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So, back in April sometime, Sean and I bought this little red betta fish from the Walmart across town. We got a little 1.5L bowl, food, some glass stones, and some special fish water. He took to it pretty quickly. When male bettas are happy, they build what's called bubble nests; this mass of little bubbles on the surface used to attract females in the while. He built us a few at first, but then they weren't so frequent. We named him Rocky because we had just finished acting in a Rocky Horror shadowcast show at our friend's theatre.


We kept his tank fairly clean, but not as clean as we should have. Still, he liked it when you put your face near the bowl. I put the big red fluffy end of a duster to the glass once and he puffed up. I wanted to check to see if his fins were all in good condition and that was the quickest way to see every inch.


Fast forward about seven months. It's mid-November, we just moved back into Sean's parents' house, and it's starting to get a little chilly at night. I was up reading or something and noticed him kinda side-floating. He'd straighten himself out but then he would get stuck on his side again. I panicked, knowing we hadn't cleaned his tiny, unfiltered bowl in about a month. I quickly carry his bowl to the kitchen, put him in another container, and cleaned his bowl. His water was so cold.


When I was finished cleaning, I dropped him back in the fresh water after I put conditioning drops in it. (We stopped using the fish water because it's like two bucks a bottle when I can buy a bottle of drops for about four, and that'll last me through about six betta lifetimes.) The new water was a few degrees warmer than the old water, so I was worried about shock, but I was more worried about getting him into clean water.


I went to bed, it was 230 am. I looked online on my phone about what he might have, and determined he probably had a case of Swim Bladder Infection. Easiest way to fix that? Clean the bowl and fast the fish until he poops. The next morning, not even four hours later, I woke up to Rocky swimming happily and normally (thank goodness!) in water that, because it was a tiny glass bowl near the leaky window in November, had cooled down to below what I wanted. Still, he was lively again, if a bit distended in the midsection. That's a common symptom of SBI. I cut his feeding to once every two days instead of everyday in an attempt to make him digest more between feedings. It helped a little. I cleaned his bowl once every seven to ten days.


Then, for my birthday, Mom bought me a bigger, plastic fish tank with a filter and lid. I know plastic cools more slowly than glass, and we moved his little table across the room to distance it from the window. I bought new glass beads, a rock that I thought would fit, and some Melafix. That's a tea extract medication that helps heal fins and skin sores on fish. We filled the tank, realized the rock was a little too big and the plants attached to it were a little too cumbersome, but it'd still be better than the bowl, so we dropped Rocky in the new bowl.


For a day or so, because he was still a little weak from his bout in the little glass bowl, he freaked out in the new cluttered environment that pulled at his fins. Then he started perking up. He reacted with curiosity and playfulness and swam about the tank with ease. It's been four days since we put him in his new tank.


Today I adjusted the leaves on the fake plants so he'd have more room and so they wouldn't block his food hole. He kinda freaked out when I kept removing and replacing the big rock, but he recovered once I was satisfied and gave him a little food to destress.


He's so cute! Betta fish are very hardy, so I'm sure he'll be fine once his fins are done healing. They're still a little rough around the edges, but he's got better control over his bouyancy and swimming. He seems much happier, and once we have some extra money and a bigger table, we'll get him a bigger tank with better gravel and filtration, and a floating mirror. The filter on this tank is a fraction too strong, so if he's trying to make bubble nests, the water on the surface is too agitated to maintain bubbles.


I'll post a picture of him later. I like betta fish because they have bigger personalities than a lot of other fish. They're not the smartest, but they're better than goldfish for sure. How do I know? Rocky learned after only one feeding where the food comes out in the maze of leaves before I fixed the crowding. He still knows right where it is. He reacts with apparent joy when I walk by his tank and greet him. He follows me and he plays among the leaves. The filter grabbed his tail once, I guess, because it's a bit more ragged than his other fins, but that'll heal up. Right now he's staring at me and enjoying his new little home.


Because bettas are so resilient, they cam survive in pretty crummy conditions, but they can easily get sick if left too long. It's best to treat them as if they aren't so hard to kill, and be happy that your fish will likely revive if he jumps out of his bowl and you discover him hours later stiff as a board on the floor. Betta fish are labyrinth fish, which means they breath with gills or straight through their mouths. As long as they get the oxygen they need and are healthy, bettas can live and love you for anywhere between two and ten years, depending on bowl size, cleanliness, and other conditions.

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Rocky!!! We want pictures!!! I hope he continues to improve. Cleanliness is a good route to take for humans and pets. Hamsters will become sick and die if they do not have a clean cage.


At first I thought you were posting a story, and I was so excited, but then I realized you were telling us about your life. How is the writing going? How is life? How is work? So, please fill us in on things. Hopefully you will stop back in and catch us up to date.

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I'd put writing in the writing forum :) this is about my pet. As for life, it's going well. I got to help run layaway this year. It's so much more fun than cashiering. I get to run around in the backroom and outside in the trailers, and I don't have to deal with customers every second of every day like up front. I get to socialize with coworkers while it's slow and we're doing paperwork and cleaning up. I'm actually really upset about going back to the register after Christmas. We moved back into Sean's parents' house, like I said in my Rocky post, but I don't expect we'll be here more than a year. We just need to pay off the lease agreement (long story, just smile and nod.) and lower the credit card debt and then get a mortgage.


Rocky update, the brat shredded his tail a couple hours after I posted that. I thought he was fine after I stopped messing with his rock, bc I fed him and he seemed happy. So now, after I clean his tank on Thursday, I have to start a whole new fin treatment, carefully measuring it, since I found out after I bought the stuff that it's really easy to OD bettas on melafix... *sigh* I think he'll be better now that it's been a day since I fussed over the rock. He only freaked out for a day with the new tank. The water is definitely more comfortable for him now; he's much less lethargic than he was in the bowl.


Also, I'm writing more lately. Right now I'm writing about a high school student.

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Yes, you are absolutely right. You are always so diligent about putting your writings in the writing forums. I guess I get so excited to read everything you write, that I forget what forum I am in.


You two are really smart about your finances and moving back into Sean's parents home. I am sorry about the lease and having to repay that. But I am always here to listen if you want to talk.


As for Rocky, hopefully he gets well soon. I am really happy to hear he is getting used to his new home. What we as humans do not realize is that these little guys get upset when their homes are altered by humans. We had to go to a hotel for a night and I needed to take Hiero with me. So, we put her in a cage that is about six times smaller than her normal home. She was in such distress that I did not sleep at all. I kept checking on her and trying to get her to calm down. It was not until she was back home in her house where she calmed down after about one hour of checking every corner. It was then I realized that she had never been away from her home, save one trip to the veterinarian's office, and then she was in her container, but she also had her buddy in his container right next to her. Hamsters communicate with each other on a higher frequency than humans can hear.


Anyway, work at least gave you a break away from the Christmas madness of customers. I am sorry that you will be back on the register but perhaps you can move up the food chain with more projects such as this in the future.


Glad to know you are writing. I look forward to your next story.

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  • 1 year later...

Um. Yeah. So last summer Rocky died. Totally forgot to update you guys. And I don't think I have any pics. He was a generic red betta. He was sick for a while and then he stopped eating and we euthanized him (cup of ice water. instant and painless. Better than letting him slowly die in great pain because of pinecone.) and buried him. We haven't gotten another fish. We got a second cat instead. She likes to cuddle and cause trouble (she knows what she's doing).

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Oh, I am sorry to hear about Rocky. I do not do well with pets that pass away. No matter what kind of pet it is, I always cry. There were a few that I cried more than others, but for some reason, Hiero, was one I cried the most over. I was in India, and I knew the minute she passed away. It was daytime in the USA and I called my friend Neal, and told him that Hiero passed away. He went and checked and said verified my feeling. That was awful. She was almost five years old.


When I went to the local Petco yesterday, I was being meal worms for our wild birds, the manager asked me if I wanted to adopt a dwarf hamster. Due to the fact that I am heading out of town, I had to say no, for now. When I return, I would love to adopt her. She is large, not your little Robo dwarf, and she is very sweet. At the moment, she is living in the back office of a Petco and they are mostly ignoring her. I know that I could give her a good home. Well, when I return, I will see if she is still there.

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I'm sorry to hear about Rocky. Bettas are so beautiful, I hope you enjoyed your time with him. I'd love a betta, but considered all the animals I already have/have ready habitats for, I'm afraid I'm becoming something of a hoarder XD


I hope you can get the little dwarf girl, Horatio! There's nowhere she'd be happier than with you~

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  • 2 weeks later...

When I went back to Petco to let them know that I would take the little dwarf hamster if she was still there, the girl told me the real truth. She is a notorious for biting. When I said that did not matter to me, she was thrilled. There is not much chance that people will want to adopt a biting hamster, so it looks like I just might get her. Pictures to follow if she arrives home.

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