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Old 12-27-2011, 11:15 AM   #1 
ThorAndGhost
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Talking Kinda new ...

Hi All,

I found this site this past summer when my boy Thor took a flying leap and, sadly, after about a 6 foot drop, didn't make it. I got some good advice, and while I don't often give advice (I'm not exactly an expert and would prefer not to mislead someone), I like to read the posts and stories, and see the pics of your lovely buddies!

About me:
I'm a grad student (translation: nerdy and BROKE!), and due to multiple allergies (I should probably live in a bubble), I got interested in bettas since they're about the only pets I can have. I always found them fascinating and beautiful as a kid, and I love to scuba dive and check out all kinds of marine life, so it only made sense that one day I'd have some little fishies of my own :)

My little betta buddies are:
Ghost: A lovely male cellophane that almost looks albino. He's a delta tail (did I get that correct?) and he's got a very eccentric personality. He refuses to eat anything that's dead, which makes him pretty high maintence, and rarely builds bubble nests (at most they're about the size of a quarter). He's mellow to the point of causing concern, when I first got him I thought he was blind or possibly inbred, but over time I've come to learn that he just sort of swims to the beat of a different drum. He rarely if ever flares (occasionally at Lucky, his neighbor, but even then, maybe once every couple of months at best!), and has more apathy than most house cats, so it's kind of weird. He does, however, get excited when the turkey baster approaches his bowl because he knows a shipment of tasty sea monkeys is about to arrive!
Lucky: A rescued male betta lyretail, all black. I found him at a LPS in a dirty wineglass in about 4 or 5 tablespoons of water, twisted and suffering from severe swim bladder disorder. He didn't even have enough water to place his body upright. So I bought him and begged the salesperson to add some water into the plastic bag they gave me, but they refused, despite my insistence. I mean, they made their sale, just give me a glass of water for the little guy! It took Lucky weeks to recover, and I had to place all kinds of goodies at the top of the bowl for him to rest on and get easy access to air, but as soon as I placed the girls next to his bowl, he perked right up and started building bubble nests! He likes to show off and do his "sexy dance" in front of the girls, which I'm certain went a long way towards his recovery. Today he's 100% healed and still doing his "sexy dance" for the girls - several times a day!
Duke: a multicoloured, standard issue male betta. Bought him from a tropical fish and aquarium expert, the best store in the city, and he's an aggressive one! He's actually bit me once or twice during feeding, and he's located on the other side of the girls. He builds the biggest and most impressive bubble nests and doesn't care so much for the "sexy dance" that Lucky does, but prefers to show off his nest building abilities to the girls.
Panchali: (named after princess Panchali from the Big Bang Theory!) A lovely blue female who likes to jump and steal food right out of my hand! When I first got her, she was kind of submissive and Cersei (Yup, from Game of Thrones) was the dominant one. These days, the tables have turned, and Panchali is queen!
Cersei: Former dominant female, a lovely red. Thought she was the boss, and took over all the cool toys on the bottom of the tank. Little did she realize that food comes from the TOP of the tank, and before long, Panchali dethroned her and now calls the shots in the tank. But Panchali is a fair leader and she lets Cersei have her toys - for the most part.
Newest Addition, Lazarus (yup, because I hope a mircale will happen and he'll be brought back from the dead): Poor Laz. I just got him yesterday. This IDIOT former chef at the restaurant where my husband works bought Laz (from where, I don't know), dumped him in a big industrial kitchen container along with some massive rocks and a bamboo plant, overloaded it with food and never changed the water. To make matters worse, he was kept in a rarely used basement office with no windows - hence, no light, extremely cold temperatures (the water was almost like ice when I rescued Laz!), and about a half inch of crap and rotting fish food on the bottom of the container. Laz jammed himself between the rocks - was likely stuck - and was barely breathing when I found him. That was yesterday. Today he's in a nice, clean, WARM 4 gallon tank with meds and an Indian almond leaf. He swims around and is still getting used to his new home, but he seems quite happy despite the multiple infections and fin rot. I haven't fed him yet because his stomach still looks a little like a marble, but he's going to the bathroom (so to speak) and as soon as he's back to normal, he'll be on a steady diet of Hikari pellets, bloodworms, and nice tasty live brine shrimp. I think he's red, but he seems to have hints of blue and lilac in him as well. I'll have a better idea of what he looks like once he's feelng better. As for the tail, I'm also not sure, we'll have to wait and see what grows back!

I also love plants! I have a ton, and I know more about plants than I do about bettas, so feel free to ask me about plants if you want!
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Old 12-27-2011, 05:17 PM   #2 
angella
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Welcome! :D I'm kinda new as well and I loved reading about your bettas! They sound awesome and it's great that you rescue some.
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Old 12-27-2011, 05:18 PM   #3 
angella
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Oh, and you said sea monkeys? My friend had a sea monkey kit before and we raised some... You can just feed them to fish??
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:12 PM   #4 
ThorAndGhost
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Yeah technically they're just brine shrimp, but it's better to buy brine shrimp eggs at a local pet store or an aquarium store because the sea monkeys you get as pets are a different breed of brine shrimp that aren't really made for fish to eat. I can send you some links and some tips for breeding brine shrimp as snacks for your little fishies. It's fun to watch the fish chase the sea monkeys all over the tank!
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:53 PM   #5 
angella
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Oh please =) Mailing would be great. I have never seen brine shrimp eggs (except the sea monkeys apparently lol) and will have red eye tetras, silvertip tetras, neon tetras, cordydoras cats, and two Bolivian Rams in my 55 gal. Do the tetras/rams/cats eat brine shrimp? It'd probably be a great supplement to their diet if they do.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:40 PM   #6 
ThorAndGhost
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I have absolutely no idea if those other fish can or will (or should) eat brine shrimp, but I know my bettas love them!
So here's the scoop: You need brine shrimp eggs. This is essentially the grainy brown stuff you get in the sea monkey packages. You can order them online or find them in many petstores and aquarium specialty shops.
Next, you need aquarium salt. Brine shrimp are saltwater creatures and so, you need some of this stuff to make them happy and to allow them to survive.
Next, you need an air pump, a hose and an air stone. You can also buy brine shrimp hatchery devices that allow you to hook the air pump and the hose directly to it without the stone (Also makes separating the egg remains from the shrimp a lot easier) but if you're on a low budget, you can forgo the fancy stuff and make do with a flashlight (I'll explain why you need this later on). You'll also need a turkey baster, another container, some coffee filters, and brine shrimp food (optional).

Okay, so I'm Canadian, so my measurements will be in metric , but I will convert as much as I can for you to the Imperial system.

Get a container, fill it with a litre of water. (I think that's about 1/4 of a gallon, but you may want to double check). Add to that 2 tablespoons of the sea salt, and mix well. You may also want to add a touch of water conditioner, since the water is likely to be chlorinated.

Next, put in about a tablespoon of brine shrimp eggs, and put in the air stone. You'll notice that the air stone is so strong for a container of water this size, that it essentially send the eggs flying like they're in a blender. That's fine, we need to saturate them in salt water anyway. I usually let the container be like this for about 16 hours.
About 16-24 hours later, the first little troopers will hatch. Now, you need to remove the stone, let everything settle, and get your flashlight. Brine shrimp are attracted to light, so once everything settles, it's easy to lure the little away from the empty egg shells and the unhatched eggs. At this point you have a few options.

A) The lazy way: Suck the little guys up in the turkey baster along with their salt water and feed them to mister betta. Small doses of salt don't hurt a betta, so knock yourself out. But don't rely on this technique because it's difficult to assess the quantity of salt you're putting into the betta tank!
B)The fancy way: Place a coffee filter onto the new container, fill up your turkey baster and separate the salt water from the hatched brine shrimp, then rinse them off and feed them to your fishies. The shrimp will still swim around and give your little guy a bit of a chase, but it's more time consuming.

Perosnally, I perfer method B.

Now here's the down side: brine shrimp at this stage aren't that big, and you need a lot of them to give your betta decent sized snack. You can wait a few more days until they grow a bit (they live off their yolk sac for the first few days of their lives) but this meal lacks a good deal of nutrients and it's kind of like giving them empty calories. I give them brine shrimp at this stage more as a treat than anything else.

Now, if you want to use brine shrimp as a healthy snack, you've got to FEED the brine shrimp. This gets complicated.

First, before feeding them, you need to change their water. They've been sitting in mucky, egg shell infested water for some time, and they need a nicer, cleaner place to grow. Whip up another batch of water and sea salt in the same quantities as above, and do the coffe filter trick to gather all your little guys while leaving their shells behind.

Remember to oxegenate the water, because unlike bettas, they'll die without the air stone.

Slap the little guys in from your coffee filter (no need to rinse).

Feed them brine shrimp food, preferably in powder form.

Wait a few days and BAM - healthy snacks! :)
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:57 AM   #7 
Shoepixie
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That's fascinating! I never realised sea monkeys were so...well, interesting! Very very cool. I'm a bit tempted to try it for myself, but...well, I think cleaning the kitchen must happen first, so sea monkeys will have to wait.

I loved hearing about all your betta. You notice so much about them, their personalities and all that - I really like the way you talk about them, the stories. Anyhow! I'm new to the forum as well, and too shy to post up my own thread, so...hullo!
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:32 AM   #8 
indjo
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Hi and welcome.

Bettas do love most tiny live creatures.

Hope Lazarus makes it.....
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:01 AM   #9 
ThorAndGhost
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Originally Posted by Shoepixie View Post
That's fascinating! I never realised sea monkeys were so...well, interesting! Very very cool. I'm a bit tempted to try it for myself, but...well, I think cleaning the kitchen must happen first, so sea monkeys will have to wait.

I loved hearing about all your betta. You notice so much about them, their personalities and all that - I really like the way you talk about them, the stories. Anyhow! I'm new to the forum as well, and too shy to post up my own thread, so...hullo!
Hi there, and welcome to the forum!

I'd love to hear about you betta, but if you're too shy, you can always send me a private message :)

As for cleaning the kitchen, our kitchen is so small, it's difficult to whip up a batch of sea monkeys, so I can certainly relate! If not for Ghost, I probably wouldn't even bother, but it's all he eats! When I first got him, he refused to eat for 3 weeks! Not blood worms, not flakes, pellets, frozen brine shrimp ... absolutely nothing dead. Even if I tried to mimic living food, he'd eat it, them promptly spit it out!

Send me a message if you'd like. I'd love to hear about your little fishie family!
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:03 AM   #10 
ThorAndGhost
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Hi and welcome.

Bettas do love most tiny live creatures.

Hope Lazarus makes it.....
Thanks for the kind wishes! Lazarus needs all the help he can get! But this morning I woke up and saw that he started building a bubble nest under the Indian almond leaf I gave him! I was so impressed! I haven't even placed the girls next to him yet! He's still in bad shape, but he seems optimistic, so I'm going to keep giving him meds and praying for miracle!
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