Basement Bettas

Raising Show Quality Bettas

The Fish Room

before-1This is the view of my future fish room before we began. I am standing by the windows and that is the entry door at the other end. This room is approx 25 long and 10′ wide. The walls are plaster and the very old paint is peeling off the walls. Along the wall to the right, the wall towards the door and back to the windows again will be ‘U’ shaped shelve that will house my barracks and individual jars for finishing out juvies. The lights will be replace with ceiling fans that will run continuously to help circulate the air. With 10′ ceilings I don’t want all my heat up there. Down the wall in the ceiling will be additional lights that will operate on the light switch. We will equip the fans with light kits for additional lighting on pull cords.

before-3To the left is a little nook that jogs out about 4 ‘. This area actually goes out over the stairwell leading up to the second floor. I plan on heavy duty wood shelves to house some 30 gallon grow out tanks, some smaller 15’s and several spawn tanks. We will have a drain that goes down and under the floor and ties into plumbing in the bathroom that is to the right side of this picture. That room had 2 toilets and 2 sinks. I think it used to be a beak room when they manufactured things on this floor.

fr-5This is the door that leads into the bathroom. What a mess! A major roof leak that went unattended and occasional leaks have left this floor very rotted. My building walls are brick and the water running down the brick has brought sediment into the sinks and drains. The entire floor in this room will be replace and we will be removing the sinks and toilets and replacing them with a utility sink and just a single toilet. Plumbing will need some cleaning out and I’ll have to put a hot water heater somewhere. The  under floor drains will have to tie in somewhere as well.

fr-7My son has been a big help in the fish room project. Here the stalls have been removed in the bathroom and he is cleaning all the pieces of brick out of the sinks. The sinks are kinda cool and I will try to find homes for them rather than landfill them. We will be putting up a wall in front of the plaster to allow pipes to be run. Someday I want to turn the third floor into a 3 bedroom 3 bath living area. Each floor has 3000 sq ft so that floor will make a very cool place to live. The day may come when I live up there rather than in the country.. and I’ll only have to go down one floor to play with my fish and two floors to work.

FR beforeBack by the door this is the wall where the shelves and barracks will go and the bathroom door is down at the end on the left. I have two very large windows that face West and let in a lot of natural sunlight even though there is another building across the alley from me. Without even being heated this room stayed close to 80 degrees all summer and the water temps were in the upper 70’s. Now, the cooler temps are dropping my water temps to about 70 degrees.. hope the weather warms a bit until we get the room done.

September 3, 2009 Posted by | Fish Room | | 2 Comments

IAL Tea

IALIf you do any reading on Bettas you will find serious breeders use IAL.. or Indian Almond Leaves with their fish. It was discovered that fish in waters where these leaves naturally fall are more resistant to disease, have stronger fins and scales and are healthier in general. So breeders use the leaves in their systems to bring the same benefits to their Bettas.

How are the leaves used? Very often a chunk of leaf, say 1″ square, is dropped into each Betta container and allowed to decay. Over time the water will turn a gold/amber color. With regular water changes the water does not really get the levels of tannins that would be beneficial to the fish. I also found that in siphoning gunk from the bottom I would suck up the leaf piece and I either had to fish the leaf out of the waste bucket or get a new leaf piece.

So, after doing some research on the net I decided to boil the leaves to make a tea. Most people take about 10 leaves and boil in 2 gallons of water and boil it down to a gallon. They then mix some of this into their water system as a tonic. I did this and found the tea to be a bit weak for my tastes.. and the leaves still could be boiled more and they would continue to release tannins. So I have started to boil 10 leaves all day [about 8 hours here at the shop] for about a week. I start with 2 gallons of water and keep adding water as it boils down to keep the water level around 1 gallon. I also add about 1/2 cup of salt since I am not adding any to my water at this time. When I get the fish room done we will figure out how much salt is actually added when we add the tea and add some additionl to be a better benefit.

After a week of brewing the tea is almost black. I pour it into a gallon container and it is kept in the fridge with notations on the container not to drink. I am aging my water in a 32 gallon trash can on wheels. When I add water I add the dechlor and 1 cup of IAL Tea. This ammount turns the water a nice light amber color. I believe the fish get the benefits of the leaves and I do not get the mess of decomposing leaves in the bottoms of the containers.

Although the leaves have been boiled daily for a week, they are still intact. I take the leaves and spread them out to dry. After they are dry I put them up and they are used in my spawn tanks. The males seem to like the leaves for spawning and I find the leaves are a bit quicker to decompose after the boiling. I like decomposing leaves with the young fry as they seem to pick at the leaves and the micro organisms that on on it.

September 2, 2009 Posted by | Water Quality | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Temporary Housing

temp-1 The temperatures are dropping and we are finally working on my fish room. The fish have been upstairs in my old building where three west facing windows have let in enough light and heat to keep the room close to 80 and water mid 70’s. But to redo that room to house fish over the winter we had to move them so we could add insulation and redo the walls and plumbing. All the fish kids moved around the corner to another part of the upstairs.

This rack houses the second spawn. We are using a variety of containers to house everybody. Promising males are in large gallon containers and the rest are in 4x4x8 beanies. The soda bottles on the  second shelf from the bottom houses some of the pet s hop spawn. Along the right is a rack that houses two 10 gallon tanks and a 5 gallon as well as more beanies. The bottom shelf on this rack has more males from the second spawn.  temp-2

Here is a little better view of that rack. As you can see, no matter how careful we are, we get SOME water on the floor. The fish room will have to have lineolum to keep any major spills from coming through the floor and into my office. We will also have some drains to avoid having to carry water. By running a hose from tank directly into a drain I hope water on the floor will be kept to a minimum.

temp-3This is the other rack housing my fist spawn.. the Coppers. There is a combination of gallon plastic containers and beanies. The bottom shelf has a box with fish food and some meds in it to keep everything all together.

temp-4My building is three stories high.. the fish being on the second floor. Even though we have had some cooler nights, the temps in this room are still in the upper 70’s first thing in the morning. I am hoping to get the main room done soon so I can get these guys back in a room I can heat. This area continues on to the front of the building, another 2000+ square feet.. a bit much to heat. I am very excited to get the room done so we can get a few more spawns going.

September 2, 2009 Posted by | Betta Housing, Fish Room | , | Leave a comment

Petshop Bettas

petshop-1Our pet shop Betta breeding did produce some very nice fish. Father was a Crowntail and the mother a Cambodian Veiltail. The VT trait is dominant so the offspring all have that shape tail. Many of them also carry a rough spiky edge from the Crowntail part of their heritage. The father was also Cambodia but in addition to the red fins he had an iridescent purple/blue layer over his body. As you can see, the offspring also have various degrees of this shimmer. We also got some very nice reds out of the cross.

petshop-2I have yet to jar up any of the females. They are all coexisting in a large 30 gallon tub upstairs. With over 200 individual jars to clean.. some daily.. I just don’t have the energy to jar them up. Most appear to be Cambodian with various shades of the shimmer on their bodies. This group is so mellow I can pick them up with my hands to remove them from the tub. We got close to 80 fish in this spawn and I am ready to get rid of them. My son loved the parents but now he realizes the care these guys require when they get to maturity. We are no longer interested in breeding ‘just for fun’ fish that we do not have a purpose or home for.

September 1, 2009 Posted by | Crowntail Betta, Fish, Young Males | , | Leave a comment