Week-I-Have-No-Idea: And Another Set Back…

Hello, I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas and New Year. Our family had a blast. On New Years Eve we stayed up until 3 a.m. and got little done New Year’s Day.

IMG_2952Now I know everyone is probably getting tired of the getting better, getting worse, getting better cycle my fish like to keep up. Marbles Fin Rot has flared up. Again! I am getting a little tired of this. I should just buy another. But then that is just one more fish tank to clean.

I have my new female now, Fidget. She is an active little red and iridescent green fishy. She is in the top tank (a.k.a. breeding tank) and when I open the top to feed her she jumps about five inches into the air! I think she is a veil tail, but it is a bit tricky to tell on the females. You can see her in the picture at the top.

On the down side of things, I have had to say good-bye to an old fish. Afabelle died on the 23rd of December. The days prior to it he had IMG_1975not been swimming around as much or eating. My dad was looking at my fish when he spotted Afabelle with glassy eyes. I took care of him and cleaned out his tank. After a little consideration I moved Marbles to the 2.5/3.5 gallon tank.

I moved the shrimp to the bottom tank with Sushi (who is now behaving himself and has given up terrorizing the poor things) where one of them died. I don’t know if it was Bob or Larry, but I was going to take it out when the other one decided it was snack time. Sushi might have helped when my back was turned.                         Sushi’s tail biting habit seems to have stopped. His tail and anal fin are growing back wonderfully. Here is what happened in my opinion:

He was bored.

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And a while later…

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He shredded it…

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And was sure that the new style was Double Tail like Mr. Marbles…

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But decided to grow it our again because “long and flowing” was in.

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I thought it would be a good idea to write a bit about marbling. While doing research a few months ago (has it really been that long?) I found a page that talked about marbling. Basically, Marbles and other marbled Bettas have a gene that cause their skin to change color over time. There was a fish that was almost all peach colored and over six months was a rainbow of color! It was super cool. I will show Marbles “Color Journey” here for you to see the difference.

First week

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A Few Weeks Later

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Now

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Until next time!

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New Year Resolutions

This month everyone is making their New Years Resolutions. Or if you’re like some people, you made yours in June. I’ve got a few of mine down. Most of them are about getting over fears I have and they will probably seem silly unless you have the same fears.

    1. I will not be afraid of popping balloons

I hate loud, unexpected noises. Especially if I am holding the thing making that noise.

    2. I will stop being afraid of elevator cables snapping while I’m riding on them or elevator doors closing on my arms. 

I think almost everyone has been afraid of elevators at some point. Right?

    3.I will not laugh while I’m eating.

My dad likes to make me laugh while I eat. One time I was eating shredded cabbage. Not exactly an appetizing sight.

    4. I will go to bed early.

    5. I will stop being afraid of bugs when I don’t have shoes.

Ever tried squashing a spider without a shoe?

    6.I will read a dictionary. 

Maybe then I’m understand what my siblings are talking about. Or maybe I should just skip the dictionary and ask for personal lessons in jibberish.

    7. I will stop flopping on our really soft couches.

It’s lots of fun. but not great for our furniture.

    8. I will stop being weird.

This is on every list I’ve ever thought of. I am just weird in general. I suppose that after almost fourteen years of being weird, I should just accept the fact that I am. But no, I have to spend an entire week telling myself; don’t be weird, don’t do that, only weird people do that, don’t be weird, don’t be weird. I think I’ll take it off my list this year, then maybe I won’t be weird. Or maybe I ust won’t be paying any attention to it.

Week 14: Complications

I know everyone is looking forward to cute little fry, myself included… but Narine is not exactly cooperating. To start it off, I released her into the breeding tank after 24 hours of no bubble nest.IMG_2469 I had heard that some males don’t make bubble nests until there are eggs to put in it, so I let Narine into the tank. Sushi was just blowing bubbles half the size of a small marble out of his gills. They popped as soon as they reached the surface. Narine and Sushi swam around a bit, and I thought all was going well when Narine ripped half of Sushi’s anal fin off and ate it. I just about had a heart attack and trapped her with a net. After a bit I let her out to try it once again, hoping it was just a one time thing. IMG_2446As soon as she got out she went straight to Sushi and started fighting with him. I put her in her tank and got mad at myself for letting her beat up my poor little male (who was supposed to be the one who bullied her…). Sushi is healing up though, he has some flesh-colored skin growing from his fin.

I have to get another female, a mild-tempered one. Our Local Fish Store (LFS) doesn’t have any at the moment, but I can order one. I called today for the list, but they couldn’t find it so I will call on Thursday. I and going to try for a Super Black or Opaque White female. There are 3 different types of black. Black Lace, Melano Black (the female’s are infertile though, so I can’t get one) and Super Black.

I am going to breed Marbles because I know that he can blow a bubble nest and his fin rot is  close to gone. He is very sweet and I can tell he likes me. He doesn’t shy away from my fingers and jumps for food.

Sushi this week

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Sushi last week

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Until next time!

Week 13: Conditioning

A day or two (or was it three?) after my last post I read something about people breeding their tail biters and having decent turnouts. IIMG_2369 figured that Sushi could be bred as long as there was no fin rot and started conditioning him. This is how it goes:

He sees her. He shows off (flares) for a minute. He tries swimming through glass. He discovers he doesn’t have that super power. He goes crazy and flares some more. She flares. She teases. She swims around. I put paper between them.IMG_2382

I am using a method that I saw on this forum or thread. I can’t remember the name but it is in the bibliography somewhere. You put the tanks next to each other during conditioning with a paper in between so they can’t see each other. Then you feed them frozen bloodworms or other conditioning food for a week or two. After you have done this you remove the paper and let them see each other. They flare for five minutes and you put the paper back. Repeat this twice a day for a couple days. Clean the breeding tank very well and fill it four or five inches with de-chlorinated water. Put the female in a mason jar inside the breeding tank where the male can see her. When the bubble nest is completed, the female is showing vertical stripes and the male has just about lost his mind, release the female and continue with the breeding (more on that later).IMG_2360

Newest Additions: Bob and Larry, two Ghost Shrimp who poop a lot! My tank looks terrible even though they clean well. Bob is bigger than Larry. I bought them to keep Sushi occupied. He is almost like the king of the tank. They touch his food, he chases and takes it from them. They are terrified of him.

Ghost Shrimp are hard to see… can you find Larry in this picture? Hint: Look in between Sushi and Barbecue Sauce for the dot. That is his heart.IMG_2372

Barbecue Sauce: Moved to the breeding tank. Why? I don’t know, I was bored. Sushi thinks he is interesting. Barbecue likes it as long as the shrimp leave him in peace.

Narine: By Sushi.

Marbles: No more bubble nest 😦

Afabelle: Lazy, but likes to play dead.

 Sushi’s tail today:

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He totally shredded it! Sometimes you wish you could shake their tank (without hurting or frightening them) and make them understand they need to STOP eating themselves and PLAY with their buddies! I got him new plants, but he must still be bored.

I hope you enjoyed this!

Week 12: Tail biter?

Sushi is not getting better and I moved him into the 10 gallon breeding tank to heal. When I was putting him into it he jumped and ended up on the floor. I freaked out and put Sushi into the water asIMG_2206 fast as I could. I was worried that he might have damaged his eyes, but they seem fine. When he was in the ten gallon tank I wondered if he could be a tail biter but I reasoned that his tail got smaller slowly so I thought it was fin rot. Today I looked at him and a lot of his tail is gone. I haven’t caught him biting it yet, but I think he does it at night. Maybe he is scared of the dark… He likes to keep me guessing 🙂

Earlier this weekIMG_2186

Today IMG_2203

I ordered two sponge filters and a micro worm culture. They both came and I installed one sponge filter and started my culture. My micro worms are thriving in my closet. My mom thinks they are going to get out and crawl all over the house, but I have them secured and I check them every day. IMG_2217

Narine: Is doing fine, she flares at me sometimes and follows my fingers.

Marbles: Started blowing bubble nests again! I put a small heater in his bowl and a little plant I bought.

Barbecue Sauce: Is still a mystery… snail.

Afabelle: Hides a lot.

Until next time!

Marbles bubble nest. So cute!

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Week 10: Sick Sushi

Well, Sushi has fin rot and I have finally figured out the cause of it… cold water. Yep, seventy degree water is too cold for my Betta fishies. With winter coming I need to be extra careful with their water. I have Sushi in a bowl with a heater, thermometer and air stone. He hasn’t gotten worse in the past few days (I haven’t blogged in a while and Sushi got sick almost a week ago) so I’m assuming that the heat and aquarium salt is working.IMG_2168

Narine and Sushi saw each other before I put a piece of paper between them and now Sushi is looking for Narine. I found out recently that Narine is actually a spade tail. I kept puzzling over her until I saw a picture on the internet. Spade tails are not very common so it was exciting finding out that I owned one.

 

IMG_2170Marbles is healing nicely. His tail is growing back and he is more active now than he was. My sister put a hat she crocheted on his bowl to keep some of the heat in. I had put one on Sushi’s bowl and she thought Marbles looked cold so she popped it on over the top. I got a few pictures of Marbles flaring for those of you who were wondering what Bettas look like when they flare. My fish flare at pencils and mirrors. The pencil probably looks like a giant eye to them.IMG_2171

Today I’m going to order a sponge filter for my breeding tank and a micro worm culture. I am also going to be purchasing (sometime in the near future) some fake plants, conditioning food and possibly another gang valve for my air pump. I am hoping to start conditioning in the next week or two if Sushi’s tail heals.

Until next time!

 

Week 9: Preparing to Breed

Well, it is now week nine and October. With just about everything out of the way, (vacations, trips, etc.) we are clear for take off! Or are we? There are many things to be done to prepare for breeding Bettas. Betta fish are bubble nesters, meaning that they blow bubbles to form a nest to keep the eggs in. Some betta fish that live in streams are called mouthbrooders due to the fact that they keep the eggs in their throats because bubble nests would be swept away by the currents.

To prepare Betta fish for breeding, you must first Condition them; this means to place the male and female where they can see each other. I would recommend putting the male in the breeding tank to let him get familiar with it and to claim it as his territory. Then place the female either beside the tank in another small tank or bowl or in a tall jar or tank inside the aquarium where they can see their partner but not get to each other. The temperature in the water should be about 80 degrees fahrenheit.

During the conditioning you must feed the fish high protein, high fat, high fiber food. You want to feed them as many rich foods (with other regular foods also) as possible to ensure you get a good, healthy batch of babies. Many people suggest using live food, but I do not have the time nor energy to raise live brine shrimp or mosquito larvae. There could also be many bacteria on the live food, so that is yet another reason I am sticking to frozen. The frozen bloodworms normally come in cubes, so it is easier to defrost them.

After two weeks to a month, your bettas should be ready to breed.  The male will be flaring and building a bubble nest around a plant or other object. The female will display vertical bars on her body and be looking down submissively. At this point you gently tip the female into the aquarium with the male and watch them carefully. The male will be acting aggressive, this is fine as long as the female is not being  harmed too much. She will most likely end up with a few tears in her fins from the “Courting” that consists of nipping, pushing and bullying the female. However, if the male is too aggressive, you need to remove the female and find another match.

NOTE: Try to keep the noise level down during breeding as betas feel the vibrations in the water.

Eventually the male will lure the female under the bubble nest and they will spawn. The male will wrap his body in a U shape around the female (this is why he needs to be a little bigger than she is) and they will embrace. After spawning the male will release the female, who will be in what many people call a trance (it’s okay, don’t freak out)  and collect the eggs that fall down to the bottom. This is why it is important to not have any gravel as the male could lose some of the eggs in it. The female may attempt to help, but she normally eats the eggs.

It can take anywhere from an hour to an entire day to spawn and when the bettas stop spawning and the male chases the female away  from the nest, you need to remove her. Place the female in another tank and feed her good foods. Take special care of her during the next week or so to make sure her fins heal properly.

The male will need light during the next four to six days to be able to rescue any falling eggs or fry that need the oxygen from the surface. Twenty-four to thirty-six hours after the eggs are placed in the bubble nest they will hatch. The tiny fry are a little bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. The male will return any fry that fall during the next two or three days until the fry start free-swimming. Remove the male once that happens and treat him like the female is being treated; with special care. He will be exhausted and in need of rest.

The fry will have used up their yolk sac by now and you will need to feed them. Brine shrimp are complicated to grow and feed them, so I am going to use micro worms. There are also vinegar eels and other foods you can feed them. If there is an emergency you can hard boil an egg and give them the yolk, but only as a backup.  Feed the fry twice a day with moderate portions. Turn a sponge filter or other filter that a fry won’t get sucked into on after two or three weeks on the lowest setting. After another week or two you can up it and after a month you can change a tiny amount of water. I would say 10% or less.

The fry will grow rapidly for the first two months. A spawn can have anywhere from 10 to 1000+ (but not normally) so be sure you can house them all. I have two ten gallon tanks, two big fish bowls, two small fish bowls, one tall tank, three square tanks and a vase for emergencies. Male bettas secrete a chemical into the water while growing to stunt other males, so if there is one (or ten) particular fish that is huge, put it in another bowl or tank.IMG_2070

Update on Marbles: He is fine, added half a dose of Bettafix and his tail has not grown worse. His bloody tips have disappeared and I am teaching him to jump.

Barbecue Sauce: Moved to Afabelle’s tank.

Afabelle: Typical old fish.

Narine: Sassy as ever.

Sushi: I got another betta! His name is Sushi. He is a half-moon male that I got from a locally owned pet store. He is red and teal blue. Sushi is getting used to his home.IMG_2063

Hopefully I’ll have some baby bettas soon!

 

Week 7: Fin Rot Won’t Go

Marbles has been off the aquarium salt for about four days now. You can’t use it for more than ten days or it could cause liver and kidney problems. He was getting better but just before I stopped using it he got worse and he is missing a good hunk of his tail now. I am worried that he might die if it keeps going. I finally had my mom order IMG_1977Bettafix  off Amazon just to help Marbles out. I’ve been feeding him (trying to anyway) peas rolled in garlic juice but he doesn’t like them and spits them out. Narine gets the other half of the pea and she gobbles them up. Marbles is still at the mild stage of fin rot but he is getting worse. He now has bloody fin tips.

Last night on the way back from a homeschool meeting my mom and I were talking betta. As we were discussing betta fish my mom and I came to the conclusion that if Marbles has chronic fin rot or if it just won’t go away, we don’t want to breed him because:IMG_1976

1. It could infect Narine and the tank water.

2. If it is hereditary we could end up with baby betas susceptible to fin rot.

We also worked out that since blue beta fish seem to live longer and not get as sick (based on previous fish and many other websites) that I should get a blue male betta and breed for health before characteristics. Once I get a healthy fish, I will breed for the specific tail or color I want.

A friend recently gave me her old male betta because she was moving. He is about three years old and very big. He is a purple and red crown tail betta. His name is Afabelle, which means Heaven. He is named after a book by John Piper. He likes to sit on the bottom of the tank by his figurine and watch the air stone and lights. IMG_1975

I took the figurine out of Narine’s bowl because I realized that my previous fish who had been sick was housed with it and Marbles was using his bowl. So I switched bowls (I have so many fish bowls and tanks it is ridiculous) and I am going to clean them with boiling water.I also put a heater in Marbles bowl since it is getting cool out.

See you again soon!

 

Week 6: Jackpot!

I hit the jackpot today. I was doing (more!) research and I came across another blog site. This one is way better than mine, they cover anything and everything (it seems like anyway) but that could be due to the fact that they have been up and running ever since 2004.  I found lots of answers to questions I wasn’t even asking. Here are a few of them;

1. Soak your pellets and freeze dried betta food before feeding it to them as those foods expand in water. This is a common mistake everyone (myself included) has most likely made at some point and causes swim bladder disorder.IMG_1701

2. Some betta fish have a problem called Tail Biting or Fin Biting. This is where betta fish bite their own fins due to anger, frustration or hunger. It could even be hereditary.

3. If you pronounce betta, bay~ta (which on almost every video I’ve seen that is how people pronounce it) you are wrong! You pronounce it Bet~tuh. Please pronounce it right! It makes people confused about what you are talking about when you say Bayta.

Narine is doing well, I put Marbles old plastic castle in her tank after cleaning it and she likes it. The day after my last post my snail died. I returned it in a plastic ziplock bag and got a new one that actually moves around sometimes. I think I’m going to stick with Barbecue Sauce for the name.IMG_1717

Marbles is getting better rapidly, after one week his tail is almost all the way healed, it still has tears, but they are slowly shrinking. He flared his gills when I was near the tank so I held up a little mirror and he flared at his reflection for a little while. I let him see the mirror again later. You should not show betta fish the mirror for more than five minutes a day because it stresses them out if you let them see it all day and they could kill themselves.

See you again soon!

Week 5: Fin Rot

You probably read the title and are like “Eew! That sounds totally gross!”                                                                                                                                    Well, Marbles has contracted it due to my lack of experience. I have never had a Betta fish with fin rot. All my Bettas were healthy fish and I kept them in a tall vase on our mantle. Marbles got it because he had too warm water where some bacteria decided to call home. I caught it early while I was watching him swim and thought I saw a little tear in part of his tail. I thought he might have fin rot and looked up some pictures and information. When I came back about half an hour later, it had grown and started all over the edges of his tail. I put him in a quarantine bowl and went shopping for aquarium salt.

IMG_1661Fin rot is a bacteria that thrives in warm water and eats away at fish fins. If it goes too far it can actually eat away at the fish itself. Mild cases are where the fins are slightly discolored and a bit ragged around the edges. Marbles is very mild. Major fin rot is where there are tears, a lot of brown, gray or black discoloration  (this is why it is so hard to tell fin rot on dark fish), tattered, ragged and shrinking fins. Extreme fin rot is where there are no fins or tail left and fin rot is now body rot. There is very little hope for your fish at this point.

The best treatment for a fish with fin rot is to quarantine it if it is in a tank with other fish or in a large tank. I suggest using a fishbowl as they are easy to change the water in and clean. Keep the bowl warm,  do 100% water changes every day and add the recommended amount of aquarium salt. I am not using bettafix or melafix because I have read that it can coat the labrythus organ, causing breathing problems. Bettafix is melafix diluted and melafix is tree oil. They are also not for curing fin rot, they are used as an antiseptic.

Marbles is quarantined and I am using aquarium salt and feeding him an eighth of a frozen pea every other day. His tail was getting worse until I put him in the bowl and now it is staying the way it was. He looks a lot bigger in the bowl so I was able to get some good pictures.IMG_1683

I have to confess that while my dad and I were out getting aquarium salt I saw golden mystery snails on sale for a dollar fifty. I had been contemplating getting one but they were a little on the expensive side. So I picked out a mystery snail and brought it home. It hasn’t come out of its shell yet. We aren’t sure what to name it, but I would love suggestions! We were thinking about Speck, Aslan, Barbecue Sauce( those of you who have seen Turbo know what I’m talking about) or my dads favorite, Hermaphroditey.IMG_1678

I hope you have enjoyed this!

 

 

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