Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Does that sound like appropriate prey BETTA FISH for a Fighting Fish? I didn’t think so. Fishy Wishy needed something more challenging. Off to the pet store I went. I discovered the wonders of “brine shrimp”. Brine shrimp are very tiny creatures that swim around in salt water. The pet store worker will scoop up a quantity of brine shrimp equivalent to half the population of a small country and put them in a bag of water for the easy price of $2.00. Arriving home beaming at the thought of feeding live prey to Fishy Wishy it dawned on me, fresh water Bettas…salt water brine shrimp? Problem. Not one to let a small technicality slow me down I decided to take out a couple brine shrimp, rinse them in fresh water and release them into Fishy Wishy’s tank. The brine shrimp didn’t seem to mind their new environment, possibly because we all expected their visit to be a short one.

Betta Fish

My first observation was that Betta Fish Wishy seemed to “hear” the brine shrimp before he could see them. The shrimp were behind a rock and there was no line of sight between them and their new predator. Fishy Wishy immediately went into “hunter mode” as I looked on in anticipation. Fishy Wishy closed in on his prey, then paused, and again moved even closer. Within seconds he took his first victim and then his second. He never felt so alive before…“we” never felt so alive! What could be better than lightly salted shrimp snacks that you can hunt down and eat, all without having to leave your home? With a rinsing bowl of fresh water and a bag of potato chips, both of us snacked
through the rest of the afternoon.

Brine shrimp do not last forever in a bag of water and unfortunately I had about 30,000 remaining. Putting them in the refrigerator helped slow their decay but as they started to go belly up one by one
I desperately needed a way to preserve Fishy Wishy’s food supply. After all, $2.00 here and $2.00 there can add up quickly. I thought, “If cooling them down in the refrigerator helped slow their decay then let’s go all the way.” I would put them in the freezer but before I go on, some points
of clarification.

First: Unlike Sea Monkeys, after freezing or drying, brine shrimp do not come back to life. I was so disappointed.

Second: While it is evident that I can become somewhat attached to a pet fish, brine shrimp do not fall into the same category. Brine shrimp are objects of food for my beloved pet. In my mind, they are not, themselves, pets. They are pet food and as such, being frozen to death is perfectly justifyable in this case. It is important to set your priorities straight, right from the start: Pet, Pet Food.

Now that we cleared that up, how would I freeze 30,000 fresh water-rinsed brine shrimp? In ice cube trays, of course. Yes guests could get confused while mixing drinks but the convenience was too hard
to resist. I mean, after all, each cube would be like a little Betta Fish frozen TV dinner. Pop it out of the freezer, directly into the tank, wait 30 seconds and dinner is served. Fishy Wishy tried pressing his fish lips against his first ice cubed dinner but that proved uncomfortable so he resolved to simply wait below the floating mass. As it thawed, one by one little shrimp snacks would drift down and Fishy Wishy would snatch them up. So much entertainment for just $2.00 a bag!


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