This morning, around dawn, our little Betta friend and "Patriarch" of the clan, Fishay, passed away, due to very old age. Although very lucky Siamese Fighting Fish, raised in perfect conditions, can reach the unbelievable age of 6-7 years old, most "Pet Store" Bettas are fortunate to live past 2 years of age. Fishay was at least 4 1/2 years old at his passing.
Although his start in life was less than fortunate (I found him near death in a pet store), he survived to live a very full life as my friend and class mascot at the school where I teach. He had lots of space to swim and interesting things to do; he found Peachblossom, his girlfriend (and, apparently, soul mate, because he would become totally unglued if I tried to move her away from him, or he away from her); he had the opportunity to mate, and father several hundred surviving offspring; he taught hundreds of students lessons about the value of all life; and he had many, many friends, both human and fish.
We will miss him.