Can you give feed on my Essay on Bettas for my English Class?
On this holiday weekend I am little short on people who can give constructive feedback on my paper. I tried to keep some things on bettas basic since many don't know anything about bettas. In this case my only audience will be an English professor at my technical college and he is very serious about the class. We will better writers when he is done with us. I'd appreciate any comment or suggestions, corrections. For this paper I was required to do a narrative, it had to have a conflict and what was referred to as saddle. That meaning It had to demonstrate some sort of balancing act. It's also supposed to be descriptive and paint a picture for the reader. There is also supposed to be some quoted dialogue in the paper.
Caring for my bettas,other pets, working and going to school can be a balancing act. BTW I have an issue with skipping words when I write. They are in my mind but they don't always make it to the paper. You might point it out if if missed something. Thanks for reading!
My husband and often I visit the pet store to get food and supplies for our dog and cats. Our dog requires a special food which only Jacks Pets carries locally. Every time my husband and I would go to buy dog food I‘d notice the Betta fish which they keep at the checkout counter. The conditions there are squalid. The
fish are forced to be in 4x4 inch cubes with barely enough water to cover their fins. The water is moldy smelling and full of feces. If you take the time to gaze at a betta they do look back at you. In my eyes they looked desperate and depressed in those cubes. In stores where they sell bettas it’s often like a fish disaster zone with fish in various stages of sickness and sometimes dying. I’ve kept a fish tank before and while I am not an expert fish keeper this seemed cruel, unnecessary and reeked of laziness. This is especially true since there was so little water involved in the water changing process.
I remarked on this situation to my husband. He knows I have a soft heart for animals we’ve rescued many over the years. He said to me We can’t save all the animals and beside they were fighting fish so that was different. They have to be kept separated." I didn’t know much about bettas but it just didn’t seem right. Separate does not mean left to sit unsanitary conditions until you die or someone takes you home. Since that conversation I had an opportunity to see more sad looking fish and I’d wanted to have a fish tank again for some time. Thus, on February 13th at about 10pm I became the random, proud owner of two betta fish. My decision to get them was very impulsive and based on a desire to give them a better life than the dirty cups they were being kept in at the store.
It was the religious season of Lent “a do even more good time” and Valentines Day was the next day. So my mind was on these things that day. I was in Meijers buying a Valentines Day gift for my husband, groceries and cat food. While shopping I noticed the Bettas there. They are stuck in the back of the store where hardly anyone would see them to buy them. I was going to leave but I just couldn’t look the other way anymore. So I picked out two fish and put them in my cart. One was orangish looking cellophane veiltail I named Julius (orange Julius) and an indigo blue veiltail I named Nano as in Nano second. He was the second I chose and as it turned out he was a very speedy little fish. Julius I thought was not as pretty as the rest; he wasn’t looking good and probably would die if I didn’t buy him. I chose Nano because I have always associated with the name bettas with the classic blue betta. I wanted to buy a red one and name it Valentino for Valentines Day but I restrained myself. Even after I had them in my cart I hung around feeling conflicted. Partly because I was worried how my husband would take it since he didn’t seem enthused about my getting fish. Another thought also crept into my mind that by buying the fish I was supporting the system that left them in terrible conditions. I have generally been the sort of person who will cease buying products from companies if I know they are involved in violating the rights of people or involved in the cruel treatment of animals. Buying the fish kind of crossed that line. In the end I decide I wanted the fish and they were “just tiny fish” my husband would get used to it. I also concluded I could at least make the two fishes lives better if took them home. So off to the register we went. I had no idea at that moment where that purchase would take me. It was surprising what I learned and how much bettas have come to mean to me. I brought them home covered in a shopping bag and kept them out of sight of my husband. I wanted him to see them set up in their new homes when I did the “great reveal.” You might expect that I would have bought supplies for them while I was at the store and I nearly did. However, I decided to go home and research what their needs were on the internet. Different types of fish have different needs and I didn’t know much about bettas. They have all these tiny cubes, bowls and container they market for them. Those products seemed contrary to my previous fish keeping experience. I knew small was probably bad and equaled more ammonia build up. The store also had 5 gallon tanks or larger some of which were the same price of the small “Betta tanks”
Later I was really glad I didn’t buy any supplies because I would have had the wrong equipment. I found some fantastic web forums with advice which described in detail all the needs of bettas. I discovered what I suspected which is that the tiny containers for them would shorten their lives and create more work for me. It turned out while you can keep a betta in a gallon container or even a 2 gallon container but you have to change the water really often. Small containers encourage ammonia build up and disease. I found a 5 gallon (or more) was the best size I could give them. This was great news since Meijers was selling 5 gallon tanks for $10.49. Ironically, the tiny unsuitable containers actually cost more. However don’t let cheap aquarium price fool you. There’s much more involved.
I ran out first thing in the morning and bought aquarium supplies. I discovered the first conflict in my personal interest in buying supplies for them. The dollars add up. You need, the aquarium, heaters, gravel, plants, water conditioner to remove chlorine and décor. Sponge filters are desirable but not always needed. Bettas generally cannot have your standard cheap plastic aquatic plants. The long pretty fins they have will tear on many plastic plants. In the world of betta experts there is something called the Pantyhose test if you can rip panty hose on the plant then it will tear a betta’s fins. The packages are usually sealed shut so you really can’t be sure before buying the plants if they will be ok. So unless you want to spend evenings dulling the edges of plastic plants with a nail file it’s best to buy silk aquarium plants. Yes, they actually make special silk plants for fish. Aquatic silk cost 4 times more than craft store silk plant. A package of 3-4 medium plants is $15.99. They can go higher depending on the brand. The cost of the setting the aquariums was just the beginning. I got the aquariums set up during the day on Valentine Day. I set up one aquarium in the kitchen in an area we use as a mini office and one in our large 1950’s pink bathroom on the vanity. I wasn’t going to be able to spend time with my husband for Valentines Day because I had class. So I left him a nice note and gift near Julius’s aquarium. In retrospect I probably should have just left his gift someplace else. When I got home after school he was mad; angrier than I would have ever expected. They were fish after all not a litter of kittens. He’s been resentful of the fish ever since only softening a bit on this “issue.” It has not deterred me though. I joined an online forum for betta owners and breeders. I have become very involved with bettas. I have bought more. My husband says he’s a fish widow. You know your golf, baseball and other sports widows. I gather I have created a whole new category. However he is TV zombie don’t even try to talk to him while he’s watching his shows. I figure TV Zombie and Fish lady we’re about even. Bettas are very interesting fish. They race to up to the front of tank if you walk by. Doing wiggly little dances and displaying their fins to get your attention. Some play with tank toys. They also build nests made of bubbles this is instinctive but some owners equate this with betta happiness. Overall are bettas pretty interactive compared to other fish. Bettas with all their pretty colors and personalities are like little jewels where no two are exactly alike. There are so many colors and fin types. You have half moons, crown tails, double tails, veil tails, and plakats. The list goes on. While I have not trained my bettas to do tricks some people do. My fish all have names which they respond to. Now I have to confess some of this behavior is probably due to the fact that I feed them. However, you could say the same about some of my cats and dog who will perform for a treat. While I study I have several sets of eyes watching me which actually makes me a little more focused because they are my quiet, little study partners. I feel like I have a little company. My A.D.D. self is less tempted to go looking for distractions.
Last edited by jadaBlu; 05-26-2013 at 10:18 PM.