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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I've been considering starting a journal on here for a little while, but wasn't sure if I'd have too much to say or if anyone would be interested in it. Then I realized that I've only had my first boy since February 24th, and so much has already happened that I never want to forget.

So, even if no one else ever reads this, I will personally be grateful for having the ability to look back and remember how my addiction to bettas began, and remember all the funny things my bettas do.

Since I've had a pretty eventful ownership so far, I've decided that I'll begin by writing about what happened when I first started considering purchasing a betta, and then continuing through the arrival of my first betta, purchase of my second betta, and all the way through to the present day, after which I will do my best to keep updating this journal. Of course this probably will not all be written in one post, or even in one day. I might break each section down into different posts, kind of like chapters. Lol!

I will do my best to include photographs fairly frequently, but not overload the journal with pictures. ;) I've noticed that I find it much more interesting if I can see the fish that are being written about.

Without further ado, I will post this and then write my "pre-betta" post. I hope you enjoy adventuring with my on my betta journey!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Before Bettas

I am a newlywed, I got married in October 2014, and I am living in an apartment for the first time in my life. It's a tiny two bedroom thing, completely different from what I am used to. Not only is it small, but it doesn't allow dogs, and only allows cats that are declawed.

Don't get me wrong, it's a nice place and we are grateful to have it. But I am disappointed at my inability to have animals. I've grown up with animals all my life, and have spent the past nine years or so working with dogs. I currently work at a boarding, grooming, and training facility for dogs, so that helps me stand being without pets a bit. But I still want one! I work part time (plus some intermittent babysitting) and it can be lonely in the apartment when my husband is at work, which is frequently. He works two part time jobs which do not have regular hours, so frequently his time off is when I am at work, and vice versa.

In December, I flippantly asked my husband if he would mind if I got a betta fish. My sister had one when she was in college, and I remember thinking that it was very pretty. He said that he would prefer if we waited a bit, because we had just began budgeting and were not sure if we actually had any extra money per month or not.

So I waited. And then, in early February, I randomly remembered the question, and I asked him again. By this point we could see that we were operating with a sufficient surplus of money to support a pet. So, no surprise (he's not a dictator, and he wants me to be happy, lol) he said that it was fine with him if we got a betta fish.

I actually did not say anything after hearing his answer. To be honest, I hadn't really been seriously considering a betta. I am a very serious pet owner, and I don't like it when people get a new pet without knowing what they need and what to do to keep them healthy. So, before committing to getting a betta, I began doing a whole ton of research about bettas.

After some research, I decided that I most definitely wanted a betta. I also decided that I would need a 5 gallon tank, a heater, some live plants, an API test kit, water conditioner and food (of course), and some decorations for my betta to hide in before I got one. So I purchased most of these items on Amazon. I also wanted to cycle my tank before my fish came, so once my tank arrived I set it up and began feeding it ammonia, so that it would begin to cycle.

Then I began to think about where I wanted to get my betta from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Choosing a Fish

I have a few internet friends who have or currently keep fish, so I talked to them and commented on how I wasn't sure where to get a fish from. They mentioned Aquabid and that they had purchased fish from there before, so I went and looked at some fish.

And oh boy, I was hooked! I read up on the transhipping process and decided that I was comfortable with it. I also decided that I would start looking for my fish now, because it sounded like it would take between 2-4 weeks for my fish to arrive after I ordered, and I had been feeding my tank with ammonia for about a week at that point.

I went wild looking at bettas, and was having a hard time choosing. Then I found this auction: http://www.aquabid.com/cgi-bin/auction/closed.cgi?view_closed_item&fwbettashm1424625031

With this little guy (breeder's picture, not mine):


And I was hooked. I read his breeder's reviews and asked them quite a few questions. The reviews were really good, and they answered all my questions very quickly and to my satisfaction. So, I bought the fish! Boy was I excited, and nervous, too. Imagine having a fish come all the way from Thailand! What if he died? I knew that if he did, I would be heartbroken. But all there was that I could do now was to choose a name, purchase decorations for him to hide in, and wait.
 

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He's gorgeous! Are you waiting for him to arrive? Can't wait to hear more, as you have a really nice writing style and your description of getting married and only being able to keep (awesome) fish in your place totally hits home. We've gone through the same thing. (Congrats on being married, too!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
He's gorgeous! Are you waiting for him to arrive? Can't wait to hear more, as you have a really nice writing style and your description of getting married and only being able to keep (awesome) fish in your place totally hits home. We've gone through the same thing. (Congrats on being married, too!)
Thank you! :) He's here, and has been for about three weeks. I'll tell that story in my next post, complete with pictures. Oh boy was that interesting... ;P I'm actually really glad about only being able to have fish now, because if it weren't for that I would have gotten a dog and never known what I was missing out on in not having a betta. I mean, I know I like dogs, so it's a given that I'll have some further down the road, but bettas weren't even on my radar until this past half year or so. And boy would I be missing out!

And thank you again! :)

I'm planning on posting my next post later today, hopefully it works out that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The Arrival

So, after purchasing the fish, I was informed by the breeder that he would be shipped from Thailand that weekend. What this ended up meaning was that he arrived on February 24, 2015. This was only a week from when I had purchased him. A week sooner than the earliest I expected him to arrive. So, of course, my tank wasn't finished cycling and I was freaking out about that.

I decided to name him Arausio, for several reasons. I like the sound of it, and it's the name of an old Celtic water god, a local deity. I love anything Celtic/Gaelic/Irish and I use that mythology frequently in my writing, so it was perfect.

One thing that I was exceedingly grateful for was that he was due to arrive on a day when I wasn't working. We can't get mail at the apartment, but my parents live in the same town as us, only about 5 minutes walk away. So I had put their address as my address, not only because I can't get mail at the apartment, but because there is almost always someone home at my parents, which would have been good if he had been due to arrive on a day when I was working.

The day that he was supposed to arrive, I went over to my parents house at about 9am. My mom reminded me that we are about last on the route, and that he wouldn't get there until the afternoon. Thus the waiting commenced.

I almost died of nerves that day. The thought of him sitting on the vehicle while it drove around town all day was terrifying. Somehow, I made it. At about 3:17 or so, I saw the UPS truck (what he was being shipped by) drive by. It goes down our dead end road, turns around, and then comes back to our house. So I was literally waiting at the door as the driver approached. I yanked the door open, and the UPS man was holding my fish box on its side, jiggling it. This despite the writing which I could see on it which clearly said, "Live Fish, This End Up" with an arrow pointing.

Yes, I knew I was supposed to sign for him. But all I could think about was getting him out of the hands of this inept UPS worker. So I reached for the box. Of course, the UPS man withdrew, jolting it around more. "You need to sign first". He told me, looking at me like I was an idiot.

I gave him a look to equal or outdo his. "Will you please turn him right side up?" I gasped. "He's alive!" ('I hope!' I thought snarkily). I snatched at the signature pad with hands that were literally trembling, and signed it as Mr. UPS man replied.

"Oh, really?" Jostling the box around even more than he had previously, he looked at the words on the box and finally turned my poor fish right side up. By this time, I had finished signing and snatched the box from him and walked inside, trying not to let my jitters shake the box.

My mother and little brother gathered around as I put the box on the dining room table and began cutting the tape with a knife. This took a little while, and I had a stomach full of butterflies by the time I finally was able to open the flaps and pull back the newspaper. And my heart sunk at my first sight of my poor little fish.

This is the first picture I took of him. I took it and the following picture as proof of him being DOA, or dead on arrival, so that I could get a refund.




I don't know if you can tell from these pictures, but he was laying at the bottom of the bag, on his side, completely still. My heart broke for him. He looked as fragile and small as a butterfly, and I felt like someone who has seen a child crush a butterfly under their boot.

I wasn't positive that he was dead at this point, but I was pretty sure that he was. I knew that even if I was 99% sure that he was dead, I was still going to take him home and attempt to revive him. Since my husband had the car and was at work, I waited while my mother got ready to drive me to my apartment, where I had the tank all set up to acclimate him to it. My brother and I stood their waiting, staring at my poor fish. I fought back tears.

Then, after about five minutes of standing there, my little brother nearly jumped up and down. "He's moving! I can see his gills moving!" My fish has a small patch of iridescence in back of his gills, and my brother could see it shifting colors in the light. I stared at him, too, and thought that I might maybe, possibly, be able to see the shifting that my brother was talking about.

This was when my mother came out, and I carried the box to the car like he was made of a glass bubble, and sat in the passenger seat. I lifted a flap on the box and peeked in, and felt my heart leap when I saw my fish sitting right side up on the bottom of the bag, fluttering one of his pectoral fins. I did what any sensible person would do. I immediately burst into tears. Seeing him sitting up was when I was certain that he was alive.

We had to go by my in-laws house (they also live in the same town, only a few minutes away) to get my API test kit which had arrived that day so that I could test his tank water and make sure it was safe to put him in his tank. And once we got to the apartment, I realized that I had forgotten my keys. So we had to race back to my parents and grab them. Then we went up the stairs to my apartment (poor fish, been through all that and now had to handle stairs)!

When we opened the box up in my apartment, he was on his side again. But this time it only took a minute or two to sit back right side up. My mom helped my figure out how to stack containers in his tank so that I could put his bag in the top one and acclimate him to the water temperature in the tank, because his bag wasn't big enough to float it or tape it to the side or anything.

Then I cut his bag open (we were concerned about the amount of air he had, because there wasn't as much air in the bag as I had seen in pictures of people showing how they pack their fish to ship), and we put him in the container in the tank. I could tell very quickly that he appreciated being warm, he began perking up almost immediately. He had a heat pack in his box, but it wasn't very warm by the time he got to me. My mom left, and I spent the next six hours acclimating him slowly to his tank. As he got more active, he began touching his nose against the sides of the bag, trying to get out.

At one point, I touched my finger to the surface of the water in his bag to see what the temperature felt like. My little darling swam up towards my finger! Not wanting him to over stress himself, I removed it before he could reach it, but oh how that melted my heart. If I hadn't been before, I was now officially wrapped around Arausio's pectoral fin.

Here's a video of him during the acclimation process. Sorry for the poor quality, it was taken with my phone and not my camera. https://plus.google.com/11839690161...6128488077199408274&oid=118396901615726803657
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Did you have to go through a transfer shipper with the aquabid seller?
Since he came from Thailand, yes, I did. Transhippers are who make it legal to import fish from other countries, to my understanding. There are people on Aquabid from within the US (not sure about other countries, US is the only one I've specifically looked for) who you wouldn't need a transhipper to purchase fish from.
 

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Wow, what a ride! For you and for him. I'm so thankful that so far all my live critters have gone through USPS, and our PO & mail man is SUPER aware and careful of the boxes that say "live fish"! He always reassures me with saying that he went to pick up the bins of mail for his route, but my package wasn't in a bin, but right on top. He'll even put the package in the front seat with him instead of in the back of the truck. =)

I enjoyed your cell phone video, too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow, what a ride! For you and for him. I'm so thankful that so far all my live critters have gone through USPS, and our PO & mail man is SUPER aware and careful of the boxes that say "live fish"! He always reassures me with saying that he went to pick up the bins of mail for his route, but my package wasn't in a bin, but right on top. He'll even put the package in the front seat with him instead of in the back of the truck. =)

I enjoyed your cell phone video, too!
Thank you! :) That's awesome that your postal carrier is so good about live fish and all, I'm jealous. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The First Few Days

Arausio settled in well, he even chose to use the hamster tunnel I suspended just under the surface of the water to sleep in. He was just outside it when I got up the following morning z and when he saw me, he rapidly swam through the tunnel twice. My family, well, five of them at least, came over to see him the day after he arrived. They all crowded around, staring at him. And the little guy swam over to them and stared right back.

The filter that came with his tank was too strong for him, so after attempting to baffle it in several different ways, I finally draped a washcloth over the outflow and that worked pretty well. He swam under the outflow shortly after I draped the washcloth over the filter, and it shoved him down several inches before he recovered and swam away. But that was the only strong part of the current, and he stayed away from it after that.

He had (and still has) a knack for finding any small spaces in his tank and swimming through them. The first time I turned his filter off (I turned it off at night and when I wasn't home, to prevent him from getting in trouble when I couldn't help) he wriggled into the tiny space between it and the wall, and then back out. He also swam between his suspended hamster tunnel and the wall. In order to do that, he actually had to shove it out. But he didn't get stuck, hurt himself, or freak out, so I've left it like that. And his hamster tunnel that laid on the bottom of his tank on the rocks, he swam underneath somehow. He was the king of giving me heart attacks those first few days! But we both survived it, lol, and I now rotate his hamster tunnels in the bottom of the tank regularly, to give him something new to explore.
 

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What a beautiful little guy!

I'm glad he arrived safely, despite the drama of his arrival. I'm getting a couple fish shipped to me this coming week - I'm a bit nervous about how that goes.

For the filter - are you still turning it off? You actually don't want to do that, it can mess with the cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What a beautiful little guy!

I'm glad he arrived safely, despite the drama of his arrival. I'm getting a couple fish shipped to me this coming week - I'm a bit nervous about how that goes.

For the filter - are you still turning it off? You actually don't want to do that, it can mess with the cycle.
Thank you! :)

Yeah, it was nerve wracking. I think the breeder and transhipper did everything right, since he recovered so quickly and had so little damage despite all the shaking (two tiny tears in his caudal fin, which healed within 3 days). Good luck with yours that are being shipped to you! I hope it all goes well.

No, I have a sponge filter now. I knew it could mess with the cycle when I did it, but decided I'd rather change the water more frequently and risk screwing up the cycle than risk him getting shredded by the outflow or sucked against the intake when I was gone.
 

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Subbing for sure!

I love your hammytubes as decor and might just steal that idea as I have several meters of it after keeping hammies for many,many years :D

Arausio is SUPER cute! I love marbles :D
 

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His markings are so striking! I like his tubes, too. Great idea. =)
 

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I ordered my first from thailand yesterday. Wooot! Previous to this I've just had (an abandoned) one from petco that I've learned a lot with over the past year+.

Do you know how long it took for the fish to go from Thailand to your transhipper?
 
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