Part 1 – My First Experience With Bettas – Keeping fish as pets takes more than just feeding them and changing the water every once in a while.
Sadly, many people aren’t aware of that and they just buy aquarium fish because they’re attractive.
After a short while the fish start to get sick and die one after the other, and the newbie would lose interest in the hobby and give it up all together.
Basic knowledge of fish keeping, together with the right aquarium supplies, is crucial to the livelihood and longevity of your fish.
It’s important to maintain the optimum living conditions for your fish and other living things you may have in your aquarium if you are to enjoy them for a long time.
To illustrate this, I shall share with you my own experiences when I got started with this hobby for the very first time as a child.
The first experience was with bettas and the second with goldfish; two different kinds of fish with different requirements.
My first pet fish were a pair of bettas (a male and a female) which my mom bought me because she knew that I liked fish and felt sorry for me because a toy fish was all I had.
We put the bettas in a small plastic jar with a floating live plant. The male was aggressive. He continuously chased after the female and attacked her until she was full of bruises.
One night, running out of place to hide, the female desperately jumped out of the water onto the floor. Fortunately I was nearby and was able to save her.
My mom then suggested that we separate the fish. So we put the female in a different jar. However, I felt that the female was lonely.
So one day I asked my mom if I could buy another fish. There was a beautiful green male betta that I decided to buy.
At that time I didn’t know that bettas were fighting fish and that the males would fight with each other. So at first I decided to put the new male in the same container as the first male.
I knew the first male was aggressive and I just wondered how he would react toward another male.
To my amazement the two males fought with each other and there was no sign that they would stop.
After a while I got worried. I didn’t want any of them to die so I finally separated them and put the new male together with the female, and to my pleasant surprise they got along pretty well.
However, that little jar was kind of small for a pair of fish although they got along. So, we decided to move the fish to a much larger plastic container. Later I added a couple more females so that it became sort of a betta community tank.
Being fascinated by the beauty of the male bettas, I bought a couple more and put each in individual jars. I fed them dried food and occasionally bread.
However, I fed them too much. The water would become cloudy fast from fish waste and uneaten food. So, I completely changed the water every other day.
I would fill up the jar with new water right from the tap.
As you might guess, the fish didn’t last very long. After only a few months they started to get sick and eventually one after the other died.
Dirty water, untreated new water, fluctuating water temperatures, and trauma from being moved frequently during water changes were some of the factors that contributed to the fish’s low resistance to diseases.
Although it’s acceptable to keep bettas in relatively small containers without aeration, it would be much better to put them in a tank of at least 2 gallons,
and you would still need to observe certain basic things such as not feeding them too much and setting aside new water to equilibrate the temperature and remove chorine prior to water changes.
I was only about 10 years old at the time and didn’t know anything about fish keeping. Neither did my mom. Also, back then there were very few books about aquarium fish and the aquarium supplies were not as sophisticated as they are today.
Today, there are plenty of good books and magazines as well as web sites about fish aquariums. So, if you’re serious about taking up this hobby,
you should start by reading a few of them and gain the basic knowledge before you even buy your aquarium and fish.
In the next article you will learn what happened when I tried to keep some goldfish, also with very little knowledge.
In the mean time I invite you to visit my web site (see below) to learn more about aquarium fish keeping.
Part 2 – My First Experience With Goldfish
If you are seriously considering keeping fish as pets or are just starting out, I would like to stress again the importance of having some basic knowledge about
aquariums and fish keeping in order to enjoy the hobby for a significant length of time and to avoid frustrations and disappointments.
In the first article I illustrated this by sharing my own childhood experience with bettas, and now I shall share my experience with goldfish.
While I still had my bettas I also wanted to keep some goldfish since I also found them attractive and interesting. My mom was reluctant to buy me some since I already had the bettas but she finally gave in and bought me a pair of “telescope” goldfish.
At the time I didn’t have a real aquarium yet so we put the goldfish in a large jar (about 1 gallon). One of our neighbors told us that goldfish
wouldn’t tolerate chlorine and therefore, we should not use tap water. They happened to have a well and offered to let us use the water for my goldfish.
I soon noticed that the fish were constantly gasping for air at the surface. They also refused to eat. After a couple of days the water started to become cloudy, so I changed it totally.
However, the fish still refused to eat and continued to gasp for air. Not long after that they became lethargic and eventually died.
My mom said probably “telescope” goldfish just weren’t hardy enough and not easy to keep. However, I had not given up on goldfish yet, so I asked if I could try to keep other kinds and hopefully would have better luck.
My parents eventually consented but my dad suggested that I get a real aquarium instead of putting the fish in a jar. You can imagine how elated I was that finally I was going to have a real aquarium.
So we went out and bought a 10 gallon aquarium and a few goldfish at the same time. I believe we bought 4 fish: a couple of medium sized “comets” and a pair of “pearl scales.” We didn’t buy them at a store, though.
It was more like a wholesale type of place where there were plenty of different sellers selling their aquariums and fish.
Again, at the time neither my mom nor I knew much about fish keeping. So we didn’t buy any supplies for the aquarium. Just the tank and fish.
That was it!
When we got home I filled up the aquarium with untreated tap water and immediately put the fish in. I was so excited to see the goldfish swim around in the tank,
but that didn’t last long. In a few hours the fish were no longer lively. They sort of stayed at the bottom and didn’t move very much.
When my dad saw them he said they probably lacked oxygen and suggested that we go out and buy an air pump to aerate the tank.
I had only seen aerated aquariums in places like public aquariums and fancy restaurants and thought that an air pump had to be very expensive, but my dad said it would be OK.
So my mom and I went to a fish store to look for an air pump. Besides the pump we also needed something to hook the plastic tube on to and hold it in place.
We chose to get a frog ornament for that purpose (the air would come out of the frog’s mouth). All the stuff didn’t really cost too much.
As soon as we got home we hooked everything up and air started flowing into the aquarium. Like magic, within a couple of minutes the fish started to “wake up” and finally became lively again.
My dad said, “I told you so!”
The air pump was about the only supply we bought for the aquarium. Having beautiful and lively goldfish in my very own aquarium was good enough for me. I loved them so much that I also fed them too much. I was happy to watch them eat.
As you can imagine though, the water got dirty very quickly that I had to change it every day.
One day a friend of ours told us that we shouldn’t be changing the water daily since it wouldn’t be good for the fish.
Also, in the mean time I had read somewhere that if you wanted to use tap water you should set it aside for a few days to get rid of the chlorine. Therefore, I set aside a bucket of water and changed 3/4 of the water about every 3 days.
I was able to enjoy the goldfish for a few months before one of them got sick and died and the others followed soon after.
I was extremely sad and because of that my dad told me I couldn’t buy any more fish. So, after all my fish died my hobby came to a sad end. Well, at least for a while.
Again, there is a take-home lesson here: if you’re serious about having your own aquarium, there’s some basic knowledge you need to possess before you even buy the aquarium and fish.
You don’t have to know everything there is to know about the hobby, but at least for the sake of the fish, you should understand a few things
(such as how many fish you can have in a tank, how much to feed them, what kinds of aquarium supplies to have, and what kinds of maintenance you need to perform, just to name a few) that are crucial to their well being.
If you’re an expert you most likely picked up on the things I did wrong in the story I shared above. If you’re a beginner or just thinking about getting started with this hobby, I invite you to visit my web site (see below) to learn more.
aquarium supplies nearby,aquarium supplies for sale,aquarium supplies wholesale,
aquarium supplies amazon,aquarium supplies online,marine aquarium supplies,saltwater aquarium supplies near me,best place to buy aquarium supplies online,