Animal Care and Education Coordinator Zoo Med Labs
Thank you for picking up this issue of The Vivarium and Aquarium News. As the summer months wind down and temperatures begin to drop, we here at Zoo Med Labs, find ourselves as busy as ever. Our reptiles bred in the spring, laid eggs in the summer, and their eggs are hatching now. We are busy building new habitats for hatchlings, upgrading enclosures for growing juveniles, and preparing all of the animals for the cooler winter months ahead. Animal caretakers have been pleased to have several animals hatch including a couple of new species for Zoo Med. This has been our first year to hatch Marginated Tortoises (Testudo marginata) and the endangered Forsten’s Tortoise (Indotestudo forstenii.) Show season is in full swing with reptile and aquarium shows and expos almost every weekend.
In June, I had the opportunity to attend the International Betta Congress’s (IBC) Annual Convention held in San Jose, California. For anyone who has never been to a Betta show, you really should think about attending one. Fish are shipped in by breeders from all over the world and judged against the standards set forth by the IBC. The “Fish Room” is filled with hundreds of fish of all different colors and varieties. Judges spend hours evaluating the fish focusing on their fins, body, and attitude to determine winners of each class and finally the Best of Show. Once the judging is complete, winning fish are announced and breeders are recognized for their breeding and showing accomplishments throughout the past year at the annual awards banquet. Finally, many of the fish that breeders worked so hard to produce are auctioned off to other hopeful champions, new breeders, or people looking for a new, beautiful pet. The Betta breeders at this convention display such an incredible level of enthusiasm for their hobby that I cannot help but be inspired. The delight that is expressed as breeders discuss their animals is clearly worth the months they have devoted to the caring for these spectacular little fish. It was the fascination and passion that a few people had for Bettas that prompted them to start a community focused on these little gems. Over fifty years later, that shared interest continues to bring Betta hobbyists together with a strong sense of camaraderie and allows them to share knowledge, experience, and ideas. Between caring for animals, attending shows and conferences, and other summertime activities, there is little time or much else, but I hope that in your downtime, you will enjoy reading this issue of The Vivarium and Aquarium News!
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