Thx BettaLover1313. He's pretty funny, in a Grumpy Old Men kind of way.
Week 1 || Day 2 || 82 Degrees
"Sashi: A Tale of Tattered Tails"
"He bit his tail!" said my GF for the second time, frustration and annoyance laced in her words. I was walking towards her place while on the phone. It all made sense. His ragged tail when we bought him, the sharp turns he would do in his tank which attracted his eye to his tail, the mystery of what he was up to in the early morning hours when left to his own devices.
Upon arrival, I saw the havoc that Sashi did to his tail fin. The top 3/4 of the upper portion of his tail was gone, clean right off, straight down to what's left of it at the bottom giving himself an L-shaped tail fin. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you the worlds first L-TAILED BETTA!!! GF didn't think that was funny.I believe "ugly" was the word she used. I had to admire Sashi's handiwork though. It was as though he had access to some really fine equipment because when I look at the vertical cut he did to himself, it was ruler straight.
We suspected it may have been from the filter, that the current was too strong causing him stress, so we turned it off and went to the mall to find foam. We found one, designed specifically for the tank that we have which baffled the filter outtake really well. We also almost came home with some real plants too, but decided against it at the last minute. Didn't want to risk infection. We did get a floating plastic log though.
After coming home and applying the foam to baffle, the tail biting was still hovering in our minds. It was a sad blow, especially to my GF who wanted nothing more than to nurse Sashi back to good health, starting with his fins. We didn't know why he did it. Out of hunger, boredom, stress, lack of constancy in his aquariums...it could be any of these. For the time being we devised an ingenious way of punishing his tail biting behavior with the use of a mirror. It was decided that when we see him biting his tail, or do those tight turns in the corner which would bring his attention to his tail, we would bring up a mirror to stop this behavior.
The strategy had 3 things going for it. First is that it will distract him from considering biting his tail. Second, it will give him a reason to keep a bigger tail for intimidation purposes. Third, it was a form of punishment; his evil twin rival will only appear when he bites his tail.
Unfortunately, The Bay Of Pigs worked out better for the CIA better than this strategy did for Sashi. It didn't work out because we simply can't keep an eye on him for that long of a time, and he didn't do that behavior in front of us enough times for him to connect the idea that tail biting equals mirror dueling. With his personality, I actually wouldn't be surprised later on if he would bite his tail simply to make his rival appear.
On the internet we found plenty of information, but nothing really definitive. It could have been any of the factors I mentioned, or it could be something else entirely. Or it could be a case of "Crazy Fish Syndrome." Whatever the case, it was driving us nuts. Spent a whole day's worth of earnings on his aquarium and supplies and decorations, and this is the thanks that we get? Is it too much to ask to simply eat, sleep, and poop.
This once again sparked the long argument that I've had with GF about how much to feed. She was even more hesitant than ever to feed more than necessary now that he still had that bump near the end of his body. She feared it was constipation. We haven't seen any poop since moving him to new tank so I was just as clueless but I laid out my theories to GF. Sashi may be constipated so feeding him more would simply worsen the scenario, or he may be hungry which is why he is biting his tail. He was fasting two days ago, he's probably still hungry and if we fast him again to get rid of what may or may not be constipation, it was entirely possible that he will take another chunk out of what's left of his tail tomorrow.
What she said really made me sad. GF told me to take Sashi home.
From the very beginning GF and I butted heads on how to provide care for Sashi. We barely agreed on anything. Sashi was supposed to relax her during her busiest semester yet, and while Sashi did offer moments of serenity, more often than not we were arguing about what I think we should do against what she thinks we should do. It was a classic case of too many cooks in the kitchen. But because it was her fish and her source of zen and relaxation and her idea to get one, I would almost always give in. The highlight of my aquarium career up to this point was when I convinced her on the "modestly priced" 5 gallon tank that we have now.
So when she told me to take Sashi home, I was stunned. I was sad. I was glad. This meant I was entitled to a thousand "I told you so." But I saw what it took out of her to say that. I couldn't do it, though not out of pity but simply for the fact that it wouldn't be logistically possible. My room is a mess, I play loud video games and loud music when I'm there, and nothing happens when I'm not. If I'm not at work, I'm at GF's house, or out hanging out, or out taking pictures. As bad as I think things are going in GF's house, Sashi wouldn't last the month at my place. Boredom and neglect would be his downfall.
I couldn't take her away from Sashi her for her own good and vice versa for Sashi's own good. We felt that Sashi needs consistency in his environment, something that we did poorly on. New aquarium, new toys, new filter, filter baffle two days later, new food, different amount of food/day, new dechlorinator, plants being rearranged frequently yesterday, it was a long list. At this point in time, we were also getting advice from helpful advice from helpful forum members (thx jenjen) who said that they barely see the lump, so we decided to risk the constipation in lieu of feeding more and more often to see if tail biting stops.
So with that figured out all that was left was for me to say my goodbye to Sashi and make my home. I placed my finger on his tank and said my farewells when he flared at me. Son on of a...I asked GF to do the same, maybe it was the light and he was seeing his reflection. GF placed her finger on the tank, Sashi followed but no flaring. I did it one more time, Sashi followed and flared. Son. Of. A. Fish. I spent a whole day's worth of earnings and this is the thanks I get? GF thought it was funny. I didn't think it was funny, nor did I think that her thinking it was funny was funny.
Good thing Sashi was staying at that house as I could have gone for sashimi right there and then.
Picture taken below was taken simply for the composition. I don't do vertical shots too often but in this case, I can't think of a better way of framing the subjects. More importantly though is that this was where I first witnessed Sashi taking a more than healthy interest in his tail a day ago. I noticed that when he was inside of those petals, much lower than what is depicted here, instead of continuing on his path, he would instead turn around and go the other way, which would bring him face to face with his tail. He never bit it here, and he didn't do this behavior again at this location. No, he would do that in the bamboo forest when we weren't around.