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Snails n Bettas

Posted 2010.09.12 20.32 in Aquaria by Stephanie

Today there were some good “Kodak moments” in the aquariums… first my betta girls were mugging it up for the camera, then I got some good shots in the snail tank.

About the betta girls: I have four female bettas sharing a tank. They all came from the same brood (or litter or whatever its called) so they’re all sisters, were raised together and were living together along with a few dozen other sisters before I adopted them. So they’ve always been accustomed to each other and consequently they seem to be fairly tolerant of each other. They do have little chases now and then, and do flare at each other now and then, but generally they get along. Three are red with blue highlights and the fourth is blue with red highlights.

About the snails: This afternoon there was something of a “feeding frenzy” – albeit a slow, snail-paced frenzy. A couple snails were looking hungry so I tossed in some shrimp pellets… a food I normally don’t feed the snails. Well, they went nuts for it. Soon everyone was crawling over everything looking for shrimp. I had to put in a handful more pellets to ensure everyone got some. It was madness… slow motion, snail-paced madness. And it was hillarious to watch. Wow, they love those shrimp pellets!

Beta the Betta

Posted 2010.05.19 21.13 in Aquaria by Stephanie

Meet Beta, the betta!

It’s so hard to get them to pose though for a picture.

Betta Blues

Posted 2010.04.12 14.46 in Aquaria by Stephanie

I’m worried for Alpha the Betta. Saturday evening he wasn’t interested in his noms, but I figured that he was still upset about the regular cleaning – gravel vacuuming and all that, it can be disruptive. Then Sunday he still wasn’t interested in food, but I didn’t really put it together.

This morning though, when he still wasn’t interested in eating, I realized there must be something up. Closer inspection revealed he was a bit bloated. Now this afternoon I can see he’s more bloated, with some ‘pineconing’ around the front 1/4 of his body.

He’s been very healthy and always eaten like crazy, and he’s huge – like almost 3 inches long, not including tail or anything, just the meaty fishy part is that big. So having him suddenly go like this is disconcerting.

Everything I’ve ready says it’s ‘dropsy’ which is more or less utterly fatal, so now it’s just a matter of watching and hoping.

Poor guy.

Aquarium Update #3: Alpha Betta Base

Posted 2009.11.12 7.16 in Aquaria by Stephanie

My betta fish named Alpha still has a 5.5 gallon aquarium all to himself. Well, himself and a colony of Bythinia tenticulata snails (aka faucet snails).

At first I thought the faucet snails were baby apple snails, as they are very, very similar in form. However, the B. tenticulata do not have labial tenticals, and their adult size is somewhere between a pea and a bb. They are sort of along the same line as ‘pest snails’ but unlike the accursed planorbids, faucet snails do not (in my experience) take over the aquarium like a swarm of locusts.

So, being that they are like micro-sized apple snails, I decided to keep some of these little guys, and put them in the Alpha Betta Base. They have been doing fine there, and are onto their second generation in fact.

Of course, the real star of the tank is Alpha the Betta. Betta snobs wouldn’t much like Alpha, he’s just a run-of-the-mill standard pet-store betta. His colour goes from darkest blue at his nose to a dark ‘royal’ blue at his tail. There are some undertones of red here and there.

Oddly, he’s a bit of a coward. Now and then I’ll hold a mirror next to the tank, and his immediate reaction is not to flare aggressively – it’s to run and hide behind a plant. 🙄

Alpha Betta Base


Posted 2009.08.25 12.38 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

I’ve got a lot of things I want to write about at the moment, but just haven’t had time to actually get things written the way I want them to. I’ve a few articles in draft-mode but they’re not good enough yet to post. So, playing catch-up a bit, here’s the headlines, details to follow.

Why are DSLRs so damn big? My old manual 35mm camera is like half the size and 3/4 the weight of the new digital SLR. The old SLR captures an image 1.6x the size of the new camera, has more moving parts, is more mechanical, yet its smaller, lighter and more portable. Not just the body, but the lenses too. WTF is that all about? Why are cameras so big and chunky now? And what really boggles is the pros on saying cameras like my Canon Rebel are ‘too small’ and they need a bigger camera to get a good grip on it. Craziness!

Manual Focus Screen! Yesterday I received my Haoda split-ring manual focus screen that I ordered recently. I guess when they invented auto-focus they decided nobody needed the manual focus aids any more. Wankers. The Haoda screen works great, it took some fiddling to get it installed — and that was kind of hairy, working in the business-end of my brand-new camera. However, with the Haoda screen my DSLR finally feels like a real camera when I look in the viewfinder.

MD to EOS adaptor: I found this on eBay. It’s a little metal ring that fits into Canon EOS cameras, and lets you attach Minolta MD manual lenses. Handy because I have some Minolta lenses from my old X370. They’re good glass, and particularily I have macro gear for the Minolta that I don’t have with the Canon. The only MD thing that didn’t fit was my 3x Macro Teleconverter, but I was able to take it apart and remove the bits that were in the way. They weren’t part of the optics but were part of the Minolta metering system. So, now the teleconverter works on the Canon (with the adaptor) but no longer works on the Minolta. Well, it works but without metering info. So I guess it works equally well now on both systems.

Eggless Snails: My big blue snail spent almost two weeks climbing out of the water every night looking for a place to lay eggs. Then she just stopped, and hasn’t laid any eggs. So I don’t know what the deal is. Was she teasing me? Did she not really have eggs and was just bored? Or is she egg-bound and about to keel over dead for no obvious reason? I sincerely hope it’s not that last thing. No idea though what’s what, and I hope there are eggs sooner or later – wee baby snails are cute!

Zebrafish: My zebra danios are looking fantastic, in only 3 months or so they’ve really grown and matured. The biggest one, Shifty, has developed long pretty fins which surprised me – I thought they were a ‘plain’ variant, and when I bought them they certainly weren’t very showy. They have been breeding a lot but not a single baby has survived. Eggs and fry are very popular snacks among the fish.

Betta Sorority: I’ve got some female bettas and I don’t remember if I wrote about them or not. I originally bought 5 of them to go in the 38gal with the snails, but it turned out two of them were very nippy (biting snail tentacles) so I moved the bettas into the 23gal tank with the danios, and moved the harlequins (4 of them) from the 23gal to the 38gal. Unfortunately one of the betta gals was sick when I got her (fish stores are so poorly lit you can hardly see the fish till you get them home) and she died shortly after I got her, and then of the 4 who I moved to the 23-gal, one of them couldn’t handle the stress of moving and she passed 2 days after the move. The remaining 3 seem to be managing ok.

Happy Catfish: The two corydoras catfish who originally moved to the 38gal with the snails are doing ok and have started breeding. Every 2 or 3 days I find a dozen eggs, but then hours later the eggs are gone. I don’t know who is eating them, but someone likes fresh catfish eggs.

More Fish Pictures

Posted 2009.08.17 18.23 in Aquaria, Photography by Stephanie

I’ve been hiding from the world for much of today, suffering a nasty grinding headache since 3am. It’s like industrial lasers are boring into my brain through my temples and eyesockets while my tinitus has been turned up on ‘full’ so the hypersonic impulses are crushing in through my ears.

So instead of a long wordy post with lots of grammar and long words, here’s some pictures of fish.

Blue and White

This is a female betta. I think most people only know about the males with their big frilly tails and fins, but the females are starting to get more and more colourful. This one is a real beauty, that light blue is almost irridescent on her, and when the light hits her right she just seems to glow.

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Alpha the Betta

Posted 2009.08.03 8.37 in Aquaria, Photography, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

This week, I decided to adopt a Betta fish (Betta splendens). See, when I moved all my fish and snails to the 23 gallon aquarium, I had my original 5.5 gallon starter tank sitting empty. Empty empty empty. I wanted to set it up again, do it right this time, but 5.5 gallon is hardly enough for anything. One fish, really. What good-looking fish does best alone? The male Siamese Fighting Fish!

Alpha the Betta

So meet my betta — I named him Alpha. Alpha the Betta. His home is my 5.5 gallon aquarium. It’s the Alpha Betta Base. I love his gradiated blue colours, and the splash of red on his two lower fins. He’s not the flashiest or most-colourful betta, but I like him. And now I’m going to break into a rant about how some people treat fish in general and bettas in particular, so if you aren’t up for a rant, don’t read on.

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