Nancy Hassel, ThisFurryLife.com
During the pandemic we heard a lot about how dogs and cats were being adopted left and right while everyone was working from home. But what you may not have heard about was the rise in new fish hobbyists, new fish parents if you will.
In a poll we conducted in our Pet Events Newsletter last week, we asked:
Have you become a New Fish Pet Parent in the past year?
28% Yes, first time fish hobbyist
20% No, but I want to!
52% simply responded, Nope.
According to Packaged Facts in 2021, “in the wake of COVID-19, 12.2% of all U.S. households own one (or more) type of pet other than dogs and cats, up from 10.8% five years ago.”
In early February of this year (2022), I was at my local Pet Supplies Plus store with my dog on a very cold Saturday night, i.e. we did not walk that day in the frigid cold, and I could see that Cody was bored. So a trip to the pet store to do a little in store training with Cody, some treats and toy buying was in order.
While there, I overheard one of the store employees explaining to a few customers, that someone had just come in and dropped off two Betta fish. The employee said, the people who dumped the fish said, “We are moving and can’t take them with us.” And before the employee could respond, the people put the fish down and bolted out of the store.
The fish were in two separate tiny plastic fish bowls. When I was checking out, I asked about the fish, and the employee explained the situation to me, that they couldn’t sell them – and wasn’t sure what they were going to do with them, and she conveyed that she felt really bad.
I said, “Let me put my dog in the car, and think about it.” You know 5 minutes later I came back and took one of the very meager looking Bettas. (Another customer decided to take the other while I was still in the store.) I had no idea about how to care for fish, the employee gave me some instructions and I bought fish food, water conditioner and was back to my car in less than 5 minutes. Cody was very curious about the fish, sniffing the bowl like crazy.
So I adopted a Betta fish.
Now I am the one that is hooked.
The fish was in this tiny, less than half a gallon of water, plastic fish bowl with a live plant that looked half dead. The Betta was what I thought white or cream colored, didn’t look to healthy, and I had no idea if it was a male or female. Total novice. So I named him, Charlee.
The next morning, in the daylight – he was bright yellow in color. I thought to myself, “was I seeing things last night, I thought this fish was cream colored?” Turns out it is a male betta and a glo-betta – super bright yellow. I have seen glo-betta’s and the Glo brand at trade shows like Global Pet Expo – but honestly never paid too much attention. I have always like visiting the Aquatic section at that show, and had always thought about getting fish – but just never did.
After a lot of research, watching videos and reading a week later I got a 1 gallon tank – with new substrate, plants, a heater, thermometer and of course a Betta Hammock (which he loves).
I thought that would be it. But as I mentioned, I was hooked and after about 3 months I felt like he was super lonely, bored and seemed like the tank was too small. (Dog mom here – lonely and bored you can walk your dog, teach it tricks, not so much with a fish!)
So off to the store I went to get a bigger tank with a built in filter and light, and when purchasing that, looked at all the other Betta fish, and ended up getting a female Crowntail Blue Betta for a whopping $4.34. She was super feisty, and definitely had some spunk to her, and a very pretty color. Yes I know we are talking about fish – but their personalties can be quite big for tiny fish.
Originally, I was going to have them share the tank, with a divider, but after reading more it was better for them to have their own tanks. I put them next to each other at first, and they were definitely checking each other out. It was quite interesting to watch, NatGeo IRL.
There was a lot of flaring from the female, so much so that I did block their view from each other the first night while the new tank was doing it’s 24 hours of filtering to get ready for Charlee. I didn’t want to stress them out. The next day the flaring was a lot less – and they just seemed interested in each other, but not overly.
I put both tanks next to each other with a couple of inches in-between them, and Charlee was definitely enamored by his new neighbor and she was interested with a lot less flaring.
A few weeks later, I ended up getting the same size 2.5 gallon tank for the little girl – which she seemed much happier in. They have a few more additions to their tanks, not pictured here, you will just have to check back soon as to what!
There is some showing off from Charlee, and she gets super jealous when I am feeding him. She is a food hound of a fish, and he is super picky eater. Like what the bleep when it comes to fish and what they like to eat? I now have four different kinds of Betta fish food – and rotate what they eat. But he has definitely perked up and seems way more active than when he was just by himself with no neighbor.
So it has been a lot of fun, and challenging, yes challenging, in the next blog post about the saga of Charlee and Shimmer – (the name she came with), you will see how I brought Shimmer back from the brink of death after she got really sick!
Would love to hear from any of our readers if you are fish hobbyists, new or have owned fish for years.
If you’re interested in any of the products I have purchased in the past 6 months for these little fish – click here.