A Fishy Story

red bettaMy fascination with fish began a few years ago, about 2008, when I was asked to fish-sit my neighbor’s betta (okay, maybe I fed the dogs too).  But he was your typical, red, veil-tail betta, and he was the coolest fish ever.  He used to rocket to the top of his bowl and then float casually back down to the bottom.  With his tail all fanned out as he gracefully floated down, he looked like an autumn leaf gently drifting to the ground.  My neighbor and I would drink wine and just watch him.  Total zen.  That fish lived for at least 4 years.

She made taking care of a betta look like such an easy thing to do, so I just had to get one for myself.  We were all very excited to have a new member of the family!  AJ joined in on the fun and got to name him… Bob (because eventually that is what he would do… you know… bob, :P).  No official tank stuff needed, just a bowl and partial water changes once a week, feeding once a day… easy peasy.  Bob lasted a mere 6 months.

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Bob #1

Being a new fish owner, I had no idea how fragile these guys actually were.  The plants I had put in his bowl were plastic, and he had a ragged treasure chest/castle thing to swim in and out of (fish enrichment, you know).  The ragged edges of the plants and treasure chest shredded his fins and he died.  Yes, I cried as he was flushed out to sea.

Bob #2 was going to have a better life.  Jamesy got me a nice rectangular 10-gallon tank with a heater and filter system.  I got rid of the plastic and went with more natural feeling, softer plants.  I also eliminated the treasure chest and put in a fun circular log for enrichment.

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Bob #2’s new tank

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Bob #2

I think Bob #2 lasted about 6 months as well… if.  I didn’t know you had to cycle a tank to bring the water up to standard, so he developed ich.  And died.  Again I cried.

Once Bob #2 died, I decided to move onto a different type of fish… something that was more hardy and wouldn’t die so easy.  Enter a school of neon tetras.  Cool looking, but pretty boring. A betta has tons of personality, but tetras have all the personality of a sardine.  So James went to the fish store and bought me about $70 worth of cool fish as I wanted him to pick out the next batch.

Tragedy soon ensued when I forgot to wash my hands one time before reaching into the tank water.  The lotion from my hands created a toxic environment for the fish, and I lost about 10 in a matter of 3 days.  That little incident is now referred to as Armageddon.  There was 1 lone survivor… James’s otocinclus, a sucker fish, aptly named Otto. Have you ever seen these things? Not at all attractive.  But oh, what a survivor.

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Not my oto or picture, but Otto looked just like this.

My neighbor felt quite sorry for me, so she decided to get me a swordtail, supposedly a more hardy fish, and actually quite pretty to look at.

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Not my swordtail.

Eventually she gave me a male from her own tank to go with my female.  The inevitable happened… no, they didn’t die… they had babies!!  Swordtails give birth to live fry, so I had all these little things swimming around my tank!  I promptly went to get some floating plants to give the babies some cover so they wouldn’t become dinner or get sucked up into the filter!  One actually survived the whole ordeal!  This is Little Guy:

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The mother soon perished after giving birth (surprise, surprise), but the male survived and Little Guy survived, who grew up big and beautiful.  Come to find out, Little Guy was actually Little Girl and soon had babies of her own!  THREE of her fry survived to grow up big and beautiful as well!

Five swordtails and an oto in one 10-gallon tank wasn’t a good thing, so James found me a lovely 35-gallon tank to transfer the whole family over… all except for Otto… he wasn’t having it, and trying to catch an oto is near impossible, so I let him be.  Unfortunately, once again, 6 months after I transferred them to their new home, all 5 of them perished in about a week of each other.  However, this little tragedy was baffling because I actually did cycle the tank and the water before transferring them, and my water was pristine.  I even added medicine to the water once I realized something was going wrong.  And the catfish didn’t get sick at all.

You’d think I’d give up by now, don’t you…

Fast forward to today… I now have 3 angelfish, 2 in one tank, 1 in the other.  Otto died a couple of months ago from old age (!), and I’ve had my angelfish for a couple of years.  They’re the only ones who can survive my hands of death.

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Moral of the story:  While having a betta is great fun, don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s easy.  Fish are hard work and temperamental little bastards.  And once you start, you will never ever stop…

Who owns fish?!  Have you been sucked into the bottomless abyss as well?

 

55 thoughts on “A Fishy Story

    1. neveradullbling Post author

      No! I had no idea they could train fish!! How cool is that! What kind of fish get trained?! I totally want one!! You’ll have to ask your mom and dad if the fish tanks were a pain… your mom probably did all the work behind the scenes, lol! My grandparents had a fish tank and I don’t remember it being this hard either… maybe it’s our water quality these days. Or maybe I just wasn’t meant to have fish, lol! Only cats! 🙂

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Haha, thank you!! It seems that every time one of them dies, I get another to replace it, so they never go away! Otto had his own 10-gallon tank for a couple of years and I was waiting for him to go so I could eliminate one of the tanks, but noooo, my friend had to go plop an angelfish in it, and they’re known to live 10 years or so. But as it’s mine, it’ll be lucky to live 5, haha.

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  1. niki

    nope. Won a goldfish once when i was a kid. It lasted less than a week :-S I used to work at sea, though, and I’d see literally thousands of flying fish every day in some regions. I never got over that sight. Loved it.

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Oh, that would be a sight to see! Fascinating! Somewhere in our state is a river where people boat down and get bombarded with flying fish of some sort. People have actually gotten hurt from getting hit in the noggin with one, haha!

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  2. Rebecca Royy

    We have a betta in a bowl right now too! It’s blue and very pretty. Since its our only pet, my husband is very attached to it. We’ve had it since Christmas. I hope it keeps living!

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      I’m so happy to hear I’m not the only one who gets attached to their fish, lol! All I can say is good luck with it! I hope it lives too! But as it’s still alive after 2 months, then it has a pretty good chance of surviving a long while! 😀

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  3. gigglingfattie

    My brother has been sucked into the fish world as well! He let me pick out a fish once, an albino something to go with the same kind he already had. But since it was an albino, they others wouldn’t let him join in their school. Since they were a schooling type of fish, he was lonely and died 3 days later 😦

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  4. The Happy Healthy Kiwi

    Fish are surprisingly hard work! I had lots when I was younger (including one called fluffy) and none of them lasted very long. The pet store I got them from didn’t tell me anything though and let me believe it would be easy. I love our current pet store (for our turtle Sheldon). They won’t let you take fish until they have confirmed you are set up and ready to go plus they give you heaps of advice and instructions which I think is really important

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Oh wow! That sounds like a fabulous pet store! Love it! The place I get all my fish has a darkened back area just for the fish, with fairy lights, and benches, and indoor ponds with koi. It’s just heaven. When AJ was a lot younger, we would go and spend hours there just sitting and watching fish! BTW… I love that you have a turtle! How sweet!!

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      1. The Happy Healthy Kiwi

        It’s seriously the best pet store and its a gain which is great. They have specialist staff which is great and they keep a record of your pets as well so they can ask how they’re doing when you come in! Sheldon is cool, he’s a Red Eared Slider and he’s scared of everything but I love him anyway 🐢🐢

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  5. arunadayamy

    Hilarious post! I had a saltwater tank years ago and, boy, was that ever a nightmare. I should have just flushed hundreds of dollars down the toilet instead! The hardiest fish we’ve ever had were goldfish we took home from a baby shower; Pea and Pod. I would love to have a neighbor I could drink wine with while watching fish! Awesome! p.s. I finally got around to showing AJ’s video to Esmé and she loved it, but even better: Felix went and got his miniature chair in order to be able to see AJ’s video; when it was over he kept saying “More AJ, more AJ!” Cute!!

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Awww, how cute about Felix!! That is sooo sweet! I’m glad they both liked it!! 😀
      Pea and Pod… love those names! The 3 fry that Little Guy had were named Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, haha! Maybe my next attempt will be goldfish! Did they have personality?
      I would never be brave enough to attempt a salt-water tank, especially knowing my history with fish, ohmigosh! Yeah, it is one expensive hobby!! 😀

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  6. creativecritters77

    It’s not as easy to raise fish as some people think! My ex had a 100+ gallon salt water aquarium and we went through 2 total armageddons where just about everything died. Salt water fish (and sea life including live coral) are EXTREMELY temperamental! We both learned a lot about salt water fish and other creatures (he had an octopus, live coral, crabs, and a ton of cool bio luminescent creatures in that tank). Once he finally got it right and had a thriving ecosystem it was an amazing thing to watch. I think the Lion fish was my favorite- talk about personality! Then at night when all the lights were off the bio luminescent critters would come out and you’d just see these flashes and sparks of light- totally awesome! Yes, watching fish (and other sea creatures) is definitely a very zen thing 😉

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Oh wow! Now that sounds like a fabulous experience, to have all that life right there to watch! Salt-water tanks scare me because I know they are much harder to deal with, but wow! How wonderful for you to experience that fabulous success eventually! A lion fish… wow wow! And the night life of that tank… I’m just in awe! I would’ve never stopped watching it, haha!

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  7. jacquelineobyikocha

    You’ve had quite a fishy adventure and I could see you dogged spirit in the whole affair. Fish are not easy to handle. I got to know that when my sister started a fish pond and lost quite a school of them, but they are so pretty to look at.

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  8. Tasha

    I remember buying some betas a few years back….one for each of our kids (three back then). After a few days, my stepdaughter’s fish died and instead of giving her the bad news we went out and bought another one that looked exactly like hers. When both our sons fish died later, we opted not to replace them and my sd had the nerve to brag to her brothers that her fish lasted the longest! lol

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  9. breidengale

    A friend of mine had a blue beta named Adele. When they had their second child they felt they were too busy to take care of Adele. The husband and I were talking about getting a fish so I became the new adopted mom. The friend said easy peasy to take car of her. I was in GA Grandma sitting at the time so hubby and son picked her up. When I got home she was gray, so was the water! They nearly killed her. I googled what to do and how to take care of and fixed her to a pretty blue again. Adele was full of personality. She would give you dirty looks if she didn’t like the food you gave her. She would come and watch me cook in the kitchen and keep me company doing dishes. Then one day her color was off and she keep sinking to the bottom. She kept looking at me to help her, but it was too late. I was so sad. I still can see her staring at me to help her to this day. Fish are pretty. Glad I have only killed one 😉 At least you found a fish that chooses to live! 😀

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  10. BunKaryudo

    I have a similar problem with plants. There seems to be no species that I can’t inadvertantly kill. I got a couple of cactus plants two months ago, though, and they are still alive, which is an all-time personal best for me. 🙂

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      1. BunKaryudo

        I think so. I’ve been told all I have to do with a cactus is:

        a) Make sure the sun shines on them. (Nature takes care of this.)

        b) Don’t overwater them.
        (My memory takes care of this.)

        Liked by 2 people

  11. honestme363

    Ooh I love fish tanks! I started out with a 10 gallon and grew to 75. (Don’t have any right now). I once bought a 100$ worth of demasoni’s. I didn’t realize they were super aggressive toward eachother and had killed themselves fighting within a week. One survivor. 😢 Funny story Paula. I guess what they say is true-only the strong survive.

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      1. honestme363

        They are so relaxing to watch. I had one that would spend hours sucking up rocks and spitting them out, making itself a little den. And a very shy Jewel fish that would peek out every so often and would run and hide. I spent hours watching. I see why you enjoy them.

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