see them. They do no like too bright of light either.

I have managed to breed my Bettas last winter in a fit of boredom...I added a female to a Male's tank...and a few days later BAM I had a bubble nest and then they mated. It is a very cool thing to see...he wraps his body around her belly...and gives her a little squeeze, the eggs fall out, and he scoops them up and puts them in the bubble nest....she is removed from the tank and the daddy does ALL the work for about 4 days...then he is removed..and then my work began. It was one of those things that I will never forget!
Anyways...I have a lot of information for anyone who wants to leave me an email address to send it to. All of my comments are moderated...so leave me a comment...and then go back and leave me one with your email address in it...I will not publish the comment with the private information in it. I promise. I am also not a raging lunatic...or a stalker...just a total neurotic tootsie, who throws her heart and soul into almost everything she does...and cannot let a living thing in her charge go unspoiled....or uncared for....even my fish have treats and are very spoiled...as far as a fish can be..lol All of the information I have has been very helpful, and will include some tips and how to identify different problems that they can have, as well as how to treat the occasional illness...it also shows you the easy way to care for your fish.

If you have any more questions that you think I can answer....by all means...if I can't answer it...I bet I can show you the way to someone who can!
Thanks Domestic Diva....I am sure my husband will thank you too....now that my bleeding heart is thinking of all those sad little fishes in the pet store in those tiny little cups.....
Starting tomorrow...I am going to answer some of the questions you guys were so kind as to leave for me to answer. So...we shall see you there!