Updates: Fish, Flowers and Fiction including The Martian & Godzilla

Kiryu carrying half a blanched pea.

Kiryu carrying half a blanched pea.

Kiryu carrying half a blanched pea.

War In Flesh is off again and this time I am well pleased with how it’s going. I had to purchase a new computer and between that and working overtime lately I haven’t had any time for writing or blogging. Whilst setting up my new computer I went ahead and cruised the interwebz for some kind of editing software, with an emphasis on affordable (read “cheap” because I had just had to buy a new computer) and found something I kind of like.

I did make time this last weekend to read a novel. The first new fiction I’ve read in quite some time, as it turns out. I’m really glad that the novel I chose was The Martian by Andy Weir. It reminded me of how much I love reading science fiction. I’m also very much looking forward to the movie. In fact I’m going to put the trailer right here:

Casting Matt Damon as Mark Watney is brilliant. For my full review keep an eye out for it at Fangirl Nation

Also, Toho is planning on releasing a new Godzilla movie in 2016. This is in addition to the planned sequel to Gareth Edwards Godzilla due in theaters in 2018. Add Pacific Rim: Maelstrom into the mix for 2017 and we have monster movies coming out once a year for the next three years. Yay! That is, presuming everyone stays on schedule.

Alright, we’ve dealt with fiction, on to fish. Gipsy Danger died. I tried everything to diagnose and cure him but there was just nothing that helped. Looking back I think he came to me with a chronic columnaris infection that finally caught up to him. He had a mark on him that I thought was just a part of him but now, in hindsight I think it was the columnaris infection and I just didn’t know what I was looking at. Anyway I tried everything and nothing worked. Poor Gipsy fought a good fight but it was just too much for him. I did 25% water changes daily. I adjusted his heater, put aquarium salt in the aquarium and in the last days, desperate, I put antibiotics in his water. Nothing helped. 12 hours before he died he was riding the current from his filter like he loved to do. He couldn’t flare at Scunner because the snail climbed up to the top of the mountain decoration and refused to go back into the water after the antibiotics were added. I took him out of the tank and put him in another tank.

Gipsy Danger the crown tailed betta named after a Jaeger

Gipsy Danger the crown tailed betta named after a Jaeger

The hour during which Gipsy died he wanted to be close to me. He swam up to the front of his tank and stayed near my hand. I put my fingers on the glass and he hung there near them. Then he died. We buried him underneath a rose bush. I miss him still.

I evicted all of the other residents, bleached everything with 2% bleach water and got the tank set up again. The next day we went out and got Kiryu. He’s no Gipsy Danger but he did need a good home. I didn’t realize how hungry he was when we bought him. He was starving. He’s been eating hungrily and getting more color every day. He was mostly white when I got him but now he’s mostly blue and red. He’s beautiful and he has also claimed the whole 10 gallons for himself. Also he discovered his reflection the other night and spent a good 20 minutes vigorously defending his territory from himself. It’s almost time to put Scunner back in the tank. We’ll see how Kiryu likes him.

Taboo

Taboo

Finally Flowers. The flowers have been gorgeous this year. I’ve gotten a bouquet of roses every week all summer long from my rose bushes. The lobelia bloomed and is still blooming. The mallow plant bloomed and the flowers lasted for the hummingbirds. There were two nests of hummingbirds this year and they had many chicks. They usually got up early and hopped around the clerodendrum having breakfast from the flowers for an hour before moving on. I loved to see them bounding around and chirruping.

The Continuing Story of a Betta Named Gipsy Danger

Gipsy

Gipsy's new tank

Gipsy’s new tank

Degarla, alas my Degarla. As it turns out Degarla was a girl snail. Ebriah was not a girl snail. I discovered this when I checked the tank on Christmas morning to feed everyone and there was a gift of a clutch of eggs left on the edge of the tank. It didn’t take any time at all to discover that Degarla was the generous one who left the gift.

What I did not know was that female snails will leave their ponds and go in search of new ponds to lay eggs in. Sadly, our house is a vast desert and Degarla was not found for 36 hours. She was closed up tight and still alive but dying. I quickly put her back into the water but that only led to a lingering death. I called the pet shop to ask if there was anything more I could do and they said no. I still miss her.

Ebriah has since fallen into a deep depression—either that or he’s hibernating or maybe even dying, although I hope he’s not dying. The death of Degarla led to a huge ammonia spike in my 5.5 gallon tank. It was so bad that Gipsy Danger got ammonia burns on his face and beard. In a bit of a panic, since I didn’t want to loose Ebriah, Gipsy and the Vashta Nerada I put Gipsy in a small hospital tank and went out and got a 10 gallon tank (on huge sale) and a stand (also on sale) for him.

Gipsy

Gipsy

Since Gipsy Danger is such an alpha Betta and since he didn’t seem to care to share his tank with any interlopers I got the 10 gallon tank all set up, let the water cycle and then put him in by himself. He enjoyed the space but he didn’t seem like his normal self.

So after a few days I put some cherry shrimp in the tank with Gipsy and he immediately, and I might add happily, started chasing them around. He never catches them but it makes him happy to have something small and not fish-like to chase around a bit.

My cherry shrimp have had at least one surviving little shrimplet and is carrying another clutch of eggs. The ghost shrimp are settling in as well. One of them had a clutch of eggs but they never hatched. I don’t know if it was because of the ammonia spike or just because ghost shrimp are difficult to breed in an aquarium with a betta in it.

cherry shrimp

cherry shrimp

I put a lot of plants in my aquarium too. It turns out that the only plants I can keep alive in the house are aquarium plants, so now I have an indoor garden too and Gipsy likes playing in them, the shrimp like hiding in them. The snails seem to enjoy uprooting them. Well they used to. Ebriah doesn’t much like the big tank. He hasn’t been himself since Degarla died. I kept Ebriah in the big tank for two weeks and he never came out of his shell. Occasionally he would stick his siphon out but he never really moved around. So I put him back in the smaller tank. I hope he’s ok and he’s not dying too.

Gipsy is doing very well. His ammonia burns healed up within the first week in the new tank and he sleeps and plays in his aquatic forest. I put in a little forest for him and he sleeps in it. After the first day he stopped chasing the shrimp around most of the time. Once in a while he’ll still chase them but I think he likes having them around to play with. I got him a new cave and he still likes to pretend he’s a moray and jump out at the shrimp to watch them scatter.

Gipsy and Vashta

Gipsy and Vashta

A Productive Superbowl, Writing was done

Gipsy's new tank

Well, gentle reader, despite Seattle throwing away the Superbowl with that last play

Gipsy's new tank

Gipsy’s new tank

call, I got a lot done tonight. I got a chapter of new content written for The Shadow of the Hand of God and I’ve written and pre-scheduled the next four posts for the little blog here. One for each Saturday in February. Three about Magic: The Gathering and one about my Betta and the sadness of a lost snail. So the good news is that there will be blogs and maybe some extra ones as topics suggest themselves to me.

I’m really getting excited about the re-write of The Shadow of the Hand of God. I think it will be better, more accessible and more interesting. As I get closer to having it completed I’ll post some of the new content. K.

Ghost Shrimp, Vashta Nerada, Catfish, Gallifrey and Gipsy Danger–Yeah

Gipsy Danger the crown tailed betta named after a Jaeger

Ghost Shrimp named The Vashta Nerada

Ghost Shrimp named The Vashta Nerada

A blue and red crown tail betta named Gipsy Danger (once again, don’t judge me), is the first pet I’ve had in 20 years. I have a lot of repressed pet love that is being showered on this particular betta. Gipsy has a 5.5 gallon tank, into which I’ve placed two mystery snails — Degarla and Ebriah Horror of the Deep (remember – no judging). I have so much repressed pet love, even the snails are spoilt. I can’t let them go hungry though, that’d be cruel.

The snails have not seemed to be able to keep up with the algae growth in the tank, possibly because I feed them algae rounds once a day to make sure they don’t go hungry. They came home from the pet store absolutely starving, it would be cruel to continue that.

So Today I picked up 10 ghost shrimp and 1 tiny little catfish. They eat algae and the shrimp are alleged to eat any leftover betta pellets that Gipsy doesn’t eat. I deliberately asked for the most drab and small catfish in the shop so as not to cause Gipsy any grief.

To be honest, I knew better. The shop keeper said that the betta could share the tank with a small, non-aggressive fish if there were some place that the betta didn’t claim where the new fish could hide and stay. Gipsy claims every inch of the tank. I knew that but I tried it anyway.

Ebriah and ghost shrimp

Ebriah and ghost shrimp

First I gave Gipsy a special snack of freeze dried daphnia. While Gipsy was distracted I sipped the Ghost Shrimp into the tank and then the small catfish. I chose not to name any of the newcomers at first because I wasn’t sure how Gipsy would react to them, so at this point they were nameless.

The Ghost Shrimp were so fun to watch. They went into a frenzy of feeding, eating just as fast as they could. I have to confess that I was completely delighted by them as they swam around. But there was still Gipsy to make the final decision.

Gipsy seemed unconcerned with the newcomers, until the catfish moved. Then Gipsy noticed it. Whoa! Gipsy flared his gills and fins to the maximum. I had no idea his gills would flare like that. I hoped that Gipsy would calm down since the catfish was completely cowed by him but no. Gipsy kept at it until the poor catfish ran away. That was an even bigger mistake because Gipsy chased it and nipped at its fins. I finally had to rescue the poor catfish because Gipsy would not tolerate its presence in his tank.

Fortunately another member of the household had a tank with a more welcoming betta and the catfish went in there to live happily and be named Gallifrey. Gallifrey settled in nicely and the betta in that tank won’t chase it unless it darts in front of him.

Gipsy spent the rest of the afternoon being very affronted that I would even imagine that another fish would be permitted to live in his tank then transitioned into being insufferably smug that he successfully defended his territory. Gipsy is VERY territorial, even for a betta. I’m not really all that surprised.

Gipsy Danger the crown tailed betta named after a Jaeger

Gipsy Danger the crown tailed betta named after a Jaeger

The Ghost Shrimp were next to be noticed by Gipsy. For some reason Gipsy is more curious about them than anything. It helps that they scatter out of his way any time Gipsy gets close to them. Gipsy has not threatened them, even on the few occasions when they have caught his attention and he’s followed them to see what they are up to. Gipsy seems ok with invertebrates but Will. Not. Tolerate. Another fish.

After several hours with the ghost shrimp in the tank and Gipsy behaving like normal, as opposed to the flaring and posturing when the catfish was in there I decided it was ok to name the ghost shrimp. This was another problem because I had 10 of them and I couldn’t tell them apart. They were and are delightful but I can’t tell individual shrimp apart. This suggested a hive mind type of name so I started thinking about what monsters I knew that fit that description. Meganula from Megaguirus was a possibility but somewhat obscure. The Cybermat was an option but not one that really moved me. Then I hit upon Vashta Nerada and it said yes to me.

Degarla and Ebriah, all terrain snails.

Degarla and Ebriah, all terrain snails.

So now I have 13 residents in my aquarium: A crown tail betta named Gipsy Danger, 2 mystery snails, Degarla and Ebriah Horror of the Deep and 10 ghost shrimp named The Vashta Nerada. My hope is that they all live happily together for as long as their life spans permit. K.