I'm on the same boat. When I'm enthusiastically talking about my fish telling them how my fish does this, my fish does that, some of my friends give me an odd look. I guess people around here think that it's weird to care so much for a fish, apparently? When I tell people that I keep fish, they ask me, "...to eat?"
I think my roommate thinks that I'm a fish lunatic since we've gone from 1 fish to 2 in the past 3 months, and whenever she walks into our room, the first thing she sees is me doing water changes. I talk to my fishes...when she's not around. Don't want her thinking I'm losing my marbles.
Personally I don't think you can bond with a betta but now that I've said it tons of people are gonna get on me now xP
Could you say a little more about what you find lacking in bettas by way of cross-species bonding? Consider the means at their (the bettas') disposal in interacting with a person: What would count as a requited bond or evidence of a requited bond? That is, what would the fish have to do to provide grounds for believing that s/he had formed a bond with his/her person--or any person? On one level, I think it is possible to feel an attachment and even some response, from living creatures of all sorts. (I will concede that the emotions of oysters are enigmatic.) On another, very personal level, your very fish behaves in your presence--as you do in his/hers--as an expression of what we usually call his/her "personality." This behavior is unique and is directed at you in the moment you encounter your betta; the lives of human and fish intersect at this point, if at all.
Isn't the problem similar/the same of trying to establish that other people are capable of emotional responses and are not automatons?
I think Bettas dont recognize us and "bond" rather they see us as a source of food and therefore swim towards us when we see us coming. Fish in my opinion dont have the capacity to bond like a mammal would. Naturally mammals bond to their mother and dogs have co evolved with us so need to bond with humans to survive.
But I do love how they all scramble to the front of the tank to when I'm there but I dont think they think of me as anymore than a food source that drifts past their house every now and again.
I agree though that fish have therapeutic qualities and watching them just relaxes me completely
I really think Bazooka Joe and I have a special bond. He is very weak from me accidentally neglecting him. He musters enough strength to come to the front of the tank to say "Hi" Before falling back into the gravel.
Thats how I like to think of things lol. Bonding is a personal experience so its pretty extreme when you say no one can "bond" with their fish, they can if they want to because its all perception and feelings and stuff. I lay for hours staring at my fish tanks and Blair usually gets excited for a few minutes before toning it down from boredom... unless we actually make eye contact, then he plows to the front of the tank and does his little dance.
I have a more cynical view of many people and animals. I really love fish, and that's an area where many of my friends decide to poke fun of. If I'm genuinely upset over the poor treatment of a fish, they roll their eyes and scoff. Hey, I understand if fish arent your favorite animal and if you think they're boring, but I hardly appreciate having my feelings trivialized. The literal words of a girl I asked why she didn't think it mattered that much if fish arent given the right treatment is "they aren't mammals". It's a widely shared hypocrisy and it's this detachment that encourages people to treat animals like furniture rather than... well, living things with needs. Honestly, what gives people the right to judge which animals are acceptable to abuse? I understand some things are outside the individual's control, but when you go to the store and buy a fish, that animal is 100% your responsibility. I don't get why thats such a complicated idea.
I agree that bettas help with depression (although it doesn't help when kids at school patronize you for a harmless hobby) and at the moment, I sorta like them better than people ahaha.
Last edited by Sea Dragon; 03-15-2013 at 06:15 AM.
People would think I am really nuts. My betta has become my favorite entity in the house. He never gets on my nerves. (My husband, son, and two cats irritate me daily to some degree) He always acts like he is delighted to see me (even if it is just for food) He doesn't question my decisions, nor backtalk me. In the heirachy of my family, he might just be my number one now for these reasons.