evacuating your bettas

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what to do in case disaster strikes!!



Back in 1994, I had two large glass tanks in my living room. That was before bettas cast their spell on me :) though, so my tanks were purely decorative, housing a number of larger tropical fish. When the HUGE Northridge earthquake hit that night, it took but 10 seconds for it to wreck havoc in our building. Running down the stairs (still rocking) with Ladybug in my arms, while yelling to my Dad (at the time visiting from France and sleeping on the hideaway bed downstairs) to get the heck out, I rushed through the front door, while a tidal wave came sweeping down the building's entrance (the pool's water was all over the place now - except in the pool, that is LOL). So out I was in the middle of the night, in my sleeping gown, wet feet and with my terrified dog in my arms. When it suddenly hit me:

"Oh my GOD! MY FISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!". 

Scared as I was (earthquakes FREAK ME OUT), I handed my dog to my Dad and ran back up to my apartment working my way through broken glass, debris and miscellaneous unidentified objects. It was pitched dark and hard to see anything, but I could feel the carpet was soaked (rats!) . My larger tank (a 60 gal) had completely crashed and was left with only an inch of water at the bottom. Large fish, now laying on their side, were flopping around everywhere. I swiftly (and ever so quickly - cause another shock could hit at any time and I did NOT want to me indoors when it did) picked up fish and tossed them in the other 20 gal which had miraculously survived the ordeal. With a little luck, they would survive (and did).

Thank God our bettas are tough little buggers who can stay out of water for quite some time and still live to brag about it ;). In the case of an earthquake, betta bowls may fly, crash and bettas will probably be OK, for as long as they lend in a puddle or a saturated carpet area. Of course when it comes to a hurricane or a fire, that's another ball game all together.

So if you are ever faced with a sudden, unpredictable catastrophe (fire in your house, earthquake, sudden tornado, husband coming home buzzed,  etc... LOL) and you have to, at the drop of a hat, get all your bettas out of there FAAAAST, this is what you could do (sorted by best but slower method and ending with split second make do method ;)  ).

bulletjars housing bettas are the best way to move the fish pronto. If you have too many to hand carry in a couple trips, then grab a cooler or even a cardboard box, dump 80% of the water out of each jar leaving about 2 inches at the bottom. If you have lids, screw them back on. If not, the water level being that low will prevent the water from splashing out or the fish from jumping out. You can now quickly stack the jars in the box (for they will be much lighter with just a bit of water in them). When grabbing the box, make sure to hold it from the bottom. Even though each jar will be quite light now, all the jars in one box will still get heavy you don't want that box butt to fall out now! It would be best to tape the bottom first, but since we are talking about en EMERGENCY SUPER FAST evacuation, you may not have the luxury to fuss.
bulletcoolers can be very useful, since they usually have a hard shell and also are insulated. I would favor this way of moving the jars. Of course we are NOT talking about a COLD cooler (one with ice in it) DUH! We don't need betta icicles now, do we?? Just an empty, room temperature cooler.
bulletpicnic plastic cups can also save the day. If your bettas are in larger tanks, you can move them out of the house in cups. You'll have to quickly take a plastic cup, scoop up 1 inch of water in it, fish out the betta with a net and dump him in there. Place cup in the cooler or box etc.... Cups may not be stackable though (some stack too tight and will crush the fish in lower cup. So you may have to place cups at bottom of box and place a piece of cardboard and then do another layer of cups. Or leave it at one layer only. Make sure to stuff grocery plastic bags between cups to prevent them from moving around and tipping over (and spilling bettas out). 
bulletfreezer bags can also be used as a last resort. In the case of sandwich bags, use two bags per fish (cause they are not as thick and may leak). Put 1 bag in another bag, to make the whole thing stronger, put 1 inch of your betta's water at the bottom of bag, place betta in it, do not zip up completely, allowing a small opening for air. Make sure bag is not collapsed (flat) when you lay it down inside box. You will have to be very careful when laying bags in the box because they may spill. So they must be secured carefully. Or you can zip them up if you leave a lot of air in the bag (so it is round and not flat), but that can only be OK for a few minutes (until you run out of the house for example). Otherwise your fish may suffocate. Once outside you can open up each bag a bit and secure them carefully so they don't slide around and spill. Bettas could be kept in this manner for days and be perfectly OK, for as long as they can have access to the surface to breath (hence we don't want a flat bag, but a round one with a water surface the fish can get to)).
bulletgrocery plastic bags can be used if you don't even have a sandwich bag (what kind of a kitchen is that??? LOL). A grocery bag could be used to scoop up a bit of water, then you toss betta in there, and run off. Make sure the bag does not have a hole in it! Many grocery bags end up with one and Murphy's law states that if you have 3569456 bags on hand and are in a hurry, you will grab the ONE bag with the hole in it ;P. So my advice, grab several bags, so you have a couple spares to play with.
bulleta moist towel could save your betta (as a last resort only), if you do not have ANYTHING ELSE and MUST exit the house ASAP (say your hair now also caught on fire etc...) you could get a paper towel, soak it in tap water, put your betta in the center, lift up the 4 corners, (don't wrap him though), so betta will be inside it and won't flop out while you  run out of the house. The moisture will keep your betta alive for a few minutes, maybe even up to 1/2 hour or so, allowing you to get to a water source (neighbor bottled water etc) . Better than nothing. Oh, while you get to that water remember to put some on your hair. It's on fire (remember?) LOL.
bulletlast but not least, the complete desperation betta saving trick: If ALL else fails and now your fannies are on fire (along with your hair), and if you have no jar, no coolers, no sandwich bags, no grocery bags and can't even make it to the roll of paper towel (or, if he's anything like Mr.181, your husband used the last sheet and DID NOT put a new roll in the dispenser - figures!), THEN and only THEN you can use this trick: This is the how to save a betta in 0.1 second trick LOL. Simply dip the end of your T-shirt (or dress, or top, or night gown, whatever you are wearing at the moment disaster hits) in the betta's water, long enough to get it wet, then lift up one corner with one hand, toss betta in there (on the wet fabric) and run for your lives. If you however, are in your birthday suit at that moment, well, you're pretty much SOL. ;P (unless you have really really flabby skin that is LOLOLOL).

Needless to say when you have advanced warning and some time and resources, the best way is to evacuate a betta in his jar, placed in an empty cooler (as in one with NO ICE - duh X2). Needless to say it might be smart to keep a spare plastic jar with lid just in case, or even buy a few fish bags from your local fish store next time you are in there and put them aside for a rainy (or fiery) day ;). Remember that when it comes to transporting bettas, what they need most is AIR and NOT water. So always have a 20/80 rule, where 20% is water and 80% is air. A betta in a 1/4 jar with 2 inches of water and LOTS of air can survive up to 7 days even if the jar is sealed. But if you fill the jar up to the top and then seal it, he may be dead within 3 hours or less. 

So there you have it. Remember that "SHTUFF" happens, and not always to the other guy ;).

 Wise Faithyoda spoken once again, has. 



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