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Old 03-07-2013, 08:21 AM   #1 
Laki's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Dartmouth, NS
My mom's fish- suggestions?(detailed story)

It took some time but I finally convinced my mom to let me take her betta for a while. I am trying to make him better and improve his life, now I don't want to give him back bc mom kind of has a track record for neglecting animals. Not that she means to (she said she would buy whatever I needed to make Fishy better).

He is almost a year in her care, I think we bought him last April for her 50th birthday. Ever since getting him, she has never kept up on water changes. She only got a light for the tank in January when I brought her my old 3g so he lived in dark and he is extremely shy. I used to try to get pics of him when he was healthy bc he's this stunning apricot/purple dalmatian.

Mom thought he died one day but when she went home he had moved and then she contacted me to take him. So I went up to get the fish and his things, he was a pathetic little grey fish, soul sucked out of him. White chin, barely moving. I should have gotten a picture at her house before transport, it was discusting.

I had prepared a bottle of double conditioned water and crumbled IAL. But when I brought him home I added 2tsp epsom salt to his almost 1g of water. Mom said he hadn't been eating, and he was pretty skinny. I acclimated him over 2 hours to the new water but as he was floating in the cup of his dirty water (which stunk to high heavens) he colored up a bit to match the dark water, I guess. Overnight he drifted out of the cup and into the tank so I disposed of the stinky water.

The night I took him home I fed him frozen bloodworms and my goodness, I never seen such activity out of that fish in the year my mom has had him! I was elated. I'm hoping he just needs some good food and TLC now. I am keepig the extra epsom salt water, changing it about 25% daily (it's not a full gallon anyway) until he can swim better. Then I intend to reduce him to 1 tsp epsom salt when I can fill the tank to the top. When he has better energy I want to bring him to my desk so he can interact with my 2 boys (for a couple minutes at a time, to gain strength). I don't know. Mom has been asking about him, she thinks he can be better in a week. I want to keep the damn fish because even a death scare won't change her routine, I know it won't.

What else,.... Oh yes, when I showed Matt the condition of the fish as I stepped in the door he actually got sympathetic and asked if the fish was going to be alright. He heard me complaining about my mom's care of her fish but when he actually seen the state he got real sad. The whole night and next morning, Matt was asking if the fish was going to be okay!! lol there's hope for him yet, Matt that is!

So, after reading this ridiculous post, is there anything else I can do for the poor fish besides what I am already doing. I know his lethargy is caused by extreme chronic water conditions. He used to have a full apricot beard, now it's white. (I mentioned to mom when it was grey that she needs to step up water changes.. She assumed he was just getting old). Can anybody else see how frustrating my mom is?!?! (to impose this further, I was at her house for an hour and half, her cat had no water in her bowl but there was a carpenter bug dead in it. I picked it up and handed it to mom, she said "Oh I saw that earlier [which could have meant the day before, giving that the bowl was almost dry] and never got around to it"..

Besides saying call the SPCA you need to know my mom's track record, context and that she has severe depression and social disorders along with terrible health. I would never reccomend she get another animal but I need to help the one(s) she has now.
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Laki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2013, 09:36 AM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Sounds like you are doing everything right...I would keep on the same track you are going with him...As for your mother....can you go to her house and assist with her animals weekly....It sounds like she needs your support in more ways than one.....And maybe take care of the animals together and this might help her establish a routine so she could do it on her own as times goes by.
Good luck...
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:49 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
I second what OldFishLady said. That fish is lucky you are there to help him!
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:11 AM   #4 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Dartmouth, NS
Thanks :)
As for seeing her weekly, that would be ideal IF I wasn't a full time student and IF she admitted her problems. Everytime I go up she's telling me about things, but its never her fault. Her psyche is too delicate and I am afraid I would blow up at her.

I used to live with her and clean up after her and it got to be too much for both of us, I couldn't be kind after a while. When I moved out at age 18 I used to go walk my dog and feed him and stuff and I twice cleaned their stupid house and not even a thank you, no gratitude they just let it mess up again. I don't have the patience what with trying to do my own thing. Mom thinks she should clean her tank when it "looks" dirty, regardless of the 9 months of me telling her otherwise. She thinks this is a new development and that what caused it is a new decoration she added.

I also cannot force her to buy better food for her cat (it eats whatever is the cheapest) and make her clean the litter box every 2 days. I don't even know.

end rant.

As for the fish, he is beginning to stay upright and straight backed. He is moving his gills and fins more too. I moved him into the kitchen window so I can better see him and poop and so he can get some natural light.
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:20 PM   #5 
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Shangdong, China
Sounds like my sister and her goldfish
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:19 PM   #6 
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Join Date: Nov 2012
As others have said, it sounds like you're doing everything right for the Betta.

Can you keep the fish, and instead get your Mom something that needs less care than a live animal? Maybe a nice decorative water fountain? The sound of the water could be soothing. (Or it might just make her want to pee. LOL) Or, if that won't work, what about creating a nice terrarium with plants (no animals)? A covered system like that would be self-sustaining, would look attractive, and best of all, would require no real care.

As for the cat, there are some self watering systems that aren't expensive. You could fill it up with water before you leave, and it would be OK for a week or so. Not necessarily this particular one, but something like this.

Would she let someone into the house? A neighbor or friend? If so, maybe that person could have a key, and come by once a week or so to check on the cat (and your Mom).
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:52 PM   #7 
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Florida
I honestly think you should keep the betta. It sounds like he's best off this way. Also, giving him back to your mom would probably just defeat the purpose of everything you've done so far. And also, the way I see it, cats don't have to LIVE in their litterbox like fish do. If you don't clean a cats litterbox... then they go on your clothes or whatever else they can find. Then you end up being the only one who regrets it. Don't clean a fish's "litterbox"... then you've got a dead fish on your hands. Of course you can also end up with a sick cat or a sickness yourself from having cat feces all over the place.

I second that auto watering system (along with maybe an auto-feeding system, too).

Also, does your mom ever come to visit you where you live? Is it possible that you could tell her that the fish didn't make it (old age or whatever she'll believe) so that she won't keep asking for him back? This is just an idea - I know it's lying, so it's totally understandable if you can't bring yourself to tell her that.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:17 PM   #8 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Dartmouth, NS
Thanks guys. You're making it hard for me to try to figure out how to keep him!! I think since he will take a while to fully recover she might get bored waiting and fall out of the routine of asking how he is (which is how I ended up keeping my old mini rex bunny from my neglecting cousin).
My bf keeps warming my heart by checking on the sick fish!! lol

As for the fountain, I can suggest it but mom's stingy enough as it is. If I could afford it I would get her one. She was fascinated to learn my sister's cat and then my cat loved their fountains bc she is under the old age belief that cats prefer stagnant, kind of dirty water. Trust me, talking to her about new methodology and care is like talking to a wall. That link "fountain" thing might work. At least then Mama would have water! I'll see about those, I thought you meant the electric moving fountain ones like Catit.

I like the terrarium idea!! This might work. Though she does not turn on the light for a living fish so she won't for plants. I even offered her some RCS but knowing now the mess mine make I know if I gave her some they would die before long.

Letting a neighbor into her house is out of the question. Mom is anti social, anxious and depressed. Along with some of her mental problems comes hoarding, not like the TLC show but bad enough. She always got nervous when people were expected to come by and even now, like when the tech came to fix her doorknob and I was there. It's aggravating but I know she cannot help it. I think I need therapy to deal with my mom! lol

I was thinking about telling her that her fish died so I could keep it. But I know she would find out one way or another. I think I'll just keep him as "long as it takes" and exaggerate his lack of recovery.

Haha thanks guys, it's really helpful to talk about it with other people (besides my bf. One of my sisters is really close with mom bc she suffers the same mental problems and my other sister doesn't really care enough about pets [she lived with mom when I didn't and had to clean up their house]).
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:07 AM   #9 
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Even if he isn't showing signs of illness, you MAY consider treating him with a mild antibiotic such as bettafix just in case. Even if he is ok, it has healing agents in it that made strengthen his fins and scales and restore his color. Make sure he has varied, high quality food (pellets, frozen bloodworms, etc) and consider feeding him a bit of boiled de-skinned pea cut up into tiny pieces to clean out his digestive system. Good Luck! (By the way, it is my personal opinion that you should never put an animal in a situation that you fear may be abusive, so you should probably do whatever it takes to keep the fish, but that is entirely up to your discretion).
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:32 AM   #10 
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Florida
Don't use bettafix ever. It contains tea tree oil which can coat the labyrinth organ and suffocate the fish. Also, I would not feed peas just because they can't digest them and they are insectivores. They should have a meat based diet and a good staple pellet like Omega One or New Life Spectrum.
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