Line-Up Changes

Source: Line-Up Changes


Line-Up Changes

In late 2014 and early 2015  my betta rainbow tank started seeing some line-up changes. Moontail’s black was becoming more prominent, so he wasn’t a blue betta so much anymore.  I set up a divided 10 gallon, much like the betta rainbow, and Moontail went in one of the three slots. Moontail shared the tank with Cloudy, a light colored male, and Midnight, a black crowntail female. I called this the Oreo tank. The blue spot in the rainbow was filled by a beautiful blue veiltail we named Hope, after the Hope diamond.

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Hope in the blue spot, April 2015

Crescent appeared to be a shy guy and he spent a lot of time hiding, compared to the other fish. I thought he might be happier in a tank by himself, so I moved him to a 1 gallon tank by himself. It proved to be the right decision, and we saw much more of Crescent in his “studio apartment” tank than we ever saw of him in the betta rainbow.


Crescent, November 2014

By then, Mandarin’s color had turned to a dark orange, almost red. I thought he could go in the red slot. My daughter Naomi found a beautiful red, white and blue (later purple) crowntail betta at Meijer, and she named him Patriot. I was having a hard time finding purple bettas so Patriot went into the purple spot.

n January 2015, I lost Crescent, Cloudy and Magenta. I had Crescent for 1 week short of a year and Cloudy for 10 months, but Magenta only lasted 6 months. I found Magenta at Meijer, in a barely half full cup of water so filthy it was almost opaque. I have no idea how long he lived in those conditions or what damage was already done to his internal organs when I got him. But the important thing is he had a good home for 6 months.

In mid January 2015 I found a breathtaking blue and yellow betta we named Bumblebee, and a purple betta we named Magenta Jr. Bumblebee went into the “Oreo” tank in Cloudy’s old spot.


Moontail, in the divided 10 gallon, January 2015

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Cloudy, in an earlier black-white divided tank, summer 2014.


Bumblebee in the divided 10 gallon, January 2015


Emerald II occupied the green spot from November 2014 to March 2016.

Magenta Jr. stayed in the Fluval Chi until Mandarin died in March 2015. Then, Patriot moved into the red spot and Magenta Jr. into the purple spot. In April 2015 Mandarin Jr. went into the orange slot. Meanwhile, our yellow betta Colby was looking increasingly haggard.  I’d had him almost a year at that point. He was also rescued from Meijer and had outlived his companion Magenta. So I retired Colby to a 1 gallon tank and moved Cheddar to the yellow spot.


Colby, after his retirement from the Betta Rainbow, April 2015.



Mandarin Jr., May 2015.  He looked more orange when we first got him but his color darkened. To his left is Cheddar, in the yellow spot.


Here is Cheddar in the yellow spot, May 2015.

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Patriot in the red spot, May 2015


Magenta Jr. in the purple spot, April 2015

Some people predicted that the bettas wouldn’t do well in the divided set-up, that they’d be stressed out from having neighbors. That wasn’t my experience. My longest lived betta was Patriot, who I had for 1 year 10 months and 12 days. I had Cheddar for 1 year 9 months, Moontail for 1 year 7 months, and Emerald II for 1 year, 4 months and 6 days. Even Colby, who had a very rough start at life, lived 1 year.

Everything you know about bettas is wrong. Indeed.



Fish As Far As The Eyes Can See

I had December 7, 2014 marked on my calendar. I was having Christmas early! A complication arose when my work planned their holiday brunch that same morning, at Maggiano’s in Naperville. I wa…

Source: Fish As Far As The Eyes Can See

Fish As Far As The Eyes Can See

I had December 7, 2014 marked on my calendar. I was having Christmas early! A complication arose when my work planned their holiday brunch that same morning, at Maggiano’s in Naperville. I wanted to take some fish to the swap meet to thin out my 75 gallon a little. I didn’t want to have to leave the brunch, go all the way back home, get my fish, and then go to the swap meet. So my husband and I drove separately. I collected 12 young mollies, 12 variatus platies and 6 maculatus platies. I put them in a bucket with a heater and a carbon/sponge filter. My office was 5 minutes from Maggiano’s. On my way there, I stopped at my office and left my fish buckets there. I met Mike at the brunch. At  around noon I discreetly left. I returned to my office and retrieved my fish.

About 20 minutes later I arrived at the Best Western in Hillside IL.  The lobby and parking lot were buzzing with activity. I found my way to the not one, but two, large conference rooms where the swap meet was.

GCCA swap meet, February 2007.



GCCA swap meet, February 2007

The crowd was huge. Business was brisk. Vendors brought in styrofoam coolers filled with bagged fish and live plants. Other vendors wheeled in large aquariums and heavy plastic storage containers filled with fish. Within minutes they’d set up the aquarium, get all necessary life support in place and running, add water and fill with fish. This was more common with larger fish like discus and some koi. I saw colors, varieties and species of fish I’d never heard of much less seen. There were tables filled with stocked aquariums, bagged fish, decorations and all manner of food, supplies and equipment as far as the eyes could see. It was like a cross between Shedd Aquarium and the mall on Black Friday.

I brought my fish to the CLS table, and club president Rick Borstein helped me bag them up. They quickly sold. After the CLS meeting, the rare fish auction began. I brought home 4 blue-green Moscow guppies, 4 black snakeskin guppies, 4 Chiapas swordtails, 7 spotted skiffias, 7 girardinus metallicus, and 4 Monterrey platies.

A male Chiapas swordtail, or xiphophorus alvarezi. Photo taken by Rick Borstein of the Chicago Livebearer Society.

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A male Monterrey platy, xiphophorus couchianus. These fish are believed to be extinct in the wild and only exist in captive populations. Photo by Wikipedia.

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A male spotted skiffia, or skiffia multipunctata. Photo from the Goodeid Working Group.

When I brought them home my entire family was dumbfounded. Where was I going to put them? Well, the first place they were going was quarantine. I set up several 4 gallon buckets with heaters and sponge/carbon filters. I had an empty 4 gallon Fluval View that the spotted skiffias went into. Eventually my plan was to add the Chiapas swordtails to the 75 gallon. The guppies, girardinus, and Monterrey platies would go into my heavily planted but sparsely populated 29 gallon. The skiffias needed cooler water, so they’d stay in their own tank.

Unfortunately, within a week or so, where to put these fish was much less of a problem. The swordtails all died of ich in less than a week. A few days after that the skiffias all died. I made the very strong point to my daughter Naomi, “See, this is exactly why you always, always, ALWAYS quarantine fish first no matter where you get them.” After the remaining fish cleared quarantine, the guppies went into the 29 gallon. The girardinus and the Monterrey platies went into the 75 gallon. Since the other livebearers had done so well breeding in the 75 gallon, I figured these would too.

Within a couple of weeks I moved the Monterrey platies into the 29 gallon. They seemed a bit bullied and overwhelmed. A couple of weeks after that I moved the girardinus as well. The guppies, girardinus and Monterrey platies lasted a few months and even had some offspring. However, for some reason I was unable to sustain a continuous population. But overall, my fish were doing well and thriving. My 75 gallon tank had been up and running for a year. I’d found people who shared my interest. And I had a place to take my surplus fish. All in all, fish life was good.





The Sleeping Fishes

This is such a wonderful idea! As I said in other posts, I learned more about science from keeping aquariums than I did in 12 years of school and college. And being a pet guardian is the best humane education out there. If we want kids to grow up caring about the non-humans they share the planet with, the best place to start is with giving those kids good experiences with animals.


The WordPress, Daily Post’s Daily Prompt is Fish.

This works out almost perfectly since I was just thinking about our pet fish.

We have quite a few guppies. All of them are descendants of fish we got many years ago at my daughter’s after-school-care program.

They had both male and female guppies. Only they called them Glowfish. Again with mislabeled items. I think they purchased them someplace that had the wrong fish in the tank or vice versa. But actual Glowfish reproduce by laying eggs. These fish produce live young. Glowfish also glow. These do not glow, not even under special lighting, but they can be colorful.

Along with producing live young and the lack of glow, many parents commented, “oh, they look just like guppies.”

And, indeed, they are guppies.

With all the live young, the after-school program had a fairly steady supply of fish for the kids…

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Fish For A Metalhead

For Christmas 2013, I received 3 books on aquarium keeping. They were David Boruchowitz’s Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums, David Alderton’s Encyclopedia of Aquarium and Pond Fish, …

Source: Fish For A Metalhead

Fish For A Metalhead

For Christmas 2013, I received 3 books on aquarium keeping. They were David Boruchowitz’s Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums, David Alderton’s Encyclopedia of Aquarium and Pond Fish, and Ulrich Schliewen’s My Aquarium. One big way keeping fish is very different than keeping mammals, birds or even raising children, is the demands of the life support system and the science you need to know. Seriously, when was the last time anyone tested their room air for nitrogen levels? Besides oxygen, how many of us even know what gases make up room air and in what amount? Who tests their drinking water for pH and carbonate hardness? No one.

So during the evenings, if I had a few minutes of downtime here or there, I’d pick up a book and do some reading. Besides the science of fishkeeping, one thing I learned is that there are a lot of different species of fish. According to , there are 31,300 different species of fish, and more being discovered all the time. My husband Mike says “They’re not like Pokemon, you don’t have to collect them all!” One unfamiliar livebearer in David Alderton’s book caught my eye, Girardinus metallicus, or metallic livebearer. I’m a metalhead and have been since my teens, so anything with “metal” in it will catch my eye. I googled Girardinus metallicus and one result was for the Chicago Livebearer Society web page. It was listed in their species profiles. According to their website, “The Chicago Livebearer Society is a club for fans of livebearing fish.” WHAT? There are other people on planet earth who are as into this (or more) than I am? I have to find these people.

On August 24, 2014 I attended my first Chicago Livebearer Society (CLS) meeting. I found out they often have speakers giving presentations on various aspects of livebearers, and before their meetings there was a large swap meet with the Greater Chicago Cichlid Association (GCCA) where people could buy, sell or trade fish and related items. The primary way CLS raised money for their activities was to sell fish donated by members. That was good to know, because the mollies and platies in my 75 gallon were reproducing quickly. My original 4 mollies and 20 or so platies were now up to 10-15 mollies and 40 or 50 platies. I was concerned about my 75 gallon getting overpopulated. I had donated some young platies to Petco, but I had hesitation about giving my fish to a retail store. I had no idea who’d buy them and whether they’d take good care of them. I found that unfortunately, many people viewed fish as being “disposable” pets, they knew little or nothing about them and their care, and they didn’t expect the fish to live very long. (And often they didn’t). I knew the people at CLS and GCCA events were serious aquarists who likely knew more about fish husbandry than I did.

The next CLS meeting and GCCA swap meet was December 7, and they had a rare fish auction planned. Fantastic! I could donate a bunch of my baby fish to sell and maybe pick up a Girardinus metallicus or two. For me, Christmas was going to come early that year!

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