This is the story how I got my first pet and his life. This is a long story and will probably need several posts. Sorry for that inconvenience .
So it all started last year in December during Christmas break. My dad had gone off to buy something he found on Craigslist. Apparently it was a furniture stand of some sort. Either way I just said ok and bye and went on with whatever I felt like doing. About 40-50 minutes later the land phone starts to ring. I see the caller ID with my dadís name on it and quickly pick it up. I say hi and all that stuff and he goes and asks me if I want a fish! Iím taken completely by surprise because my mom does not like pets. She is scared of dogs and doesnít like cats. Sheís jumpy when she sees a dog.. Anyways, I ask him about all the details, like how big is the fish, what kind, how big is the tank, and more specifically how much. He said it was a small blue one in a small little tank aaaand it was free! He said it was called a betta. I start grinning with joy because Iím finally getting a pet. I never had a pet before that. So I hang up and go on the computer; I remember not looking up betta care but just names for a fish.
Now I donít really want to go into the specifics, but I live in a valley (sorta), and just up north on the freeway there is a huge grade (basically a sloped mountain) which the freeway goes down towards some ruralish areas. Anyways, itís a huge grade towards the place my dad was going. Obviously, itís a huge grade sloped up when coming back. Itís not the smoothest freeway either. So about 35 minutes later, my dad comes with a little blue fish in a small bowl, clearly all shaken up from a bumpy ride. I didnít think much of it then, but in retrospect I feel so bad about it. The picture of the little tank will be posted below this. Somehow I found a picture of it online. I was very excited at the time; he was kind of looking at me warily but swimming around all the same. My dad told me that I could change his gravel if I wanted; right now it was this white gravel, but in a Ziploc the guy had given us some black gravel. He had given us water conditioner (thank the betta god), betta food that I still have, and this little circle thing that looks like a roll of masking tape. It was made of plastic and it allowed the tank to sit on it, in case we didnít want to hang it. Soon, my dad left again to do something that I canít remember now, and I was left alone with the fish. For about an hour or so, he was fine, but as the day went on he started to become lazy and towards the end of the day he was doing an almost vertical hang! You all must know what that means. My dad was back by then, and when I pointed it out to him he said not to worry. My mom came home then and kind of just shrugged at it, although she was happy for me. I finally went on Google and searched why my betta was acting like this. I found that bettas are tropical fish and need 78 degree F water. Again I told my dad yet he said he would be fine. When I kept pushing and saying he could die, my dad went to the faucet, took a jar, and filled it with hot water. He then poured it right in there with no conditioner. That scalding hot water! Anyways, I finally went to bed.
The next day he was hanging again. I kept persisting that he would die. I tried finding a way to heat the tank without buying a heater, which my dad would probably disapprove of then. I remembered that my lamp upstairs would get really hot (itís a small halogen lamp). So I placed the bowl right next to it, and positioned the lamp next to it. It took a while to get it at the right distance for the right temperature but it was successful in getting the tank near 78. Later in the week, my sister and I had decided on the name Little Leo, but it soon became just Leo. I realized, however, in the next few days that the temperature would fluctuate and I would have to move the lamp further away. That weekend I decided it should be time to do a water change. My dad decided to show me how he thought it should be cleaned. This may be a little horrifying, so heads up.
First off, we took the lid off, and he started to pour the water out while I held a net underneath so Leo would drop in there. We filled a bucket of cold, unconditioned water and I put Leo in there. We dumped the rest of the water out, and rinsed out the gravel several times. We put cold water in, added conditioner, and put Leo back in there. The poor guy must have been freezing. And shocked. Fortunately, that would be the first and last water change in that bowl for Leo. After New Yearís, January 1st, me and my mom went to Petsmart and got a 10 gallon filtered tank, a heater, and a castle decoration. We also got an anacharis plant. I didnít really know about cycling so I just put him in there for the first day. After doing research I found that ďcommunity fishĒ that are peaceful can be housed with a betta. The next day I saw black skirt tetras and red minor tetras labeled as community fish. So I got 4 of each. Not a good idea. As you might know tetras are pretty nippy. When I first introduced them to Leo, he spent all his time that day chasing them. They are very fast fish, so he couldnít get them. Anyways, there were no problems for about 3 weeks. I did water changes by taking a big bowl and scooping water out; then I would put conditioned tap water in. Then out of the blue, I came from school and noticed Leoís fins look tattered and gone. The next day he wouldnít swim out of the castle. He was dead scared of the red tetras. He would come to my hand before so it took a while before he did again. After that, he gained his confidence and never had problems with the tetras again. Sometime after that, the tank got Ich. I increased the temperature to around 83ish and bought Kordonís Rid Ich Plus which eventually got rid of all the Ich. Later, I bought a gravel vacuum and a wall scraper. This really changed water changes no pun intended. I got a whole lot of gunk the first time I used it. As time went by, I kept looking at betta compatibility. I found on unreliable sources that betta girls can be kept with a male betta. The girls had to be in numbers and it would really depend on the bettaís personality. My mom said I should give Leo a girlfriend or 2. So I got persuaded and bought 2 betta girls. One was a Cambodian with red cheeks and one was all red. I named them Meringue & Ziva respectively. Anyways, everything turned out okay except as sorority keepers might know, 2 girls just beat each other up. I saw the 2 girls going at it although there were no body shots. So the next weekend I bought 2 more girls, a dark brownish red girl named Merlot, and a whitish with spots girl I named Peaches. Peaches is the only one still alive... Anyways from there everything was normal and there were really no incidents. In April, I was on craigslist looking for a bigger tank because my tank was overstocked. I found a good deal, $60 for a 29 gallon, with filter, heater, decorations, gravel, QT tank, and a whole bunch of chemical pH regulators, algae control, algae pellets, and some leftover flakes. It was a great deal and I had the old gravel put in there, old decorations, and I even got the little filter in there so that my bio bacteria would get transferred. And from there, I got some platies and mollies, though not too much. However, one day Ziva was lying on the gravel. She was pine coning and I thought it was dropsy. I cupped her to prevent spreading but she didnít make it... This disease wasnít done yet. Leo, who seemed invincible, contracted it. He was hanging so I cupped him. I put him in the QT tank later, and treated him with Pimafix. He lasted 3 gruesome days since I noticed him hanging. He seemed to get better on the second day, but at the end of the third he was definitely worse. He was dead the next morning, the day my parents passed their citizenship. I cried and buried him, and we planted a rose plant because he loved Ziva who was red. I miss him but he had a good life.
S.I.P. Little Leo.
Now, the big tank is sorta normal. A Sorority and a community. I have more bettas now and I am properly taking care of them. It is safe to say, that because of Leo, we have parakeets. My sister also wanted pets so we got the Ďkeets. Leo has brought me to this forum, and although I miss him, I am glad he must be happy with the life I gave him; not a small bowl, but the life of a king in a large tank.
I hope you enjoyed this story, if you actually read it all. I wouldnít be surprised if you didnít and I donít blame you. I said I would share my story sometime, so here it us.
Thanks for reading.
Edit: I forgot: Here is the picture of the original bowl I got Leo in.. It is very small...
Last edited by LeoTheLakerBetta; 10-25-2012 at 08:32 PM.