Pete was not a betta, but I loved her and wanted to memorialize her somewhere that people would understand my grief.
Pete was a gimpy, one-eyed zebra danio that some guy at a pet store randomly handed to me one day in a plastic bag to "cycle my tank" because no one would ever buy her, he said. I didn't ask for her. I didn't pay for her. I honestly didn't even want her. It was just too awkward to refuse, so I took her home and put her in a tank with much larger fish.
She should have been afraid of her tankmates. She should have spent her time hiding. But she was fearless. She went where she wanted, when she wanted and always had first crack at the food. She greeted me eagerly (with her good eye) when I approached the tank. She never fussed about being cupped or netted. She never got nippy with other fish... and they were all too freaked out by her fearlessness to consider messing with her. She was nuts.
She was sickly, though, and an awkward swimmer. I had to hospitalize her over the summer, and she was touch and go for a few weeks, but she had an amazing will to survive, in spite of her frailty and defects.
I don't know why she died. She had no signs of illness or injury. Water params are fine. Tankmates are all fine. I don't know how old she was, or if her problems were more complex than what was obvious. But I loved her. I respected her. She was one-of-a-kind. And the tank will never be the same without her.
Love ya, Pete. Here's hoping you're swimming merrily under the rainbow bridge.