The Poet and the Fish - Page 14 - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #131 of 470 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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The first of my plants ought to be arriving on Tuesday or Wednesday next week. So I'm madly washing sand! Found a ton of old organic potting mix out back, it's been there a good long while so it won't be as funky as brand new stuff in the tank, bonus! I'll add a handful or two of the Naked Farmer's soil activator, heard great things about it used half and half in planted tanks..

I ordered a new LED for this tank, since the Dymax LED's have worked pretty well for the other, but I'll see how it goes. The next tank will be somewhat bigger, so I'll have to start looking into tubes for that I think.

The ratty didn't end up coming to us, sad to say someone got in before us, but he did go to a good home apparently so that's okay. So we're contacting a local breeder, she's got some beautiful babies and they're well bred rat club ratties, very pretty colours. We'll go cage shopping tomorrow, I think. My legs have been good these past few days, so I think I'm up for a decent shop around. And the store we'll go to is next to Bunnings, so I'll pop in there and look for a nice pot for my bog garden plants.

My living room looks like a potting shed. It's driving me mad, rocks and plants everywhere, ha. The darned gold vine's still floating.. if I'd known it was this buoyant I might've bought it a little sooner..

Today's poem is by Seamus Heaney, former British Poet Laureate. His poems are often set in or infused with nature. I imagine him strolling through moors and boglands, noticing every ripple in the duckweed for future reference. I really enjoy his poems. This one's from the collection, Death of a Naturalist.


Hangs, a fat gun-barrel,
deep under arched bridges
or slips like butter down
the throat of the river.
From the depths smooth-skinned as plums
his muzzle gets bull's eye;
picks off grass-seed and moths
that vanish, torpedoed.
Where water unravels
over gravel-beds he
is fired from the shallows
white belly reporting
flat; darts like a tracer-
bullet back between stones
and is never burnt out.
A volley of cold blood
ramrodding the current.


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post #132 of 470 (permalink) Old 06-21-2012, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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EBAY. I loves it.

I have bid on several tanks, a 5, 10 and 20 gallon. They all come with hood, lights, two come with heaters..

If the bids go well, I can afford all of them! Lots of room for fishes! No more dinky tanks! (I will keep the IQ5.. it's a neat little tank).

Daughter has decided that perhaps she doesn't want a cute little loveable, fuzzy rat after all. Daughter has decided that perhaps what she really wants is a giant scorpion.

The matter is presently under discussion...


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post #133 of 470 (permalink) Old 06-21-2012, 02:12 PM
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EWWWWW!!!!!!!!!! yuck.. get one with big pinchers okay? the smaller the pinchers the more poisonous they are, the larger, the less. if they have small pinchers they need SOMETHING to attack or defend with... so they have more venom then the ones with larger claws, because the larger clawed ones dont need more venom if they have big claws.... but yeah... gross...

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post #134 of 470 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tip, MM.

I am truly praying I don't need to use it.. I have owned scorpions in the past (they got eaten by blackbirds! so much for allowing them a little fun in the sun..), and really enjoyed them. But they were little! And I was in my 20's and didn't accidentally lose them in the house! Maybe I should give Daughter a little more credit.. but paying $75 for a giant scorpion that may end up mush under Irish's bootheel or scuttling about under the sofa is not something I wish to experience.

I moved Cole into the living room today to get him used to the change in environment. The NPT will be too big for daughter's room (especially if she's keeping the "whatever else" enclosure in there). Cole is a cranky fish. He is highly suspicious of this move, and has been eyeballing everything from the new crypt I gave him to the people walking by, flaring madly at everything. I hope he likes the NPT. It should be up by end of next week, if all goes well.

I have been inspired by Sena to share one of my short stories. It's not my best one, but I enjoyed writing it. It's entirely fictional (well, mostly..)


by Aus, 2010

My mother is one of those mothers. You know, the ones who have enough money to live a life of care-free consumer consumption but, to make up for the lack of any excuse to expend real adrenaline and being too scared of heights to take up free-fall skydiving, has become addicted to hunting bargains instead.

So we eat $1.35-a-box cereal, which tastes like the company has simply filled the box with other, more shredded boxes. We dress in label clothing scoured from closing down sales. While other, normal families go to see movies or hike a mountain on a weekend, we traipse around unsuccessful malls and bulk-item megamarts, looking for run-out items and the best toilet paper for under six cents a roll. Our television is pre-set to record Antiques Homeshow on whatever station happens to be currently showing it, in every country in the Western World.

I cannot even speak about e-bay.

Today she wants us to go 'thrift shopping'. I don't know what that is, until I ask, and she explains it. Oh, I say, we're purchasing other people's garbage now. Fantastic.

She tells me it's very 'in' to go thrift shopping. Retro items are worth big bucks now, she knows this because of e-bay. People are making a fortune in 70's shoes and 80's fluorescent tulle nightclub wear. The past is a gold-mine of opportunity. Why couldn't I just be bit more supportive, when she's doing this to help our family?

I am sufficiently guilt-tripped, and decline to point out that Dad makes two hundred grand a year and we have no mortgage.

I've never seen the inside of a second-hand store before. It smells like old people. The garment racks are an insane jumble of colours, sizes, shapes and styles. I start imagining some of the folks who used to own those clothes are maybe still in them.

There's also a bunch of junk in display cases, which my mother calls 'bric-a-brac'. She seems particularly delighted with this stuff.

The store manager is a plus-sized woman who looks like she has dressed herself with her eyes closed, walking through the store and pulling things off the racks at random. Unlike people who work in regular stores, she doesn't greet us or ask if we want any help. Instead, she sits behind a lime green laminate display counter, peering over a pair of tortoiseshell spectacles at a pile of what appear to be 1940's military issue brassieres. She does not move off her stool. She does not acknowledge us at all. I decide that making sure she notices us will be adequate revenge on my mother.

I start by asking the woman where the shoes are. I have to say 'excuse me' twice before she looks up and points at a rack full of dinted, scuffed shoes three feet away. I ask her if any of those have support arches. I ask her if she has any of those disposable socks that help avoid fungal diseases from trying shoes on, and anyway, my socks are kind of sweaty and you know how that makes shoe-buying difficult.

I ask her if anyone ever died in those shoes.

The woman replies, to all of the above, "No."

Okay, I say, then proceed to try them all on. I try on men's shoes and ladies' shoes. Too big, too small shoes. Platform shoes, ugg-boots, clogs, stilettos, lace-ups, slip-ons. I clomp around in these, sometimes wearing two completely different shoes at once, saying 'hmm' and 'dunno' a lot.

I want that motley-garbed hippo to wedge the stool out of her ass, waddle over here and ask me if I need any help. This is now my life's purpose.

Meanwhile, my mother is breathing heavily. I can hear her, clear across the store. That can mean only one thing— she has found a bargain. And not just any bargain. No, this will be something Van Gogh painted on his deathbed but which somehow ended up here, in the thrift shop, mistaken for some art-school dropout's sloppily crafted rendition of a sunflower, thrown out by his parents when he finally knocked somebody up and was forced to move into his own trailer.

I sigh, and let go of my newfound ambition. In twenty seconds, Mother will walk by me and hiss, 'let's go!', with that look on her face that tells me I won't get to play WoW for many days while she hogs the computer, trying to resell this thing on the net for a huge profit.

"Let's go!"

I drop a pair of knee-high Roman sandals that actually are coming back into vogue, though probably without all those puppy-teeth bite marks, and follow her to the counter, where the woman in the unfortunate mix of homespun and Versace-does-Hawaii condescends to look at the price tag on a very small china figurine, about which Mother is pretending to be totally casual.

"Hmm," says the ungulate, peering closely at the figurine, which is either a deformed poodle or some kind of anaemic shrub.

Mother points to the stick-on tag, flipping correct change out of her purse. "Four dollars."

"It has a mark," moos the shop-keep.

"Yes, a chip on the left ear," says Mother, somewhat losing her edge of cool. "Can you knock a dollar off?"

The manager looks at Mother over her glasses. "I am fairly certain this is a collectible."

Oh no. She's said the 'C' word. I sense my Mother entering a state of internal apoplexy. There is going to be a battle. Mother takes a deep breath and girds her... whatever mothers gird, in these situations.

"The tag says four dollars," she says crisply. "And I'm in a hurry."

Motley the Gnu huffs gently, turning the ugly poodle this way and that. You can smell the tension in the air. The peril of losing money is stalking her across the plains. Her ears twitch nervously. Her nostrils distend.

Mother slaps the money on the counter and drums her fingers, before snapping at me to make up my mind about the shoes, please, and why can't I just get into the spirit of thrift shopping, even if we're only here to find china dogs for my dying little sister's hospital beside, and was I aware that the cancer ward's visiting hours finish at four, so if I make us late and she dies before we get there it'll be all my fault that we never got to say goodbye.

It's a brilliant ploy. The wildebeest scrunches her muzzle into a good simulation of remorse and pops the dog into a paper bag with string handles. "Four dollars."

Mother has lost all capacity for speech, so the entire car ride home is more eerie for the traffic sounds being uninterrupted by triumphant watering-hole screeches. I want to ask, but I don't want to, in case I set her off.

At home, in the kitchen, she sets the bag on the counter and opens it. "Look. Just look."

I look in the bag. It contains an ugly china poodle.

"That's one ugly poodle," I say. "I'm sure the kiddies in the cancer ward'll love it, though."

Mother sniffs loudly, her way of implying that I am an incurable barbarian. She fishes the thing out of the bag. There's a mark on it alright, a crown and some faded letters.

"This poodle," she intones, "Is worth seven hundred dollars."

Even I'm impressed. I tell her so, and watch her radiate. What can I do, but bask in that kind of glow? Well, there's one thing. I take a long step back.

"Six hundred and ninety-six dollars profit. Divided by half…."

That's a lot of beat-up '70's shoes, right there.



Last edited by Aus; 06-22-2012 at 04:28 PM.
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post #135 of 470 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 06:35 AM Thread Starter
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I bought a 3ft tank! Which can hold 50 gallons, but will have about 25.. or so.. gallons of water in it (I don't need 50! Plus I want to grow a few leafy bog plants in it..).

Since I have all these plants arriving, I figured.. why not???

Now I need lights.. ebay, awaaaay!


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post #136 of 470 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 07:04 PM
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Another tank!? Haha, and I thought I was bad. How are the fishies and everyone else doing? Also, I enjoyed your short story, if only I had that kind of luck inside a thrift store.

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post #137 of 470 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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Hiya BLT! (you sound like a sandwich, when I put it that way...)

Nice to hear from you. Hope everyone on your end is hale and hearty!

Haha, fish tanks - my whole household is - - but I'm really pleased with the 3ft (I didn't actually win the other tanks, except the 10 g all-in-one, which I got for a great price). I have a good, sturdy stand near a power outlet, big enough to hold a 3ft tank, and a sponge filter for the moment (I'm not stocking it immediately, just planting so that will do for a bit of water movement for now, I think). I just need some good plant-friendly lights..

Glad you enjoyed the story, it's a silly one but it was fun to write from the POV of somebody so different from myself. I've made a few thrift store buys over the years, they really are great fun to shop in. No, I am not like the mother in the story! Lol. Not quite.. >>

The fishies are all doing okay. Except.. for one of Daughter's guppies, which some time this morning took wild leap out of its tank and .. yeah.

The other one's fine, but quite stressy without his friend. I'll give her the 8 gallon for him with the HOB filter, so that'll mean she can have maybe two or three more buddies in there to keep him company. She's really fond of those guppies and has taken very good care of them, it's sad she lost one like that. We buried him next to Sid in the purple daisy patch.

The two-leggeds among us-- have the flu! Oh, the joys of winter. Daughter's ill and in a horrible mood, not improved by finding the escapee. Irish and I are feeling slightly better, but it's been a nasty one. It'll pass -- but not quick enough, for my liking.

It's really, really hard to feel motivated to muck about with gallons of water and dirt when feeling unwell. The new tank arrives Friday, so I've got to make some decisions about who is going where and in what.

I've decided that Cleo will stay in her present tank for now as it's humming along quite nicely, she is a happy and healthy little betta, and I don't wish to disrupt her.

Cole has his own 10g arriving next week. I'm glad he'll have more room to prowl around in, like a scary thug. I'm almost nervous to feed him now - he jumps to bite my hand occasionally and gives me a pretty decent nip. I think the postman was a piranha...

Demyx can have Cole's current 3.5g tank, and go in my room where I can keep an eye on him. He really cannot handle large volumes of water, he's barely coping in the little hospital tank. I hate to say it, but I honestly think he's on the way out. I cannot medicate him any more, he's clearly just had enough. Fin regrowth is happening, but is very slow and its seems he's wasting a bit more every week. But as ever, the most cheerful, friendly little fish and eating well, etc. I'm just keeping his water as clean as possible, and we'll see how he goes.

The 3ft .. well, that's my wild betta tank. Just a pretty, planty tank for now... :)


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post #138 of 470 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 10:53 AM
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Just read through this. I can tell you that earthquakes are scary. I was in one, 5.4, I was on a 3rd floor apartment and I thought that I was gonna die. I climbed up my mom, screaming, until it was over. Scary. Congrats on the 3fter. May I suggest a land/water tank? You could have a big section of water and an "island" with orchids on it (to satisfy your orchid dream). Your a great artist. I love your work. I do graphite stuff myself. Never could do pen. Your a great writer, too.
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post #139 of 470 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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Awh, thank you so much, nice of you to say. :)

And yes - I would really like an orchid island! I'll see what I can do about that.. going to Bunnings again today to look for rocks, sometimes they have nice orchids there too in the plant department.

Wow, I'd be scared on a 3rd floor in a quake, too, I think! Daughter was so terrified during this last one. We had to have a long talk after about them, and how we are not in any great danger here, before she calmed down, poor kid.


OMG ------ I was sold plants on ebay ILLEGALLY!

Just went to the mail.. I'm so dumb, sometimes. I figured the seller MUST have some arrangement with customs, being that he advertises Australia in his shipping-to-places list.

My plants were --seized and destroyed -- by customs!!!

AND on the envelope? The seller has written "soft toy" as the item description so he is SMUGGLING plants into this country and making ME a part of that illegal activity.

Just -

Okay - I shouldn't have been such a dummy. But I'm new to this! Omg, I'm a plant smuggler! ><

I'm just. Too angry to even write about it. I'm off to ebay to kick some Taiwanese ass....


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post #140 of 470 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 11:31 PM
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That sucks Aus. Yeah those sellers from overseas are such dodgy scam artists. To a newbie who isn't familiar with customs laws they make it seem like everything is on the up and up. I have read a few posts on AL where people have purchased from overseas and had stuff destroyed.

I sent some bettas to WA who don't let you send aquatic plants over and I was so terrified I'd left some duckweed or something in there and I was going to get fined by customs. Fortunately I didn't, but it's so nervewracking when something like that happens.

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