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Welcome to the "J Journals"! I am themamaj and wanted to start a journal to share my passion for bettas, rescues, and my plunge into planted tanks. Hope you will stop back often to see what is new :)

First to give you a little background on myself. I am a proud mom to 3 kids (25, 20, 16) and very proud gma to my grandson who is 4. I work as a ministry assistant at our church parent's day out. I love preschoolers, crafts, reading, and bettas of course. And I have a patient husband of 29 years that has learned to live with lots of fish.

I like FrostPixie started with 1 betta. Actually it was my grandson that got me back in the hobby. I have kept fish many years growing up. Had a tropical fish tank and of course the famous college pet goldfish. It had been many years since had a fish so one day at Walmart I thought oh it would be fun to get a fish for my grandson. I love teaching him science things and giving him new experiences so I got a goldfish. Yep had a mind laps. To beat all a feeder fish and a half gallon tank. Don't know what I was thinking! Well you know what is coming...the fish bellied up in 24 hrs so I thought I have to get some kind of fish to go in this tank so he wont be upset when he comes back. I had never had a betta before but "heard" they could go in smaller tank so I got my first betta named Leonardo (Leo) a halfmoon plakat. Boy did I have a lot to learn...
 

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I became intrigued with this funny little fish named Leo. Betta swam different and had these peculiar up turned mouths so I started reading and researching. The more I read and observed the more hooked I was. Each fish was different and unique in it's own way from beautiful different tail types to most fun personalities I had ever seen. I learned that these incredible fish needed much more care and tlc than I had previously thought. As I have moved fish to larger tanks, added heaters, plants etc and watched how they blossomed. The other thing I learned from my first fish is sometimes you get suprises...Leo is a girl :oops:. She is officially Leonarda but the nickname Leo just stuck. So my love of betta fish began!! 1 fish became 2 fish and now proud betta mama to 22 fish. Yep you read it right. It is not that I started out to have that many. I guess it has just evolved over time.

My second fish, Crimson, was a beautiful vibrant red veil tail. Shortly after he came home he developed an awful case of fin rot. It probably came from being in that lovely cup but suddenly I was face with inexperience and sick fish. Back to reading!! I began treating him with Aquarium salt and daily water changes. When the rot became stubborn I treated him with Tetracyline and suddenly he was healed and thriving. Sucess with him intrigued me more. I began watching other fish in local stores. After much studying starting to recognize different illnesses and how to treat them. My degree is actually in nursing and was a pediatric nurse prior to having kids so enjoying medicine is in my blood you could say. Here are a few pictures of Crimson. He is definintely one of my great personality fish. He lounges around and pouts if he doesnt get his way or if I change something not to his liking.
 

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One thing that is so fun to do is to compare pictures of fish when you first bring them home to how they are now. Seeing those drastic changes of good care and the right environment got me thinking. If I can help make a difference with one fish, can I make a difference in more....the journey began :) Here are some before and afters of Leo before I get too far into other stories.
 

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As I started looking at more fish I fell in love with dumbos. How cute their fins are. Sterling was too cute to pass up. Mr Grumpy face loves to flare with Leo and have competitions with other boys who can make bigger bubble nests.
 

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Isaac came next. A Petco baby who was labeled a girl. Another surprise when he developed lushious bright colored fins. I enjoyed so much watching a baby grow and change to mature adult. Fast forward many months later...Isaac became one of my first adoptions. Even though he wasn't a rescue per say the lady that adopted him wanted a beautiful blue fish with long beautiful fins. I gave her several options of blue fish I was caring for at the time (Back in those early days where only had 12 fish lol) He went to his forever home this summer and now bringing lots of smiles to that family. Here is a before and after.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
By the time fish #5 was rolling around, I was becoming more stealth like bringing fish in the house as a "few" eyebrows were going up like just how many fish are you going to buy? Levi, who was named after the Levites in the Bible, was one of the 12 tribes of Israel that were the priests. I figured I might need a priest if my husband got sight of a new fish haha. Also he was a beautiful denim color like blue jeans. Levi was my first official rescue. He was in awful conditions in a lps. He is a real character. He loves to flare at other fish and spends his days exploring his caves or staring at the water top for food to fall from the sky. He is one of my guys that loves for me to change his decor. I have lots of caves and tunnels I change out with every water change. He always builds me big bubble nests of thanks the next day.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Biology 101. Now I wish I had paid more attention in high school that the attention I paid to the cute boy sitting in front of me haha. Actually I have always loved biology and genetics is very intriguing how traits are reproduced. For instance, red is a very dominant trait in betta fish. I have seen this time and time again as sometimes red washing come out in fins. There is another gene which is called a red loss gene. It causes fish that are red as juveniles to loose that color as they mature. Cambodian fish (pale body with usually red fins) have that factor present in their genetic makeup.

When time permits it is always fun to read and learn about my favorite thing: bettas! Unfortunately for this week I was preparing for a trip so I made a quick stop at Walmart to pick up some needed essentials. The fish aisle is always a must when I stop in the store. I love to see if any new fish are in and to observe different colorations and fin types. This day there were only a few bettas on the shelf. Aisle 13 in case you wondered ;-) Obviously this crew had been sitting awhile. The male bettas were clamped and so sad and listless. What few crowntails were there were in very dirty water and looked like had some amonia poisoning. I looked back and forth at each one trying to encourage them or get some response or flare. Most just ignored me, but then I saw that one. You know that one with eyes that just pierce to the depth of your soul. Eyes that show you courage and strength. Eyes that tell you they are still in the fight and a plea for mercy and a home. We have all been there. This little guy was obviously a juvenille. He was a Cambodia color pattern with lovely deep red rays. His eyes would follow me and he even flared at my finger a bit though I could tell his health was quickly declining. I am not going to do it I told myself. It wouldn't be fair since I am leaving in a few days. Well all the reasons I could think of went out the window and the next thing i know I am walking to the parking lot with Benjamin! Here is some pictures of his incredible changes. As he matured he has actually developed white tips on his fins. I guess that is that red loss gene coming into play. His fins have grown into a magnificent spread. Love his pouty faces too.
 

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Just in case you were wondering I did end up taking a short trip. My husband and I actually got to go to the beach for just a few days while daughter was at camp. Thanks to my great friend, Becky who is also a pet sitter, I was able to enjoy a few days a much needed R & R. She was so sweet coming every day to feed the fish. She also sent me updates on who made the biggest bubble nest that day. Fish under control, I could enjoy a great view and some good reading :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Maxing out-
The betta hobby is definitely addictive. I heard someone say on the forum once that they are like potato chips because you can't have just one. From plakats to veil tails, double tails, half moons, crowntails, dumbo, dragons and everything in between there is no more beautiful fish, in my opinion, than a betta. They can be pouty, grumpy, stubborn, curious and just so darn cute!

Petco had now become a frequent favorite pet store to visit. One day when browsing I ran across a very interesting halfmoon double tail. I wasn't sure if he was considered a mustard gas or a chocolate betta. When I see really interesting fish I take pictures of them so I can "try" not to make a spontaneous purchase and to study them further. With some great input from forum I found out he probably was a chocolate betta. Apparently some chocolate bettas can have a dark blue cast to the body but he did have the typical coloration of the chocolate fins. A double tail was a new one for my collection so Max came home. I named him Maximus Prime for my grandson but also Max because beginning to maximize my table space for fish. He was very pale when I first got him with some tail rot. Fortunately experience with Crimson gave me confidence to jump right in and begin treating him as well. Here are some pictures of Max before and after. He is quite the character. Had a meltdown over a themometer when first added. Loves new decor and is the king of biters around here. Of course I guess if I was chocolate I might want bite too??? Goofy boy. He lets his tail start growing out then chomp off again.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Blizzard in June-

Each anniversary is supposed to have a special symbol. The 25th silver and the 50th gold for example. Well as one who has never quite fit the mold on women I didn't want gold or jewelry just another betta fish. Lol now what hubby gets off that easy?
So in our books the 29th anniversary is the year of the fish :nicefish:
So being the great hubby he is, off to the pet store we go. Now what is it about intentionally looking for a fish makes it hard to find a fish? The first store we went to was betta heaven. They have fish in racks in several places in the store. I just go in there and stand admiring all the beautiful fish. While they had a number of beautiful fish I didn't have that connection. I did see a beautiful multi delta tail I was thinking hard about but said let's go to one more store to look. There he was. This beautiful white delta tail had been at this store since I got Crimson. I couldn't believe he was still there. I had even looked at him before when deciding on Crimson but at that time I was looking specifically for a red fish. A white fish like snow would be perfect as my gift. You see snow is extra special around here. 17 years ago my son, Nathan, was born stillborn. I have had many many pregnancy issues and after having one biological son, who was a complete miracle, I had 6 miscarriages. I have always had a heart for children and my husband and I wanted more children to raise. God had led us down a path of adoption a few years before. We were so blessed to add another son into our lives! To our surprise a few years late I found out I was expecting. A long story short, many shots, high risk doctors and many prayers I was able to finally carry a baby. We found out about 16 weeks that our son had a very rare genetic disease which was a form of dwarfism and brittle bones. It was a definite death sentence. I am an advocate of life and I have always known that God is the ultimate healer. I knew if it was His will He was more than capable of allowing Nathan to beat the odds and come home but if His will was different I would continue on and allow God to be in control. At 28 weeks, Nathan went home to be with the Lord those many years ago. When I was pregnant with him I bought him a xmas ornament as I have done with all my kids. It was a snowman. It became his symbol. Was loosing a child hard? YES! but I will tell you without a shadow of a doubt God is Faithful! He has carried me and never been closer to me than during those difficult days. And now when I see a snowman...i smile :) And because God is so gracious, He blessed us again through adoption of a precious little girl from Russia. Now our family was complete 2 boys and a girl. Hmm the fish family there is always room for 1 more! Meet Blizzard
 

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Wow! I just read your whole journal and enjoyed it immensely! We are definitely kindred spirits. I laughed at you stealthily sneaking home bettas (I can relate), cried at the story of Nathan (that is my son's name) and giggled at the picture of you at the beach with your betta book. Endless oooo's and aaaaaah's at the betta pics! Congrats on 29 years! Blizzard is lovely. I am so glad he finally got a home. I am literally amazed at how long some BEAUTIFUL fish stay in the store. I love that so many of yours get Biblical names. Most of my animals get Hebrew names...I love that language...I like to look up words in Strong's concordance and a lot of times I am like "that would be a cool name!"
 

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Thank you Polkadot!
 

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Wow! I just read your whole journal and enjoyed it immensely! We are definitely kindred spirits. I laughed at you stealthily sneaking home bettas (I can relate), cried at the story of Nathan (that is my son's name) and giggled at the picture of you at the beach with your betta book. Endless oooo's and aaaaaah's at the betta pics! Congrats on 29 years! Blizzard is lovely. I am so glad he finally got a home. I am literally amazed at how long some BEAUTIFUL fish stay in the store. I love that so many of yours get Biblical names. Most of my animals get Hebrew names...I love that language...I like to look up words in Strong's concordance and a lot of times I am like "that would be a cool name!"
Thank you so much! You made my day. Glad you have enjoyed journal. Lots more to come. I loved the fact we have many connections :) Oh and love idea of looking in my Strong concordance for name ideas. It is always fun to look for names that have special meanings.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Coffee with friends

Nothing beats a day off and coffee with friends! Two of my planted tanks in the background with Chance and Goliath. They are trying to patiently wait for their brine shrimp to defrost. That is one of their favorite treats I feed once a week along with a liquid vitamin called Boost. It is something I found at a aquarium store here in town. It is an omega 3 vitamin and has garlic in it as well if you need an appetite enhancer (which mine don't need PIGS!!). I bought it awhile back when working with a difficult rescue. It has been very effective and a good way to add a little extra nutrients for them so I have continued to use it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Bryant

If you live here in the US especially the South you might be clued into the fact I love Alabama football by the names of a couple of my fish. Pretty funny living in TN. My Dad was born in Birmingham. I would spend a week every summer with my Memaw down there when I was a child. Still those are some of best childhood memories. My Granddad drove this big work van. He worked on air conditioners. I sometimes got to take a ride in the work van and boy did I think that was cool. So funny now to think about. My Memaw was so sweet but boy did she have rules. You always know that first thing you make your bed and dont ever not drink the extra milk on your cereal. Lol my cousin was always in trouble. I remember she kept a fly swatter on top of the refrigerator to "remind" him of good behavior haha. My grandparents would dance to Nat King Cole and always have you in stitches laughing. If they were still living they would have been 100 this past week. Another thing we always enjoyed together was cheering on the Crimson Tide.

Remember that anniversary night and a mention of a beautiful delta tail I saw. Well I couldn't get him off my mind. I had taken a picture of him that night and kept looking at it. His body almost looked grizzled to me but I dont think he meets the standards for that. His fins were striking with crimson red. I went back the next day and brought him home. The speckled body reminded me of the Alabama pattern and of course had univ colors. Bryant was perfect name after my fave coach Paul Bear Bryant. Bryant's picture won 3rd in the photo contest one month. My bronze medal fish as I call him. He now lives happily in his 5.5 planted with a nerite zebra snail.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Millie Grace

Well the poor old Honda is starting to get some miles on it now with frequent trips across town to check out latest fish shipment and always to be on the look out for a special fish in need or one that I think might be passed up due to a fin issue. That particular day I was making my rounds. Isaac had done so well as a Petco baby I was starting to miss that baby stage again. The cute little faces you see with curiousity as they zip through the tank exploring. I ran across another pretty little baby fish that was a beautiful turqoise blue. Marked "boy" so I thought ok great no more suprises with girls. You would think by now I would be clued into looking for ovaries but still hard to see on dark fish. I decided to name him Miles. My grandson was big on Miles from Tomorrowland a new Disney show at the time. Not to mention I had put in many "miles" on fish expeditions. Miles was special in that he had a fin deformity on his caudal. I wasn't sure at first if it was a bite but it has turned out to be a deformity. Guess what else he turned out to be...A GIRL! As maturity hit that wonderful ovaposter became oh so more prominet and the fins remainded small. So Miles was renamed Millie. We have a precious little girl in our program at school with that name and always have thought it was so cute. So Millie Grace it is! It means gentle strength. Another fun fact: she was my 10th fish. The dime was a great reminder of that and to show how little she was.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Can't wait to start on my story of Chance! Many of you may have followed him on Emergency section thread Walmart Return Very Sick. I have also posted some new pictures on Picture thread I called Greatest Chance. (page 4 on picture section if you need a preview) He is most near and dear to me as we have walked through sleepless nights and stood on pins and needles to see if he would even survive. Not only has he survived....he has thrived! He is my poster child for rescues. I am in the process of creating a facebook page for my rescue fish that are available for adoption. I plan to name it 2nd Chances Betta Rescue in his honor. He, however, will be pampered and loved much for hopefully a very long life. I guess you can see he is my favorite fish. So I am going to leave you hanging for the moment as I need to go do some much needed housework. Stay tune: Chance's story to come later today!!
 

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Bryant is gorgeous! Is that cabomba in his tank? If it is, I have recently been growing that and love it. So soft! And it can float (I was looking for something float-y).

Sooooo... I can't help but ask (!) but do you buy new tanks as you buy fish, or do you already have spares waiting? I am loving the look of Bryant's tank. I am wanting to do something similar with a 5 gallon. Is it capped with sand? What all is going on in there? Hehe.

And I totally appreciated the betta coffee mug. Yep. I need a betta mug. I have chai tea or Earl Grey with my bettas in the mornings.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Oh I love Earl Grey tea too! Funny I almost named Sterling that. Sound like a grumpy old fish name haha. As for tanks it depends. Bryant's tank was one from my dad. It had to be cleaned and new filter but had the hood. I did upgrade light to a compact fluorescent. I have found tanks at thrift stores and buy new as well. I got Goliath 10 gallon on the dollar per gallon sale. Have a number of 1.5 gallon too. Funny now have a friend that brings me tanks when finds them. Of course that is dangerous having empty sitting around! !! ;) Have recently plunged into NPT. Bryant was second one so did better with him. I used organic potting soil with play sand topper. Mainly it was what had on hand and free! Cabomba is a favorite and one I generally dont kill lol. The left dide has a red or purple version. Green on right. Light green probably favorite because looks like little pine trees. The other is darker green but gives a sliggt purple hue on top plants. There is also some small anarchias and rotala in tosshere. I have tried a different type of moss and anubias. They have done ok.
 
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