$13 Buys a lot of Love
I have a fish. His name is Benito.
He’s a Half Moon Betta and I paid the princely sum of $13 for him. (most regular Betta fish go for about $5).
This is what he looked like when I first got him at the fish store:
He was little. He was scrappy. He liked his food to be delivered with alacrity.
Way back in May 2010, Benito almost died. The Good Man saved his life and now Benito has been a happy, scrappy, crazy fish in our home for the past year.
This is what Benito looks like now. He’s not only handsome, he’s a work of art. Right at this moment, this photo hangs in a Bay Area photography show where all may come and worship the handsome fish.
Last night, it was time to change out Benito’s water. We are very responsible fish owners and work very hard to make sure our fish are happy and swim around in good clear and conditioned water.
Doing a full tank change is tough because it requires us to dip the fish out of the tank (which can be stressful for the fish) and hold them in a small container while we replace the water in the tank.
Last night, I had completed this water change and I had returned Benito to his home. He’s always a little bewildered after the water change and has to reassert that his tank is truly his home. I decided to give him some food because if he can get a couple pellets down, he’ll go calm and all will be well.
For some reason last night when I reached over the tank to drop a tasty Hikari pellet his way, he got spooked and started darting around the tank.
This is not unusual behavior for a frightened Betta. What is unusual, however, is that he dove straight down and slammed his tiny fish noggin on the rocks.
He was visibly stunned and floated there for a moment with blank eyes and hardly any movement.
“Honey?” I said worriedly to The Good Man, “I think we have a problem.”
Benito did not look good. At one point, he stopped moving his fins at all and began to list to one side. Betta owners will know that laying on the bottom and listing to one side is NOT a good sign.
The Good Man and I crowded worriedly around the tank and watched him. His gills were still working and occasionally a side fin would flap. But it didn’t look good. It didn’t look good at all.
I became inconsolably depressed. My fish. My little fish! How could this happen?
The Good Man thought Benito was just stunned and would be all right. I wasn’t so sure. I fully expected to find him floating at the top of the tank in the morning.
I’m happy to say I was completely wrong. About a half hour later, Benito seemed revived and back to his usual self. This morning he was swimming about and hungry as usual.
When did I start to love a little $13 fish so gosh darn much? A silly, scrappy, easily startled, concussed fish?
I don’t know. I just do. He may only be a pet store fish but he’s a part of our family.