Monday, September 27, 2010

Underwater Spaces

The photo released on January 6, 2009 shows the unique dining room "Ithaa" of the world's first underwater restaurant at the Conrad Maldives Rangali resort in Maldives. The US$5 million restaurant was constructed 5 metres below the waves of the Indian Ocean, offering 270 degrees of panoramic views of the sea-life. Designed by a New Zealand firm and constructed in Singapore, the restaurant was installed in November 2004 and took a team of divers and 50 locals 13 hours to set in place under the waves.

I want to stay here when I go to that part of the world :) This is the Nautilus Undersea Suite at The Poseidon Resort in Fiji. It's located 40ft under the water! Awesome :) Link

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bitter Sweet Betta Love

The Embrace

When Betta love is in the air, and the female is in pure sight, the male will look like he is possessed. Basically the testosterones are up the roof :)) !!! He’ll swim like crazy, darting and flaring and attacking the glass, unable to get to the grand price (yet). Meanwhile she is a bit worried but soon figures out he can’t get to her, so she starts teasing him: “Look but don’t touch!” and might even flare back at him :).

Male gets busier still, alternating his showing off macho attitude with frantic building of a nest. He’ll keep blowing bubbles on one hand and huffing and puffing at the female on the other for the next day or two or even more. But as soon as he has built his nest, or got a good head start on it, you should release the damsel.

Then he realizes she is in reach, and she realizes that she can get her little fishie butt kicked, so a lot of confusion will take over the spawning tank. Some pairs may be gentle with each other, other will beat the crap out of one another. Usually, it is the female that gets picked on and after the first bite from the male she starts running for her life. That is normal. He will chase her around and nip her and she will run away for a day or two or even three.

The female will usually figure out a way to hide from him, usually behind the corner filter, heater and of course the bushy plastic plant you have placed inside the tank for her protection. Her fins will be frayed, but usually she will take quite a bit of abuse before being truly endangered. Some males do kill the females though so you need to be the referee and keep a close eye on the honeymooners :) at all times.

Then, out of the blue it seems, she decides she is not scared anymore and she swims up to the nest, checking it out. If she likes what she sees, she allows the male to get close and if all goes well, they start telling each other they like each other: She swims with her head down (often with her fins closed), indicating she is now submissive. He stops beating her up and instead starts swimming in an S like motion, rubbing his body against her (sheeesh this is starting to get a bit risque!!) :)))))

There she is, with her head down, under the nest, ready to start spawning. He tries to figure out the best angle to approach her for the embrace. They often swim in circle, clockwise or counterclockwise, trying different angles and it often takes a while before they figure out how to do it best (some male NEVER do figure it out! Ha!! And finally: BINGO!!!! The male successfully wraps his body around the female’s and squeezes hard, they lock in that position for a few seconds, sometimes sinking both at the bottom, still not letting go of each other (how romantic!) :)

Finally, eggs drop slowly like little snowflakes, and the male releases her and swims away, usually to the bottom of the tank, looking for the eggs. She lays motionless, floating pathetically, paralyzed. I am not sure why that happens, but the advantage is that it gives the male a chance to collect most of the eggs before she has a chance to get to them. He will collect them in his mouth and spit them back into the bubble nest. This can go on all day:)

After this long ritual, the male takes care of the nest and fry for the first few days. He will rearrange his nest, move the eggs around, clean them up, pick them up in his mouth, “gargle” and then spit them back out. He will also vent them with his pectorals to keep water circulating and prevent the fungus from attacking them, repair the nest, blow new bubbles to replace the ones that have popped, scan the bottom of the tank for any fallen eggs and immediately place them back in the nest. Once the fry are hatched, he keeps them from sinking to the bottom by catching them and carefully placing them in the nest until they are free swimming.

Dad works overtime!
Dad is awesome!

~ excerpt from :)

What it Means to be a Betta

Warrior fish? They look so cute, but -- they're vicious?

Bettas are very aggressive. They're so ferocious, the show "Animal Planet" had a program called "Top Ten Fiercest Fighters in the Animal Kingdom," and bettas were ranked second, even higher than the Tasmanian devils. Bettas have little teeth, and they're very fast. They chase and bite each other -- all you see is a flurry of flaring, thrashing and splashing. It is chaos in the water!

Do gamblers bet on betta fights, like they're pit bulls?

The "Animal Planet" program showed Thai men placing their bets on two bettas that were then put into a single tank. There was blood in the water instantly, and sometimes they fight until death, other times not, depending on the rules and the legality of the situation.

Bettas have to be isolated from each other, right? Because they'll fight if they're together?

All male bettas have to be separated due to their aggressiveness. Some females can be together -- if they are sisters, for example -- but some can't, and you never know.

Flaring? What does that mean?

Flaring means to spread your fins out, like a peacock. Males do it when they are angry or excited or want to impress someone. Flaring male bettas also open their gills up -- this makes their faces look big and fierce.

How Much do Betta Cost?

Prices vary immensely. Bettas cost almost nothing in a pet store, but if you want to buy an orange half-moon with a prize-winning pedigree, that can cost up to $100.

Betta prices also depend on their color. There's a wide variety: red, yellow, black, etc. Opaque white is very popular right now, and there's a breeder in Sacramento, Gilbert Limhenco, who solidified orange recently, so that color is now being bred like crazy. Personally, I'm interested in copper and black bettas.

What are Betta Shows Like?

Betta shows are like dog shows -- it's where breeders show off the fish that they have bred. The bettas are judged on color, shape and deportment. A betta with good deportment is one that acts active, flares a lot and carries himself with confidence

What are Your Betta Like?

I currently own a royal blue/white Crowntail male named Icy & a steel blue/pink Crowntail female named Shi, which I plan to spawn soon. All my Betta get the best treatment and are pampered how they deserve to be. Lots of room, blood worms on the menu everyday and plenty of attention :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Betta Plakat - Underwater Warriors

The plakat is just the short finned version of the Betta Splendens. There are wild-type plakats (which look like the bettas caught in their natural habitats), Traditional Show plakats (symmetrical wild-type finnage with some enhancement), Modern Show plakats (multi-branching caudals, extended dorsals, longer anals/ventrals, cultivated colors) and Fighter plakats (bettas that have been selectively bred for fighting ability, such as aggression, sharper teeth, harder scales and longevity).

Plakats are generally more active than the long finned version, not being hampered down with excessive finnage. This, along with their resistance to disease, makes them a favorite among betta enthusiasts and collectors.

Plakat derives from the Thai word Plakad which means fighting fish and does not really restrict to one specific strain of betta. These Plakad can be wild caught or bred in captive.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Betta of the Day - Nemesis

In Greek mythology, Nemesis (Greek, Νέμεσις), also called Rhamnousia/Rhamnusia ("the goddess of Rhamnous") at her sanctuary at Rhamnous, north of Marathon, was the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris (arrogance before the gods). The Greeks personified vengeful fate as a remorseless goddess. The name Nemesis is related to the Greek word νέμειν [némein], meaning "to give what is due". The Romans equated the Greek Nemesis with Invidia.

"Nemesis" is now often used as a term to describe one's worst enemy, normally someone or something that is the exact opposite of oneself but is also somehow similar. For example, Professor Moriarty is frequently described as the nemesis of Sherlock Holmes.

The word Nemesis originally meant the distributor of fortune, neither good nor bad, simply in due proportion to each according to what was deserved; then, nemesis came to suggest the resentment caused by any disturbance of this right proportion, the sense of justice which could not allow it to pass unpunished. O. Gruppe (1906) and others connect the name with "to feel just resentment". From the 4th century onwards, Nemesis, as the just balancer of Fortune's chance, could be associated with Tyche.

In the Greek tragedies Nemesis appears chiefly as the avenger of crime and the punisher of hubris, and as such is akin to Atë and the Erinyes. She was sometimes called Adrasteia, probably meaning "one from whom there is no escape"; her epithet Erinys ("implacable") is specially applied to Demeter and the Phrygian mother goddess, Cybele.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thai Magic Verse

The following ancient Thai verse is a magic spell to use when you feed the fighter. The magic verse wills your Betta to become the winner. This verse is meant to tell the fighter keeper is looking after his fish well. When feeding his fighter the keeper will focus his eyes on his fish. The spell in the verse is to trick the keeper into concentrating on his fighter. Then the fish becomes the center of focus, not the owner. In that moment the owner may observe the readiness of his fighter.

"นะกัดตัง กะขะชนะ
ตัวข้ามีกำลังดังพระยา ปลาในมหาสมุทร
พุตากะเก เขี้ยวแก้วทั้ง 4 ดุจตรีเพชร
หนุมาน มะอะอุปลา ใดมารอนราน วินาศสันติ"

"Oom you are the real fighter, the Superior.
You are the Mighty Mega-power Worrier, the LORD of all fish in the Oceania.
Your dynamic crystal scale is as tough as armour diamond.
The four quartz teeth as sharp as Shiva's spear
Hanumana, Oh the great fish, no one can defeat you, the Destroyer."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Water Sprite of the Day


Octopuses are highly intelligent, likely more so than any other order of invertebrates. The exact extent of their intelligence and learning capability is much debated among biologists, but maze and problem-solving experiments have shown that they do have both short- and long-term memory. Their short lifespans limit the amount they can ultimately learn. There has been much speculation to the effect that almost all octopus behaviors are independently learned rather than instinct-based, although this remains largely unproven. They learn almost no behaviors from their parents, with whom young octopuses have very little contact.

The octopus has a highly complex nervous system, only part of which is localized in its brain. Two-thirds of an octopus's neurons are found in the nerve cords of its arms, which have a remarkable amount of autonomy. Octopus arms show a wide variety of complex reflexactions arising on at least three different levels of the nervous system. Unlike vertebrates, the complex motor skills of octopuses in their higher brain are not organized using an internal somatotopic map of its body. Some octopuses, such as the mimic octopus, will move their arms in ways that emulate the movements of other sea creatures.

In laboratory experiments, octopuses can be readily trained to distinguish between different shapes and patterns. They have been reported to practice observational learning, although the validity of these findings is widely contested on a number of grounds. Octopuses have also been observed in what some have described as play: repeatedly releasing bottles or toys into a circular current in their aquariums and then catching them. Octopuses often break out of their aquariums and sometimes into others in search of food. They have even boarded fishing boats and opened holds to eat crabs.

In mythology, the Hawaiian creation myth relates that the present cosmos is only the last of a series, having arisen in stages from the wreck of the previous universe. In this account, the octopus is the lone survivor of the previous, alien universe

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Water Sprite of the Day


Anglerfish are the members of the order Lophiiformes (pronounced /ˌlɑːfiːəˈfɔrmiːz/). They are bony fish named for their characteristic mode of predation, wherein a fleshy growth from the fish's head (the esca or illicium) acts as a lure; this is considered analogous to angling.

Some anglerfish are pelagic (live in the open water), while others are benthic (bottom-dwelling). Some live in the deep sea (e.g. Ceratiidae) and others on the continental shelf (e.g. the frogfishes Antennariidae and the monkfish/goosefishLophiidae). They occur worldwide. Pelagic forms are most laterally (sideways) compressed whereas the benthic forms are often extremely dorsoventrally compressed (depressed) often with large upward pointing mouths.

The fish are named for their characteristic method of predation. Anglerfishes typically have at least one long filament sprouting from the middle of the head; these are the detached and modified three first spines of the anterior dorsal fin. In most anglerfish species, the longest filament is the first (the illicium). This first spine protrudes above the fish's eyes, and terminates in an irregular growth of flesh (the esca) at the tip of the spine. The spine is movable in all directions, and the esca can be wiggled so as to resemble a prey animal, and thus to act as bait to lure other predators close enough for the anglerfish to devour them whole. The jaws are triggered in automatic reflex by contact with the tentacle.

Some deep-sea anglerfishes of the bathypelagic zone emit light from their escas to attract prey. This bioluminescence is a result of symbiosis with bacteria. The bacteria may enter the esca from the seawater through small pores; however, this is speculative and the mechanism by which ceratioids harness these bacteria is unknown. In the confines of the esca, they can multiply until their density is such that their collective glow is very bright. In most species, a wide mouth extends all around the anterior circumference of the head, and both jaws are armed with bands of long pointed teeth, which are inclined inwards, and can be depressed so as to offer no impediment to an object gliding towards the stomach, but prevent its escape from the mouth. The anglerfish is able to distend both its jaw and its stomach (its bones are thin and flexible) to enormous size, allowing it to swallow prey up to twice as large as its entire body.

Some benthic (bottom-dwelling) forms have arm-like pectoral fins which the fish use to walk along the ocean floor. The pectoral and ventral fins are so articulated as to perform the functions of feet, enabling the fish to move, or rather to walk, on the bottom of the sea, where it generally hides itself in the sand or amongst seaweed. All around its head and also along the body, the skin bears fringed appendages resembling short fronds of seaweed, a structure which, combined with the extraordinary faculty of assimilating the colour of the body to its surroundings, camouflage the fish in areas abundant with prey.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Way of the Samurai

During the 9th and 12th centuries in Japan the warrior class were known as samurai, also called bushi (knights/warriors - bushi hence bushido). They emerged from the provinces of Japan to become the ruling class until their decline and later total abolition in 1876 during the Meiji Era.

These warriors were men who lived by Bushido; it was their way of life. The samurai's loyalty to the emperor and his overlord or daimyo were unsurpassed. They were trustworthy and honest. They lived frugal lives with no interest in riches and material things, but rather in honor and pride. They were men of true valor. Samurai had no fear of death. They would enter any battle no matter the odds. To die in battle would only bring honor to one's family and one's lord.

Bushido, the way of the samurai, grew out of the fusion of Buddhism and Shintoism. This way can be summarized in seven essential principles:

Gi: the right decision, taken with equanimity,

the right attitude, the truth. When we must die, we must die. Rectitude.

Yu: bravery tinged with heroism.

Jin: universal love, benevolence toward mankind; compassion.

Rei: right action--a most essential quality, courtesy.

Makoto: utter sincerity; truthfulness.

Melyo: honor and glory.

Chugo: devotion, loyalty.

- Makoto
Note: In some context, this character can mean letter; news or envoy. However, alone, it will generally be read with the honesty-meaning.

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