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Old 05-26-2013, 10:14 PM   #1 
jadaBlu
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Can you give feed on my Essay on Bettas for my English Class?

On this holiday weekend I am little short on people who can give constructive feedback on my paper. I tried to keep some things on bettas basic since many don't know anything about bettas. In this case my only audience will be an English professor at my technical college and he is very serious about the class. We will better writers when he is done with us. I'd appreciate any comment or suggestions, corrections. For this paper I was required to do a narrative, it had to have a conflict and what was referred to as saddle. That meaning It had to demonstrate some sort of balancing act. It's also supposed to be descriptive and paint a picture for the reader. There is also supposed to be some quoted dialogue in the paper.
Caring for my bettas,other pets, working and going to school can be a balancing act. BTW I have an issue with skipping words when I write. They are in my mind but they don't always make it to the paper. You might point it out if if missed something. Thanks for reading!

My husband and often I visit the pet store to get food and supplies for our dog and cats. Our dog requires a special food which only Jacks Pets carries locally. Every time my husband and I would go to buy dog food I‘d notice the Betta fish which they keep at the checkout counter. The conditions there are squalid. The

fish are forced to be in 4x4 inch cubes with barely enough water to cover their fins. The water is moldy smelling and full of feces. If you take the time to gaze at a betta they do look back at you. In my eyes they looked desperate and depressed in those cubes. In stores where they sell bettas it’s often like a fish disaster zone with fish in various stages of sickness and sometimes dying. I’ve kept a fish tank before and while I am not an expert fish keeper this seemed cruel, unnecessary and reeked of laziness. This is especially true since there was so little water involved in the water changing process.
I remarked on this situation to my husband. He knows I have a soft heart for animals we’ve rescued many over the years. He said to me We can’t save all the animals and beside they were fighting fish so that was different. They have to be kept separated." I didn’t know much about bettas but it just didn’t seem right. Separate does not mean left to sit unsanitary conditions until you die or someone takes you home. Since that conversation I had an opportunity to see more sad looking fish and I’d wanted to have a fish tank again for some time. Thus, on February 13th at about 10pm I became the random, proud owner of two betta fish. My decision to get them was very impulsive and based on a desire to give them a better life than the dirty cups they were being kept in at the store.

It was the religious season of Lent “a do even more good time” and Valentines Day was the next day. So my mind was on these things that day. I was in Meijers buying a Valentines Day gift for my husband, groceries and cat food. While shopping I noticed the Bettas there. They are stuck in the back of the store where hardly anyone would see them to buy them. I was going to leave but I just couldn’t look the other way anymore. So I picked out two fish and put them in my cart. One was orangish looking cellophane veiltail I named Julius (orange Julius) and an indigo blue veiltail I named Nano as in Nano second. He was the second I chose and as it turned out he was a very speedy little fish. Julius I thought was not as pretty as the rest; he wasn’t looking good and probably would die if I didn’t buy him. I chose Nano because I have always associated with the name bettas with the classic blue betta. I wanted to buy a red one and name it Valentino for Valentines Day but I restrained myself. Even after I had them in my cart I hung around feeling conflicted. Partly because I was worried how my husband would take it since he didn’t seem enthused about my getting fish. Another thought also crept into my mind that by buying the fish I was supporting the system that left them in terrible conditions. I have generally been the sort of person who will cease buying products from companies if I know they are involved in violating the rights of people or involved in the cruel treatment of animals. Buying the fish kind of crossed that line. In the end I decide I wanted the fish and they were “just tiny fish” my husband would get used to it. I also concluded I could at least make the two fishes lives better if took them home. So off to the register we went. I had no idea at that moment where that purchase would take me. It was surprising what I learned and how much bettas have come to mean to me. I brought them home covered in a shopping bag and kept them out of sight of my husband. I wanted him to see them set up in their new homes when I did the “great reveal.” You might expect that I would have bought supplies for them while I was at the store and I nearly did. However, I decided to go home and research what their needs were on the internet. Different types of fish have different needs and I didn’t know much about bettas. They have all these tiny cubes, bowls and container they market for them. Those products seemed contrary to my previous fish keeping experience. I knew small was probably bad and equaled more ammonia build up. The store also had 5 gallon tanks or larger some of which were the same price of the small “Betta tanks”

Later I was really glad I didn’t buy any supplies because I would have had the wrong equipment. I found some fantastic web forums with advice which described in detail all the needs of bettas. I discovered what I suspected which is that the tiny containers for them would shorten their lives and create more work for me. It turned out while you can keep a betta in a gallon container or even a 2 gallon container but you have to change the water really often. Small containers encourage ammonia build up and disease. I found a 5 gallon (or more) was the best size I could give them. This was great news since Meijers was selling 5 gallon tanks for $10.49. Ironically, the tiny unsuitable containers actually cost more. However don’t let cheap aquarium price fool you. There’s much more involved.

I ran out first thing in the morning and bought aquarium supplies. I discovered the first conflict in my personal interest in buying supplies for them. The dollars add up. You need, the aquarium, heaters, gravel, plants, water conditioner to remove chlorine and décor. Sponge filters are desirable but not always needed. Bettas generally cannot have your standard cheap plastic aquatic plants. The long pretty fins they have will tear on many plastic plants. In the world of betta experts there is something called the Pantyhose test if you can rip panty hose on the plant then it will tear a betta’s fins. The packages are usually sealed shut so you really can’t be sure before buying the plants if they will be ok. So unless you want to spend evenings dulling the edges of plastic plants with a nail file it’s best to buy silk aquarium plants. Yes, they actually make special silk plants for fish. Aquatic silk cost 4 times more than craft store silk plant. A package of 3-4 medium plants is $15.99. They can go higher depending on the brand. The cost of the setting the aquariums was just the beginning. I got the aquariums set up during the day on Valentine Day. I set up one aquarium in the kitchen in an area we use as a mini office and one in our large 1950’s pink bathroom on the vanity. I wasn’t going to be able to spend time with my husband for Valentines Day because I had class. So I left him a nice note and gift near Julius’s aquarium. In retrospect I probably should have just left his gift someplace else. When I got home after school he was mad; angrier than I would have ever expected. They were fish after all not a litter of kittens. He’s been resentful of the fish ever since only softening a bit on this “issue.” It has not deterred me though. I joined an online forum for betta owners and breeders. I have become very involved with bettas. I have bought more. My husband says he’s a fish widow. You know your golf, baseball and other sports widows. I gather I have created a whole new category. However he is TV zombie don’t even try to talk to him while he’s watching his shows. I figure TV Zombie and Fish lady we’re about even. Bettas are very interesting fish. They race to up to the front of tank if you walk by. Doing wiggly little dances and displaying their fins to get your attention. Some play with tank toys. They also build nests made of bubbles this is instinctive but some owners equate this with betta happiness. Overall are bettas pretty interactive compared to other fish. Bettas with all their pretty colors and personalities are like little jewels where no two are exactly alike. There are so many colors and fin types. You have half moons, crown tails, double tails, veil tails, and plakats. The list goes on. While I have not trained my bettas to do tricks some people do. My fish all have names which they respond to. Now I have to confess some of this behavior is probably due to the fact that I feed them. However, you could say the same about some of my cats and dog who will perform for a treat. While I study I have several sets of eyes watching me which actually makes me a little more focused because they are my quiet, little study partners. I feel like I have a little company. My A.D.D. self is less tempted to go looking for distractions.

Last edited by jadaBlu; 05-26-2013 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:14 PM   #2 
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While they help me study they also can create distractions. The water changes for their 5 gallon tanks must be done weekly and if you have multiple fish it can take hours to do. You have to be careful not to mix equipment between tanks. Bettas are prone to illness and they can be getting ill without showing immediate signs. Many Bettas have poor genetics this just one more unfortunate fact to their breeding and sale. Breeders often breed brothers and sisters and other closely related fish in order to consistently get certain colors and fin features. As one might expect this sometimes leads to poor health or immune systems. However, it’s not just breeding sometimes we the betta keepers make errors in caring for them. Thus, one thing you should be careful not drip water or share water siphons and other equipment between fish. This is called good “husbandry”. I don’t know why the ladies don’t get a good midwifery term but we don’t. So if we take good care of our fish we are good husbands. I do my water changes on Friday nights. I still try at least go to dinner with my husband. I prepare the water before we leave and get started on cleaning tanks and changing water when I get back. I can be up until 2 am doing it. I am sometime taking breaks between tanks so that make it a longer process. One generous thing my husband did was buy me a large aquarium stand. Granted it’s mostly so he is surrounded by fish only in one area. So now I am not hauling water up and down steps. My interest in bettas creates another temptation. I spend more time than I should on the betta forum. I have to resist getting on the internet to discuss them and the numerous other topic betta keepers discuss online. Perhaps you would think there would be nothing to talk about regarding fish but we have plenty to say. There’s the Betta Care section where people discuss how to take care of them, Betta Habitats where people share pictures of decorated aquariums, how to plant live plants, where to get the best supplies at the best price. There is a Fish Emergency section for our fish that are not feeling well. Sometimes this how many Betta owners find the forum they bought the tiny bowl, didn’t change the water and didn’t know how to take care of the betta. So once their little friend gets ill they search the internet and are desperately posting. We also have a picture section, breeding section and many others. We love are fish and are plenty upset with the pet store people for leaving the fish in such pathetic conditions and giving buyers terrible advice on how to take care of them. We discuss that often too. Someone comes home angry after visiting the pet store, myself included and the whole debate fires up recycles again. To give you a little background a bettas life often starts in Thailand in huge breeding operations. One spawn can produce almost 500 fish. Once the baby fish are big enough to be a danger to each other they are moved to big warehouse pole buildings or shelters. Because they are cheap and free the breeders use small whiskey bottles to keep the growing fish in. Sometimes there are boards so that the bottles are stacked high in. When the fish are big enough sadly they are heat sealed into packets with a little water the size of tea bags and stuffed into coolers 150 per cooler. They are shipped by air to a wholesaler warehouses in the USA released into small cups stacked again and sent out to pet stores. Many fish don’t make it and they die in the process. That is part of the unsettling process that makes them cheap. The ones that make it to the pet store still face dicey conditions. It basically comes down to whether the employees have any concern for the fish they are in charge of. Most don’t care or are poorly educated on caring for fish. When I am online the forum members sometime discuss the ethics of buying the fish, and how we can improve conditions. Opinions and strategies are divided. Some of us try education, other approach store owners and managers trying to get water changes done. Despite our conflicting feelings and the slowness of change we keep buying the fish. We post pictures of the pretty bettas we find and the sad little rescue fish that grab out heart strings. We take home trying to save them from dying. Some improve and become great pets other just get a short time in some clean water with loving care. For the ones that make it the fish get a good home and we get a great deal of enjoyment with interacting with them. We educate when we can and do what we can even when it means supporting the mega industry that creates the abuse. Someone posted a story based on the forum today based on Loren Eiseley “Starthrower” that sums it up. It’s about starfish there are many versions on the internet but the idea behind the story applies bettas it applies too:

“An old man had a habit of early morning walks on the beach. One day, after a storm, he saw a human figure in the distance moving like a dancer. As he came closer he saw that it was a young woman and she was not dancing but was reaching down to the sand, picking up a starfish and very gently throwing them into the ocean.
"Young lady," he asked, "Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"
"The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die."
"But young lady, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You cannot possibly make a difference."
The young woman listened politely, paused and then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves, saying, "It made a difference for that one."
The old man looked at the young woman inquisitively and thought about what she had done. Inspired, he joined her in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved."


Betta are more that “just a fish”. Despite the time obligations and the expense we make life “betta” (better) for each fish we can.

Works Cited


Starfish Thrower by Loren Eiseley
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:17 PM   #3 
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For the works cited I put the original author and his version is not the same. I am not sure how to site since it's been changed many times on the internet. Any thoughts on that?
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:35 PM   #4 
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Originally Posted by jadaBlu View Post
For the works cited I put the original author and his version is not the same. I am not sure how to site since it's been changed many times on the internet. Any thoughts on that?
Is the citation supposed to be in MLA? The author should be last name, first name name of work - then it depends on where you accessed it from that point, but if you got it from the internet it would go - date published. web. date accessed. URL.

If you're ever trying to figure out how to cite something google Purdue OWL (online writing lab). It is where I always send my students, and I still use it as a "cheat sheet" for when I'm citing or even grading citations.
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:11 PM   #5 
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Thanks! I think I had a teacher years ago tell me about that. The internet wasn't as prevalent at the time. I'd forgotten about it. Any thoughts on the paper? This is my first draft. I wrote on another topic but I wasn't happy with the paper. It's been quite a hiatus since I was last in school. I am feeling a bit rusty.
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:20 AM   #6 
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"He said to me We can’t save all the animals and beside they were fighting fish so that was different. They have to be kept separated."
- Highlighted a missing quotation mark.

Separate does not mean left to sit in unsanitary conditions until you die or someone takes you home.
- You could also say left in unsanitary conditions, it just looks like you forgot a word.

So I picked out two fish and put them in my cart. One was orangish looking cellophane veiltail I named Julius (orange Julius) the second was indigo a blue veiltail I named Nano as in Nano second. He was the second I chose and as it turned out he was a very speedy little fish.
(my own rewrite of that sentence) The second was Indigo a blue veiltail I named Nano. The name ended up fitting him perfectly as he turned out to be a very speedy fish, darting everywhere in nano seconds.
- This ones picky, but you used one like a list item, then abandoned numbering. I rewrote the next sentence to incorporate them into the same sentence. And because for a second my mind died and I couldn't remember nano seconds.

I chose Nana because I have always associated with the name bettas with the classic blue betta.
(my own wording) I chose him because he was a what I imagined when I heard the word betta, a perfect and classic blue.
- the two uses of betta within 5 words of each other sounded a tad bit redundant.

These corrections are all minor critique and sentence structure stuff, and there is more of that where they came from if you want me to continue/ found any of that helpful towards your editing process. I'm not a perfect writer, nor is my spelling near as stellar as dictionary.com would lead me to believe. I'm not going to mess with the entire draft and end up sounding like a know it all internet jerk. I'm actually quite nice.
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Old 05-27-2013, 09:42 AM   #7 
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Fin Fancier please do continue. I really appreciate it. Thanks!
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Old 05-27-2013, 09:46 AM   #8 
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I copied and pasted the entire document into open office, would you like me to proof read and offer critique?
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:32 AM   #9 
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Any feedback is welcome Laki.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:03 PM   #10 
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Check your PM.
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