I’m Serious About This Fish Thing

I did say in a previous post that we had five pet fish in the house–four little orange ones of a breed I don’t know, and a Betta. Two days ago, that population was reduced to just one–the Betta.

Last Tuesday morning, I held the wide-mouthed fish food container sideways towards my son and asked him to take a pinch of pellets out and drop them in the bowl . I didn’t think anything could go wrong. We had done this countless times. For some reason, though, Jed decided to be a little playful with how he put his fingers in the container. I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but he ended up accidentally dropping way more pellets than needed.

From where I was standing, it didn’t look like an alarming and dangerous amount. I thought about changing the water anyway, but I was running late for work so I just decided to change the water when I got back.

While I was at work, I did not get a single call or text that the water had turned murky. Or that the small fish had all died! When I saw the fish bowl that night, it looked like a bowl of sinigang. The small fish were only visible because they were floating right by the glass. The Betta, which was still alive and swimming very slowly, could only be seen if it happened to swim close enough to the glass. The water looked that bad and it reeked.

I rushed downstairs and transferred the Betta into a jar of clean water I had prepared for changing and gave it some food. I wasn’t really sure if I was supposed to feed it. I was just panicking at that point. After I cleaned the bowl (with my tears!), I put him back in it and that’s when I noticed that his appearance had changed.

His fins and tail, which used to be a combination of red, orange, and violet, had turned gray. They looked translucent and frail, like sheets of paper that were about to tear. His body had turned mostly black and only had very little of its normal blue color remaining near the head. But the little guy kept swimming. It was a bit slower than his normal pace, but he was swimming.

The following day, I was happy to see that he had recovered all of his beautiful colors and was himself again. I tried explaining to my son that the feeding incident killed the small fish. I don’t think he understands, though. This morning, he was still looking for the other fish.

I, on the other hand, am officially adopting this Betta.

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