Friday, February 1, 2008

When age catches up.

Hi, I'm Rav. 25 this year. A final year EEE student in NTU. I was sitting in front of my computer a few days and I thought how boring it was. You see my pet rabbit, Milo, passed away a year ago. In the 9 years we're together, his been a good rabbit, never bit anyone, loves to be hand fed, damm it's sad. So I seek refuge in my girlfriend's friendly Maltese but come on, all pet owners know while it's fun to play with other's pet, it just isn't yours.

So there I was, sitting in front of the computer remembering Milo, dog, terrapins, Siamese fighting fish, tropical fishes, Siamese fighting fish, Siamese fighting fish, fighting fish. Hehe, fighting fish. I remember when Rav was still young and he started keeping fighting fish as pets since primary school. Though on and off, the most amount he raised was 10 jars of these aggressive little fishes. Loved to see them flare, loved to see them gobble bloodworms and mosquitoes larvae. Back in the days when dengue wasn't an epidemic, he even had his own breeding pot of laraves, bringing tons of mosquitoes into his flat. Haha kids.

I've toyed with the idea of keeping Bettas even when I had Milo, every time I pass a fish shop I'll stop to see if they had any bettas. But I never realize this thought until a few days ago. Keeping a Betta will set you back 2 years commitment, pretty alright for a pet. BUT to make sure it's not a moment of impulse, I slept on it. When I woke up, I still wanted to keep some bettas, hell I wanna realized my childhood fantasies and breed those little bundles of joys. Well if it's worth doing, its worth doing it all the way.

Step one was to keep it a secret from my mum. Mum has never been much of a fan for all my pets. My dad is an animal lover; he is always very involved in all the pets I kept.

Step two is to look for a pair of lovely bettas, some breed that reminds me of my childhood killers. I scouted at least 10 shops around the Bedok area and realized that it's so hard to fight short fin "wild" bettas and to scare the shit outta me, all of them are over-priced, show bettas from $8 to $30. Well I don't mind paying that kind of money for "wild" bettas, but I'm not into show bettas. The reason why I like betta so much is that they are aggressive, hardy, fierce and very very very pretty. So I scout around the net and discover Sam Yick carries bettas. By the way I bought Milo from Sam Yick.

That very evening, when my Dad returns home. I told him, "A... Pa, I wanna keep fighting fish". Heh you can see the sparkle in his eyes when I said that, maybe that reminds him of me when I was a little boy. The next thing he said was, "Where you wanna go and buy? DUN TELL MOTHER!" LOL, like father and son.

So with my dad and girlfriend (YES, Rav likes to get everyone involved), I drove them to Marine Parade, and discovered that Sam Yick has high-ended themselves. The moment we went in, my dad went "There! Fighting Fish!" And we scramble there like 2 old kids getting their first pet. My girlfriend promptly went to the mammals section, gals dun seem to like fishes very much (Mums included).

But happiness turns disappointment. All show bettas. *Sigh* After lingering for a good 10 mins there, one of the shop assistant came over to see if he can help. I gave a disappointed "That's all ah?" He tried recommending a $30 show betta and I went nah. I'm looking for short fin wild betta. He went "Got.", when inside and took out a bunch of bags tied together on a string. "This type cheaper, $3, I no space to put that's why put behind."

Immediately Rav was a happy boy. These bettas are short fin, stout bodied, big headed, though I don't think they are true wild breeds, these are exactly the kind I was looking for. And $3 was the kind of money I paid like 10 years ago! Rav is happy, very happy. All childhood memories fulfilled.

I won't call myself a betta expert, but from my past experiences, fierce bettas are not those that flare like crazy in a shop. Those that flare too much has barks louder than bite. The true fierce ones are those that are not afraid when you try to agitate them. They'll just look you in the eye and give a "bo-chap" look back. These are the ones that'll kill another when they have to. I got one with just that attitude and a female from a community tank. Females are more easily available than 10 years. Which makes realizing my dreams a lot easier.

Back home with my pair, I am expecting a fierce flaring mother. The moment I step in I went, "HUAT AH!" Bought fishes back to block disasters for 2008! Think my mum mellowed down, she didn't seem to mind at all.

Conditioned the 2 stressed bettas for a while in their package before putting them into their separated tanks. Good thing Nparks didn't chop down the Ketapang trees beside my flat. Have been soaking leaves for extract since the afternoon.

Now at 25, Rav has money, childhood experience, Ketapang trees and the internet. I went crazy getting supplies these past few days for conditioning the pair and trying out breeding for the first time, something I've always wanted to do when I was a child.

Hehe childhood hobbies become more enjoyable when you grow older. I like :)

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