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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Tanwyn is gone, and I feel so much worse without him. He helped me get through the loneliest parts of my spouse being deployed over seas, he helped me through the loss of connection with my old friends and even some of my in-laws. He was a connection I had with a close online friend who treated me like **** and abandoned me. I loved him, and took care of him even when I couldn't take care of myself. He traveled 1500 miles with my spouse and I to our new home. He loved my spouse too, and he was like our child. I loved this little fish with all my soul. I hope Tanwyn knows how much he meant to me, because he was everything to me. I learned so much taking care of him.

I'm the stay-at-home spouse. Partly because I love taking care of our home and my spouse, partly because I don't know what I want for life. I stay so bogged down in my depression and anxiety its really hard to think about that kind of thing. Partly it's because I was so exhausted from working through covid while my spouse was overseas: it was over two years of hellish loneliness. But I had Tanwyn. When I had no one else, when others took advantage of my friendship and kindness and vulnerability, then abandoned me without a second thought, I had that sweet fish with the perpetually grumpy expression. And that last remaining bit of comfort is gone. My last friend doesn't even talk to me anymore and Tanwyn is gone?

My husband is at work and it's so quiet. No hum of air pumps and filters, no silly boy giving me side-eye and wolfing down his food. The last thing I enjoyed doing, the last hobby I found comfort in, and it's over. And I can't imagine building the richly planted dream tank without Tanwyn to enjoy it. I miss him so dearly. His tank is just laying on its side because I was trying to set it up and I just became so overwhelmed. I'm tired, and I want my buddy back. 7pm is Tanwyn Time, when he would eat his dinner, and now it's nothing. I'm so tired of feeling so bad all the time. I want to keep fish, I love keeping fish, but I feel so disgusted even considering another fish. I want my fish. I want Tanwyn back.

I know he was so sick and miserable and suffering. I found a large chunk of his tail on the bottom of the hospital tank. He stopped eating, responding, and was barely breathing in his last days. HIs tail was ripped in half, with black rot along the rip and at the base of his tail. He couldn't swim well. He kept biting his tail because it was too big and heavy for him. I tried so many different cures and medicines and reached out to so many people and did so much reading. For two months. Previously we were battling worms and snails and hydras. Maybe the move was too much. Maybe something was wrong when I reset up his tank. Maybe it was bad LFS betta genetics. I don't know. I do know that he was suffering, and I talked to my spouse and my mom, who I can't live with but we can be friends and she gives great advice, and we agreed that it would be better to put Tanwyn to sleep. He went peacefully and quickly (clove oil method works scarily well). It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and it was hard for me and my husband. My hands were shaking so hard, and I've never seen my husband cry like that. I'm the emotional one; he stays pretty level headed. And this affected him really hard too.

It was the best call, for Tanwyn's sake. Now I don't know how to feel okay about it. I think my husband is okay; I've been checking in on him. I feel so hollow and gutted without Tanwyn. I don't know what to do, I don't know how to cope with this grief. My chest feels so heavy and I feel like there's something I'm supposed to be doing. This is how I felt about my grandfather when he passed away in October. He died of longstanding health issues and a brain bleed. My grandma, my mom, and I were in the hospital all night with my grandpa till he finally passed on. Hell, I still feel unsettled about that too. It's horrible watching someone die of sickness. It's not quick. It's slow, and usually loud. There's nothing peaceful about it till the very end, and then it's indescribably quiet. It's terrifying. It scares the mind. Death scares me. And this is after my sister's year long battle with cancer (she's cancer free now, I don't think she's "in remission" but she's no longer on chemo, and she's so healthy and bright). My younger sister, sick with cancer. And my mom is chronically ill, though I'm not getting into all that. I don't know where all this was going, I'm just feeling some big feelings I guess. Separation anxiety, loneliness, anxiety, depression, ED recovery, extreme stress, exhaustion, grief, and anger.

I just want my little guy back. My Tanwyn, my spouse's Wanton, his Big Guy.
 

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Neptune (HMDT), Indigo (VT), Manchester (Galaxy Koi)Bunker (K9)
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This story is absolutely heartbreaking but also so relatable. They really do become members of the family and we absolutely do love them. They do add a bright spot to our lives and every single one of us have whole conversations with our sweet little babies while they paddle up to judge us with their grumpy little faces. I feel like it must be therapeutic too pour out all of those feelings in a place where they will be heard in a real way. We have all been there, we all feel your pain and deep sense of loss and we are all 100% here for you in every way. I do hope that you continue to keep betta and always feel welcome here. Remember that if you choose to add another one of these amazing fish to your family, you will be doing just that, adding. Tanwyn will never be replaced but someone could help you to heal and continue on. SIP Tanwyn, you are a beautiful soul and you were very loved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So I'm gearing up to turn my tank into a lush, jungle-like betta haven.

This is my tank, a 29 gallon tall. The current plan is to establish a thick substrate and lower the water level to make it more manageable for the longer tailed bettas. I do think, after talking with some others, that the depth was too great and Tanwyn's tail was too big and heavy. Combined with whatever illness he had plus and infestation of worms, hydras, and snails, it was not a good time.

The tank is like 18" tall, and I'm planning on doing a dirt substrate capped with a black or dark substrate, or maybe a more of a natural river bed kind of look. I want the spiderwood positioned like this with some sort of stone or driftwood centerpiece with plants growing out of it underneath, so it looks like mangrove roots or something. I'm also growing a pothos in water so I can add it to the tank as well. I think a betta would enjoy the roots for swimming through. I've also picked out a little ceramic ribcage fossil decoration that I think would look cool in the dark water and leaf litter. Also some sort of dark, neutral background.

My Tank
Rectangle Wood Art Sculpture Gas


My Inspiration/Goals
Rectangle Leaf Organism Vegetation Natural landscape
Nature Plant Organism Rectangle Terrestrial plant


My tank came with a metal grate as a lid. I think it may have been a terrarium previously. I live in Texas now and have already noticed an issue with evaporation so I'm getting a new lid, plus upgrading the sponge filter, air pump, and maybe a more advanced heater. The bone decor is out of stock rn but I do think it would be an adorable addition.

Plant Flowerpot Terrestrial plant Font Houseplant
Product Font Rectangle Parallel Screenshot


My spouse is into 3d printing so I'm going to get him to print a pothos basket, plus some ledges and tunnels so the betta can explore and rest as necessary. I probably won't need floaters, between the lid, the pothos, and the varying ledges and tunnels. Also going to upgrade the lamp.
 

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Neptune (HMDT), Indigo (VT), Manchester (Galaxy Koi)Bunker (K9)
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That sounds amazing! Please update us with photos! I also have a heavy finned baby. He is a half moon double tail and he is a nipper. He chewed almost his entire tail off recently and developed fin rot. He is healing nicely, for now. I love him dearly but I will never have another one with those fins. I hope preparing your tank and finding a new baby is therapeutic for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Started work on the new tank. It used to have a vinyl cling background with a plant print, but it was hard to put on and stretched and warped. Hated putting it on tbh.

I decided that I wanted my tank to have a simple, plain black backdrop and learned that you can just paint the back of an aquarium. I used this tutorial:
You also do not have to have a creative bone in your body to do this. :)

Pretty typically people use spray paint but I used some inexpensive acrylic paint, then mod podge as my paint sealer. It took about five or six coats to get the paint opaque. I tried to use a regular paint brush at first but had to switch to a sponge applicator very quickly.

Here's the paint and mod podge I used. It was like four dollars from Walmart. I used most of the paint and all of mod podge. Get a sponge brush to pat the paint on, trust me.
Liquid Fluid Cosmetics Bottle Finger


Table Wood Rectangle Flooring Gas


Table Rectangle Wood Wood stain Flooring


Rectangle Wood Grey Flooring Floor


The mod podge is drying right now. It will be dry overnight and fully cured in a few weeks.

My husband and I went to the most amazing pet/fish store I've ever been to. They had a whole fish room with lots of information provided for people setting up their first tanks. I'll try to snag some pictures next time I go. My husband called it a "poor man's aquarium" lol. I've also reconsidered my stance on a dirted aquarium, since they had some affordable aqua soils available. (also great deals on huge tanks with hefty, solid wood stands). I'm dithering over some soil colors: a natural brownish color, red, or black sand. I'm leaning more towards the red or regular flourite tbh, my tank initially had sand and I would lose so much during water changes. I think the red would look incredible with some larger stones mixed in.

Plant Rectangle Terrestrial plant Font Grass
Plant Rectangle Terrestrial plant Font Soil
Plant Rectangle Terrestrial plant Grass Superfood
 

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Neptune (HMDT), Indigo (VT), Manchester (Galaxy Koi)Bunker (K9)
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That all sounds so exciting!! I am so happy to see you putting energy to use in a positive, healing way! Good luck in your new journey and be sure to continue providing lots of photos!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This one is a personal entry.

I applied for a really cool job a few weeks ago, had the interview last Friday, and I think I botched it. I was so unbearably anxious and, despite my definitely over qualifying past experience, I really don't think I got it. I should have heard back by now and nothing. This was something I really wanted to do, and I didn't get it. Which sounds whiney and entitled but I'm used to being likeable and good at things. I was gifted in school, and nailed all my previous interviews. I can't believe how horribly I botched it. I can do things: I'm good at learning new things. I like learning new things and doing new things. I like to work hard, I'm not afraid of hard work. I used to do construction plumbing with my dad, and really liked it. I didn't mind the work of assistant managing in retail, I just struggled with they way upper management handled things. I've worked long, exhausting hours in fast food. I can do the work. And this place, it's a game and card store. Like DnD, Warhammer, and Magic. Some other stuff too. It's an environment that actively works to make it comfortable for everyone. It's a staff of nerds. And I just panicked. I felt so anxious and sick. My anxiety and depression are so bad it's almost unbearable.

I have everything I ever wanted. My husband is here, with me. We live together without the stress of either of our families. I get to stay at home. We hang out, and play video games, and take care of each other. And I feel so awful. I don't know how to say it without sounding pathetic, but I'm exhausted all the time. Going out, even to the store or to do laundry, is such a taxing experience. And yet, I get so... wound up, I guess, I want to do something. My brain spins and gets so loud and heavy feeling. And I lost my last friend, an online friend I've known almost five years. He just stopped talking to me. I have no one to talk to when my husband isn't here. I don't have friends of my own. I don't know why I'm not happy the way I should be.

My home life, until now, was chaotic, toxic, traumatizing, and there's so much I wish I could just forget. Maybe now, that I am in a peaceful environment, my brain can't shut away those feelings. Maybe it's not ready for peace and low stress. I don't know. Maybe it's something undiagnosed. I don't know. I feel lonely and sad. I wanted that job, to have some sense of community, to have some reason to make myself go out and be better. I don't know if I can do another one. I don't want something that's going to be burden. I don't want something that's supposed to be a vehicle to get better to make things worse. I don't want to just work a shitty retail or fast food job. I want to be enthusiastic about it, or at least, like it and believe in it. I don't know how to express that to my husband, who works very hard all week. I don't want to be weak and pathetic but I just feel so awful all the time. I don't know how to be better. I only know how to mope, try to do the chores, and rewatch BoJack Horseman all the time.

I don't want my partner to think I'm weak, and I don't want him to think I love him any less. We've been together for so long, and I love him with everything I have and everything I am. And he knows I feel bad and struggle and he doesn't think poorly of me. He loves me too. I still worry about being a burden. About being "damaged goods". About being broken and ruined and insufferable and exhausting. That's how my parents feel about each other and It's awful to witness. I don't want him to resent me because I can't be better. I don't want to be bitter and miserable and lonely like my mom.

I don't know why I'm not better, when I'm getting what I wanted for so long. I don't know why I can't just feel happy. I don't know what to do. I'm tired.
 

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Oh please do not get down on yourself. I am sure that your husband loves you and that you are enough for him regardless. You need to find what makes you truly happy and I am sure he will support you. The fact that you wantbto be better and feel better is the first step. Never give up! You are worth it!!
 

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Following this thread to see how your project turns out!

I am so sorry that you are going through all of this! It's hard to adjust to slowing down after having to work non-stop for so long. It may take a while for you to adjust. You are used to working, and your mind is used to being constantly active, and now, there's a sudden stop to all of that.

Maybe you need to give yourself some time. Breathe deep. Try praying or meditating to hlep when your mind races. Classical music can help, too, if you give it a chance. Walking helps, too.

You are apparently really creative, and you seem to love aquariums. Maybe there is an aquarium club in your area that you can join. But only when you are ready...

Just some thoughts...for what it's worth... :)
 

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hug

I know it sounds trite in writing, but in my personal experience it has indeed been a life safer: Have you tried starting a meditation practice? I've had very bad anxiety and panic attacks all my adult life, but a couple years ago a started a meditation practice and it's made a world of difference, and gave me the skills that I needed to get through some incredibly stressful times in that duration. Happy to talk about it more if you're interested. Either way though, wishing you the peace and strength you need, and looking forward to see how your betta home progresses!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
New tank is up and cycling!

Treated with prime, a bit of aquarium salt, and some liquid fertilizer for the pothos.

Fluid Wood Gas Fish supply Water


Dirted tank with a nice thick black gravel layer. Although I realized, after adding in the gravel and water, there's a bit of neon gravel mixed in. It's not noticeable and any will be covered by plants almond leaves.

Water Rectangle Fluid Wood Pet supply


This tank is so hypnotic to look at. I'll take some picture tonight when I can turn down lights and get the full effect.

Water Fluid Wood Display case Pet supply


Plant Wood Wall Rectangle Tints and shades


Here's the little pothos I've been growing in water. I can't wait for the roots and leaves to really take off. I'm gonna start another one in water soon. I'm also so excited about the cholla wood. God it's so beautiful. I was also able to get a little 1 ml dropper from the pet store, and it's already been so useful. I'm enamored by how the tank looks already! It sits at about 22 gallons with the thick substrate bed. Will do an initial test on it in a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Friday 3-17-2023 API Master Test Kit results:

Just filled and began running and heating the tank. A little wary of how my test kit has been reading on Ph. Total measured amount of tap water is 23 gallons.

Ph: 7.6
High Ph: 7.4
Ammonia: 1ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 5ppm

Dosed with:

Prime - 2ml plus 6 drops
API Leaf Zone - 10ml
Aquarium Salt - 2 tbsp (half the recommended dose)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sunday 3-19-2023 API Master Test Kit Results:

Ph: 7.6
High Ph: 7.4
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 1ppm
Nitrate: 40ppm

Re-dosed with Prime, 2 ml plus 6 drops
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Plant Notes:

Bleach Dip & Quarantine (Snipped from articles, sourced below)

Bleach Dip: Helps remove algae, snails, and other pests

  • Unscented Bleach
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Two Separate Containers
  • Dechlorinator

Step 1: Once you've received your new plants, take your time to see if there are any snails/pests you can see and remove them.

If you see any leaves that are melting from transport or have algae, pull them off. Depending on the type of plant you buy, remove any lead strip or plastic pot with rock wool holding the plants.

Step 2: Fill up a container with water and immerse the plants. Shake vigorously. This will rinse the plants of any loose dead leaves and/or melt you may have missed in Step 1. For more sensitive plants, rinsing them under cool running water would be much more desirable. Repeat this step as many times as you鈥檇 like. Then, pour out the entire contents and rinse out the container. Set your plants aside.

Step 3: This is the dangerous part--make sure you're wearing your gloves. The general rule is 1 part bleach for every 20 parts of water (1:20 ratio). Before adding the bleach, make sure that it is unscented without any other added chemicals. Mix bleach and water together.

Step 4:
  • Note: Before performing bleach dip, I recommend preparing your second container with fresh water and a dose of dechlorinator (dechlorinator such as SL- Aqua Black More Stabilizer or SeaChem Prime are great options). This way you will be better prepared for Step 5.
Add the plants into the container with your bleach mix and make sure they鈥檙e all completely submerged.


Soak times will vary depending on the plants:


Mosses, thinly leaved/delicate plants, and more sensitive stem plants (Cryptocoryne, Utricularia Graminifolia, Hornwort, etc) should be kept under watch, do not dip them for more than 90 seconds.

More average plants (Echinodorus species, most stem plants, Bucephalandra species, etc) should be submerged in the bleach solution for at least 120 seconds. (Since I鈥檓 dipping Rotala and Ludwigia species, I鈥檝e set a timer for 120 seconds.)

The toughest of plants (Anubias species, Java fern) can be dipped for 150 seconds.
  • Note: Keep in mind that all these times may affect your plants in different ways. If you are worried about hurting your plants, you can do multiple weaker/shorter dips in order to sterilize your plants.
Step 5: Before your timer rings, have your bleach dip container near a faucet. Once time is up, immediately pull your plants from the container and completely rinse out the bleach. I like to rinse the plants clean for at least a minute before adding them to the container of water and dechlorinator solution. Allow your plants to soak with the dechlorinator for at least a couple minutes.

Step 6: At this point, you are officially done with the bleach dip! If you're still concerned about snail eggs because of their casings, I recommend keeping the plants in a separate container/tank for a while to keep an eye on them before planting. You can quarantine your plants for 2-3 weeks to ensure that nothing undesired makes its way into your tank. It鈥檚 all up to personal preference! You can now add your sterile plants to your aquarium if you wish.

Sources -


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Pothos "Devil's Ivy"
Epipremnum aureum
Native to Southeastern Asia
Preferred temp is in 70 to 85 degree range
Can grow up to 40 feet, with leaves up to 12 inches long
Low to moderate light
Quick growth

Named for it's hardy, difficult to kill nature. Can survive in low light and nearly dark conditions. Very popular as a houseplant, in aquariums and terrariums, and in hydroponics systems. Very inexpensive, and can even be started from a single leaf cutting!

Typically grown in in a basket or hanger on the side of the aquarium, where the roots can hang free in the current. Water will need to be fertilized. The vines can grow under the water, but leaves will not. Drape the leaves over the sides of the aquarium. Sometimes they are grown in the filter, if you have plant eating fish.

Initially, when first placed in water, the roots and leaves may die off. Once they are adjusted to their new environment, the roots and leaves will grow back.

TOXIC TO CATS AND DOGS IF INGESTED

Sources -


Houseplant Plant Terrestrial plant Rectangle Glass


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​

Java Fern
Microsorum pteropus
Native to Southeastern Asia
Preferred temperature range is 68 to 82 degrees
Matures at about 13 inches tall, and spread out between 6 and 8 inches
Low to moderate light
Slow growth

A hardy, beginner friendly aquarium plant. It's slow growth means that it doesn't really require trimming or pruning, and can grow even in bare bottom tanks. Java ferns are placed either on top of the substrate or attached to hardscape. Java ferns, when initially planted, will need to be attached to a piece of driftwood or rock until the rhizomes (the roots) attach. Burying the roots will cause the plant to suffocate. Java ferns absorb nutrients through their leaves, not roots.

Java ferns, when exposed to too much light, can "melt". They develop dark patches that turn mushy and rot away, and can lead to the death of the plant. Poor nutrition and algae in the tank can lead to java fern melt.

Java ferns reproduce by sprouting replicas of itself (called plantlets) on the back of its leaves, a process called apomixis.

Sources -


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Java Moss
Taxiphyllum barbieri
Native to Southeast Asia
Preferred temp is in the 60 - 80 degree range
Low to Moderate light
Slow growth

A common, popular carpeting plant. Similar to java ferns, the rhizomes will attach to pretty much any surface. It's a very popular choice for fry tanks, where fish eggs can be lain and fry can nibble on the moss.

Sources -

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So I guess a new fish made his way into my heart??

My husband and I were out today at the mall, and there's a pet store nearby. I really dislike how this stores keeps its bettas, despite it being quite clean and nice otherwise. We looked, and I saw one with a horrid case of cottonmouth, and another with a less severe cause. I was mortified. My husband and I left right after. We're at home, and I'm laying on the couch, and I started reading and thinking about that sick fish. I talk to my husband, and I find myself driving back to that store to get him. By the time I get there, within the hour of us having been there earlier, the poor thing passed away. It was awful. I have never seen such a case of cottonmouth, his whole body was covered in white fuzz, and his gills were so painfully swollen and brown with rot. My hands started shaking as I grabbed the dead betta, and the smaller one with less severe cottonmouth, and checked out. I politely but firmly let the employees know what it was, and why it happened, and I will never be back to that store again. I rushed home and got the new boy in the hospital tank, and he is now under observation.

I really thought he had cottonmouth too, but now that he is out of that tiny, dirty cup and horrid neon blue lighting, I think he may be fine. He's bright red and teal, and I think he's still quite young. He's so vibrant and happy in the little hospital tank; I can't wait for him to go into the big tank! Pictures are dark because the lamp is off and I didn't want to disturb him too much. I think he's a spade tail.

Plant Liquid Drinkware Wood Fluid

Plant Fin Wood Fish Water
 
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