True Life: I’m in Love with my Betta Fish

I actually feel a bit strange for writing this, but I thought it would be interesting to read. About two weeks ago, I randomly decided that I would buy a fish. I’m an impulsive person. Once I get an idea into my head, it will never leave until I have what I want. Literally things pop into my head and I simply have to make it happen. I didn’t feel satisfied until I held him in my hands as I walked through Walmart. Yes, I bought saved him from Walmart.

The whole entire buying process was sporadic, to say the least. I picked out a bowl, food, fish, net, water conditioner, gravel, plastic plant– all the works. I thought that having a pretty Betta fish would simply be something interesting to have, while adding a nice, aesthetically pleasing aspect to my bedroom at school. However, having Bleecker has turned into much more than that. (For those who don’t know, Betta fish are the colorful, flowy-looking ones that are often sold in little cups 😦 ). They are also known for not being able to live with other Betta fish. (oh, and the correct way to pronounce “Betta” is not “Bay-dah,” it’s “Bed-tah”). Their other name is the “Siamese Fighting Fish.” They attack each other until one of them is, unfortunately, dead. They are aggressive little fishes. They get so fired up that even seeing their reflection makes them go into attack mode because they think it’s another fish. So, I have to admit, I began to have a deep infatuation with my fish, Bleecker. (I hope you’re reading this in the semi-sarcastic tone that I’m writing this in).

I think the infatuation began once I made my way to Google. Ahh, Google. I started Googling simple things about them. Then, I clicked on some videos Did you know that people pay around $200 for a “show” Betta fish? When I say show, I mean ones that are similar to dog shows– a competition. A fish competition. They can win depending on their coloring, shape and flare. If you’re super interested you can check out the International Betta Congress to learn more. I had no idea that the widespread fascination and love for Betta fish was this intense.  I even watched some “unboxing Betta fish shipment” YouTube videos and people get really into this. This drew me even more.

I also read about how active they are and that they like to “play.” Did you know that Betta fish can “play?” I didn’t. Learning all of these things brought me deeper into the Betta fish hole. I had to test this theory out. So, I started by taking advice from a username dude “betta_fish_lover” on some random Betta fandom website: I took an expo marker and drew little designs on the outside of his bowl… and he was SO interested. He followed the marker everywhere it went, and continued to stare at the designs after I walked away. Truly, I was in awe. Next step: Getting him to swim through hoops. Fish can play, who knew?

I then decided to take it a step further. I went on Amazon.com and searched toys. I bought him two little green moss balls that he seems to like, and a floating lotus flower he can hide under. After I clicked “confirm purchase” I was thinking, Wow, Mac. That money could’ve gone towards lipgloss.

However, it wasn’t until he got really sick this past week that I felt that little ping in my heart. I realized that I really didn’t want him to die. I did everything in my power; I bought him a heater, thermometer, changed his water again, conditioned it, and moved him to another area in my room. My roommates and I started at him as he sat in the center of our living room coffee table. It was kind of like one of those classic moments “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” I started to think about how depressing it would be if he died, and that I would actually miss him.

I know what you’re thinking… “Uhmmmmm it’s a fish ?? So ???”

But, to me, the following days were crucial. I came home from class and watched him, talked to him in a weird baby voice, traced my finger along his tank and kept family and friends updated. Things were not looking good. He was pale (yeah Betta fish actually get pale like humans when they’re sick), kind of mopey and wasn’t eating much.

It wasn’t until a few days later when he seemed to be looking like he was on the mend! Did you know that they can recognize up to 10 faces? I came up to his bowl and he made tons of bubbles and flared at me. (After Googling, I found out that they make bubbles when they are happy and healthy, and flaring is when they puff out their gills and spread out their fins– it’s kind of cool). After all this, I was thinking wow, what a fish. He’s like my little buddy.

Like I’ve said in other posts, some of my most impulsive decisions have been my best decisions. I never classified myself as being a “fish person” per se, but I like having him around. Overall, having Bleecker has made my life a little more happier. So, if you’re in the market for a fish, I definitely suggest saving one from Walmart.


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