Sunday, August 14, 2005

Achmed & Pierre. Alpha Bettas.

Achmed (blue with lavender accents) & Pierre (red with white spots on his head) are two happy Bettas.
Since it's been hot and muggy here, they've been living in their bowls in airconditioning. But guess what - Bettas are from Thailand. Where it is hot and muggy.
So for the last 3 weeks, they've been living outside in the porch. Hot and muggy, some rain, normal day & night patterns. I read repeated online warnings not to do this, that Bettas are reared commercially to be used to cooler water and will succumb to all sorts of nasties if left outside. I read the same warnings about feeding them live food from standing water, but I've been doing that for two months and they seem happier than ever. Bits of straw, dead bug skeletons, Rottweiler hair and debris litter their bowls. I do change the water a bit more often now.
Pierre has become much braver. He used to hide behind things when I put his bowl next to Achmed's. Now he flares aggressively. The two of them swirl and flare and shout threats at each other when I put their bowls side by side.
The skeeter population is dwindling, though. It takes me a few minutes to hunt up a bowlful of instars for them. I even put out another old plastic basin filled with nice dirty water to grow more; that population is coming along nicely. Good, because skeeter instars are the bulk of Betta natural diets, in the wild. Achmed & Pierre would probably love it if they could live in the pond until winter, but the Rottweilers play in it so they probably wouldn't last.
The pool is also filled with teensy weensy brown bugs, so tiny they slip through the holes in the net. I wonder if they are eating the skeeter babies? There was a brief explosion of prehistoric looking little swimmers that I wasn't able to identify for a while. I ruled out lightning bugs. The fish enjoyed those. They were larger and put up a fight.
I feel quite sorry for Bettas in little sterile bowls, really.

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