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Caring for Your Marafin: An Exclusive Guide


by liraelforever

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The Marafin is perhaps the most sought-after Petpet available. An elusive little fellow, a Marafin fetches upwards from 20 million Neopoints on the Trading Post. Perhaps its high price is due to its immense rarity as an impossible-to-get Supporter prize from the second Maraquan War, or maybe those shiny baby blues are just too much to resist. Whatever the case, if you've got the time and finances for one of these persnickety little Petpets, you need to know the basics. After all, your Marafin(s) can only thrive under very specific conditions.

I've divided this article into some handy categories so that you can peruse at will or only skim what applies to you. Be sure you have the time and energy for the demanding Marafin, for they can be quite a handful. But, if you're willing, the emotional rewards you will reap are well worth the many expenses.

#1: Tank

Firstly, you need a tank. One Marafin (and you really should get it some tank mates, as they are quite sociable - preferably of a smaller but more flashy schooling species. Multi-painted Primellas are best) requires anywhere from 150-375 gallons of space, a serious investment. Although there are some very high-quality lightweight plastic models on the market today, you should probably spend an extra couple thousand to get a beautiful, gleaming glass model. To hold such a mighty behemoth of the deep, you also need a stand. Although wood can often be very beautiful, always have it lacquered black and smooth to hide scuffs and unsightly water damage. Also, be sure your stand has plenty of hidden shelf space for supplies. Glass tanks need to be cleaned monthly if you really want them to shine, but thankfully, this task isn't too much of a problem. And afterwards, your tank will glisten more radiantly than a Diamond Hot Dog.

#2: Water

Yes, water. Ordinary tap water is too heavily chlorinated and laced with harmful chemicals which can be very damaging to the Marafin's famously sleek scales. I personally use a plethora of different products, always starting with the essentials: unfiltered Terror Mountain glacial water.

Glacial water?

For tropical Petpets?

Uh-huh. Glacial water is the purest, most natural artesian water available. After letting it heat to approximately 77.3 degrees Fahrenheit, (further discussed in #3: Heating and pH) the preferred temperature for the sensitive lungs of Marafins. I also use about forty percent water distilled from the Mystery Island Techo Mountain caldera, which contains 14 rare minerals that can only be found in a few places scattered across Neopia, so I have a 3:2 ratio of glacial to caldera water.

After combining the two waters, you have to ensure cleanliness. I use about three to four drops per hundred gallons of Nereid's Cleansing Formula, available by special order on the Shop Wizard, which keeps nitrates and other harmful things, like the noxious tank invader Fluorescent Algae, at bay. However, if you really want your water to be the purest in Neopia, you'll need to use some Light Faerie Dust, which runs from about 400,000 Neopoints. Despite the weighty price tag, this dust is well worth it. Just half a pinch and all disease, droop, or malcontent in your aquatic flora or fauna instantly disappears, like... well... magic! (A note: excessive use of Light Faerie Dust can cause a glowing, silt-like residue to build up on your tank walls, and it's nearly impossible to polish out without the help of professionals, which can come with heavy price tags of their own. Don't overdo it.)

#3: Heating & pH

As mentioned above, Marafins are discerning little creatures and prefer a temperature of a balmy 77.348 degrees Fahrenheit. To get the perfect temperature does not mean letting your precious glacial and caldera water to evaporate into the atmosphere as you attempt to heat it "naturally"- you'll need a water heater. At about 38,000 Neopoints a canister (you need three for a 200 G model), they, like most other supplies, can burn a large hole in your checkbook.

pH is slightly less worrisome, because Marafins can tolerate anywhere from 5-8 on the scale. But, if you want the perfect environment for your little bundle of slippery joy, a pH measurer is the way to go.

#3.5: Lighting

This section could have probably fit into #3, but I think it deserves a little "half-category" because it is very important.

You want your Marafins to be able to bask in the warm Maraquan sun without frying them to a jumbo-sized seafood crisp from fraying electrical cords. What you need is some Virtupets LED iridescent film lights- one for every side of the tank. I recommend that you have two smaller bulbs with one moonlight and one daylight setting to give a more soothing impression in the evening. Be sure to turn them off after ten P.M. if you- or they!- ever want to sleep.

Lights are also important in #5: Plants.

#4: Gravel

Often making their home in abandoned treasure chests, Marafins are mesmerized by glistening jewels. Considering all the hard-earned money you've invested so far, you're probably wanting a little pocketbook breather.

Ha!

If you want your Marafin to really enjoy him or her(self), you need a mixed gravel bag of crushed diamonds (small enough so the sharp edges won't damage your Petpet's fragile, tissue paper-thin scales), rounded and polished shards of Maractite artifacts, such as old reliquaries and ceremonial masks, and, scattered throughout, genuine Hermiteese Egg rubies. Rounded like glowing red marbles and about the size of a large Kau eye, these shining beauties can each cost 3 million Neopoints alone. This is perhaps the most costly of the categories, because for a tank as large as 290 G, you're going to need quite a lot of gravel! Perhaps you should befriend your local jeweler?

#5: Plants

Marafins love a good game of underwater hide-and-seek, as they're quite the playful creatures! And what better way to indulge their love of fishy espionage and shade then to fill their tank with beautiful, healthy plants?

Although Underwater Fishing is cheap and easy, the only plant that your Marafin might enjoy would be the pretty Shimmering Seagrass. (Also, as a note: the Seagrass often comes with some little extras thrown in- namely, ghostly little Spectral Shrimp clinging to the roots. Creepy as they may be, these little guys are actually excellent tank cleaners, and, at night, give your tank an all-natural moonlit glow that is absolutely breathtaking.) Other than that, you should probably check out a marine plant breeder near the Rock Pool. They have specialized environmental kits to simulate the natural sea floor and can help you aquascape your tank. Make sure you have the proper lighting to ensure growth, and talk a lot with the plant breeder about what gardening techniques and tips might apply to you.

Terracing is a good way of displaying your gorgeous underwater flora. Kind of like the rice paddies near Techo Mountain, graduating heights of gravel throughout the tank can lead to a gorgeous, natural effect. To keep your plants lustrous and glowing, release a Bottled Water Faerie into your tank. Even though your Kougra may not kick as many pets out of the Battledome ring without the magical boost, a Water Faerie is a grateful and indispensable tank-mate. Able to communicate with your Marafin, she can even forewarn you in her squeaky little voice of scale rot or other maladies.

#6: Decor

Ah, yes. Decor. This kind of falls in with the last category, but this time we're talking sculptures. Mini-palaces, shimmer, glitz, and coral-studded caves that bubble and fizz.

Since Marafins adore places to hide, you might want to get him or her and beautiful piece of underwater "property". No, not one kitschy little "No Fishing" sign- a beautiful, minutely detailed palazzo grande of style. Perhaps a miniature tea house and rock garden, complete with bonsai tree and a soothing bamboo. Or maybe a gorgeously luxurious opal-studded palace plucked from the pages of a storybook, perched high atop a delicately rendered mountain cliff?

If you have an artistic bent, perhaps you might try your hand at sculpting your own farmer's cottage or Nereid's grotto. Or, if you really want to go all out, head to an antique action and pick up some Maractite vases for an authentic Maraquan flavor. Whatever your style, nothing is too expensive or luxe for your Marafin.

So, now that you've read through the categories, are you still prepared to go out and buy the Petpet of your dreams?

I certainly hope so. Come on, chop-chop!

'Til next time.

 
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