Friday, August 5, 2011

Your kid wants a pet...uh oh?

Most parents go through this.  Your kid wants a pet.  
Do you turn them down?  Do you get a pet?  

My opinion?
Get a pet fish!  Fish are hypoallergenic, don't take up a lot of space or require a lot of attention and won't mark or spray all over the house.  

Ok..so now you are thinking of all of the costs involved for a pet that may only live a week....a tank, a filter, food, heater, bubble maker....   You could easily spend $50. 

Guess what..you don't have to!  
Zoo Med Floating Betta Log
Betta fish (also known as "Japanese Fighting Fish.") are pretty, interactive and very cheap to care for.  

You can spend as little as $10 for a betta!
Betta fish can live in small sized tanks or fish bowls and do not require a filter, bubble maker, or heater.  Bettas originate from ponds in Japan and prefer stagnant water at room temperature.  They can live up to 2 years if you purchase a young one and it is properly cared for.  

$10 Cost breakdown:
$2-5 Betta fish 
$2 Betta fish food
$2-3 Fake plants/decor
$2 Fish bowl (Thrift stores often have these or even a vase you have around the house)
Free rocks from your driveway or landscaping (be sure to wash them well)


Basic Betta Care:

Bowl Set-up:
Clean everything that will be in the fish bowl and rinse well.  Put water into the bowl and let it sit for 24 hours or until it reaches room temperature.  If possible, use filtered or distilled water.  Arrange everything how you want it to look in the bowl.  If you have fake plants or a decoration, betta fish like to rest on them from time to time.  If you use a vase, you can even have a water plant in it as long as there is still space for the betta to swim around.

Putting fish in bowl:
After you have arranged it, you can put your fish into the bowl carefully.  It is important that you do not place a female betta with a male, or two males together.  They will fight and nip at each other until one dies.  If you have a male, your betta may 'flare' his gills out at you if he feels threatened or sees his reflection from time to time.

Feeding:
Daily, feed your betta 2-3 pebbles of betta food.  From day to day you will learn how much your betta eats.  Some small, young ones will only eat 1-2 per day, but some older, full-grown betas may eat 2-5 pieces a day.  The containers of food contain hundreds of pebbles so you probably never run out of food in one betta's lifetime.

Cleaning:
When the water starts to stink a little or get cloudy, you can clean the bowl.  Take a cup and fill it with the current bowl's water.  Use a net or scoop or pour the betta into the cup.  Clean the bowl thoroughly and let the new water reach room temperature again.  If you set water out the day before you clean the bowl, it will be ready and you do not have to make your fish wait in the cup all day.   Once the water has reached room temperature, put the fish back into the bowl.





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