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I’M A FISH!!! 


I can stare down anyone, lulz!  >^.^<   See, this is what I have to put up with from the Landlords.

Peace Out,

Valentine the Crimson Wonder


Greetings world.  I am Valentine.  Hear me blow bubbles!

I have taken up gardening.  I’ve made the acquisition of my very first plant, a lovely floating pennywort.  It’s all ivy-like, with soft wide leaves, and it’s all mazy, and I can swim in and out of the leaves and stems.  I heart it!  It’s so much fun!

I used to have a fake pennywort when I first moved into my 10 gallon mansion, but it was rough on all the pretty rays on my dorsal fin, so I had to get rid of it.   I mean, dude, I just finished regrowing those rays after the Great Heater Poisoning of 2011 where all my rays fell off and I got fin rot!  But now I have a cushy soft real one that helps keep my water clean and doesn’t mess up my fins!  Oh yeah, I am a happy betta.

Here’s some pics of me playing in my new pennywort garden!

Kay, now I’m playing hide and seek.  Can you find the fishy?


What about now?  Can you find the fishy now?


Lol, here I am!  I came out!  I’m really not a very hidey fish.

Peace out!

Valentine the Crimson Wonder

Hey!  This is me, Valentine, just swimming around!

I’m flipping my fins, enjoying some down time after my last training session!

Which, by the way, was craaazy!

You know what my instructors thought?  They were like, “Oh, looka the fishy!  He’s doing so awesome!  Let’s make it hard!”

So you know what they did?  Here I am, working diligently, learning to swim through this hoop, right?  They’re supposed to take it slow, reduce the size of this hoop by tiny increments so I don’t even notice it, right?  Wrong.   These instructors of mine, they crank the thing straight down to the smallest size!

And I”m all like, “Whaaa….?”

It took me a bit to figure it out.  First I was like, “Screw you, then!  Ima swim around the thing.”  But they were all strict, and it was like, “No hoop, no lunch.”  What can I say?  I am ruled by mah belly.

I went through their tiny hoop and they got it all on video.

So I gotta admit my instructors were pretty proud.  It was all, “Valentine lived up to our expectactions!”  And, “Valentine is so smart!”  And I was all like, “Nom, nom, nom.”

Peace Out,

Valentine the Crimson Wonder

Hello!  Valentine again!  What’s that?  Post another close up of myself?  Well, shucks, you twisted my rubber arm!  Here I am!

So it’s been a few weeks since I last got is some good training.   It was a space problem.  I got out of the 5 gallon clinic where I was doing training as physical therapy, and back home to my 3.5 gallon.  It just didn’t have the space!  So I had to go to seed for about three weeks, with only practice following the feeder wand.

But now I am in my brand new 10 gallon mansion! It’s got a gym and everything!  So that means space to train!

This is a video of me reviewing my hoop training.   What can I say?

Three weeks off…

Three tries at the hoop…

Three perfect scores!


Peace Out,

Valentine the Crimson Wonder

Hello!  My name is Valentine.  I am a betta fish.

I have just moved into my brand new 10 gallon tank, and I am really enjoying all this space to myself!  I’m getting so much exercise and having so much fun exploring everything!  The tank is so big I practically feel like I’ve forgotten what was on the left side by the time I’ve gotten to the right side, and when I head back it’s all new again!  I’m all by myself in here, and that’s just the way I like it.  My people, the betta splendens, pull out a shotgun when anyone tromps on our lawns!   We’re called Siamese Fighting Fish for good reason, and proud of it!

But then I noticed the oddest thing…

Look at this.

What is…Why…

Okay.   This is the situation.  See the mansion on the left, with the reef?  That’s my sweet bachelor pad!  See the lit 3.5 gallon in front on the left?  That’s my neighbor, Dracula.  The dark, empty 3.5 gallon on the right is my old home.  Yeah, you can see how happy I am about the upgrade!  I got more space than I know what to do with!  *happy dance*

But…what is this empty property to the right of mine?

I know for a fact that Dracula isn’t moving yet.  His health isn’t up to it.  He has the **cough cough constipation** digestion issues.   You know that bout of Swim Bladder Disorder he had over eating a bit of freeze-dried-but-reconstituted brine shrimp?  Well, that dragged on and he was in hospital for weeks and and weeks and weeks.   He finally had to undergo treatment for parasites because it was getting worse instead of resolving.  And, you know what?  When he finally started to get better, like literally ten minutes before he was discharged, he ate his last hospital meal of our pellets.  And they’re nice pellets!  A really good brand.

….and the pellets gave him SBD all over again.  No discharge, back to hospital.

So he’s finally out now, but not only can he not eat freeze-dried food, but no dry pellets.  Nooo, all his pellets have to be soaked in garlic juice first.  He’s been doing pretty good, but the Landlords have deemed him as yet unready to upgrade his home or join the circus.  He doesn’t need the stress and isn’t active enough to need the space, they say.  So that’s still a ‘one day’ thing for him, and he’s being watched and babied.

So that leaves this empty property unoccupied.  What’s up with that? Will someone move in?  I don’t know if I want another neighbor!   Mysteries, mysteries.  I find myself spending a lot of time at my rightward window, gazing at that strange empty manor house and wondering…

Peace Out,

Valentine the Crimson Wonder

Hi, I’m Valentine.

And I have stupendous, exciting news!!!


This is my new home, the promised 10 gallon mansion:


This is a video of me going through the process of acclimating to the new tank temperature and water.   I have to float in my cup and agonize over the view!


This is a video of me moving in and exploring my new mansion! 

Trust me, people, I am loving it!  This is the sweet life.

Peace Out,

Valentine the Crimson Wonder





Meet the Landlords

You’ve heard me mention them often enough.  Perhaps you wondered… who are these mysterious landlords?  Now is the time to reveal the true horror…











It should also be mentioned that the landlords have a Zombie Master:

…who has an apprentice…

And, together, they have a Comical Sidekick:

So now you know.

Peace Out,

Valentine the Crimson Wonder

This is me, Valentine:

Yeah, I’m in a hole.  In a floating log.  Why?  What do you do for fun?  Probably some stupid human thing like imbibe alcohol until you vomit.   Yep, hanging out in a log is way lamer than that…

And this…


my neighbor…


….he’s kinda shy.  That’s why he needs the fierce name.  Here’s a better look at him:

Oops…heh heh…maybe that was too close a look.  Third time’s the charm….

He came to live here in early October, about two weeks after I did.  He’s never really been healthy.  He has issues with his digestion.  *cough cough constipation cough*  See, the problem with this is that my people are kinda prone to such digestive disorders, and it creates a complication called Swim Bladder Disorder.  The swim bladder is what lets us maintain and adjust our buoyancy: a healthy fish is perfectly neutral.  When we get SBD, we get either negatively or positively buoyant.  Dracula gets so much of this he’s even been to the doctor for x-rays to see if he’s normal inside, which he is; no injuries and a perfectly formed swim bladder.

My neighbour Dracula is a floater; positively buoyant.  He bobs at the surface, struggles to dive, then shoots up like a cork.  When it’s really bad, he flips sideways.  It seems he can’t handle freeze-dried food.  See, me and Dracula, we get freeze-dried bloodworms twice a week.  Dracula kinda had SBD when he arrived, then evened out — then ate his first bloodworm.   It was even pre-soaked in tank water so he didn’t get no dry-rice astronaut food that swells in your gut.  We figured it was because bloodworms are so fatty.  They tend to be a big cause of SBD, or so we’ve read.   He had to bob around, fast for days, and treat in epsom salt.  He even got fed a pea, which is a controversial treatment for SBD.   He passed his mass eventually, though not until after he went to see the doc.

He was fine for a while, until he got a freeze-dried brine shrimp.  The next day, he was doing his cork imitation.  Seems it’s not just bloodworms he can’t handle, it’s all freeze-dried food, and never mind how long it gets soaked before consumption.

He’s in the hospital tank right now.  At the moment, he’s enjoying a period of neutral buoyancy, his first in days.  But that’s how it went last time; a few hours here and there of being normal, then bobbing around, until finally he was neutral most of the time, then all of the time.

I’ve stated that we’re neighbors.  My people tend to like our space; we’re territorial, and you don’t come on our lawn.  We’re called Siamese Fighting Fish for a reason.  So Dracula and I don’t share a tank.  We’re neighbors.   This is both of our homes:

Dracula’s on the left.  We each live in our own 3.5 gallon tank.  We had unadjustable little pad heaters buried under our gravel, but as the weather got colder we got Topfin adjustable heaters.

Mine almost killed me.  I’ve blogged about that before.  Topfin brand heaters leach poison into the water.  I got a face full of it, and this was even after the heater had been rinsed prior to installation.  Dracula got lucky: he was off treating in the hospital tank for the bloodworm bout of SBD when his heater got installed.  He got his before I did, and before the nights cooled: the idea was that warmer water speeds the metabolism and helps with digestion, so the landlords wanted him at a constant 82 F.  Fortunately, there had already been a few water changes done on the empty, fishless tank before he ever returned to it, and it seems that by then whatever toxin the Topfin heater was oozing had soaked off and been water changed out.

He wouldn’t have survived what I did.   We’re all shaken at how close we came to losing him.

It’s hard to say if his Topfin poison was completely gone before my episode happened and we realized there was a problem with the brand of heaters we both had.  The landlords did notice that a slight foam appeared on the surface of his tank by the filter right after they had added his heater, and had been wondering what it was.  The foam got less and less, but didn’t disappear until they removed the heater.  So maybe there was still some measure of toxin in the water.  When the heater was still in there, he spent a lot of time on the surface, not doing much; mostly packing himself between his floating log and the aquarium wall.   He’s never been an active, healthy fish, so we don’t know if that was his normal behavior or if the heater had affected him.  And now he’s going through the brine shrimp bout of SBD so we’ll have to wait for him to recover from that before we really see what he’s like.

The real question is, when will Dracula be up to enrolling in R2 Fish School and joining our circus?  When he does, we’re going to add his name to blog.

Peace Out,

Valentine the Crimson Wonder

Hey, I’m Valentine.   This is me:

As I mentioned in my first post, I’ve just recovered from a near-deadly poisoning when a Topfin heater leached unknown toxins into my aquarium.  As I lay fighting for my life, I was promised a 10 gallon tank if only I could recover.

And I did recover.

Now I’m in the process of moving to a new home.  My old one was not bad, especially when you consider most piscine landlords are completely uneducated about how to properly care for my people, the betta splendens.  We’re consigned to tiny cups and bowls with infrequent water changes despite the small size. *shudder*

This is my old home, a 3.5 gallon aquarium:

It had a (fake) hollow reef decoration with a cave underneath.  I liked to swim up inside it sometimes.  I also liked to thread among the reef branches and look at the vibrant colors.  I’m pretty small, so I had plenty of room to flirt up and down and all around the reef dominating the center of my home.  Look in the top right corner of the tank.  That’s me, being small.

This is where I am currently, treating for complications (fin rot) of my poisoning in a 5 gallon Rubbermaid clinic dosed with tetracycline:

And this is a new manor house being prepared for me, the promised 10 gallon tank:

Yeah, it’s in the…ah…early construction stage.  Not ready to be moved into yet.  See, my landlords were shaken and upset by my poisoning into a high degree of paranoia  They told me they are going to darn well soak the bejeezus out of the thing before a fish goes near it.   And after that, the tank has to cycle (develop enough friendly nitrifying bacteria to convert waste ammonia into nitrite, then nitrates, thus creating a reasonably self-sufficient and safe ecosystem).  Notice the new heater hanging on the back wall; it’s a 50 watt Fluval because my landlords will not touch Topfin anymore, but it still makes them nervous.

So I may be in the 5 Gallon Rubbermaid for a while — I do like the space, but the walls are cloudy.   There’s room for me to play and room for my training, but no good film ops for my training documentary.   Or I may have to go back to my old 3.5 until the new Manor is ready for me to move in.  We’re still in negotiations.

So what does everybody think I should name my new Manor?  Mr. Toad had Toad Hall.  Anne Shirley had Green Gables.  Bruce Wayne has Wayne Manor.  What sounds right for a Valentine moving into his new mansion?  Suggestions are welcome!  🙂

Peace out,

Valentine the Crimson Wonder

My name is Valentine.  I am a male crowntail betta splendens, also known as betta fish or Siamese Fighting Fish.  Once you get to know me, you will find that I am lively, curious and adventuresome.   Let me tell you my story, and what brings me to enroll in the R2 Fish School, in which I will train intensively to learn a number of tricks.

This is me, Valentine.  I have big eyes and pouty lips.  My fins swirl around me like a Flamenco costume.  I am a betta supermodel!

This is my former 3.5 gallon aquarium, which I moved into at the end of September, 2011 when I first arrived at my forever home:

It was a good starter home.  But then, tragedy struck.

I got a heater.

Seems harmless enough, I know, especially since I am your essential beach boy:  my people hail from the tropics, and I prefer a balmy 80 F.  Nor do I cotton to much temperature fluctuation!   Very bad for my constitution.  So the idea behind installing this heater in my home seemed pretty sound, especially as December came on and nights were getting chilly.  Unfortunately, I installed the Topfin brand aquarium heater, which is the Petsmart store label.  And it seems these heaters have a defect wherein they LEACH TOXINS INTO THE WATER.

Yes, you heard right.  A heater designed for aquarium use is not water safe.  Topfin heaters kill fish.  Nor am I the only one who has experienced this:

…among others.   The more one combs the web, the more stories one finds.

I got a full face full of the Topfin heater toxin.  I was only in there with it for a couple of hours, but I spent several days fighting for my life.  I was put in clean water and treated with daily water changes, epsom salt, and fresh activated carbon.    I lay on the bottom of the tank with my fins clamped, concentrating on breathing.   It was touch-and-go for days, but I am strong and I love my life.  I survived.  I spent more weeks recovering.  The unknown poison from the Topfin heater knocked my immune system down, and knocked many of the rays (the long pointed dagger ends that make me a crowntail) off my fins.   They fell like cherry blossoms, beautiful and transient and ceaseless.

So I’ve spent the past few weeks cooped up in this hospital tank:

And here, even though I was feeling much better when this was taken, you can see one of my ray ends lying on the floor below me:

I had started feeling better from the poisoning and was about to be released with a clean bill of health when I got  fin rot on the raw ends of my broken fins.   Then I had to treat with a teaspoon of aquarium salt and Betta Revive.  My rot got worse,  though I didn’t care.  I felt so good to be feeling good, and as I regained my strength I swam and played and began to feel extremely trapped in my tiny hospital room.

I’d had enough.  I joined the circus.   That moved me into this spacious 5 gallon Rubbermaid clinic, where I have room to flit and flirt and explore everything.  And to train.  Oh yes, I”ll have room to train!  I don’t have a heater right now, but that’s okay.  My clinic is located in a very warm room and my water is about 82 F.

The water is all medicated and stuff (tetracycline).  That makes it look a little yellow.  Ignore that.  I do.  Apparently I’m in this 5 gallon clinic because the meds come in packets sized for 10 gallon tanks and it’s fairly easy to just split the powder in half or whatnot, but whatevers.  Details.

And, because I don’t let little things like almost dying get me down, I started my circus training!  I am going through the R2 Fish School program, where I will learn a number of fantastic circus tricks.

This is my first day.  My first try.  I am supposed to learn to swim through a hoop.  Watch the videos and tell me how I did!

Day One: Introduction of the hoop

R2 Fish School Day One: Slam Dunk!  Valentine’s First Try at the Hoop

Peace out,

Valentine the Crimson Wonder