Thursday, June 5, 2014

Welcome Back!

Hello again! Wow, it's been almost nine months since my last post. Yikes! So much has changed since I've last visited this blog, and so I feel that I should give you a quick recap.

In the time since my last post, all of my remaining bettas have passed away due to various illnesses. This was mostly my fault. I can often be a procrastinator, and I tend to have a very difficult time in motivating myself to do things which I don't want to. I was going through a difficult time in my life and I will admit that I had nearly no motivation to do anything that required work. I procrastinated far too long between my fish's water changes, and one by one they became sick. I wasn't motivated to try and cure them, and eventually each and every one died. This is one of the main reasons that I haven't posted here. Why should someone lecture others about something when they aren't even following those practices themselves? It seemed rather unfair.

Over the months after my fish perished, I had a little bit of freedom from the labors of fish keeping. But there was a lingering guilt that stayed with me for a long time after, and I swore to myself that I would never keep fish again. At least, not for a very, very long time. Several months later, I finally let go of my guilt and came to accept the fact that the past was the past and that I couldn't change it. I was content for a while with my cats and my chickens, but a few weeks ago something changed.

I started to miss fishkeeping. I missed creating a little underwater utopia and living with such beautiful creatures. I also missed blogging about them. A lot. I love writing tutorials, and there's something about the fishkeeping kind that is just so fun. So I've been turning it over in my mind over the past few weeks, and I've decided to try my hand at the hobby one more time. But I want to do it right. I've been working a lot with my procrastination habits lately, and I think I'm ready for a new fish. Well, almost. I want to do it properly this time. That means even more research, a bigger tank, better equipment, and patience. I never had the patience to do things like try and let a filter cycle properly, and my fish took the toll.

So this time, I'm going to let you follow me on my journey. I'll take pictures and post updates and new how-to's as I go along (speaking of how-to's, I've taken down all of my old ones. They were outdated and a bit lacking. Don't worry, you'll have new ones soon).

I am so very excited to start this new journey, and I'm even more excited to share it with you.

So for now, goodbye! :)

I feel like I should add a photo, so here's an old one of Legato checking out his thermometer.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Staccato and Legato and Betta Pumpkins

Hello again! It's been some time since I posted here, so I felt that I should share the arrival of two new boys! I have named them Staccato and Legato, and they are both veiltails. Staccato is a music term and means "detached." Legato is also a music term and means "slurred."


Both are settled in and seem to be doing pretty well.

As a side note, my family and I carved pumpkins for Halloween today. Here's mine:

You can tell I'm passionate about these fish, can't you?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rest in Peace, Merlin

I was forced to euthanize my dear little Merlin today. The poor fish had developed severe dropsy (an often fatal fish disease), and was not going make it. I came home yesterday to find him "pineconed," which is a symptom of dropsy, where the fish's scales raise up. Once that happens, there's almost never a chance of the fish surviving, and it's kinder to euthanize them at this point. I used clove essential oil to euthanize Merlin, which causes the fish to fall painlessly into a deep slumber, passing away within the hour.

Merlin, pineconed.

 I bought Merlin from a local fish store last October, partially because he seemed to be having trouble swimming against the flow of his filter, and partially because I thought he was pretty. I brought him home and put him in a divided tank with my other betta, Peach. At the time I didn't have aquarium heaters for my fish, so their water was a freezing 65°F! (That's cold for bettas, who should have a water temperature of around 78-82°F.) My other fish were used to the temperature, but Merlin was in for a shock. He didn't do well in the beginning, and was quite lethargic until I bought heaters for all of my fish. He perked up soon after.

Merlin was always a rather runty fish, small and fragile. But he was a survivor. The little guy had been hit with columnaris ("fish fungus") at least thrice, but I treated him and he pulled through every time. When he had columnaris, the rays (spikes) on his fins were eaten away by the bacteria, and even after he was cured they never really grew back. Merlin taught me many valuable lessons about fishkeeping, and he endured a lot of my mistakes.

Merlin, hangin' out in his plants. 

We and I went through a lot together, and I will never forget him.

Rest in peace, little guy.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Busy Summer

Hello. As you may have noticed, I have not posted in some time on this blog, and I'd like to give an explanation for this. I have been having an incredibly busy summer. My family is involved in the flower industry, so summer is the busiest time of year for us because the flowers are blooming. On top of helping my parents out for much of the day, I am currently at an art day camp in Seattle, which will last for the week. I'll go home for a day or two to get my animals situated, then I will leave straight away for Camp Kirby on Samish Island, which lasts for a week also. This is a sleep-away camp. After that, I will be going to a math day camp in west Seattle. I'll then have another week or so prepare for the Skagit County Fair, where I will be showing some of my poultry. On top of all this, I have 4-H meetings that I have to weave into my days at camp. I have tons going on, so please excuse me for not posting regularly. I am planning to rescue another sick betta fish or two in late August, after all of this is over. I'd normally rescue the fish now, but it will have a better chance of surviving if I can be there for it 24/7.

For now, goodbye and have a great summer yourself. :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

How to Make a Craft Mesh Betta Hammock

I think that it's time for a craft! Today I'm going to teach you how to make a 'betta hammock' out of plastic mesh. You will need:

  • Plastic 'craft mesh'. This can be found at most craft stores for less than a dollar per sheet. I prefer natural colors such as green, but you can use virtually any color. In this tutorial I use transparent white, because that is all I have at the moment.
  • Scissors.
  • X-acto knife
  • Fishing line

The materials, all laid out.

Decide where you'd like to trim, then trim your mesh. I like to have it 4-5 inches wide, and then simply as long as the sheet of mesh is.
Trimming the mesh.

This is what you'll end up with.

You'll see that along the edge where you've cut, there are a bunch of little burs. These can potentially hurt your fish, so you must trim them off. Use your X-acto knife for this.

the burs.

Trimming them off.

Roll the mesh into a cylinder. I like to have it about two or three inches around.

As you can see, there's some excess. Trim this off.

You'll end up with this:

Obviously, you'll need to fasten it together somehow. This is where the fishing line comes in.
Weave the line through the area where the two edges of mesh touch, all the way to the other side.

Once you've done that, tie off the ends... 

...and trim the excess.

Ta-da! you're finished!

My bettas each have their own, and they all love them!

Forte, lounging in his hammock.

Good luck, and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Swim in Peace, Spudinski

I am sorry to say that my little juvenile crowntail betta, Spudinski (Spud for short, and also nicknamed French Fry), passed away this morning. I got him at a reptile expo in May, and had about  a month with him. Last night I realized that he had developed dropsy, which is an often fatal fish disease. I hadn't noticed until then, but it was already too far along to be treated. It was late at night, and so I could not pick up the stuff needed (clove oil) to humanely euthanize him. Swim in peace, Spud. You will be missed.

Spud, just after arriving home from the expo.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I am currently working on a post about filter cycling, but I decided to post an update on Forte, my metallic delta tail betta first.

Forte was adopted from Petco. I knew that he had an eye disease called popeye when I bought him, and was willing to treat it. Forte was pretty lively at the time, swimming around his cup, despite the filthy water he was in and the painful swelling and slight cloudiness of his eyes. My wonderful grandma bought him for me, and I appreciate that more than I can say, for I had no money at the time. Forte went into a 2 gallon tank that was heated to the proper temperature and dosed with two teaspoons of epsom salts to treat his eye. He did well for the first week or so, but he slowly became lethargic. He stopped eating, and didn't swim much. I asked the forum what could be wrong, and they said that he probably had a bacterial infection from his cup at Petco, and they suggested medications that I could use on him. I asked my dad to pick the meds up on his way home from work. That same day, Forte started floating onto his side and had serious trouble swimming. I didn't know if he could hold on until my dad got home, but he did. I hurriedly changed his water out with medicated water, and acclimated him into it. When I released him into the tank, his behavior didn't change. He floated back up onto his side, and wouldn't move unless I stuck my finger into the water near him. I honestly didn't think he was going to make it through the night. When I woke up in the morning, I procrastinated on getting out of bed because I didn't want to see him. I didn't want to see his little body at the bottom of the tank, the body of the fish that I couldn't save. After a while, my mom came to wake me up. I was already awake, of course, and she asked me what was wrong. I told her what I was afraid of, and asked her to go and check if Forte was still alive. He was. I got out of bed, and walked to his tank. Forte wasn't floating on his side anymore, he was upright. He was still lethargic, and wouldn't eat when I dropped food in, but he seemed a little better, and when I tapped the lid of the tank, he swam a around in a feeble circle for me. This was this morning. I made a little cylinder out of plastic mesh for him to sit in, so that he could be closer to the surface. In the beginning, he didn't understand what it was. After about ten minutes though, he got the idea. I went downstairs to eat something, and when I came back upstairs Forte was lounging in his "hammock". When I walked up to his tank, he swam out to greet me. He is still not back to full energy yet, but he seems to be doing much better than yesterday. Here's a photo of him lounging in his hammock this morning:

Here is a video of him yesterday, when he was floating on his side:

And today:

I hope that Forte continues to improve, and gets to experience what it feels like to be healthy, and have a home.