"Hidden behind a cup and another, after another...they sit there, and they wait. Hidden away in the shadows of the fancier, the shelf concealing them, they float listless in a darkness they never deserved. Shunned by their breeders because they aren't as pretty, overlooked by customers because they're not as bright......we're now shining the spotlight on 'ugly' betta fish."
The girls I'd had purchase inspired Syriiven and I to hold a contest for the aesthetically challenged bettas. You know, the ones who are spoon headed, hunchbacked, deformed (crooked spines, missing fins, messy scales), poorly finned, tailbiters, permanently injured, or massively miscolored.
We want to hear the story about how you came to adopt this uniquely beautiful betta, and if your fish needs accommodation for a disability, we'd love to hear how you help them live a "normal" life.
That contest is over now, but this a thread for others to post their unique fish, and for the keepers who had participated in the contest to update (and stay updated) their fishes' stories!
THE FILLIES: Syriiven found them on Aquabid, and we were worried that with their heads being so deformed, that they'd be killed if they didn't sell. Somehow I was lucky enough to have plenty of plush orders come in to afford them and the import/shipping fees! And they got to come home to me! Stardust was absolutely the perfect temperament for rebuilding my sorority, and Stargazer lives by herself on top of the desk with Mushu, keeping my hopeless romantic company!
And my ugly duckling, Don Quixote! He was a walmart rescue on February 5th of this year, and he was sick, emaciated, and had poo rocks on the bottom of his dirty brown water. I argued and protested in the middle of Walmart for two HOURS to bring him, Diablo (now adopted), Lillith, Dulcinea, and Dory (Columnaris and bad shipping - SIP) home. For a week, Don Quixote refused to eat. Then, he picked at Omega One flakes. It wasn't until we brought home Ginger (jumped out - SIP), and Mikel brought him some live brine shrimp. That was the first step from resenting them for Mike. Now, Don Quixote is healthy, happy, and he and Mike are best friends! Mikel even calls him his buddy, talks to him, and puffs his cheeks out to flare with him! lol
I don't know a lot of Bellona's story, but I'll share with you what I can.
I was at my local pet store & took a detour from looking at the bettas (they sell only male VTs) with my son to look at the rest of the fish. He gets so tired looking at all the little cups with sad looking bettas sitting in about an inch of cloudy water. While looking this pretty, colorful, and larger than any of mine (2.5 BO) betta was swimming around. Looked at the side of the tank and they had listed 'female betta - $3.99' (same price as their male VTs) I jumped at it. This really was a pretty girl & I needed 1 more for my sorority since the last female turned into a male on me and size and shape it looked like one of Petco's 'king' bettas, so I was getting a great price as well. Brought this betta home, did QT, introduced her to the sorority & named her Pandora. Most passive, sweet lady in my tank. Chased and beat by the other ladies who were about a third of her size. Pandora would just stand her ground and if picked on to much flare and chase the other ladies off and go back to her corner. After about 2 weeks my fiance said one of the females was dropping eggs. I flipped, I'd only spawned once & was still learning so had no clue what was going on. I started watching my ladies closer & noticed two of the others had egg bands very prominent and the last would not leave Pandora's side. I started wondering if Pandora was a Pandora. Took more pictures, posted and asked everyone here. Turned out Pandora was really a Pan, so I had to take him out.
The story at the pet store was that some lady had brought her 5 bettas in and left them for them to sell. I believe with it being 5 'females' it was a failed sorority & Pan would likely be the reason. When I picked Pan they employee had to scare the other 4 bettas from behind the filter for me to see and make sure I was getting the one I wanted. They were colorless, not even white, just no color.
On to Bellona, I sent my fiance back to the pet store to see if there was any chance they had one of these 'females' left. It's been at least a month, so I wasn't hopeful, but I had to try. They still had 2. 1 was hiding and one was swimming around. Brad brought home the one that was swimming in the tank freely. I have to admit that my first reaction was to think that she was an ugly betta, but it was a she and I had my heart set on a 'king' female after Pan turned into a boy on me.
Bellona is just plain unfortunate. There's nothing wrong with her for a pet quality betta, but she's very plain and honestly still kind of ugly. Don't get me wrong, I love her. She's an absolute doll. Just as sweet as Pan was. She's not aggressive at all & gets picked on by all her tank mates when they are in a bad mood.
For the first month or more I had her she hid. I never saw her. In fact during feeding time I had to search her out & make sure she got something to eat. She's finally warming up and swims with the other ladies. She's right up front for feedings & comes to say hi whenever she sees me. Recently I've even seen her flare at her tank mates when they start trying to pick on her. That's all she does though, flare and say leave me alone.
Ayala - They were the inspiration behind the contest, and while some people are shaming me for encouraging the AB sellers to start offering deformed fish, I had to have these two. As I get room to have more fish again, I plan to adopt mostly breeder culls like those two, just not from AB if I can help it. My fiance always says "Oddballs Welcome!"
Noodle - That was punny! LOL
Justmel - I love Bellona and Pan's story. You should post Quazi here too, he deserves some spotlight, and he's simply adorable!
Thanks Skye. :P I do actually have a serious post. This is Handsome Jack when we got him:
He had been living in a tiny half gallon tank at a cold shop in the mall for 3 years. He never had conditioned water, he got one water change a week, he got fed the worst flakes humanly imaginable, and never got treated for illnesses.
For a lot of people, he would have been a write-off. He's three years old, when we got him he had AWFUL dropsy (he was huge when we got him because he's a giant as well), his fins are tattered to hell because he fought off serious fin rot without any medication, he swims funny because of his injuries, his colours were faded to hell, and he used to literally lay down on his side and play dead. You could literally poke him and he wouldn't move. It's like he wanted to be thrown away.
And then my girlfriend and I took him in. Treated him for bloat and dropsy. It was gone within three days. We feed him our best food, he swims in tanned water, his tank is 3-4 times bigger than his old one and its heated too. He fought off dropsy, his colour came back, he eats like a pig, and he even surfs for us now. Here's a picture of our big grumpy rescue, Handsome Jack, feeling quite good about himself and where he is:
Quazi boy here may belong to Skye in the future. That is if I can give him up. I'm not 100% sure he's a boy, but I think he is. He's a 2 1/2 week old VT fry with a hunched back. I know many would have said to cull him, but watching him he is perfect in every other way. He gets along just fine and swims and plays with all his syblings. I'm still watching him closely and if I have to I will cull him, but if can live happy and healthy I say why not let him?