Day 6 || 84 Degrees || Amonia 0 (post pseudo 50% water change) || PH 7.2
Got this weird feeling as I am writing this. A little hesitant on showing pics of Sashi. I suppose it's similar to how parents feel when their children attend school for the very first time. Will he be accepted? Will he be criticized? Does he look like in good health and what does that say about me as his care taker? Truth of the matter though is that he developed this large lump near the end of his body after his gourmet meal last night, so as much as I'd rather not show him in his best light, it's more important for me to have this condition diagnosed so it can be treated ASAP.
So yeah, that's him. Say hi to our Sashi. This pic will be taken 3 days from now, but not much has changed. Originally it was more well defined and perhaps 10% bigger. GF was alarmed, but I told her not to worry. He had a big meal last night, he has a lot of business to take care of down there. Looking back, I wished I had taken it more seriously, and done things differently, but what's done is done. There has been no change in his behavior or swimming ability. Somebody please tell me it's just constipation.
Anyways, after a quick inspection of him it was off to the big pet store. We were there for almost 2 hours, including a 30 minute lunch break as we went through our options. It was hard to justify spending so much on a $10 fish, but passion won over reason and we left that place with our wallets feeling a lot lighter. Items bought were: 5 gallon tank with LED and filtration system, 2 bags of black gravel, 1 bridge, 1 large plant (plastic), 2 small bamboo plants (plastic), 1 small leafy plant (silk), 1 bridge, 2 tiny lanterns, 1 scrubber, and a bottle of Omega pellets. Items we forgot or couldn't find were a toy mirror, ping pong ball and an extra foam sponge to baffle the filter (more on that later).
When we got home, I spent about an hour setting up the tank for Sashi, while my GF prepared the water we would need to fill the new tank. Got a bit stumped with how the filter actually worked but after a quick search on youtube, got that sorted out. We made sure to turn the water flow to the lowest setting before dropping it to the bottom of the aquarium because while the aquarium that we got received glowing reviews, the one issue with it is that the current is a tad too strong for the stagnant water dwelling bettas.
Once everything was set up, then came the time to transfer Sashi from his 2.5 to his new 5.0, and boy, did we mess it up good. This time however, I blame Sashi for being temperamental and impatient as much as I blame myself for being irresponsible and ignorant.
So the tank was set up, finally on the countertop instead of the kitchen counter. An elevation increase of about 8 inches, doubling his field of view from 90 to 180 degrees. Gravel washed, decorations arranged, 4L of water in place, the same temp as in Sashi's aquarium since they have been sitting in the same room even before we left for the pet store, with another 4L ready to go, and another 4L being prepped. I've spent 6 days with the little guy so far. I've got a pretty good feeling of how he is. Although we had a fish net, I knew that Sashi was not shy around me at all. So we took a well rinsed disposable plastic cup, the ones you get when you order soup for take out, and lowered it gently into his tank and scooped him up from behind. He can't say that he was totally caught off guard because everytime we would wash dishes, he would swim to the closest end of his aquarium and watch as we go about our daily business. This time he definitely knew that something was up because the two of us were there, me setting up the aquarium above him, while GF on Sashi's other side preparing the water and gravel. And even when I lowered the cup into his aquarium, I did it slowly enough that if he really wanted to, he could have escaped. But I did it gently to show him that I meant no harm, and when he showed no signs of resistance, I scooped it up.
The second I placed him down on the countertop, he thrashed in his tiny little plastic cup. My GF and I looked at each other, both in amazement and in confusion...then he thrashed again. "Quick, get me that lid!," I say. Safe from the danger of falling into the sink on one side and a metre drop on the other, I scooped his old aquarium water as fast as I could into his new tank. We were treating this as somewhat of a water change. We didn't want him to be in entirely new water so that was the reason he was staying in the cup while I mixed a cocktail of new and old water in his new tank. It was over in less than a minute, but even in his lidded cup, we could see and hear him thrash several more times during the process. So finally there was roughly 8L of water in his new tank, half he was familiar with, half new (we didn't pour the last bits of his water in which had all the poop). I took the cup he was in, lowered it to the aquarium and removed the lid to calm him down, but it did anything but. If anything he was more determined to get out. That plastic disposable cup had a sizeable thickness. For safety's sake, I wanted to acclimate him in there for atleast 5 minutes just to be sure that there is no sudden temp changes. He couldn't wait 5 seconds. He was back to thrashing, and more vigorously than before. I was afraid he would leap up in the air only to fall hard on the ridge of the container. Gotta love these panic inducing moments. Consulted GF on best course of action. She's got that stern, motherly attitude. She says that if Sashi can't wait to get out and be properly acclimated, well, that's his decision.
We both love Sashi. We don't want any harm to come to him. And in our line of work, that is our philosophy: we give you the information, you decide what you want to do with it. I understand fishes are different than people, but in that moment, we had to think fast. I lowered the cup and let him go. I don't think any harm came out of it. The water temps should have been similar and even if they weren't, worst case would be is that the 84 degrees would be reduced to cooler, more comfortable temperature.
In fact, that's exactly what I ended up doing as I gradually topped off his tank. It was only at the 60% mark so I had a lot of refilling to do, 1 cup at a time. The first remaining 20% was water acclimated since it's been sitting out for an hour in this summer heat. The final 20% had only been sitting around for ten minutes, but since the temp reading was at a steady 84 degrees and the day was only getting hotter, I had no qualms about putting those in even though they felt a bit cool. Temp still stayed at 84, but because this was going to be the hottest day, my guess is that it would have reached 85 if I didn't take those precautions.
After it was all said and done, we did the water check's, with the results posted above. I was thinking that maybe we should have dumped in the poopy water in the new tank as well, but it just didn't seem right. No need to rush the cycle.
Mental note: get those aquarium bags in the future for transferring fishes. His agitation probably came from his determination to never be placed in a small cup ever again. After spending 6 days in a 2.5 gallon aquarium, that cup probably looked like prison to him, especially since he couldn't see out of it. Poor planning on our part, but I still don't appreciate his temper. It was beginning to dawn on us that we got ourselves one feisty fish, but these displays of aggression was only the beginning...
As for his new home, I'm assuming he does what all fishes do when they are introduced to a new environment. He explored every nook and cranny. There was much more plants and decorations for him to interact with. We both got excited when he went under the bridge for the first time, seeing a slight hesitation before going through that dark area. In the first hour I saw him get blown halfway across the length of the aquarium 2 or 3 times when he ventured to close to the filter outtake. Sashi, being the inquisitive fish that he is, always returned to that spot until he finally got the hang of it and would swim against that one area in the aquarium where the current would be just enough for him to swim against without really gaining any ground. Reminded me of those days in the mall when we would run up the wrong side of the escalators.
I've heard that bettas dont like strong currents but during his first day in his new tank, I was convinced that Sashi does. At this point I'm convinced Sashi is alot of things. Cute, yes. Crazy? Not too far of the mark. I didn't know how long he would find it entertaining but when it was time for me to go home, I took his old terracota cup and placed it open end into the spout that was releasing the current to stillify the water. Wedged it in good with the tall plant. Hoped it wouldn't fall during the night while he slept below.