Thursday, September 3, 2009

In which I am going to rant, a little

I keep waiting. Waiting to get 'sick' of the aquarium. Waiting to just hate cleaning it. Waiting for the fish to turn on each other, and start making the watery tank cluttered.

Its not happening.
Matter of fact, the opposite is kind of happening. I find myself really, sincerely, enjoying the thing. Watching the fish play. They do play. And for things with tiny little brains, those fish are fairly smart, and have personality! Who knew.
There are other finely finned friends in the house. Purchased, as kind of a lark. Purchased, to truthfully, hopefully be incentive towards getting MG in gear to finish her room. Purchased, because I think they are lovely.
My Betta's.
It seems so good. That you can get these beautiful, long finned, "fighting" fish, and they have their own, little habitats. And they need so little care.
This is what THEY want you to believe. They, being certain chain stores that sell them, and the manufacturers of those dinky little habitats.
I've been researching, this week.
Its all garbage.
Those habitats?
Will kill the betta, much sooner. They don't "like" being cooped up like that.
Yes. They do like to be fairly solitary. So do I. does that mean I should live in a closet?
They like to swim. They like live plants, or even silk plants, so they can lay on them and sleep. They like pea's. (they really do!). They like to stretch their fins.
They need a surface, to get air.
They have a labyrinth organ that needs air. It can drown the fish if they don't get it.
Those little jars they sell them in?
the betta live in them for longer than 2 weeks trying to get to the pet store. Many of them die in it. The water needs to be changed at least twice a day in those things. You tell me how often you figure your local pet store changes that water. Then, we, the purchaser, usually ignorant to all things Betta, stick them in a "habitat" that holds usually somewhere around a quarter of a gallon of water. These crafty fish procurement people don't like the poor betta penned up in those little jars. I am sure they take a significant loss in dead betta. So, they make those lil, cheap plastic "habitats". And call it good. And then convince us that it's good. And, for the most part, we buy it. Its "just" a fish, right?
Sure, we feed them. We say they are pretty. And look at the cute lil box?
I can't believe I was that gullible. Don't misunderstand me. I get that they are fish. And that fish are not like living, breathing children we take care of and should last us 99 years. Somewhere, in the grand scheme of things, fish have a reputation as being "expendable" pets. Your kid's gold fish dies? Just flush that bad boy, and go get another one that looks like it. Not hard.
But the Betta's. My Betta's. They're better than that to me. So, though I was sucked in with the little cheap habitats, those are now a thing of the past, and I have moved ahead, to make things acceptable.
My Betta, Alpha, and Zeta, now have an open topped, seven gallon tank, that is divided into 2 tanks. The tank was only 24 dollars. Cheap, right? (Never, ever, put 2 betta's together, they are called 'fighting fish for a reason. They will fight to the death.)
I got them each a live plant. (Silk plants work, too. Plastic, I read, is bad, because they rub their long fins against them and the fins will tear. Then they get fin rot). I got them each a 'friend', because there are other fish they like. They each got an Oto, which will keep their sides of the tank clean for them. And it cuts down on my water changes, and tank cleaning duties. It doesn't eliminate the need to clean. But it helps. And a seven gallon tank? EASY. They can do well with other fish, the ones that are not overly bright, or overly long finned. Not the Red ones, though. Its actually documented that the Red colored Betta have more of a temper than any of the other colors. That makes me laugh.
They have a heater, (because they like temp's in the 80 range), and they have a lamp, for some sunlight. They are used to Thai rice paddies, usually. (And yes, we are still, actually IMPORTING Betta's from Thailand. They come THAT far.)
They have a bag of pea's. Because, apparently, if you give the Betta a piece of pea, weekly, it won't get constipated. I guess there is nothing worse than a constipated Betta. I don't plan on finding out.
Now my betta's? Since I've done this?
are so much more beautiful, so much more happy. They actually dance. When I walk up to the tank, they come to the front, even if I just say hello to them, and wiggle and dance for me. Then they swim away, to admire their plants. Or tease their Oto buddies. Or search for bits of delectable pea.
Who knew?

So. Do me a favor.
don't buy a Betta, if all you want is something easy to keep in a cute little habitat. Get something else. A snail, a crab, hell, even goldfish do better in small bowls. (though I am sure they prefer room to stretch, too). Get a hamster and stick it in one of those orbs that travel around the house. Get anything but a Betta.
Buy a Betta if you want a beautiful, playful fish, if you can give it at least 2 gallons of a tank, which really isn't that expensive.
Buy a Betta if you want a majestic, beautiful fish to brighten up your space.
But if you can't treat it right? Just don't buy it. It's feelings won't be hurt, I promise you.

(climbing down of soap box, and going to give her Betta's a treat).


Anonymous said...

I used to raise beta's. They are from SE Asia and traditionally live in Ox tracks in rice patty fields. They are used to muddy and dirty water. It's rumored they can even breath air if needed for a short period of time until their puddle gets more oxygen.

The fish you and I see in stores are males and are VERY aggressive fish that are not community fish. As a matter of fact 2 males in the same tank will lead to one of them dying. They are known also as Siamese Fighting Fish.

They have also been bread to be very beautiful fish. Females are rather plane but still colorful. If you take a writing pen and hold the point to the tank the male will "puff up" and think the pen is another male.

They are the "black widow" of fish in once they breed which is a FASCINATING process, they will eat the fry ( babies ) or they will kill the female. You have to separate them after the fry hatch.

They are easy to take care of in a large enough tank. Goldfish are the nastiest fish alive. Betas need at least a 10 gallon tank with some circulating system to remain care free. Adding other fish requires more maintenance.

Beautiful fish. Wish I could have a tank at the office.

Daryl said...

There's a florist here who sells plants in big water filled glass containers and along with the plants and their roots is a Betta .. someone got me one for a birthday several years ago, I named him Sushi, he lived for 18 mos. And he loved eating the roots of the plant.

sybil law said...

Just don't get them a banana plant for the tank, because they will demolish that bad boy in a day. Sure is a purty plant, though - while it lasts! (We had Bettas years ago...)