Our little dragon is doing well, he is active, curious and eats like a wolf, were I to feed him as much as he likes he would be as bloated as a puffer by now.
He doesn't like it when I do the weekly water change, it makes him nervous, but he  recovers quickly with the help of some of his favorite food.

I have noticed a couple of interesting things, even more interesting to me since, in my opinion, pet fish are often considered to be little more than decorative items:

He has definite tastes. He loves his dried red mosquito larvae, likes a lot the betta food in flakes and absolutely loathes the betta food in pellets, a couple of times I tricked him into eating the first pellet (he gulped it down before realizing what it was), but he invariably spits the second one out and that's it.

Second, and this one was really stunning to me: when I point in the direction of a piece of food he has missed, he invariably turns in that direction and searches until he finds the food, he doesn't stare at the finger like my dog or cats usually do, he looks in the direction I'm pointing.

Third, as I suspected, a small aquarium with a single betta works really well as mosquito trap. It's not expensive, it's eco-friendly, it's decorative and it works, what can be better?
I like fish, some of you may remember my series of posts, last summer, about our work in the fish pond, we lost a couple of them this early spring :-( but given the winter we have had,  the fact that the 11 goldfish are thriving and growing is great news in my book.

What comes as a surprise, for people not used to them, is the level of interaction one can have with some fish, our goldfish know humans mean 'food' and swim up when they see anybody coming near the pond (thankfully they swim down and hide when they see animals approaching instead) and when I'm doing something in the water (taking out fallen leaves, for instance, or pruning water plants) they all come to see what is happening, nibbling at my fingers or head-bumping my hand..

Last year I already started thinking about having fancy goldfish in the house, I would have loved a 'natural' aquarium with lots of plants as filtration system and two or three veiltail goldfish. Fact is goldfish need a lot of space...so a couple of months ago I started researching other freshwater fish, I was looking for a relatively small breed that wouldn't need an aquarium too big for my house, preferibly solitary but that could have a level of interaction with humans, I wasn't sure such a fish existed.

But it does, it is the Betta Splendens usually known as Siamese Fighting Fish. In Thailand wild bettas are rice-paddy fish, some of them have been found living in puddles formed by ox hooves, they are hardy (even too hardy for their own good) and smart, displaying an amazing level of interactivity with humans.
So I did some more research into their needs and habits... my parents gave us a small aquarium as wedding anniversary gift, and after some planting and water testing, this Tuesday he came to live with us:


His name is Xiaolong 小龍, Little Dragon in English, I couldn't resist, his way of swimming reminded me of a Chinese dragon in flight, moreover I've been told that long-finned Bettas are called 'Chinese' Bettas in Thailand.

He is active and alert, but not alarmed or fearful, has been eating like a piglet (if I fed him every time he asked he'd be double his size by now), he is a Crowntail Betta, about 5 months old, and I guess he likes his new place because this morning we found this:

nido di bolle

He has built a bubble  nest already!
I'm in love with this little guy and I'm looking forward to our adventures together.



March 2013

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