22, pink hair, cosplayer, costume designer, lolita fashion enthusiast. Co-runs a cat blog over at ironicallyahipster. sewmybraintogether for all sorts of bipolar mood fun.
Cis, 'she' pronouns


So I have a new fish

Got home from work yesterday and my roommate shouted from the window that I now owned his girlfriend’s betta fish. 

So he’s in my 10gal that was empty at the time. He’s been sitting on the bottom a lot but I think (hope) that’s just stressed from the move (he got driven from Eugene to Ashland in a tupperware). 

Apparently a friend of my roommate’s girlfriend asked her to take care of him when he was on vacation a year ago, and then never came to pick him up. She’s been changing the water and feeding him, but isn’t really attached to him.

I’m a little concerned about his little stick-looking fins on the bottom. Those aren’t normal, right?

Anyway, I don’t know much at all about bettas, so if anyone has advice or can see if he’s sick or something, I’d appreciate it.

Tank’s a cycled 10gal, filtered with a sponge filter and an HOB filled with sponge and a carbon filter (Ashland (OR)’s water is bad enough that the carbon really helps, according to the fish store around here). I know that the tank’s pretty bare but I’m going to get some more silk plants when I get paid on Wednesday.
All of the decoration in there were fine for my ghost shrimp for two months. Is there anything that they would be able to stand that might be toxic to the betta? There’s no shrimp in the tank right now. They died right after I moved because of the shitty water quality where I’m living. I’m going to take it out as soon as I have plants to put in there, but I don’t want to leave him in a bare tank (I’ve sort of been playing with making an underwater tea-apocalypse for fun while the tank was uninhabited, and my roommate didn’t realize that I wasn’t 100% sure if they were fish safe) I wasn’t planning on getting another fish before figuring out if the carbon will take care of the bad water either, but this was a bit unplanned. I’m using Prime as my conditioner and testing the water with a liquid test kit.
I’m feeding Omega One and gave him some frozen bloodworms because I had some and he ate pretty happily.

The bottom sitting and the fins really worry me. Can stress cause him to sit like that? He’s breathing pretty heavily when he does that too, but he only does it for maybe five minutes at a time tops, but when he does he’s all the way on the ground and not moving his fins.

Any advice at all from anyone? @kai-ni, you’ve helped me out in the past so I’m tagging you. Aaagh I feel so unprepared! I really want to take good care of this guy. Any help from anyone is majorly appreciated.

(Roommate keeps talking about getting other fish to put in there. He apparently fell in love with silver mollys. I had to explain to him why that’s a bad idea. He’s a great guy, just a bit uninformed and misinformed since apparently he was told at petsmart that they’re compatible)

Spent all of work writing a drinking song about my ex-girlfriend, log on and check the pub? I’m dead. Zombies are not so good at drinking songs.

Zambaghz, mah zambah ay graaarghfriend nope my zombish is so rusty that I can’t even try to translate.

graaaarghlfriend is a thing I’m starting now.

What I’ve found out about fabric and fish tanks.

Whole thing inspired by a conversation on kai-ni's blog
Okay. Here’s the shortish version. When I finish writing the long version with cited sources I’ll put it on googledocs.

Disclaimer: I may be wrong. Follow this advice at your own risk. When in doubt, do your own research. I am not responsible for any harm that happens to your fish, your plants, your tank, or your ego.

The answer is:
Nylon or Organic/unweighted silk
That has been extruded with the colors in the fiber or dyed with acid dye (The dye is in the fibers, not printed on)
That you have washed to clean any water-soluble chemicals in
That you have treated the edges so that they will not fray
That you keep a very close eye on when it’s in your tank to make sure it is not degrading…

…will not be more dangerous than many of the things commonly recommended to be put in fish tanks, in most cases.

With the reasoning under the cut. If you get bored, scroll down to the bolded text at the bottom to know how to make sure you’re getting the right fabric.

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Continuing my decoration of the fish/currently just shrimp tank.
Back in Ashland so I’ll be getting a betta soon, since there’s a store here that sells healthy ones.
Should probably see if I can get some floating flowers or something to balance shit out, or just some more plants so I can take the ones I don’t like out and hide the sponge filter, and the heater when I put that back in.
I’m probably going to move the baby tea set to the front and the butterfly to the back, but I also really like it how it is right now.
(And yes, all the teacups are safe, even the baby ones. I did my research.)

Continuing my decoration of the fish/currently just shrimp tank.

Back in Ashland so I’ll be getting a betta soon, since there’s a store here that sells healthy ones.

Should probably see if I can get some floating flowers or something to balance shit out, or just some more plants so I can take the ones I don’t like out and hide the sponge filter, and the heater when I put that back in.

I’m probably going to move the baby tea set to the front and the butterfly to the back, but I also really like it how it is right now.

(And yes, all the teacups are safe, even the baby ones. I did my research.)


The “string in jars of water test,” day 1.

TL;DR Don’t put cotton embroidery floss in your tank because it’ll fall apart and leak something into your water. Want to know how and why?

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Anonymous asked
is a sheet like fabric okay to put in a tank if never washed in soap before? i was trying to think of diy betta hammocks u.u


Um, I would say no - most fabric is dyed or otherwise treated, or washed before being sent to store.

I’m not good at fish but I’m good at two things and those are stalking Kai’s blog and fabric. Don’t worry, there’s a tl;dr at the end.

Disclaimer: I’m majoring in costume technology. I’m not a professional. I’m just going to a sewing school. I’m also boring. I could be totally wrong about my assumptions of what I know being applied to a fish tank environment, but here’s what I know:

There’s three types of chemicals that tend to get into fabric.

  1. pesticides from growing the fiber (cotton)
  2. dye to color the fiber
  3. treatments to put on the fiber.

So, you can’t remove pesticides that have grown into the fabric, so cotton’s right out. Cotton also decomposes underwater, so you don’t want anything with cotton thread at all, because rotting things in a tank is bad. 

There’s three major types of dye: Direct dye, Acid dye, and Disperse dye. 
Direct dye’s the stuff you use when you make tye-dye shirts. You put the dye on the fabric, wait, and then wash. This stains the fibers, but it’s not a molecular thing. It’ll wash out if you leave it in water. Direct dye’s out. Direct dye’s are also what is used to make cute cotton prints, so double reasons why cotton’s a bad call. 
Disperse dyes are used to dye polyester and acetate. They need chemicals that are dangerous enough that a lot of dye carriers won’t stock them. 
Acid dyes are used on natural fibers (and rayon, which thinks it’s a natural fiber) and bond on the molecular level, using a low-acidity acid like vinegar. I would be confident that putting a 100% silk fabric dyed with acid dyed (non-print) IF:

it has no sizing or wrinkle treatment, etc, on it. 

This is tricky to find. 
There’s one group of textile nerds that I know who are VERY SPECIFIC about getting fabric with no factory treatment on it: people who hand dye things. Dharma trading has fabric that is washed but not bleached or optically whitened and I trust those people. 

And when the term “washed” comes up, industrial washing isn’t the same as at home washing. There are chemicals added in to the cycle, but almost all of the dirt removal is done by mechanical action, because 1) the fewer the chemicals, the cheaper the wash and 2) soap left in the fabric attracts dirt and the fabric gets a reputation for dirtying up fast. Also, this washing is done as the fabric leaves the plant. 

High agitation and large water volume in a soapless wash can greatly reduce the chemicals. I don’t know if this would be to an aquarium-safe level and if you’re concerned then you should either do more research or not risk it. 

On that subject, though, let’s talk about fabric things you’d buy to put in your tank. 

All fabric, ALL fabric, is washed in some way before leaving the factory. The production of the fabric leaves chemicals on it from cleaning the machines, the rollers, etc. This also leaves nasty dirty-looking marks. If your fabric product doesn’t have nasty dirty marks, it’s been washed. This includes ANYTHING fabric that you’d put in your tank. Silk plants (which are usually made of a synthetic material dyed with direct dye) and pantyhoes are not excluded from this. 
My guess would be that if the brand that makes your silk plants also sells a ‘betta habitat’ marketed for betta that is unsuitable for betta, they don’t give a shit about whether their fabric plants are aquarium safe. I’ve also seen people suggest putting pantyhoes in a tank for various reasons. Likewise, nylon’s a synthetic fiber that’s probably covered with chemicals from the process of creating it, and those are going to be almost identical chemicals no matter what fabric or from where. Nylon’s plastic, so the dye won’t leach out, so at least you have that? But any textile at all that you don’t pull from the middle of the production plant is going to be washed and covered in chemicals. 

TL;DR Kai’s right. 
If you’re going to put anything fabric in your tank, it’s been washed with some intense chemicals that are like souped up versions of our laundry soap. 
If you’re concerned about this, read up on the industrial washing process, and be very careful about what silk plants you buy, because some companies aren’t going to care about your fish’s safety like you do. 
If you’re interested in finding fabric that does work, go with undyed natural silk meant for textile painting. 

Sorry that that’s so long. I just get excited about researching.

I did some things to a fish tank.

(Just so no one gets concerned: All the china is food safe. Spent a bit of time on the phone confirming the safety of the tiny tea set, actually. There’s currently no fish in the tank, just ghost shrimp. I don’t want to get a fish and then have to stress it out moving to Ashland so soon).

Now I’m going to blah design at everyone because I’m a designer and it’s what I do.

  • Before tank had nothing on the back which meant all the wires show, and personally I found this ugly.
  • Started by putting my mom’s teapot on a blanket with a teacup and drawing them in sharpie. Just some shittiness to get the basic shapes down so I can take that with me and remember the shadows. 
  • Cut some bristol vellum to the size of the back of the tank. Started drawing that with markers (mostly copic wide, but used my 5 year old prismacolor cool gray set a lot though). Did the teapot and the cup first. Stupidly did this based off looking at the real things and not at my little sketch, so the handle’s off and the cup’s skewed and I forgot to draw in the crack. That’s what the sketch is for, dammit. (Also sketch makes me keep the light source more consistent, I find)
  • Kept the sky blobbly and dark because it’s underwater. Kept the sand poorly-shaded becuase my marker ran dry. Also note that there’s a Chromatix marker in the corner. Those fucking markers are pieces of shit and you should never buy them because the color is uneven between the ends, the brush tips don’t work, the caps let the colors dry out in less than a month, before they’re dry they put out way too much ink and bleed on every type of paper including watercolor, and they’re incompatible with copic and prismacolors.
  • Then I just taped it on the back of the tank with scotch tape. The HOB impeller is still in the way, and I can’t move it because of the way the holes in my hood are. The sponge filter’s in the corner being a sponge filter. The heater I took out because there’s no fish in there yet, and the shrimp don’t really need it.
  • As mentioned before, the teacup and the tea set are food safe so I’m assuming tank safe, and the thing that looks like pink and purple feathers is made out of silk, super glue, and an old plastic plant. Since the plastic plant’s meant for aquariums, I was told super glue’s fine for aquariums, and the fabric’s 100% silk and won’t degrade underwater and dyed with acid dyes that bond to the fibers on a molecular level and won’t leach into the water, and I took care to keep the fraying to a decorative level and all loose fibers have been removed and can’t come off the plant, I believe this to be aquarium safe too. The safety of the tank inhabitants overrules any design aesthetics that might be questionably safe.

There’s also my little spoon to feed everyone with, since I’m allergic to shrimp and don’t like sticking my fingers in Omega One Betta in case I’m stupid and touch my eyes or something, and it’s got a high enough shrimp content to be a problem.

Putting this up here mostly in search of critique.

I need ideas for a fish backdrop for a tank based on a destroyed tea party. I’m pretty good at drawing scenes so I was hoping for something alone those ideas?


What every conversation I’ve ever had with a pansexual person sums up to when asked why bisexuality is different from pansexuality. (No one’s ever explained it better. Can someone help me out here?)