Basil II and betta care 101!

Basil I committed suicide over the weekend. Hm. He was acting a bit strange prior to jumping out of the fish tank (despite my best efforts to thwart his suicide stint – I left a small square hole on the plastic cover for air and he cleared it). He flopped around on my table, I found him, place him in some water…but by the time I got to my pantry, his belly was upside down. So off he went to Fish Heaven, via the old-fashion toilet bowl method.


Wonder if it is my office environment that was driving him bonkers. He was going round in circles, chasing and nipping off his own long-ish tail fin. Sort of concluded to my colleague that if this one commits harikiri (sp?), it’s gotta be either me or the office that is driving the fish bonkers.

I got another fish later that afternoon together with better fish food and some treats for the fish. Since I ran out of good names, and the fact that the new fish is also blue like Basil I, I named him after his namesake…but with a roman numeral signifying two. Hopefully he won’t jump out of the tank.

So hey world, I have another fighting fish at my office and his name is Basil II.

AND so far, he looks quite happy. He’s a huge eater – gulping everything and anything that I throw into the tank AND he’s blowing bubbles! If you ain’t familiar with fighting fish behaviour, when the fish is happy, they’ll eat A LOT (they are known to be piggy with food), swim around, AND they make bubblenest (this huge glomp of bubbles). I caught Basil II surfacing for air quite a number of times, proceed to open his mouth bigger than usual (like a yawn) and blow a couple of bubbles out. He associates this white plastic knife I have with food but flares up at my finger. Funny but anyway, he’s more active than Basil I and definately a lot more fun to watch.

So here’s the 101 lowdown on betta care, even though you can get more info from sites like this here.

Note: I’ll try my best to get some pictures soon. Lord knows how long my camera has been out of commission.

So what do I feed him with?
I settled on the following: Hikari Betta Bio-Gold pellets, freeze dried Bloodworms and freeze dried Daphnien (they look like mini fleas). Unlike Basil I (which abhhors pellets and loves bloodworms), Basil II actually loves the pellets and Daphnien but takes a while to adjust to the bloodworms. I don’t go for live or frozen because I read that it can be very dirty and unhygienic not to mention dangerous for the fish – more risk of catching some disease or parasite. Freeze dried food is great but don’t feed the fish too much (just one or two pellets/Daphnien/bloodworms is good enough if you’re feeding it twice a day) or it’ll get constipation or sick.

Where is a good place to get supplies for Bettas (fighting fish) per say?
While, in general, all aquariums will stock these things but so far, the most helpful place I went to (plus the cleaniest and treats their fish well) is this aquarium store in SS2 – the same row as Maybank but behind and facing the main road. They stock tanks, set-ups, food, fish (of course), assoceries and a whole load of other stuff PLUS when they handed over Basil II to me, they pump in oxygen into the bag – unlike the other store where I got Basil I (they just emptied him into the plastic bag and handed him over to me).

Also their betta set up is better, even thought the tanks are a bit wee small, the store decorate the betta tanks with gravel, cover the top with a white tile (leaving a tiny opening for air and food) and shielded each betta from another (so they don’t get tired out from flaring and don’t get depressed when isolated). Oh…I also got a 20% discount off food. :p

What’s my tank set-up like?
No jam jars please! It’s only fair that you treat your pet with some consideration. Just imagine yourself living in a closet. Hardly fun, ain’t it?

So a good sized tank with a cover (if it doesn’t come with one, just make your own with transparency film and paper) is good enough. Mine is about 8 inches tall by 8 inches wide and 3 inches in depth. Bettas love some foliage – just so they can rest on the leaves and hide behind something when you coming looming in to watch them. Live plants are hassle, not to mention dangerous coz it introduces bacteria and what-nots into the water…so get some fake plastic but make sure they don’t have metal or scratchy bits that can destroy/shred betta fins. Gravel is an option, but I like it coz it makes the tank look so much more cosy and prettier.

If you are planning on getting a betta for your office like me, a termometer would be a good addition – just so you can check for temperature fluctuations. This is important as bettas don’t do very well in cold environments even though they are a hardy bunch. Anywhere between 24 C to 30 C is good for this tropical fish. If it drops below, the fish becomes more lethargic and will lose its brilliant colours. It might even stop eatting.

What about water?
Tap water is good but get it treated – chlorine can kill your poor little fish. I use Tetra AquaSafe for the water in my tank set-up for Basil II.

I usually change 100% of the water every three to four days – since my tank is quite small and therefore gets dirty faster. Dirty water means lower immune system for the fish and thus more possibilities of containing diseases. I also rest water for about 15 minutes before placing Basil II in the tank to acclimatise the water temperature and gas content – I’ll scope him up in a cup/container with a bit of his old water.

All in all, it’s fun having a fish at work – I find that I’m not that stressed out anymore and my colleagues also like the idea of having something to stare at when they are quite frustrated or stressed. :p

Urm…I think that’s about it for now. If you have any questions, just feel free to ask…I’ll see what I can tell you. ^_^

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