I posted a thread the other day about how within the next month I would be looking at purchasing my first betta. Well... about that.
Our story enters with my girlfriend and I headed to Barnes & Noble to buy a book. It was out of stock and we figured, for the hell of it we would troop next door to the petco to buy Skylar ( our Aussie ) a toy. When we arrived we browsed a bit and I came across the betta display. I ogled the little guys and gals for a while and actually, all things considered, they looked pretty healthy. Then I noticed something... each betta was in it's own little 'cubby hole' on a big three sided stand. I saw something in the middle and after carefully moving the display around I saw one sad little betta boy looking rather sickly and helpless in his cup on the floor. I called management, a man who shook his head and said that some kid probably put him there. He started to walk away and I was very concerned. I asked where he was taking him, to be met with the reply ' To our fish expert. He's probably taking his last breaths. '
P.S...? I am a sucker. I knew he was sick, even with my limited knowledge I know what a swim bladder is and I figured his was problematic because his buoyancy was really off. Dust clogged the hole at the top of his cup and he looked like he was 'gasping'. He could barely move. Something stringy and black hung from his mouth. His little fins were clamped and seemed tattered. Tearfully I asked the manager to hold the fish at the counter while I picked out a tank, some gravel, water conditioner, antifungal and a plant for the poor little guy. As far as I saw it, this little boy who had barely had a chance was going to die in a tiny cup, or worse( my imagination told me...) be dumped out somewhere. I figured if I could do something about it I would, even if all I could manage was to provide him comfort in his final hours.
Fast forward an hour and there I sat in my room, slowly filling his tank and bobbing this lethargic, lifeless little thing in it. I talked to him the whole time, apologized for human nature, and then slowly switched the water in his cup. He had looked so sick I thought he would die from the shock, but he held on like a little trooper. After a half hour I finally let him into the tank, where he settled on an Amazon Sword leaf. When I went to bed he was in the same place, and I sadly bid him goodnight and turned out the lights, expecting the pretty little creature to pass on as we slept.
At about four in the morning, though, something woke me up. A soft 'ping, ping' noise that wouldn't rest. I turned the light on to see that my sickly little guy was swimming! And not only swimming...diving, picking up little pebbles and blowing them at the side of tank closest to my head. As soon as I looked over, he puffed up and retreated to his plant. Because I was already up, I soaked one of the little pellets I had bought and he gobbled it up.
I went back to bed and rose at a more decent time to find he was still, seemingly, healthy and chipper. I gave him one more soaked pellet and he ate it with no problems at all.
I'm not sure if this little guy is a miracle or deserving of a grammy, but I could care less either way. Now, of course, I've run into the fact that I'm a complete novice and I could use someone to show me the ropes. (:
The tank I bought is 5.5 gallons. Since I figured it would be a short term thing, I just threw in gravel and one plant - amazon sword. (I've worked with various philodendrons before.) I don't yet have a heater or filter... recommendations? I'll also be getting a little thing for him to hide in, and I know I need to watch out for his fins but other than that are there better or worse decorations? How often, and how many pellets, should I feed this little one a day? Any suggestions on what percent and how often I should change the water? Do you guys have any ideas on varying up his diet?
I know I can look all this up, but I really prefer personal input! So thank you all for the time you took to read this. I took some pics and I'll include them below. Does anyone know what color/breed he could be classified as? Or a guess at how old he might be? He had no stickers on his cup... His name is Kimchi, by the way! (:
This is how I currently have the tank set up... I think it seems big enough. If you guys agree, then today I'll fit a little heater, filter and a hide out place... maybe another plant or two. ( is it okay to mix live and plastic? )
Also, if there is anything else that may be wrong that you lovely, experienced people can see from the pictures that I may not have noticed that I should be treating, please let me know! Thanks again!
- Lacey & Kimchi