Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fish Out of Water

Jason and I have accumulated a reasonable bank of knowledge about caring for horses over the years. However we are re-visiting the beginner experience these days, athough with a fish and not a horse. We acquired a new family member over the weekend, a still unnamed Betta fish. 

It is a freaking miracle that this poor fish is still alive. The fish was a birthday present to Carter from his Aunt and Uncle. Since Carter already lives with a menagerie they thought a fish might be a nice addition to the farm and also make a nice birthday present for Carter.

We almost managed to kill the fish in our first five minutes of fish ownership. We needed to transfer the Betta fish from the travel cup he arrived in into his fish bowl. We tried pouring him into the bowl but he refused to be poured and managed to stay in the travel cup. No problem, Jason just picked him up with his hand, except then Mr. Fish decided he didn't like that either. So he jumped into the kitchen sink and landed on a bag of ice. He proceeded to flop around like . . . well like a fish out of water. 

I was shrieking at Jason "get him, get him, he is going to suffocate or freeze to death on the ice!"  as Jason kept trying to scoop up this frantically flopping fish. He finally got him in the nick of time and we deposited our poor fish into his bowl. He was looking a little shell shocked but he survived. 

Then we realized we could not put the fish in chlorinated water, that the fish needed to be in spring water. Conveniently we happen to have our very own spring on the farm, in fact it even originates on the farm. We can't get springier water than that, right? No need to purchase bottled water at the store when you have your very own spring. Jason went off to the spring and collected some water. 

This time we managed to move the poor fish to his travel container without almost killing him first. We then dumped the chlorinated water out of his fish bowl, rinsed it with spring water, refilled it with spring water and had him all set up.  Jason went to dump him back in his fish bowl and I protested. "Doesn't the water need to be room temperature? That water is straight out of the ground and it isn't room temperature." 

Jason declared it would be fine and dumped the fish in.  Within seconds this poor fish, who was probably wondering where he was and what he was doing in this handbasket, wasn't looking so good. The water was definitely too cold. We put the fish bowl next to the stove to help warm the water up. Thankfully we were smart enough not to put the fish bowl on the stove!  After about an hour the fish was looking perkier and the water was much warmer. 

After consulting with Google about caring for betta fish we have read that his water should be changed every three days, that we need to be careful not to overfeed him, that he should have at least five gallons of water and that his water should be heated. Well, I'm thinking his water isn't going to be changed every three days, Jason dumps more betta food in the bowl every time he walks past it (he claims the fish is bored and needs to have something to do so he feeds it constantly), his fishbowl only holds a half gallon of water and it is not heated.  We are striking out everywhere.  We are the newbie horse owner that feeds the horse a bag of sweet feed and wonders why the horse got sick. I give this poor fish a week.

I think we need to stick to horses. 


the view yesterday morning

MyLight napping in the hay with Cinnamon, Calimba and Maisie munching

O'Reilly on the run

Tony and Baby

Lighty, Darby, Johnny and Alex

Bruno on the run

Hemi and Elfin

Faune and George

Norman and Cuffie helping each other do some shedding

Moe found a mud puddle; Moe is a gray, not a bucksin

Donovan also took a mud bath


GreyDrakkon said...

Do yourself a favor and get a nice ten gallon tank with plants in it (fake ones if you must). A half gallon fluctuates in temperature wildly depending on where it is (if sun hits it, if it's near a draft, etc.), smaller amounts of water need to be changed more often (and by the way, "change" should be more like "remove MOST of the water but not all of it to avoid shock) while a 10 gallon with live plants would need far less of that nonsense, plus a larger tank is not only more interesting to you but the fish as well. Oh, and interesting thing about Betta fish, they have a special organ that allows them to breathe air (comes from them evolving in oxygen-deprived rice paddy water) so it's possible to drown a Betta to death. Those tropical rice paddies are the reason why the water needs to be heated, and they're carnivores (well, insectivores) so should only be eating specialized Betta food (and the occasional bug. ;) ) It seems overwhelming, but Betta fish normally do a pretty good job of not trying to murder themselves unlike say, horses. >;D Good luck with your new pet, they can be surprisingly entertaining, and CAN learn to identify specific people (I'm sure your husband is already on the radar with all that food, but seriously, he's going to kill it with kindness. It's like shoving a bucket of grain at a horse every time you walk by the stall because it seems bored.)

GreyDrakkon said...

Urg, I just re-read what I wrote and realized how abrupt it sounds. Sorry about that, I probably should have been in bed instead of commenting. ;) In any case, what I said still stands, but with the addition that a pet fish should be soothing, not stressful. Once everything is set up and running you should be able to enjoy watching your pretty fish doing his thing without fretting over it. :)

I also wanted to comment how glad I am to have found this blog again. I had been a reader for years and lost track of it so I'm looking forward to catching up on how everyone is doing.

Jenny said...

Ouuu The Aunt and Uncle are paying you back for something! LOL Put the fish in the stock tank he can clean it and eat all the bugs he wants. Plus it's huge. Oh wait you have watering system, nevermind. Good luck with your fish ;-)

Lori Skoog said...

What a story! Those top two photographs are incredible!