The Continuing Exploits of Elvis, the Crowntail Betta
Elvis Thinks He's Still in a VaseClick thumbnail to view full-size
All Shook Up
Elvis has been with me now for just about two weeks and I think he is finally comfortable in his new and spacious ten gallon abode.
The first few days after I brought him home, he spent the majority of his time at the far back corner of the tank, hanging in the same weird vertical position that he was doing in the vase at the pet store. I was actually starting to think that maybe he had physical mobility issues or even mental problems of some kind. Maybe he wasn't floating like that because he was living in a tall, skinny vase when I found him, but perhaps the store owners had actually put him in the vase to hide the fact that he liked to relax with his nose pointed to the clouds.
His behaviour was reminding me of puppy mill kennel dogs. They spend their entire lives locked up and when you take the poor animals out of their kennel, they panic and don't know how to behave properly. It can be quite debilitating for some of them. I was seriously hoping that I wasn't witnessing the betta version of a kennel dog breakdown.
I can't say just how long Elvis was in that vase to make him behave so oddly, but it turned out the poor guy really wasn't physically disabled or mentally unbalanced after-all, and he just needed a little time to adjust to the vast area surrounding him. It took him about three or four days to fully understand the true extent of the space he had available to explore, and I'm happy to say, he hasn't bothered with the corner or that odd posture since then.
Exquisite ElvisClick thumbnail to view full-size
A few days after acquiring Elvis, I decided I needed to make some room in my twenty gallon aquarium, so I moved two of the six long finned Black Skirt tetras out of it and into the tank with Elvis. I was fairly certain that it was still too early for him to get overly possessive with his new space and I had high hopes that he would accept them without too much of an issue as, so far, Elvis seemed to be fine with his other cohabitants.
It's not always smooth sailing when introducing aquatic animals to each other and thanks to the recent experience I had with Beaster still fresh in my mind, I definitely had a stressful few moments when Elvis first discovered Waldo. I thought I might have to save the frog, yet again, but I was pretty sure Elvis wasn't acting aggressive, so I let him continue his investigation of Waldo while I waited. Waldo seemed oblivious to the up close and personal inspection, but he was also completely oblivious to each and every one of Beaster's imminent attacks and I had learned not to put any faith in his survival instincts because unless it involved food, they were basically non-existent.
Thankfully, Elvis quickly decided Waldo wasn't a threat....and as it turns out, not even worth looking at again. He also apparently feels the same about Snoopy and the shrimp. In fact, Elvis is so unconcerned with them that he has yet to actually stop and check them out. He's completely aware they're there, but he just doesn't seem to care.
He did appear to care though when he finally spotted the Black Skirts that I added!
Didn't See Them Coming
After finally leaving his corner for good, it didn't take Elvis long to make the connection between myself and the buffet of food that rained down on him with fairly regular consistency, so he was already beginning to spend the majority of his time on whatever side of the tank I was on, waiting for handouts.
The tetras on the other hand, having now associated me with the disappearance of their home and family, and basically, the complete and utter breakdown of life as they knew it, were staying as far away from me as possible.
Because of this, it actually took a few hours before Elvis was even aware there were a couple of new guys in his neighbourhood.
What is your Favourite Schooling Fish
No Need For Attitude
I find schooling fish to be a bit nondescript in the personality department, and long finned Black Skirt tetras are a fine example of this. They're very pretty to look at with their long, flowing fins, but otherwise, a little bland.
At first Elvis mistakenly believed them to be a threat, most likely because their size and somewhat longer, whispy fins put him in mind of another male betta. He immediately tried intimidating them by getting in their faces, displaying his fins, and flaring his gills out to make himself look as big and fierce as possible, but the silly Black Skirt tetras just don't have the intelligence to appreciate the effort and poor Elvis wasn't getting the reaction I'm sure he was hoping for.
When your natural attitude is not that of a raging beast, it's hard to keep up the energy level needed to be scary and menacing for any great length of time, and when you're trying to intimidate a couple of fish that seem a little clueless and don't even have the decency to act scared, it can get pretty pointless, pretty fast. Needless to say, Elvis gave up his attempt at being formidable fairly quickly and now simply gives (the newly dubbed) Simon & Garfunkel, a quick chase on occasion, and that is usually because they unexpectedly come face to face around the corner of a plant or ornament. I'm not entirely sure it even has anything to do with a chase so much as it's just born into the Black Skirts to turn and scatter when they're startled, and Elvis's first reaction to a fleeing fish is to follow.
Elvis doesn't know it yet, but he came home with me just as I was starting to completely renovate the tank he now calls home. I decided I wanted to change the scene from what it is now, a mostly natural looking slice of riverbed bottom, to a little pond that's left behind on the beach when the tide goes out.
I've slowly been accumulating ocean themed decorations, and just recently, I also acquired a bucketful of freshwater sand that looks like it came straight from the beach! I was finally ready to start the changeover.
Essential to my new ocean landscape is my little population of Blue Diamond shrimp. After-all, what's an ocean without shrimp? Unfortunately, whenever I attempted to pull out the gravel substrate, I'd come across some brand new tiny baby shrimp! So the overhaul was halted for a moment to let the babies get a bit bigger. I didn't want to accidentally kill any of the little guys by crushing them in the gravel I was removing or burying them in the sand I was putting in.
And of course, now I've also added Elvis and Simon & Garfunkel to the group. I'm thinking they all might have plenty of time to settle in at this point before I finally get around to taking them to the beach.