Just a little RANT about petsitting - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-10-2016, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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Just a little RANT about petsitting

So I was out for a while and left a friend to watch my fish tank. I didn't expect them to do deep cleans and just instructed to use these specific cups and fill two with tank water, and fill them back up and add conditioned water. Well, I returned and my tank is YUCK. I don't even think any water changes were done. Yikes! My filter cartridge also looked ridiculously dirty so I think there might have been some overfeeding as well. I did a small water change and put in a new cartridge yesterday, but man. His fake plant has grime on it and the biofilm on the top was crazy. I'm going away this weekend and doing a much larger water change before I leave so hopefully I'll be good. But ugh! Frustrating :( Has anyone else had someone petsit their fish and come home to madness? I feel like people think just because it is a fish, all it needs is food. When people pet sit our cats, they always scoop litter boxes! My poor boy. He was doing better with fin biting and had stopped for a while and now he's chomped them back down and I don't blame him. I'd be stressed too! I'm having my roommate/best friend feed Sir Arthur this weekend and I trust her luckily. Ugh, rant ended

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-10-2016, 01:56 PM
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No one will ever pet sit again for me.
A good friend pet sit my (indoor) cat and golden retriever. Well he let the cat out deliberately because it was wrong to keep him from enjoying the outdoors and my poor baby got hit by a car. I saw his remains on the road on my way home from vacation....it was devastating.

Fortunately, I have cats and all I need is enough litter boxes and huge bowls of food /water and they are set for quite a few days.

My beta on the other hand, before vacation: I feed them everyday the week before leading into the vacation time. I give them a feeding before I walk out the door and when I get back a few days later, I start very slowly with their feedings.

So far no casualties!!!!!!

Last edited by LittleMan; 10-10-2016 at 02:00 PM.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-10-2016, 02:16 PM
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I have been the bad pet sitter. Their dogs and cats, I had experience with, but I didn't know how to keep fish properly. There were four tanks, one with a betta that got STUCK in his driftwood and scared the $!#/@&* out of me. I know I overfed the regular tanks. But the betta was on a level beyond that. I couldn't get him to eat so I kept throwing new food in. I couldn't find frozen bloodworms--I didn't know what to look for, and I know now that I wouldn't have known what to do with them if I had found them--so I went to the store and bought freeze-dried. didn't soak them, either. And I didn't know to remove uneaten food. I wasn't asked to do water changes, just top-offs, which I can say I did religiously, the only thing I can be proud of from that time. In my defense, I did the best I knew how at the time, but the more I learn about fish care, the more I cringe about my past mistakes.

I saw someone suggest using a pill case to dole out a daily feeding for the petsitter's use, and I think I'm going to use that for my upcoming trip. I'm really scared.

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Last edited by Mothercrow; 10-10-2016 at 02:21 PM.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-10-2016, 02:28 PM
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That is very frustrating! I got on vacation twice a year and my Napoleon is at the office, so I always have others watching him. First thing, I put food in a medicine dispenser container so there is no overfeed. Second, I actually put LESS food in it that I would normally feed because I will not be there to do water changes. Third, I don't expect a pet sitter to water change at all, so I will not leave an uncycled tank in someone else's care. For my home fish though, I just leave them for the week. I've never come home to an ill fish doing it that way.

With my very first betta, several years ago (before I knew anything about betta care), I left him in the care of a coworker and she fed him black pepper, which killed him. I think it was intentional despite what she says, but regardless, I started using the medicine container to make it fool proof.

Littleman - - I think I would just lose my mind if I had to see the remains of my cat on the road. I lost 2 animals a year apart while in the care of others on vacation but it wasn't the fault of the caretakers. Both of them had to be euthanized 2 days after we got home. They died a year and a day apart. I wish they had notified us that they were unwell, but they didn't so it is what it is. I was terrified to go on vacation and leave my babies behind again after that :(
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-10-2016, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mothercrow View Post
I saw someone suggest using a pill case to dole out a daily feeding for the petsitter's use, and I think I'm going to use that for my upcoming trip. I'm really scared.
Great idea

[QUOTE=Lilypad;7632561]....yes, a terrible situation when we lose our babies but to see it before being told it... unforgivable.

You have a good idea for others, just as Mothercrow mentioned....
Also, have you seen those small individual plastic medicine cups, they usually have a plastic lid; I would mark the day on the cover so it doesn't get repeated by someone else. I use these to dispense a small amount of the betta variety of foods so I don't have to keep opening the bagged foods. Easy to store as well inbetween feeding.

look like these


Last edited by LittleMan; 10-10-2016 at 02:43 PM.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-10-2016, 03:08 PM
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With my very first betta, several years ago (before I knew anything about betta care), I left him in the care of a coworker and she fed him black pepper, which killed him. I think it was intentional despite what she says, but regardless, I started using the medicine container to make it fool proof. I lost 2 animals a year apart while in the care of others on vacation but it wasn't the fault of the caretakers. Both of them had to be euthanized 2 days after we got home. They died a year and a day apart. I wish they had notified us that they were unwell, but they didn't so it is what it is. I was terrified to go on vacation and leave my babies behind again after that :(

About the idiot giving your betta black pepper....... one word: KARMA.

Secondly, I am sorry to read this about your losing your 2. Terrible. Just terrible.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 10:25 AM
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About the idiot giving your betta black pepper....... one word: KARMA.

Secondly, I am sorry to read this about your losing your 2. Terrible. Just terrible.
She claims it was an "accident" and that it looked just like the food container. Not true. He was a 4 year old betta and at the end of his life, but to have him go that way just was totally cruddy. I didn't get another fish until after she was gone from here!
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 10:36 AM
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The reality is, as LittleMan can attest, you don't need to have a pet sitter for fish....unless you're going to be gone more than two or three weeks. Feed right before you leave and they should be good to go. I've been gone for three weeks with no issues for any of my fish. And, to be honest, I would rather take the rare chance that they might starve than have them die in a tank full of muck and rotting food.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 10:45 AM
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It is difficult finding a pet sitter that will take fish care seriously. My advice is to find someone who can follow instructions really, really well--and has the integrity to follow through with all of them (and not add/remove steps). I am lucky that I have someone I trust to do that.

If you live in a town with a university, you can try and find a biology or marine biology student who would (hopefully) understand the importance of following all instructions you give. You can also ask local fish-keepers in an aquarium club or store. Still, these are strangers you would be letting in your house so you have to be careful.

I demonstrated every step to my pet sitter before I left. I told her why each step was important in layman's terms. I told her how much I value my fish and the estimated cost of things in the tank to put into perspective how difficult it would be to replace things if she didn't do her job well. I also typed up instructions broken down by each day in a checklist format. Here are some of the things I told her to try and drive my point home:

1. "If the water level drops below this line, the heater will crack and explode and kill everything in here. You have to make sure the water doesn't drop below the line I've created with this piece of tape."

2. "I stopped counting when the total cost of things in this tank exceeded $400, and that was several months ago."

3. "Many of these plants have taken months or years to grow to their current size. They aren't kept in local fish stores and were expensive to purchase and have shipped to me. It sounds morbid, but it would be much easier and cheaper for me to replace the Betta than some of the plants in here. You have to stay on top of the plant care instructions I give you."

4. "Only use the water in this provided gallon jug to replace water in the tank that has evaporated or been removed."

5. "Only feed one food pellet per day. He will act like he's starving but he's not. You know how snakes only eat like once a week? It's kind of the same with a Betta--they need very little to be healthy and too much/often can hurt them."

I also pay her well for pet-sitting, because it is a lot of work. Asking someone to pet-sit for free, even if it is a good friend or family member, means they probably won't take the job as seriously. If there is financial incentive at the end, they do a better job.

Last edited by christinamac; 10-11-2016 at 10:48 AM. Reason: Spacing
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 05:28 PM
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I had that fear when I let my grandpa watch my fish. He's in his 70's and I didn't want him to run around doing water changes and stuff. We were going to be gone for almost two weeks with several states between myself and my pets. Since he had to walk into the room to feed and take care of my rodents, I had him take care of my bettas too. I told him to just feed them two pellets in the morning and one at night and even left my number for him in case something went wrong.

I got back and everyone was fine. He even conditioned the water he put in there and I didn't even tell him what to do with evaporated water. He figured it out. I hugged him for five minutes, at least. He said his favorite was my CT (my only CT at the time) but got scared to feed them when Jaws bit him.

"I didn't even know he could jump that high."
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