Today I finally received my new Betta! As I mentioned in my Betta Pictures thread
, I went thru an ordeal to get him. Here's the story:
I had an urge to own another red HM male Betta, after being fishless for about 7 years. I got my last Betta from Aquabid, but ended up giving him away when I moved to another apartment. I just didn't want to deal with moving a fish tank (I also gave away all my orchid plants). While I had a decent setup for that Betta, I didn't know anything about cycling & other factors to offer the best care & environment for a Betta. I wanted to make sure I did all I could to give my new Betta the best life possible.
I've never liked seeing the Bettas in pet stores, they always look sad & neglected. Plus I find the Bettas from Thailand to be more beautiful & healthier. So I practically stalked Aquabid, looking for my perfect red HM male Betta. I watched a couple of bids, but one in particular really drew me in. His tail & fins were so full & his red color was deep & solid, a true warm red, without looking orange & no trace of iridescence. I wanted to wait until close the the auction ended to place my first bid, prepared for a bidding war.
The auction was set to end close to 2:00am my local time, so I stayed up late (even though I my first alarm goes off at 5:30am for work). To kill time, I researched my transhipping options. Unfortunately I lost track of time & missed placing a bid before the auction ended. I freaked out when I refreshed the auction page & it said "Auction Closed." After a quick scan, I saw no one had bid on that Betta, so I contacted the seller thru Aquabid. I asked him if he was willing to to sell me the Betta directly & offered to pay the BIN price for him. The seller responded relatively quick, accepting my offer. I chose the transhipper closest to me (still cross-country) from his list. I sent my payment to the seller & contacted the transhipper I picked. She gave me the details for domestic shipping & I sent her my payment. I was surprised she had good communication, since transhippers seem to be infamous for lack thereof.
My communication with the seller was consistent & he kept me up to date with the status of my Betta. Unfortunately, the transhipper was MIA after she confirmed receipt of my payment for Express Mail. I was really apprehensive about that, specially since I reached out to her several time with no response. No contact on the days she should have received or shipped my Betta either. I tried to stay calm, telling myself she was probably just very busy. My nerves were already on edge because I would be at work when my Betta would be delivered, so I had to rely on my sister to inspect & acclimate him to his new home.
That Thursday, he arrived unannounced. My sister called me to tell me he was DOA. I was devastated. I had her take pictures & videos to proof he was DOA. Maybe he was just stressed or sleeping. My sister did accidentally flush her sleeping Betta down the toilet, thinking it was dead (poor thing didn't know what hit him!), but wasn't quick enough to save it when it started reacting. When I saw the pictures & videos, there was no denying he was dead. My sister said it looked like the transhipper had just reshipped the Betta without checking it & definitely didn't repackage him for the cross-country journey.
I was so bummed. I had finally found the perfect Betta for me & he died a horrible death on his way to me. I contacted the seller & the transhipper, sending them the pictures & videos of my DOA Betta. I asked the seller to send me pictures of his available full red HM male Bettas, so I could choose a replacement. I told him I refused to use the same transhipper again. I did more research & checked reviews on US transhippers. I narrowed it down to two possibilities. I emailed both for quotes. The one located closest to me responded first (he also had the best reviews) so I chose to use his services. I also didn't want to take the risk with the domestic shipping, so I splurged on FedEx Priority Overnight.
I chose my replacement Betta & informed the seller of my new transhipper selection. Communication with the new transhipper was decent & I liked that he ran a LFS, so I know he's knowledgeable on handling fish properly. I was still a bit nervous, because it's still a live fish being shipped around. But overall, I had a much better feeling about this experience.
I received the tracking info while I was getting ready for work today. It was scheduled to be delivered at or before 10:30am. I tracked that package like it was a person on house arrest, LOL. It was delivered at 10:30am on the dot. I didn't even wait for my sister to call or text me. I called her & was thrilled when she told me he was alive. She said he was a bit lazy, but eventually started moving a bit more. She sent me pictures & videos to proof he was okay. I was planning to use the drip acclimation method to minimize his stress when transferring him to the tank. Because I wouldn't get home for about 6 hours, I told my sister to poked a small hole in the bag, add 2 drops of Prime in the bag water, and float the bag in the tank water taped down to prevent it from falling in all the way. I also told her so add some IAL (thanks AO!) in the tank water & a small piece in the bag water.
I tried to get out of work half an hour earlier, but ended up working an extra hour. I had to run a quick errand before heading home, but I got stuck in the worst part of rush hour. It took me over half an hour to finally get on my train home. It actually got to my station relatively quick, but because of all the delays I went thru, I was anxious to get home ASAP. When I finally got home, I quickly scanned my bedroom, where the tank is set up. I had left my blackout curtains closed, my AC off, & lights off. I had also asked my sister to cover the tank with a cotton flannel pj top. I pulled it aside a bit & saw my Betta in person for the first time. He's so cute & smaller than I expected.
Since he spent so long floating in the the bag in the tank, I ended up just letting him swim directly into the tank. He wriggled out of the bag & swam a bit. I held my breath as I saw him swim to towards the bottom of the tank. The tank is heavily planted & I started to worry I may have overdone it. But before I could let my doubts sink in, he was swimming around exploring his new home. He does like to go towards the back of the tank, where he's very hard to spot. He's relatively lively, occasionally resting on some plants, or along the substrate surface. He seems to like his stone hideaway, which turned out to be very spacious for him.
I'm really happy with my new Betta. Now I just have to name him. I do have a list of possibilities, which I'll post after uploading his pics.