So... I live alone, in a 480 square foot apartment. The boyfriend comes in most weekends, but otherwise, it's me and whoever is on the other side of the computer screen while I do homework. I bought two plants at the beginning of the year, and while they make the air feel awesome in such a small space... plants are obviously not interactive (this does not stop me from talking to Anatolius and Anita). I threw around the idea of a pet last year too, but none seemed like a right fit. I went through a period where I thought I was going to end up with a hermit crab, but the molting period would've ruined me, and I was very scared I would screw up the saltwater and freshwater and anyways... lots of stress factors.
Bettas popped up, and slowly I came around. Getting off my experience with goldfish as a child was not easy... I'm generally squeamish about the whole 'capture the fish in a net, scoop it out, clean tank once a week' thing. The net capture always felt traumatic for me and for my fish. Betta care seemed almost too good to be true, and I immediately liked the idea of a siphon system for water changes.
The next issue was money. I take 16 credits a semester and intern, and thus have no time for a job if I want to remotely keep up with the homework and, you know, being able to sleep and breathe and stick my head out of this apartment for more than classes. And while yes, I did just spend $45, I feel it very worthwhile, and I know that my monthly expenses will equal out to not much in the long run (Hello, economics major here, pleasure to meet you).
So, I went to the local pet store, Preuss Pets. First off, fantastic place, lots of animals, all very chatty/active/interested in people. The freshwater fish associates were awesome to talk with, and both were very pleased that I ended up taking the words right out of their mouths about betta care, along with addressing some more complex issues of recommended tank size versus internet recommended tank size, nitrates and cycling water, etc. (Let it be known I do nothing without copious amounts of research). Feeling comfortable in the environment, it was time to go ahead and figure out what was going on and who was coming home with me.
I admit slight guilt (and pressure) about tank size. Tycho is living in a one gallon tank right now, so I mount my present defense. The tank I got came as a full set up, with beta friendly plastic plants (for hiding and relaxing in; he already has a favorite in the corner), the gravel, and a small decoration in it. With that set up, you got half off the fish as well. If the two gallon tank I had my goldfish in still exists in my house at home (it might not; Dad is purging in preparations for selling), I plan on hauling it back here, and likely in some timely manner, upgrading Tycho's tank. If it does not, well... poor college student, and I do intend on a tank upgrade once I get a full time job out of school. Also, again, in a 480 square foot apartment, the counter space is only kind of adequate at best, and room for spacious digs, I have not.
My apartment is heated by an old steam system. This means that even when the heat is not on, the residual heat is on. In fact, I'm having trouble keeping the apartment cool enough when I want it cool. I have a small thermometer sticking on the back of the tank that reads a pleasant 76 degree water temperature. So at the moment, I'm going heater-less (also, the budget thing).
With the siphon system, I plan to do a 50% water change once a week. That is adjustable to more if needed, though never less, this I vow.
Now, onto Tycho himself. I let him pick me (I always let things, or in this case, the fish, pick me). He flared up when I gently held a finger up to his container to see how he reacted, then he followed my finger around attentively. He was the only fish to do so, instead of continued flaring. This is cool with me, I'm okay with a slightly more mellow male. He really stole my heart when he blew a bubble for me though. He came from the store-bred/imported section of the store, so he was on the more pricey side (even with the half off discount because of the tank), but he's a real beauty.
He's a delta tailed dumbo betta. I'm on the struggle bus when it comes to describing his coloration. He's an evenly patterned mottled cream and dull red on the body, with dull red leading out to the creamy color on the fins, but when he catches light, all of it shines a beautiful Aurora Borealis-esque green. He's very understated, until he's breathtaking. If anyone has a clue what color combination that could be described as, I would love to know, so go ahead and drop me a PM.
I swore the whole way home, because even though I buckled him in, PT Cruiser suspension plus Lansing roads = almost like offroading. The bag-to-tank transfer was a little nerve wracking too, as he followed slightly behind the water in the bag (AUGH!), but I sat there and watched him wander around the tank for a good ten minutes before I dared take eyes off of him, just to make sure he was feeling okay.
He's an active little bugger! Occasionally he'll stop and rest, go almost completely still for a couple of minutes (he already has a favorite spot down at the base of one of the plants), but for the most part, he's cruising about at a relaxing pace, occasionally doing a wriggle and dart across the way.
I wanted to make sure he got the perfect name to suit him and his personality, so I spent two hours reading off names to him, while watching him swim around and react to what I was saying. Tycho was not a choice by me; it was a choice by us. He darted about quite happily to Tycho, and I appreciate the way it sounds, and how it suits him. It's regal enough for his breathtaking understated good looks and charm, and still feisty enough for... well, him.
Now, I feel I've rambled long enough. Throwing a picture up. Here's to a happy and healthy betta partnership, Tycho! I love you.
Hello all! While Tycho seemed perfectly happy in his one gallon, I am presently in the middle of upgrading him to a 2.5 gallon tank. The boyfriend, who is now Tycho's godfather, decided to financially assist me in getting him a 2.5 gallon tank. Thank you so much, handsome! :D
One of my friends had a bunch of fish stuff she was getting rid of, and I had a chance to grab a 5 gallon tank, but its dimensions take up entirely too much of my very limited counter space in this tiny apartment. So I declined. The one thing I did take was the ungodly amount of tank gravel she had. It was horrendous to clean it (boiled twice, strained about four times, some foul language as I started to put betta water in and realized that it would need a FIFTH strain because there was just so much particulate; it's almost to none now), but it's a bright red, green, and blue.
Another acquisition of the day was a 7.5 watt heater for 2.5 gallon tanks and less. We have it in to bring up the tank temperature right now to what Tycho's one gallon is reading (1gal @ 76, 2.5gal at 73 and rising now), but it's mostly going to be for when I have to bring him home over Christmas break, as my house runs notoriously cold. If it's needed to keep that 2.5 gallon tank up at a reasonable temp, it will be used for that as well.
I also got java moss for the 2.5 tank. I'm very excited to get a little live plant action going on, and I'm sure Tycho will enjoy the plant life as well.
Anyways, as soon as I get the tank up to temperature snuff, I'm going to go ahead and transfer Tycho's current decor over, then cup him, get his current tank water in, and then get him in. After that, artfully add java moss! I am very happy with him and I think he's going to love the upgrade (though I do not have room for anything larger, unless I don't want to be able to cook food anymore).
So, what's next? If the 2.5 gallon bowl is still at home, I'm going to take a reasonable look at how much water that holds with the amount of gravel I want on the bottom while maximizing surface area. If it's around a 1.5 gallon amount (this is what I'm hoping for), well, a second betta might be in my future. For now, I'm going to focus on getting Tycho over to his 2.5 gallon tank and happy and healthy.
Plans for water changes once he's in his new digs: I'm thinking a 50% water change once a week. When I feed Tycho, I watch him for about five minutes, and if he doesn't eat what I present (only encountering this with the bloodworms; he's picky), I fish it out. I don't let my food sit. So I'm feeling with the plant and my food picky-ness, that should be good. If I need to throw a 25% tank change in somewhere during the week, I will.
I will throw up pictures when I get the new tank completely set up and Tycho is moved in! :)
Tycho has been transferred, and he LOVES it. It's a 2.5 gallon, has a 7.5 watt heater (which I used to get up to his other tank's water level so it'd be comfortable for him, we're going to see if it can function generally without it, because the suction cup doesn't like to stick to the side of my tank... grrrr...), and has some lovely other new toys.
I transferred over the plastic plants from Tycho's old tank, as well as about half the gravel from his old tank (for bacterial purposes). Then, I got to put in a pretty awesome plastic rock feature that I bought the other day, but I couldn't fit in his one gallon tank. He's already found the little passageways through that rock, and he seems to love hanging out there.
Lastly, and what I really love most, is the java moss. Tycho seems to find this completely and utterly fascinating, and will not stop nosing up in and around it. It's been tweaked a little since I took the picture, to give him a little more freedom of movement right around it in the back, but Tycho and I both love it! He's very content resting amongst the rock and moss.
Finally, shoutout again to the boyfriend, Tycho's godfather, for throwing in some money to get Tycho the new tank! :D
Yeah. It's plenty for me and for Tycho. The boyfriend comes over a majority of weekends, and the whole arrangement works well. However, we're looking to move in together over on the east side of the state after I graduate in May, and hopefully, I'd like to exceed 800 square feet for our next dwelling together. A little more room would be really nice, and eventually, we want a dog. And maybe a few more bettas...
I'm giving a lot of thought to if I believe I can adequately afford and take care of a second betta. I think I would love to have a second one, but the logistical challenges double. I already have to pack up Tycho and take him and a tank set up home for two weeks over Christmas break. Add a second betta, take a second betta home for two weeks, with another tank set up... we shall see.
I have room for two, and the second space has been filled! I picked up a lovely female delta tailed betta from Petsmart. Very large, the most healthy looking of the group of females. I will have to throw up some pictures once I come up with a name for her. She was a little mad at all the moving once the tank transfer started happening, but I've got her in dim lighting for a little while to see if she'll calm down a bit. She's exploring, and the stress stripes went away, so I think she's good. She wouldn't eat, but considering I bought her at 8:30pm, I'm thinking she might've already eaten today, on top of the stress, so I'll try feeding her in the morning.
I cannot wait to post pictures! She's in the one gallon for now, until I get the funding after the first of the month to grab her a 2.5 gallon tank. :)
So, my lovely girl has a name finally! Esmeralda! She's only grown more stunning in the last few hours, as I swear that she's gained so much color in just a short time being in her bowl! She started out mostly green and lighter blue, and now she's dark blue-green with purple and red iridescence that I cannot capture for the life of me on my phone!
Her tank set-up at the moment is a one gallon bowl. This is temporary as heck, as after the first of the month I should have the funding to get a 2.5 gallon tank matching Tycho's for her. Regardless, at the moment she seems pretty happy with the upgrade in space from her betta cup. She was the healthiest and definitely oldest female at the store (she was double the size of the others, and is probably one and a half times bigger than Tycho). Right now, her tank says its sitting at 79 degrees... doesn't quite feel like it to me, but it is at least warm to the touch, and again, with the bigger tank she'll get a heater as well. For this week, I think she'll just be happy to have some space, and she'll do fine with water changes.
I threw in slightly less than a teaspoon of aquarium salt for a few reasons. One, she's got an area of scales on the top of her head that are dull brown in color; I don't know if this is natural for her or not, or if salt would help, but I figured a little salt preemptively wouldn't hurt anything. This "preemptively not hurting anything" principle also applies because I wanted to make sure if she did have the beginnings of something (it doesn't look like it to me, I'm 99% sure I'm just paranoid as get out), it might be nipped in the bud with the boost.
She really loves the fake plant right now. There is java moss in with her, but she's not over there much, from what I can tell.
I tried feeding her Tycho's pellets. She spit them back out. Because I bought her at 8:30pm, I'm thinking that she's probably already eaten today, and she's probably just a little bit stressed or nervous still from the move. A good night's rest, and I'll try again in the morning. She had her stress stripes when I got her into the tank (happy to say she had none at all on the carrying in from the car or the car ride... yay!), but those faded quickly, as she decided being curious was a better option than being scared.
So, enough of my chit-chat, let me throw up the pictures! She really does have red and purple iridescence that I CANNOT get in the pictures to save myself. If you look at her fins close to her body, you might catch a glimpse of some of it. She's beautiful.
10/29/2013: A picky eater; and boy, that escalated quickly
A short note, since I really should be doing homework; Esmeralda isn't eating (she still looks quite healthy), so I think I have another picky eater on my hands. I'm going to pick up a different kind of food and see if she likes it today. :P
As to escalating quickly? The boyfriend had a dream about trying to frantically balance the water in betta tanks. He says he has no idea WHY one would ever need to do such thing, but it was disconcerting and stressful. Considering this is a man who claims that he never remembers his dreams, I'm thinking the betta bug is slowly permeating into his system. He would never get his own; it's not his nature at all, but I know he'll love mine just as much as I love mine. YAY!
The freshwater fish expert at the very well-kept and jovial LPS says the red by Esmeralda's gills look very much like the beginnings of a bacterial-something to her. So I've got BettaRevive for her, and if it doesn't look like it's clearing up or working in the next three days, I'm to cup her and bring her in for treatment.
Also, after explaining she's having very normal behaviors from what I can tell, the fish woman said that the fact that she's interested in food is a very good sign, and that I should try something very enticing if I'm worried about her not eating. So... we went with frozen brine shrimp. Man, oh man, is Esmeralda ever all over those brine shrimp! She is just cruising around, posturing and blowing some bubbles and that looks like one happy girl to me! She's so feisty after a proper meal! Looked like a shark going in for the kill! I love my girl so much!
She also got a heater, same kind as Tycho's. I'm hoping the warm water also helps the bacterial-something.
So, let's not neglect Tycho, or the day. Tycho had a brilliant day. Some good flaring, great feeding times (I snuck him an extra pellet at evening feeding, because I felt bad Esmeralda was getting brine shrimp), and we the household got two unexpected visitors from another part of the state! They are some of the first friends to see the fish IRL, and they really did love Tycho's personality. Esmeralda was not so hot to show off for company, but they both said that it seems like I'm very committed to giving these fish as good of a home as I can give them, and I love a compliment like that because it affirms exactly how I feel. I adore my fish very much.
Now, midterm studying and destressing with the fish post-studying are on my menu tonight! :D