I decided to start a journal finally to track my journey into what will likely be a downward spiral into MTS. And to dump pictures of my babies.
Warning: Ranting and rambling WILL occur. I apologize in advance.
Hello! I am Tress. I've adored bettas for a long time and had my first one nearly a decade ago, and this year I had started making plans to get back into bettas. It was a rough start to the year, my 8 and 14 year old dogs passed away in the first 3 months and the winter was endless. We scraped by on meager pay and what little firewood that was generously donated to us by friends. It was rock bottom for a while and I badly needed something to take my mind off it.
So I decided I needed to find a new outlet, something to focus on. My animals have always been my anchor, they don't judge and they look to you to provide for them. They've always gotten me through the hard times bought on by living in poverty, and they keep my depression, anxiety, and paranoia in check. So once again I looked to them for support.
I don't remember what got me thinking of bettas again, but when I did I went hunting for proper care info to prevent a repeat of my first betta. I learned my mistakes a felt bad, but realized it wasn't really my fault after stumbling upon this site. Other people, almost everyone here really, went through it too. So I worked on a battle plan - and a shopping list.
As winter finally released its hold and we finally hit summer, I decided to start gathering all I needed and start looking for a local breeder. I found one but she was selling of her stock and getting out of business - and she was an hour away. Our old car was barely road worthy at the time so I had to pass up her gorgeous pure black bettas. (;-;)
So as my birthday crept up I figured I'd just ask for money so I could save up for the stuff I wanted. All was going well and I was spending time reading up about cycling and DYI stuff on here. Then mom came home with a cup of betta and a bag of stuff to go with. Aris had arrived in my life.
He was honestly one of the most pathetic looking bettas I'd ever seen. I had never cared much about crowntails, and his didn't even fork off like they should. I am ashamed to admit that I hated him and wanted him to die so that I could exchange him/get the money back. But I wanted to do what I could for him so I dug out my old 5g and set to work scrubbing it and some rocks.
Our friend gave me two bottles of betta water conditioner, two bottles of crappy betta pellets (so big that I have to crush them), a plastic plant, and a crappy rock decor. The ornaments were too rough and sharp for bettas, but I stuck the plant in anyways since the tank was so darn empty looking. Aris was added later that night, and spent 90% of his time trying to hide and was clamped up. Over the next few days I kept an eye on him, knowing he wasn't very healthy and the water was to cold since I didn't have a heater on hand. I pitied the poor guy, but I was still miffed.
One morning he spent all day in the top corner of his tank, the one closest to me. Upon checking him out I was able to finally see that he had velvet. So I clean out the old 1g tank that my sister gave to me that she used to have for a betta years ago. I had finally gotten to the pet store and picked up all the supplies I could find that I would need for him. Oddly enough, his stay in the QT caused him to blossom. This fish finally had character!
My resentment finally faded as he improved. I kept him in the 1g till I could get some proper decor for the 5g. I bought some cloth plants and rocks from the dollar store and set to work making the 5g more homey for Aris. Soon enough he was put back into the 5g that was moved to the corner of my dresser instead of the top of my TV stand. But this made him lonely, so he spent (and still spends) most of his time in the corner where he can watch me.
Then he got pop eye just before I went away for the weekend to house/pet-sit. I left mom with instructions for how to do it and worried about him the whole weekend. To this day that eye is still kinda weird, but I figure that's permanent damage. Oh well. By now Aris had grown quite big, at least half an inch since I'd got him the previous month. After that I noticed his dorsal fin was growing so long, annnd then he accidentally ripped a chunk off while feeding x.x it grew back quick enough though.
Then in august two 2 week old kittens crawled into my life. Puma and Theo. The latter I found after peeling the metal siding off my garage. I fished him out of there just as he went into heat stroke. The first 2 days consisted of no sleep and holding him while he seized. It was heartbreaking, as my dog Sassy had suffered many horrible seizures before she passed. I was sure he would die, or be permanently damaged. But...
He lived. More amazingly he seems to have come away unscathed. Sometimes his eyes cross or he wobbles a bit, but he seems to have grown around his damage. But these two brought my cat total up to 6. Which made for a full house and more trips to the pet store to buy good kitten food. Which also meant constantly checking out the bettas - during which they got in the Elive set up, which was a pleasant surprise!
Annnd it also meant falling in love with a little white betta with big floofy pectorals - which I later learned he was a dumbo/EE. But all I had to house a betta was the 1g - and I didn't want to do that. I couldn't find the stuff for making dividers in my area either. So with now where to put him and two kittens needing around the clock feeding and care, I left him. Every week I'd have look and he was still there. I watched as the others degraded, suffering from finmelt and popeye.
I knew before long he would suffer the same fate - I decided a 1g would be better than dying in a tiny container. Lux was added to the madness in my room. I only had one heater, the one in Aris' tank, but it was warm enough here so I just kept him under the lamp I used for Aris. In the meantime I ordered some heaters (Hydor's. a 50w Theo and a 7.5w mini).
Now with a heater and light, Lux's tank was moved to my desk next to my computer. I learned quickly that he is *very* adventurous, and not very white after all. He gets himself stuck in the stupidest places and rips his tail constantly on the little bits of plastic on his silk plants. But he makes wonderful bubblenests almost daily. Actually I came home the other day and didn't see one, so I looked at him and was like "Hey, what's the big deal Lux! I worked all day and I come home to no bubblenests?!" He flared at me and swam around showing off.
Checked on him later and he'd made a huge bubblenest.
I've had Aris for 3.5 months, Lux for 1 month, and the kittens for almost 2 months.
Now that that's done, I'll post some pics next.
Also, I have another journal following my journey into my NPT community tank plan over here: https://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?p=5123234
I'd love if you checked it out :)