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Meet the newest member of our household, who will be hanging out in my craft room to keep me company.

newbetta1He doesn’t have a name yet, but I like his spark.

I had a wonderful, though cowardly and morbid betta named Pansy a couple of years ago (I actually did a Toastmasters speech on the many ways he tried to murder himself or was injured by his tankmates, half of which were inanimate objects). Pansy was a small treasure, and thanks to his marble genes, did a lot of color changing over his lifetime, mostly swapping his white for turquoise. After his passing, his tank was cleaned and neatly packed away, waiting for its new tenant.

A while ago I got the fishkeeping nibble to get a betta tank running again in my craft room. Knowing this, my friend and I found ourselves in a pet store yesterday, and while no one likes seeing those teeny cups, most of their occupants seemed active, clean, and healthy, and it was the biggest and most varied collection of beautiful bettas I’d ever seen. It probably took me half an hour to choose, with yea/nay help from my friend, and still at the eleventh hour I switched from a billowy tricolor to this pastel, pearlescent oddity.

Part of it was I wanted the more wild-type plakat shape, after Pansy’s flowing fins kept getting him into trouble. Newbie’s colors are very shimmery and ethereal when they catch the light. He’s also a lot braver than his predecessor, and I daresay more intelligent. By his second feeding (he darted to the bottom on his first) he figured out whenever I come into the room (or so much as make eye contact) to race to the front and dance like crazy, then immediately pause and look up at the surface for pellets. Repeat as needed until desired result. I fell for an aquatic peacock, and I don’t think he understands that feeding him whenever he wants will make him fat.

I confess I broke the cardinal rule of fishkeeping (and I’m a DVM no less) and set up the tank the same day instead of letting it cycle. Five gallons with plants, sand, and all the peripherals is a vast improvement to the cup though.

fishtankOne thing I’m really interested in is whether his sky blue and yellow brighten or change with time. He may just be a light-colored fish, and I’m cool with that, but I also see some variation in his scales that suggests marble genetics, and there are amazing before and after photos of similarly young and pale pet store “rescues”  who look like totally different, vibrant fish after days or weeks of better husbandry. I promptly went to Amazon and bought him two brands of the finest of pellets.

He needs an aristocratic name because he is already somewhat spoiled and is about to get very spoiled. I am thinking about Marquis, because of the powder blue and gold, Lafayette is my favorite Hamilton character, and this fish has no problem advertising himself like a freaking theater marquee :-).

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