Funny How A Betta Named Backpack Lead To My Multiple Tank Syndrome

  • #1
Ok I am not going to lie, I am a day ahead here at work and I have nothing to do today and I am already bored, so this is going be a VERY long post lol. But this morning as I made my rounds turning on aquarium lights, I had to stop and ask myself, how did I get here? What is going on? Why do I now have so many aquariums?! How has one tiny little fish turned me into a slave to my new fishy masters?

Let me back up to earlier this year, my son and I were in town and he asks if he can have a fish again. We have always had bettas, and other fish, but after his last betta died (RIP Speed Racer), he did not want any more fish for a while. Well, the time had come yet again. I said sure, why not! So we bought him a betta that he named Chungus, and I re-named Chimichungus, because its more fun to say. We go about one whole week owning one whole fish before the urge becomes too great for me to overcome.... and now I want a betta. Of course, why didn't I see this coming? I spent over an hour looking at bettas before finally settling on what I can only describe as the most beautiful lil fella I have ever seen in my life. He was a butterfly betta and I named him Butters, AKA "Lil Butt Butt". We rock right along for another month or so before we come across this poor betta at walmart that is on his last leg (fin?). I cannot stand to see things suffer, and I had heard rumors of walmart no longer selling fish in the very near future, so I decided to get him. My husband rolls his eyes at me when I come home with a third betta. And this is where the madness begins.

I had bought this betta but was completely unprepared to house him. I bring him home and get him out of that nasty poop water he is floating in, but now I need to find something to temporarily house him in until I can talk my husband into letting me get yet ANOTHER tank. I mean two tanks I could get away with, honestly he barely even noticed them. But three tanks? Yeah I don't know about this, but I'm gonna try!! I find an old glass gallon jug that used to house a terrarium, cleaned it out, and put the little walmart betta in it and put him on the end table next to our chair in the living where my husband spends a great deal of time when he is home. Over the next week or so I butter him up really really good. I tell him to "look at that poor little walmart betta in this jug. He needs a filter! He needs a heater!! Look at him, he is so cold (cue big sad puppy dog eyes because it's 68 degrees in our house), and he is jealous, he said he is down here in the little cardboard box in the alley and our other fish are in the luxury suites!! We have to get him a real tank!" I laid it on THICK.

Well, next thing I know, he has named the little walmart betta. He is now "Backpack". Why? I have no idea, but that is now his name. So there Backpack sits in the jug on the table next to the chair where we both sit in the evenings. He is on my husband's side of the chair (it's like a big 2 person recliner) and the two of them start interacting a lot. Backpack and my husband have formed a bond. YES!!!! I explain to him how bettas can't really live in a jug permanently, and I really need to get him an aquarium and I start throwing ideas his way like how I could order another 5 gallon one like the tank I got for my betta because I have amazon points and it would cost us nothing. The next thing I know he is wanting a 50 gallon community aquarium.

HOLD UP. I never said anything about 50 gallons, I said 5. Where are we going to put a 50 gallon aquarium? We go back and forth for a little while and I suggest we go to the pet store and see what they have in the next couple of days if he is still home (he works out of town a lot). So, as luck would have it, the next day he is home and we go into town to the pet store and find a tank we can both agree on. A 38 gallon kit that had everything we needed to at least get started. We buy the tank, a stand, gravel, and head home to get everything set up. Ol' Backpack might be in the cardboard box right now, but he is about to have a penthouse suite!!

I did not have enough filter media to spare from my other 2 tanks to really get a cycle started, so we had to do it the long hard way. So while we are waiting the several loooooooooong months for the 38 gallon to cycle I did copious amounts of research into what fish could make great tank mates for a betta. I finally decide on several varieties of rasboras and cory cats. I went to school with the lady that is over the aquatics department at our local Petco, so I call her up, tell her what my plan is, and that I would like to order some fish because our tank is FINALLY cycled and I am almost out of ammonia to feed it, so I need to get some fish in the next week or two. She says she will order them and to call her the next week to see if they have come in.

WELL..... I call and no my fish have not come in yet. Call again next week, surely they will be in by then she says. So I call again the next week, same story, she is not sure what the deal is. But she says I just got a shipment of neons in, they will be about the same as the chilI rasboras you ordered, do you want to try them just so you don't lose your cycle? Sure. I will try it and if it doesn't work out with the betta, I guess I'll just use those amazon points to order him a 5 gallon lol. We also got some cory cats and some butterfly loaches. Well, to make a long story short, even after spending several hours drip acclimating the neons, all 20 of them died over the next 24 hours. Sorry Backpack, you have to stay in the cardboard box just a while longer until we get your new house and housemates in order! After we've done all of this for one little walmart betta, I was not about to let HIM die! I am already a fish serial killer thanks to those neons, I can't kill anything else!

We have pretty high PH (8.2) so I feel like the shipping stress combined with our much higher PH was just too much for the neons. Lady in aquatics agrees. So I take them back and they did refund my money, so I had a credit to get more fish. At this point, I am scared to get the chilI rasboras only to have them die. And since it has been almost a month since I ordered my fish and none of them have come in yet, and we lost both our butterfly loaches, the only thing still alive are my cory cats screw it. I will just buy something they have in stock. So I decide on some platys. They aren't aggressive, and they are really pretty, hopefully it will work out with Backpack. If not, there are always those amazon points lol. We get a couple varieties of platy, with a decent ratio of male to female so there is no fighting. Everything is peaceful! We finally add Backpack to our community tank and he gets along with everyone so well and I am so proud of him! I decide this is all the fish we need for now, and who knows if my order will ever come in, so this will do. We were very proud of ourselves at that point, we finally had a community tank!

Now anyone that has had platys before can probably see where this is going. But me being the livebearer noob that I am, greatly underestimated their reproductive abilities. I truly thought that most of the fry would be eaten and we would not have any sort of population explosion. BOY WAS I WRONG. Oh I was SO SO wrong. It seems like every day, there is a new batch of babies being born. We have SO MANY FISH! We need to get this under control before we are over stocked.

So, fast forward to this past weekend. We decide something must be done about these platys. We have plenty of hiding spots in our tank for everyone, babies included, so we had to strip the tank completely bare. We caught ALL of them dang babies.... and let me tell you, it was no easy feat. We spent about 10 hours working on cleaning the aquarium and catching babies. My living room was full of 5 gallon buckets holding everything from plants to baby fish. I rig up a few extra air lines off the bleed line for our big tank's air pump and plop them in the various 5 gallon buckets of fish I have everywhere because this is taking a lot longer than I anticipated lol.

I rummage around and find an old 3 gallon tank that we can use to temporarily house some of these baby fish. I separated males from females, and all the babies went in with the males until they are old enough to be sexed. But it's only a 3 gallon tank, so 1 of the males went into my son's tank (10 gallon with 1 betta and 2 snails) and the other went into my 5 gallon with my betta and one snail (this is only temporary, but for the record they are doing great with each other), and the other went into the 3 gallon with the babies. But now I have a 5 gallon bucket full of pregnant females. They obviously can't stay in this 5 gallon bucket permanently, so we are going to need another tank.... So off to walmart we go to get one of their 10 gallon kits and a heater.

I start researching how long we need to leave these females in this tank to avoid them giving birth to any more babies in our 38 gallon. Apparently, the answer to that question is.... FOREVER lol. I knew that live bearers were sort of like chickens (I am a crazy chicken lady) in that they could hold onto sperm until they felt the time was right to have more babies. Little did I know they can hold onto sperm for OVER A YEAR!! So what started off as just one fish, then two fish, then three fish... turned into a plethora of fish!

But wait, there is more!! While we were shopping for our 38 gallon tank, I spotted a betta at the pet store (not the same store we bought our other fish at) that was, for lack of a "betta" term, ugly. I mean, honestly, he looked like a fish version of a pug, so ugly that he was adorable. He was surrounded by the most beautiful bettas, most of which were dead. His little eyes peered into my soul and in that instant, I knew I had to have him. I knew I had already gone too far by bringing home the 3rd betta from walmart that was on death's door. There is NO WAY my husband will EVER let me get this betta. I was getting out of control. Well, over the several months our tank was cycling, we made many more trips back to the pet store and there was that little ugly betta every time. I honestly could not believe he was still alive, most all of the other bettas around him had died. I thought about him day and night for a month. On my birthday, my husband told me to get in the car, we were going to get my fish!!! I finally redeemed those amazon points and ordered him a tank!! He went to work with me and is now my office buddy. His name is Deadpool. So, that is my story of how one fish named Backpack lead to a whole chain of events that eventually lead to my case of MTS.

We now have 6 aquariums. Granted, 2 (or probably more like 1) of them are temporary. I do plan on eventually sexing all of the baby fish and keeping only the females. My brother has agreed to take all of our males and if we ever decide to have more babies, they will be bred in the 10 gallon that all the females are currently in. Once they have their babies, I plan on putting them back in the 38 gallon. If anyone else decides to cash in their sperm packet and become pregnant after we have moved them back to the big tank with no males, I have a breeder box to put them in until they give birth. Hopefully this plan works!

I hope this tale of fish fiascos has at least made someone chuckle at me as much as it made me chuckle at myself this morning. As I am going around turning on lights and making sure everyone survived the night, I just had to stop and ask myself "How did you get to this point??" and it all came flooding back to me, all that we have been through in the last year and how we went from one tank to 6.

Here are some pictures of all of our Bettas and their tanks, plus our other betta-less tanks, because no story is complete until you can put a name with a face!

Here is my son's betta Chimichungus:

Chimi's Tank:


My betta, Butters AKA Lil Butt Butt:

Butters Tank (You can't see him because he was still in bed, shhhh):


The star of the show, Backpack!!:


Our community tank, minus most of the community for the moment (They're in the Maternity Ward and Nursery) all that is in here with him currently are our cory cats:


My little work buddy, Deadpool when I first brought him home in April:

Gus Gus.jpg

Deadpool now that he has been in a proper tank and grown his fins back:


Deadpool's tank at work (I know it's small I accidentally ordered a 3 gallon instead of a 5 gallon, but he is about to get upgraded!)


And last but not least, our Maternity Ward, where these pregnant platys will stay until they give birth, them I will put them back in our community tank (they can see the community tank up and to the left and cannot figure out why they can't swim over there) I know there is a disturbing lack of live plants in here, but I don't want to have to worry about tearing them up to catch babies later!:


WHEW! Sorry that was such a long post, I doubt anyone makes it this far, but maybe one of these days someone will stumble upon this and laugh at my ignorance, yet also learn a very important lesson about plays.... that they are like rabbits of the fish world!!
  • #2
Welcome to Fishlore that’s quite a story but a fun one to read & a cautionary tale that this hobby of ours is an addiction..... too many fish, not enough tanks!
  • #3
Love it. I have learned over the years that there is no cure for our disease but then, who would want a cure for it.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
I thoroughly agree!! I don't want a cure haha. There is just something about aquariums that is so relaxing. I could sit there and watch my fish all day! And now that I have an aquarium in dang near every room of the house, it's so much easier to do!!
Sugar Plum
  • #5
Loved this story! Am officially avoiding platys like the plague.
  • #6
What a cute story, I love all your little bettas!
  • #7
That's so great you can keep a fish at your work. Love the story too
  • #8
I just bought a betta while looking for filters and heaters. For my other 2 bettas. So now I have Peppito, doom head, and now an almost solid black male now named pitch. Lol
I need a car but fishhh are beautiful and amazing.. And expensive... But it's ok Iol my friends and boyfriend are going to kill me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • #9
Haha! Loved your story! I think the only cure for that is a thin wallet and a strict family member . Anyway, thanks for the story!

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