Wild Betta Journal - Page 15 - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #141 of 1954 (permalink) Old 08-14-2013, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Now the weather has slowly been showing signs of warming up, I've been thinking about my sad looking tub pond that has been going since last summer.

It's black plastic and I am not really sure how much water it holds. Presently the only plants in it, is some struggling giant/standard duckweed, as well as a tiny bit of native pennywort that has somehow survived in near darkness.

I am kind of tossing up what livestock to put in there once we get to summer. I don't think it stays hot enough overnight (last summer we had some really cold nights) to keep a lot of tropical species.

As something way out of the left field, I was contemplating Danio margaritatus. According to what I have read they can tolerate temperatures down to around 20 degrees celsius. Once it got too cold I could probably just bring the whole tub indoors and then put it out again the following summer.

However, I have been meaning to ask mum if I could dig a hole and half-sink my tub pond into the ground. I thought this may help insulate it better against temperature fluctuations. I would also be putting a mesh lid over the top of the tub to stop predators and my dogs from getting in there.

Not sure on plants as this point. Thinking maybe something like mayaca fluviatilis, java moss and elodea. I figure they are hardy and grow quickly. I will also be stripping out the old substrate and using either ADA Amazonia or Miracle Gro soil.

I have been meaning to make a proper tub pond for ages now, but our last summer was just so wacky and I had a tank outside instead that I never got around to it. Hopefully this time I am more prepared.

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post #142 of 1954 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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Today was supposed to be the day I moved my rutilans sp. green sub-adults in with their older siblings. It's also an absolute ripper of a day outside and I had a whole list of things I intended to do. Of course this has to be the day I get cramps from hell and wish for the millionth time I could bequeath my fertility onto someone who really wants it.

Anyway, got some quick snaps of my wild bettas. They are not photogenic in the slightest after my killifish who at least sit still long enough for me to get my camera to focus.

I have no clue what is up with the mouths of these two burdigala females. I am not sure if the males in with them are injuring them or they are doing it to each other, but they are the only fish in the tank with this issue. Doesn't bother them at all. They were all squabbling minutes before over who got to eat the last of the grindals.


One of her many sons

Her 'curvaceous' daughter

Then my persephone who decided to squander all the beautiful natural light streaming through my window and onto their tank by hiding in their leaf litter. Appreciative sods.

My uberis pair spawned the other day and the father is actually right out in the open with his nest and eggs this time around. Not certain if they have hatched yet but at least it is giving him something better to do than just sit in his log skulking about.

Been reading threads about fish rooms and shrimp rooms on other forums. I think I need to start investing in lottery tickets. I swear shrimp people have the neatest set-ups for their livestock. I have moss/fissidens envy looking at some of their displays. Must be nice to be so organised.

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post #143 of 1954 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 03:51 AM Thread Starter
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Did a big shake-up of the fish rack today. Moved some fish, emptied some tanks and wasted a lot of time making a big mess.

Now everything is all cleaned up, it looks a lot better.

Thinking of scrapping the peat moss substrate in my wild betta tanks and using a cheap 'aqua soil' instead. It makes less of a mess, and will provide some nutrients for my hydrilla. Since I am not going to be breeding any time soon, I don't mind if it buffers the pH up slightly.

The next big project will be condensing my two burdigala tanks into a single 2ft tank as I know in one tank at least there are a number of juveniles I don't want to accidentally leave behind.

Now I've been spending some more time working with my tanks, it reminds me why I got into wild bettas, specifically the coccina complex, to begin with. I think I might add a couple pairs back to my collection when I do the permanent move downstairs. However, this time around I am not going to stress about spawning them or growing out fry. I will just enjoy them for what they are.

I wonder if I can find any money trees for sale on ebay haha.

Here is one of my adult rutilans sp. green. This fish is at least two years old, possibly more. He shows no signs of slowing down soon and now has a number of sub-adult siblings to deal with. I will get a full tank shot tomorrow once the water clears up. I think they just need some more java moss and maybe some frogbit and their tank will be perfect.
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post #144 of 1954 (permalink) Old 08-18-2013, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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So my unimaculata pair (mum's fish) spawned last night. I had changed all their tank around, replaced the substrate and put in a terracotta cave and some IAL so I assume this is what triggered it.

Female used to be the runt of the surviving sub-adults that I sold, but now she is really coming into her own.

The present scape is only temporary. I have some terracotta tunnels on orderm along with a tennis ball size worth of peacock moss and a golf ball size of flame moss that I will be tying down to the tunnels when it all arrives.

Then I will be adding in some frogbit and some watersprite as these fish are very jumpy (male has a cloudy eye from one of his many suicide attempts) and I thought it might help keep them in the tank and diffuse some of the bright lighting.

Also, I know the heater has fallen down. I didn't want to have to mess around in the tank too much because it might spook the male.

I thought I would also share some photos of our oriental cat called Rama/Rami. He is one of those cats that is a vet's wet dream. We got him from a bit of a BYB and so he came with a lot of issues and quirks.

He is a compulsive sprayer (on prozac for that), has gingivitis, has excess cartilage in his throat (vet found that when she went to put what I think was a tube down there) and excess cartilage on his chest.

He used to have extremely bad asthma and I think his lungs actually haemorrhaged at some point. He has this weird stretchy skin and his front legs are like double-jointed and point inwards at this disturbing angle when he is sitting down.

He has basically no immune system, so can suddenly crash if he picks up something a normal cat could fight off. One day he got extremely sick and we rushed him to the vet where they thought he had a blockage and recommended exploratory surgery. We agreed and although they found no blockage, they said it looked like he might have cancer instead as some nodes were inflamed. My mum was hysterical as he was only like three or so at this time.

Turns out though that it wasn't cancer. Just some sort of gastro/stomach bug that he had been hit particularly bad by. Odd thing is, after the exploratory surgery, his asthma basically stopped. He still coughs on occasion, but doesn't need to have medicine daily like he used to.

I think he was younger than the breeder said when we got him as he was so small. He is the biggest cuddle cat though. I always joke we need to get him one of those baby slings as he loves being carried around in your arms. He also has an addiction to fetching. He fetches the weirdest assortment of toys and household things and will bring them to you in the middle of the night and start pawing your face to wake you up and play. I have a video of him somewhere fetching me a bag of bread.

Yet for all this and the fact he has absolutely ruined our carpet/some of our furniture with his spraying, I would not trade him for the world. Life is going to be that little less fun when he is gone.

The hoard of octopus toys from just one night that I found under my bed this morning

The culprit

Funnily enough, for all that, his 'Aunt' that we have from the same breeder is perfectly sane and healthy. Only real problem is that she has an allergy to food with corn/cereals in it and will vomit it up.

The whole saga with Rami showed me why it is vital that you do a lot of research beforehand if purchasing from a breeder.
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post #145 of 1954 (permalink) Old 08-19-2013, 12:56 AM
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Rami is absolutely adorable! Sad that he has so many problems though, but it sounds like you and your family love him very much, which is all he could ever ask for!

"Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal." ~Alfred A. Montapert

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post #146 of 1954 (permalink) Old 08-19-2013, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, he is very spoiled. I think even though he has cost us so much in vet bills, it was actually a good thing that we purchased him.

The spraying alone would have most likely had him either put down or sent to the pound in a majority of homes. Coupled with all his medical complications, it was probably better he found a home with a family like ours, as my mum and me are very dedicated to our animals.

There are times though when it's like we have a gremlin in the house. He's either eating something he shouldn't be, trying to trip you up at the top of the stairs, jumping over with our three German shepherds, or stuck hanging off something like the curtain railing.

He used to have an obsession that something was under the fridge for ages. He used to hit his toys under there from time to time and even when we fished them all out he would still just sit there and stare at the fridge.

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post #147 of 1954 (permalink) Old 08-19-2013, 05:19 AM Thread Starter
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Got some good news to share for once.

I managed to rescue two very young and very tiny Betta hendra fry after I sold their parents (male spawned only a few days before pick-up by buyers). I put them in with my killifish fry and when I didn't see them, I thought perhaps they had died or been cannibalised.

Imagine my surprise tonight when I see a much bigger hendra fry cruising around near the surface. I don't know if the other one is still in there or not, but since I had to cull all their older siblings to get rid of a highly resistant strain of ich, I am hoping that this fry and its sibling both survive.

I was contemplating purchasing this species again, as I originally sold the parents thinking I had plenty of replacements. However, when the treatment failed to work and I had to cull all their offspring, I ended up losing it from my fish room.
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post #148 of 1954 (permalink) Old 08-19-2013, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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This is going to be a writing only post. This is mostly me just wanting to put my ideas down somewhere as I figure out what I want to do with my current fish rack/set-up.

Moved all of my burdigala into a single 2ft tank yesterday afternoon. Talk about a mammoth task! There were at least 40 fish of various sizes and ages that needed catching and moving and then both their old tanks needed emptying and cleaning.

Their new tank doesn't look great. I still have to work out what I want to do with my wild betta tanks appearance wise. All my tanks have to match or at least follow the same theme.

I do still like the au naturel look with thick leaf litter over peat moss, but it invariably makes it difficult to keep track of and interact with my fish. Plus if I disturb the peat moss/litter section at all it stinks like rotten egg.

Therefore, I am debating on laying down some aqua soil susbtrate in all my wild betta tanks. I think something like ADA Malaya might be good. I know it basically has very little nutrient value, but it also shouldn't give me a massive ammonia spike (going to run it in a bucket with some duckweed for a couple weeks just to make sure) and it looks to be the best at acidifying water. On top of that, it is a very natural colour.

I may sprinkle a couple handfuls of peat moss over this as my wilds do seem to like ploughing through it and getting it everywhere.

On top of this, I will do a very thin litter consisting only of IAL. Instead of letting leaves decay and break down like I normally do, I will be replacing old leaves once they start to fall apart. I was considering using large instead of small IAL as I want the water to be extremely tinted and the bigger the leaf the more tannins released.

I am pretty limited in my wood choices at the moment as I am on a shoestring budget and a decent piece of goldvine (looks basically like roots) would set me back at least $20-30.

However, I have been looking at this new type of wood called 'Mekong driftwood'. Depending on whether or not I can pick myself up some part-time work in the next couple of months, I may look into purchasing a few pieces to complement my existing goldvine.

Now comes the part I can't really decide on. What plants should I use in my wild betta tanks, if any?

I really want a floating plant. Duckweed, even giant duckweed, is rather small and tends to make a mess whenever you want to do maintenance. So I was thinking Amazon frogbit. However, I don't know if the Malaya would provide enough nutrients long-term to keep it alive. I've only ever had success with this plant in a tank where I used ADA Amazonia.

Watersprite left floating is also another option. Pros are that it is cheap, not very demanding and grows very fast. Cons are that it does take a little while to transition its form from planted to floating, and I have found it does tend to brown off in parts and so requires some care to keep it nice.

I have a bunch of hydrilla as well (looks very similar to elodea) and I am not certain whether to incorporate this into my tanks along with the above plants, or just leave it out. I am facing the same dilemma with using java moss. I do like it because it is low-maintenance and provides plenty of cover, but I think it may mess up the whole look I was going for, and it can be a bit of an algae/detritus trap.

I have decided as I lay awake in the dark watches of the night courtesy of my cat, that I do want to continue with keeping wild bettas. I know I was going to get more seriously into killies, but honestly I think my heart is still with the coccina complex.

Now all my fish are healthy things have been a lot less stressful. I think the whole ich saga in my grow-outs really burned me out. This is why I really want to get a proper system in place for my wild betta tanks so I can take a much more 'hands-off' approach to maintenance.

I have seen how my killies have been thriving with very small water changes done only with aged water, and I think I was getting too aggressive with my wild fry. It was most likely the fluctuating water chemistry that caused the ich in the first place.

The plan now is that I am going to purchase two plastic water jugs/drums with taps and only use water from these in my wild betta tanks. Although my tap water is very soft already, I think going with aged water that has had some IAL in it and been pre-heated to the perfect temperature will help prevent massive fluctuations in pH, temperature and hardness.

I have some money squirreled away that was going to go towards killies, but now I may invest it back in a couple new pairs of wild bettas. This time though I will be taking a very natural approach towards keeping and breeding like I used to. Our transhipper has down an order for some wild betta species so may see what she has on offer when they get out of quarantine at the end of the month.

It's funny how changeable this hobby can be. One moment you are convinced of something so completely, and the next moment something happens to throw your carefully laid plans right out the window.

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post #149 of 1954 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 04:39 AM Thread Starter
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Tiny Betta hendra fry with a stomach full of BBS. I had a quick look with my torch but couldn't see its sibling. Not certain if it's in there so I am going to take out the moss tomorrow, move all the big killifish fry over into the other grow-out and see if I can't find it.

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post #150 of 1954 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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Today I didn’t do much with my fish, as I was far too busy nearly electrocuting myself over at my next door neighbour’s house. Like the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished. This afternoon I learned not to plug my vacuum into dubious looking power boards.

Instead my fish got half an hour of me crazily rushing around trying to fit in water changes between feeding cats and cooking dinner.

I had my tunnels arrive from Taiwain for my unimaculata tank. I realised as soon as I opened them that I really could have ordered a size down. I am just paranoid because bettas seem to be masters of getting themselves stuck and so I thought better to be safe than sorry. So now my unimaculata pair are looking at an upgrade to a 2ft tank because the tunnels look ridiculously out of scale in their current tank.

I am beyond thrilled with how my rutilans are going. The sub-adults have become so friendly all of a sudden, and I think their presence has encouraged their older siblings to be out and about a lot more. Unfortunately, I think I have all males from the last spawn. I really hope this is not the case as I so wanted to work further with this mouthbrooding strain.

I was contemplating sourcing a small group (maybe four) of unsexed coccina from the wholesaler here in Oz to keep as pets. I sort of like having my tank of miscellaneous males, and if I happen to get a pair out of it well that would be even better. I think they are still available so I may look into that further. Haven’t had coccina in a looooong time. They were the first wild species I actually kept.

I am also currently tossing up between standard rutilans, brownorum and hendra. I am kicking myself for selling my hendra since I lost all my replacement juveniles, but my brownorum never successfully spawned for me so I would like to give another pair a go. Will have to see how much I can save up between now and the time when they become available next.

My burdigala group are still settling in to their new tank. Funnily enough, the two fish that are the most comfortable in there are the two youngest juveniles.

I am a bit concerned about my wild-caught female as she has lost some condition of late, so I may put her and possibly her male (if I can find him) in a special tank on my bedside table. I only just got the previous tank off there, but she is one of my favourite fish so I don’t mind sacrificing it.

Also decided to hold onto my uberis pair. The female is just such a ham and since I moved their tank so it sits lengthways on my rack, they have been a lot more active. I think if I sell them I am really going to regret it.

Anyway, here are some random photos of my burdigala. This is all I got before my camera died.

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