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Old 12-25-2012, 01:45 AM   #1 
Sparrowhawk
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On Sunday, I had an awful shock with Falkor. My partner and I had visited a friend for the day, and when we got back, he had gone from beautiful, full fins to a half-gnawed off caudal and damaged dorsal and anal fins. Between midday and 9:00pm, he'd done this much damage to himself. I was horrified! And also wondering what I had done wrong to cause him to do this to himself.

Being my usual panicky, anxious self, I fluttered about for a while, berating myself for neglecting my baby, until my partner basically grabbed me by the shoulders and told me to go search my beloved betta forum for ideas, and stop panicking. I spent the rest of the evening going through all the things that could be causing him stress or boredom or the miriad of other things that cause tail biting, exhausting the search function on the topic and ended up even more confused than when I started.

Needing to make a decision, I resolved to first change up the decor in his tank, with plans to purchase a larger home for him ASAP. The following day, I initially kept the light off, but noticing that there was no change in behaviour whether the lights were on or not. That day also happened to be Christmas Eve, the day my father was visiting, and the evening my partner and I needed to head to the country to visit his family. I was upset that I couldn't do any more for Falkor that day, but since he'd stopped biting, at least for that time, I stuck to routine until we left.

This morning, Christmas Day, my partner and I were instructed to go on a "treasure hunt" for our gift. We followed the trail of clues, from inside the house, around the property. At one point in the journey, attached to one of the clues, was one of those "exercise mirrors" for bettas. I'd been thinking of getting one for Falkor for once in a while, as I'm always afraid of holding a mirror to his tank for fear of him hurting himself on the glass, so I was delighted that my partner's family had thought of not only us, but our little boy. We headed back inside with the final destination being the Christmas tree. We then found out why we needed to go on the hunt. In the time it took us to find the clues and come back, two bettas had been placed under the tree, one for each of us.

Initially, I was horrified that they were in tiny vases with nothing in them and no lids, but I hid that emotion because they'd obviously put a lot of thought into getting them for us, and gone over the set budget for presents set by the family to get us these boys (it's a large family so the budget for each person was $10, and the average price in our state for bettas is anywhere between $10-$20 each, usually on the upper end of the scale, plus the vases and food they'd bought). As for the conditions they were in, we found out that they'd just followed the instructions given to them at the pet store, so it was no surprise they were in those conditions. We packed the rest of our presents up as best we could, and prepared to take these poor little boys home. They braved the long train ride with us, and now they're safely in my living room.

As yet, we don't have enough equipment for proper housing for them, as we had no idea we were being given pets for Christmas. It was a beautiful surprise, and very kind of his family to have been so thoughtful of our interest in and love for fishy friends (they'd heard all about Falkor each time we called them). Unfortunately, I have only a 2 gallon, which Falkor occupies, and a tank of similar capacity but different dimensions that my first ever betta, Commander Worf, occupied over two years ago. Luckily, I have a spare heater, so one of the boys will be able to be nice and warm until I stores open tomorrow, but I'm kind of despairing for the other one. I hope he'll be okay until I can get some supplies for him.

So now our fishy family has grown from one to three, with the new veiltail and crowntail from today. Being an inexperienced fishkeeper, I'm quite daunted at the prospect of caring for three at once, and also healing two with chomped fins (the crowntail took a chunk out of his caudal fin, so I'll need to treat him along with Falkor for their injuries). My work is definitely cut out for me, but I'm still pretty ecstatic, despite the nervousness and disappointment in myself at letting Falkor get to a point where he mutilated himself. Eeep!
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Old 12-25-2012, 06:26 PM   #2 
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Last night I set up the old tank I had with the spare heater and a plant from Falkor's tank, and put the crowntail in there. I figured since he looked the most unhappy and was the least active that he would benefit most from a nice, big, space (the tank is 20% bigger than Falkor's) and some heat. My grandmother had prepared it for me before I'd got back from the country once she heard we'd been given bettas, and she also cleaned a large fishbowl type thing she had some ornaments in for the veiltail. It's not the best, but it's only temporary until we buy another tank today, and it's a vast improvement on the tiny vase he was in.

So far so good with the veiltail. Once he was set free in the larger body of water following acclimation, he immediately perked up and began exploring. He was eager to eat, and seems to be doing just fine, all things considered. We decided to name him Feyd, after the Baron Harkonnen's nephew in Dune, hehe. He's red and has a lot of personality shining through despite being put through a lot of stress, so I could imagine him as the cocky villain.

The crowntail however is not doing so well. He will not budge from the bottom of the tank, and just sits there moping most of the time, unless he needs to come up for air, or something is placed in front of the area he's sitting in that he doesn't particularly like. I'm very worried about him, and although I decided on a name for him, I'm scared of using it in case he doesn't make it.

I'll probably update again after making the trip to fetch all the equipment I need for these guys today.
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Old 12-26-2012, 11:32 PM   #3 
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I'm pretty ecstatic right now. Yesterday's shop was a success, the boys are safely in their new, heated, clean homes, and Weehawk has made a dramatic improvement! He's zipping about the tank with no problems now, and I've been able to raise the water level by 1/4 without any fuss whatsoever.

The only thing bringing down my mood right now is the idiot at the local pet shop, the only one that was open yesterday (boxing day). I went to get a heater for each of the new boys, and the "aquarium expert" there asked me what size tanks I had, and what fish I had. Upon hearing that I had two bettas, he tried selling me a heater suitable for a maximum of 7L, when these tanks are 10L and 15L. I'm an extremely timid person, and quietly spoke with my partner about the need for a more powerful heater, while this guy just looked at me like I was an idiot. Then again, I shouldn't have been surprised. It was the same guy who sold me and an ex a 10L tank with my first betta (Commander Worf) and 5 neon tetras and two snails. Trusting this moron, figuring that the people who work at pet shops know what they're talking about, I sent those poor things to an untimely death two and a half years ago. I guess since learning the correct way to do things I've always been quietly seething at this pet shop guy, but yesterday's debacle, though minor, sent me into a rage. Not to mention the two bettas they had in stock looked desperately in need of someone who'd actually take care of them, and having my hands full already, I couldn't do anything about it...

Aside from the rage-making experience, I also ordered NLS pellets online, so all of my boys will be eating awesome food as soon as it gets here. Speaking of food... I might get some live brine shrimp when I make the trip to one of the only two fish stores I actually trust, since I want to buy some floating plants for the new boys anyway. Falkor loved stalking and eating his live treats, I'd like to give the same experience to Feyd and Weehawk, since I think they've had nothing but mistreatment for most of their lives.

So yeah. Definitely beyond excited and happy that Weehawk is recovering rapidly, and Feyd is getting used to his new surroundings too. I can't wait to have the funds to make all three of my boys' lives even better, and have plans for getting Falkor a bigger tank once I make sure the shelf he's situated on can support the weight of a tank the size of Feyd's.

Despite having my bank account pretty much cleared out, I am so happy that these two new guys get a good shot at a decent life. Though how I'm going to get those movie tickets for my partner and my anniversary this Saturday, I do not know. Perhaps I'll appeal to my grandma for help, haha.

Last edited by Sparrowhawk; 12-26-2012 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:26 PM   #4 
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Ohh man, my wallet, it hurts so much! Just bought a bunch of silk plants to give Weehawk and Feyd more cover, and for Falkor when I upgrade his tank hopefully next weekend to a 15L like Feyd's.

Though I'm now well and truly broke, I can safely say that the money pain will be forgotten when I see my cute little boys happier with more stimulating surroundings when those silk plants arrive next week...
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:13 AM   #5 
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What two stores do you visit? I live in Melbourne too and have been to a couple of good, many not so good and a few absolutely appalling stores both in price and the quality of product they sell.

Subscape in Richmond is one of the good ones for general fish nonsense (staff are really knowledgeable as one of the staff who works there actually breeds bettas and shows them) and Exotic Aquatic in Carnegie is good if you want something a little out of the ordinary in regards to plants and livestock. The owner is also super friendly and always gives us a very competitive price.

Just saw in the other thread that you'd spent $300 on a tank and some equipment, and I think my eyes dropped out of my head haha.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:07 AM   #6 
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My stomach just about fell through the floor when I realised how much we'd spent, haha!

I love Exotic Aquatic! That's where I got Falkor, when I was just starting to know more about betta care, and they were fantastic with giving me information I hadn't yet read here. Also Aqueus in St Kilda, they're fantastic too.

The place I spoke of with the ridiculous prices was the pet shop on Chapel Street, the one that used to have a separate aquarium store but merged into the one shop a couple of years back... The guy there, well I'd use a couple of expletives to describe him, but yeah... That was the only place readily accessible to us on Boxing Day, when we had to do the emergency shop, which really sucked.

I plan to only visit Exotic Aquatic and Aqueus from now on, now that emergency shops shouldn't be necessary, but I'll check out Subscape too, since Richmond is close by.
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Old 12-28-2012, 06:13 PM   #7 
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Adrian and his wife are really nice people. Me and my mum just go in and sit there and talk for a couple of hours about dogs and fish. Always willing to try and get in what you need and he always has some unusual plant and fish stock in.

Subscape is also great. Justin (the owner) still remembers my name even though I come in pretty sporadically. Got a custom betta barracks made up by them a while back, and staff are all very knowledgeable. One of the employees breeds and shows bettas and they get some very nice stock in (they also have one of the most humane betta set-ups I have seen in a store).

I used to go to Coburg Aquarium but the staff there are horrible. One time I went in as the only customer in the fish room on a day I know it wouldn't have been busy and I had to approach a staff member and then asking him to get some blackworms was like asking him to walk across a bed of hot coals.

Never been to Aqueus as it is quite a drive for us. However, I have been wanting to go as the website is pretty flash and as a collector of slightly oddball fish I love having a poke around in new stores to see what they have in stock.
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:15 PM   #8 
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Subscape sounds great! I was planning to go there a while back but never got around to it. I'll definitely have to check them out... When I'm allowed to do fishy shopping again, haha.

Hmm, the Coburg place sounds terrible.

I don't often go shopping for supplies or fish, only having the one betta before getting these latest two, and not planning to grow the family any time soon, but it's good to know where the good places are anyway.

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Old 12-28-2012, 07:43 PM   #9 
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Oh yeah, since this is a journal, I guess I'll update the situation with my boys.

Falkor is healing up from his tail-biting episode, and I haven't caught him doing it again since last Sunday and Monday. To say it terrified me would be an understatement. I'm extremely new to proper fish-keeping, and having a problem child on my hands already is extremely daunting. I've just been concentrating on keeping his water clean, changing up his decor, just trying to keep him occupied in good conditions. He's got a tank upgrade in the works, so I'll be able to provide him with more stimulation in the next week or fortnight, but I'm the most concerned about preventing infection/rot. Hopefully I can be a good fish parent and succeed in that.

He seems to have some clear regrowth so far, but only a small amount. At first, I was concerned that it may be grey, and an indication of rot, but the poor thing had to put up with a flashlight until I got a good enough look at him to see that the brightness and iridescence of his fins made the clear appear that way. I did have a minor heart attack before seeing this though...

Weehawk also seems to have fin damage from before he was in our care. I'm not sure whether this is due to biting or ridiculously rough treatment (my partner's family told us about how the pet shop employee basically bashed both him and Feyd around while getting them prepared for transport). I haven't caught him chasing his tail, but he has been glass-surfing. I can't say I'm surprised, until the new silk plants arrive his and Feyd's tanks are very bare in comparison to what I'd prefer. He doesn't show any signs at all of any kind of illness, knock on wood.

Since both Feyd and Weehawk seem to be doing just fine now that they're in decent homes, I can turn my full attention back to my little luck-dragon, Falkor, and hope that those glorious fins will get back to their original state without issue. I hope that having more room to play with when he gets that tank upgrade will make him less inclined to chomp himself.
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:14 PM   #10 
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Just finished clearing most of the bookshelf Falkor is on in preparation for his tank upgrade, yay! Sometimes I think I own far too many books. Only a fraction of the ones I own are on the bookcase in our room, and I've just relocated half from Falkor's shelf onto a couple of others, though I've had to keep the taller books on his shelf. So I've ordered some compact, lightweight bookends from eBay, and now all that has to be done is wait for the LED lighting, silk plants and the bookends to arrive, then purchase the new tank and heater, get it all set up, and BAM! Falkor will have double the space to live his fishy life in. Booyah!

After that's all done I think I'm going to go on another quest for live plants. Having to do water changes slightly less often would really make a difference with my spinal arthritis. Can't say I complain though, it's a labor of love, and I really don't mind doing it. It's kind of cathartic really. Having these boys in my life has helped significantly with my depression. They bring me so much joy, though sometimes a lot of stress as well (I'm looking at you, Falkor, and your tail-nomming!) and the fact that I have three beautiful creatures who depend on me gives me purpose. So the extra pain of carrying heavy buckets of water kind of doesn't matter to me, if that makes sense.

In other news, there's more regrowth on Falkor's tail, hooray! I can clearly see 2mm or so now. I'm just hoping once he has more room and a change of scenery he'll feel less inclined to nom it again once he grows back. Else I'll have a full set of odd kids on my hands: the problem child self-harmer, the hyperactive little one and the nonchalant, aloof guy, haha!
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