In Preparation for a New Year

As I have mused to many before, the new year means very little except that dating things gets a little screwy right off the bat.  I had a quarantine gig today where marking things 1/2/14 got to be more complicated because of how adjusted I had become to 2013.  But then, it’s those adjustments that need….readjusting.  Typically that comes in the form of resolutions spouted on public domains.  Statistics be damned; I intend to beat the 88% failure rate.  My resolutions….however….involve all of the prepping I have done up until now- busying my fish room and buying all of the supplies in bits and pieces.  Hoarding, almost, for this moment.  2014 shall be a year of fish glory.  I want to go for breeder of the year at my local fish club.  However 10 new spawns will suffice.  I want to write for aquarium publications like I used to…even in the event that nobody sees.  I’m gonna get that dwarf shrimp colony going for real this time, DAMMIT!

Such determination never fails.  Considering I have ordered more fish food than I have ever owned previously….flakes, granules, golden pearls.  I’m working with….50+ species.  And still watching those Aurelius barbs in quarantine very closely.  The hunt never ends, in all reality.  It’s an addiction I would never wish to quit.  As long as my work and vitality allows it.

Tiring out is quite common.  But there is a great prize on the horizon of the new year.  I know it is in me, and every day is an opportunity to prove it.  Exciting and tantalizing.

I’m almost drooling.

I did notice a request for what is going on in my tanks currently.  what I am toying with….

I had the misfortune to lose power for 4 days.  It caused me to restart much of my set ups.  It has been an immense stress, but thankfully the casualties were almost nonexistent since I’m employed by one of the more generous businesses in town.  The one with ample holding tanks and back up generators….yeah….

Anyways, my latest obsession has been danionins.  If you are unfamiliar…it is primarily danio, brachydanio, devario, and microrasbora fishes.  Right now I’m keeping a neat little selection of species….would like to dedicate a whole fish rack to rare and unusual danionins one day.

Because.

Why not?

For right now, I just have:

Danio choprae*

Danio margaritatus*

Danio aesculapii*

Danio feegradei

Danio tinwini

Danio kyathit

Danio sp. Hikari Yellow

Danio erythromicron*

The stars indicate which have successfully spawned for me so far.  I believe the Yoma danio (D. feegradei) will be the first to knock off that list of haven’t-bred’s……since i can visibly determine ripe females right now.

I’m also quite excited at the prospect of toying with a new white cloud species as yet unnamed….. goes by “neon yellow”!  beautiful fish but very subdued.

As for shrimp….I’m just working on carbon rili and yellows.  Maybe something new will come about.  The prospect of selective breeding with those inverts is very real as well…..

Besides the Aurelius, I’m hoping to obtain my first Denison barbs this year!  since petsmart has placed them on sale for $7….and i have a coupon for a few bucks off…I really can’t say no.  It does, however, require me prepping some of my larger tanks.

The possibilities are endless and keep my weary body moving.

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The Scheme

I’ve been scheming the last few days.  It’s all coming together beautifully.  Scheming beautiful schemes.  I’ve realized the time for upgrades is now, and every sale and opportunity collide.  This weekend is meant for glory.  Fish room glory.

First off, I’ve agreed to buy a new 20 gallon long tank.  Holds water.  $10 at meeting.  Couldn’t say no.  But I didn’t immediately think it would be of use given my space.  Correction:  it is.  My sister has been pining over a stand that currently holds my 29 gallon aquarium.  Well, it’s a pine stand.  or wood or something prettier but less economical than iron.  I have no real attachment.  Then i discovered Preuss Pets is selling used iron 20 L stands for….20 dollars.  So I’m scheming to give my sister the furniture stand and replace it with the iron stand and then implement a new 20 long underneath.  Beautiful. 

But wait!  it gets better.  I have been trying to figure out what to do with a 15 gallon aquarium i acquired a while back.  It has a small crack in the corner, but upon leaving it outside for a few days…I notice it holds water.  Still.  What do?  Then i discovered the coveted crested gecko is going on sale for $25 this weekend only at Petco.  Beautiful.  I can have my cake and eat it too.  That 15 gallon shall be his habitat.  Appropriately tall for an aboreal gecko, but good ground space as well.  More than pleased.

Lastly, There is a reptile show where I intend to get as much feeding fodder as possible.  Or that funds easily allow.  And at some point….I intend to go to Lowe’s to buy a sheet of plywood and have it sliced up at the store to given dimension.  Fish rack #2 shall soon be functional. 

Scheming is fun 🙂

Bettas that Brood

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There is such a degree of misconceptions about fish I don’t know where to begin to unravel them sometimes.  However, this can be said of most any topic.  Take, for example, the government shutdown of current. People live in a fantasy world these days, where you just….don’t need to know. Or if you do, you don’t.  That said, I have an interesting fish announcement.  I want to be perfectly clear, because I do care that it is understood.

I have a betta incubating eggs.  In his mouth, as we speak.  As I type, rather.  I’m hoping for success and some spit fry in a week or so, as this is his 4th attempt.  He is a male Betta krataios, and one of a pair that is irreplaceable to me. 

It’s not so much the oddity that he is a betta brooding eggs by mouth that throws people.  It’s that he is a fish…with eggs in his mouth as a protective paternal measure.  It’s a foreign adaptation for mammal audiences.  But you know.  He’s not a mammal.  Embrace this beautiful act with me, please?  And understand, that life is always going to surprise you. 

And also that not all bettas are what you see in a cup at Pet-whatever. 

Some bettas come fresh from Asia and harbor less gaudy coloration.  And it is my strongest opinion that these bettas are some of nature’s finest specimens.

Some bettas bubble…..but some bettas brood.  

If you ever catch one in the act of reproduction, take note.  And also video 🙂

It’s pretty damn cool.

Downsizing in the Name of Opportunity?

After an amicable visit with my dad for an exchange of groceries and home-grown fruits, I was left with a little advice:
“You should start downsizing soon so you don’t miss out on opportunities”

Immediately, I agreed with him.   I mean, who can argue that a house full of pets doesn’t tie you down?  But then my true spirit kicked in and I knew deep down that nothing he ever had to say on the matter could change my desires. 

Simply put, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything in life.  In fact, I believe the fish room and hobby is creating more opportunity than diminishing.  So what if I can’t study abroad or vacation for extended periods?  I am not even slightly bothered, really.  When I do a little soul-searching. 

I have had a tendency to go overboard with my hobbies, I admit.  I keep more fish than most people find sane and I always want more.  I don’t act on those impulses and I have decent control of the situation.  But the outsider judges all too quickly that I’m crazy and need to change my ways.  They don’t say this, I just see it in their eyes.  I see it in the way they proceed to live differently in the name of normalcy.  I also see that nothing I am doing is hurting my pursuit of happiness nor theirs.  So why do I need to downsize?

What if I’m settled in and I am content with life…..wouldn’t most people say “more power to ya” if that’s the context?  I am young.  But I have never wavered in my desires.  I have never fallen out of this phase.  I am convinced I need not seek to complicate my current set up for anticipated travels.  To be honest, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.

A New Stroll through an Old Town

I live very close to an old town.  THE Old Town, actually.  By car it’s about a five minute journey.  By walking….closer to twenty minutes.  By biking, however….no more than ten.  Since this destination houses a favorite pet store of mine (Preuss Pets), I frequent the area.  Today, I took the bike route. 

I had two things in mind to prepare for my impending bug/fish collecting trip:  fish bags and bait shop goods.  I knew how to acquire the former, but was uncertain what I would find in the latter.  To me, it was adventure time.  Such small unknowns spice up the simplest of days.  So I took off on a refurbished bike.  I felt the breeze and pedaled with ease.  The weather was impeccable for biking.  I soaked it in with every breath.   If I set aside my worries, this is an excellent time. 

Despite the inconveniences of not having a car, I can deal with the bike alternative.  I can always deal.  I survive and adapt and I find something good whenever I can.  So in that sense, though I had visited this town so many times in my past.  Last week, even.  I still found new pleasures and scents and sights and I let it overwhelm my sensory processes. 

The bags were acquired.  And I think I’ll go back to that bait shop!

A Midnight Dance with Neoheterandria elegans

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I wish I owned a camera nice enough to photograph these wonderful animals.  But due to incredibly tiny form….I have resorted to old files I swiped from Google search engine.

These are Neoheterandria elegans, or the tiger teddy as they are affectionately known.

I have been preparing for bed for the last hour or so.  But I stopped.  I stopped to…smell the roses if you will.  Mostly, I stopped to watch the fish.  I was taking mental tabs on a lot of my animals.  I own probably closer to 50 species, but it fluctuates month to month with auctions and acquisitions and losses.  What can be gathered from that is simply my great division of attention.  Each animal gets so little acknowledgement in the grand scheme of things.  It’s tragic, but being that I cannot live 50 lives and dedicate each to one species, I must make do.  So tonight, I took in the sight of something new.

On a whim, I poked in my tiny one gallon tiger teddy tank.  I had skimmed nearly everything else and saved these for last.  Admittedly, the small livebearers had been out competed by flashier cyprinids and rainbowfish as of late.  But tonight, I saved the last dance for them.  For that moment of undivided attention, I was rewarded with two fry calmly perusing the surface column of water.  I was mesmerized instantly.  A flood of questions- When did they arrive of this earth?  Should I move them?  Are the parents cannibalistic?  I quickly weighed the size of fry relative to the mouths of the adults.  When at last I convinced myself they were safe, I relaxed a bit.  I watched with great joy and my motherly heartstrings tugged with each breathtaking glimpse of their buggy eyes and slightly rounded bellies.  The itty bitty fins were enough to make me as giddy as a prepubescent with a crush.  This will always be my love.  This. 

Party culture vs. Fish Culture

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Ain’t no party like a Sexrex party, amiright?
No?

Hm. 

Tonight is the beginning of the weekend, more or less.  It’s the end of Thursday.  Friday rises to take its place.  And since I’m a Michigan State University student, I have a stark contrast before me.  I pass bars full of patrons and party-goers as I leave work.  Yet, here I am looking up fish content and contemplating what water changes will take place momentarily.  I’m 21 years old now, mind you.  This culture….this “bar” culture….finds no place for me.  Actually, I can’t find place for IT. 

You know what’s better than any party?  A fish auction.  Fish auction season rings in every fall and spring.   And we all know it’s Autumn now.  I just want to be at home bidding on a cool bag of livebearers.  Or maybe strap on some waders and chase some late-season darters.  They are oh so pretty. 

I went to a party once.  There was a fraternity involved, and the music was loud and the people were grabby.  I didn’t drink one sip of…anything, because you can’t trust college boys.  However, I was drawn to one thing:  The fish tank under the bar.  Yup.  I remember like yesterday the gouramies and black-tailed shark.  Gosh, it was sparsely stocked.  So much….empty space.  So little love.  Right then and there i just wanted to get permission to be honorary fish maid. Honestly, whenever i encounter ill-looked after or poorly explored tanks…I just want to show them the way.

Do you see the way?

Can I show you how to really party in life?

Please?