Normally I keep all my private and personal affairs just that: private and personal. But something very bizarre occurred the other day, and I have got to know if I am the only pet owner on the planet who has ever had this happen!
Almost two years ago I purchased a red betta fish. I named him Clifford after the character in the children’s TV show, Clifford the Big Red Dog. He was a great little pet, and I initially kept him outside. Eventually, though, he became an indoor fish, and I really enjoyed his company.
Unfortunately, I gave him too much TLC; that is, I overfed him. He died, so I bought a replacement after a while, another red betta. I called him Red because it was simple and easy, and it would not make me feel like I was replacing my last pet in every detail.
I had Red for two to four weeks before he decided he wanted a better view of the room and jumped out of the tank to expire on my carpet. If I had been present when this happened, I would have saved him, but I was out most of the day that he decided to take the leap and croak on the floor. When I got back I thought I had an enormous bug on my carpet, until I turned on the light and saw it was actually my dried-up pet fish.
After a week or two, I decided to give owning a Siamese fighting fish another chance. I purchased another red betta. Feeling that this fish might not last any longer than my previous ones, I gave him the tongue-in-cheek name Crimson Typhoon. For those of you who have not seen Pacific Rim, Crimson Typhoon is the name of the Chinese Jaeger which dies within five minutes of entering a battle onscreen. I figured that if this little guy was going to croak as fast as the others, he ought to be aptly named.
But I have had Typhoon for nearly a year, and so far he had been doing fine. That is, he was doing fine until yesterday morning.
At some point in the early morning or late that night, I heard a noise. Not one to go poking around after things that go bump in the night, I tried to place the sound and decided at last that what I had heard was an annoying songbird which has been hanging around the window screens for most of the month. When I got up later on, the first thing I did was go to check on and then feed my fish.
But my fish was not swimming around the tank. My first thought was a French word, followed by the notion that he had died and was at the bottom of the tank somewhere. Then I got closer and saw him stuck between the lip of the glass tank and a cone I had had made to keep him from committing suicide in the same way that Red had.
More French words followed this discovery, and I began trying to figure out how I would get him loose so I could bury him. As I began trying to shift the cone, that stupid fish moved!
Once he flapped against the plastic, I recognized the sound I had heard in the night and nearly cursed my own stupidity for not knowing it sooner. I desperately freed him from his confinement and, catching him as he flopped about on the table, dropped him back inside the tank. As I did, I knocked over the cone which had been erected to keep him safe, though he had managed to find a way to thwart my protective measures.
I was furious and I let him have it, shouting at him and calling him a stupid fish. The poor little guy was so traumatized from his night out of water that he had clamped fins, and for a while, I thought I had pulled them off in trying to free him. His tail had already lost some of its feathery parts, and I was horrified at the idea that he would be a cripple for the rest of his likely to be short future. Luckily, he moved both his side fins after a time and I realized they were still attached.
Not trusting him to stay in his tank, which I had been planning to clean that day anyway, I pulled him out and put him in a container until the tank could be cleaned and new security measures put in place. All day I berated him for scaring me half to death, though I also thanked God he had not died in the middle of the night. I do not know how long he has left in this cruel world, though, and that is why I have written this post.
Readers, I cannot be the only betta owner on the planet who has had this sort of thing occur. I just cannot be the only one. It is not possible.
The tank I keep Typhoon has the approximate volume of a milk jug. It is made of glass and it does not include any sort of filtration system. It is open to the air, which I why I have put a lid on it after this pet rescue. The lid is of a thin plastic with lots of holes punched in it so that Typhoon can breathe. (Bettas need to have filtrated or open air tanks, since they do not take all of their oxygen straight from the water.) Because his tank is near a window, I bought a Tetra submersible heater for him. It is supposed to heat two to fifteen gallon tanks and it seems to work just fine.
I also have a moss ball in the tank to supply extra oxygen for him as well. I was hoping it would serve as a fish bed, too, but Typhoon usually ignored it as such until recently. There is gravel in the bottom, covered by decorative glass pebbles. I am going to feed him a green pea soon, as research I did said this was healthy for bettas and helped keep them regular.
Please let me know I am not the only owner of a Siamese fighting fish who had to rescue it from a near suicide attempt!!!!
The Mithril Guardian
At your service!
P.S. My moss ball has a tendency to float after I squeeze it out when cleaning the tank and put it back in the water. Has this occurred with anyone else?