This is my boy Kaida and my lovingly spoiled brat fish.
His colors have truly come in, to the point I was unsure if I should enter him here. Rest assured when I first got him he was a very different fish.
I had decided to get a betta, so he wasn't exactly an impulse buy, but I was duped into the myth by the pet shop people about the whole tiny tank and no care thing. Nevertheless I was dilligent and got his tiny tank together a day earlier and went to choose a fish first thing that next morning, going through all the pretty reds and black ones I had seen on their shelves, hoping one was still left. I had my heart set on a red (my favorite color).
The person on duty at the store that morning was alone and run off her feet, there were three people getting fish not to mention countless others asking for products, using coupons and otherwise so I tried to make as little fuss as possible and let her get on with her work, I figured it just gave me extra time to choose my new redhead.
Now the bowls while small were spotless, they had just been fed (I could see a flake or two that had been missed) and the whole stock was obviously well cared for..but altogether the stock seemed very unresponsive, content to sit in their bowls.
I was very happy, cruising around trying to find the perfect one, looking into every bowl I could find to check for colors...and right at the very front was a fish so pale blue he looked sickly.
His ventrals (as I learned later) were tiny, practically threads instead of fins and an odd reddish color, it honestly looked as if they had ripped open. The anal fin was scrunched together in one place and looked stuck together, his dorsal fin looked more like a solid spike slumped off to one side instead of an opening fan of spines and the pale white blue of him made me certain he was ill.
He wasn't swimming like the others either, he preferred to hold his body perfectly still and rotate his pec fins like little twin motors, giving the impression he was hovering like a helicopter.
I was convinced he was sickly in comparisen to all the vivid colors around him (please note I had and still don't have any knowledge of fish), likely put at the front hoping for a quick sale or something.
In a way the busy shopping day was a blessing. As I hovered in front of all the tanks and saw the other fish going to new homes I was struck by something, no matter where I went this tiny little fish chased after me. The other 'prettier' fish all sat at the bottom of their bowls, not paying attention to anything...but here was this pale little fish watching my every move. I tried running my fingers along the glass and he followed, I tilted my head and whispered some baby talk at him and he started doing little circles (likely making the man next to me think I was insane). It was almost as if he knew he wasn't pretty compared to his brothers, like the scruffy dog in the pound that does tricks, hoping to get a glance, crying 'Look at me! I don't look as soft as that one but I will work hard I promise!"
By the time the shopkeeper finally had a moment, spouting apology after apology as she practically panted from sprinting to the storeroom over and over I didn't have a doubt, I wanted this one.
I rationalized to myself on the way home. Sure his fins were smaller compared to the other fish..and he wasn't as bright, but he was mine and I would love him regardless. A fish so plucky needed love even if he didn't have the fortune to be born a prettier color or have the best fins.
I let him into his tiny tiny tank, I had bought a suction leaf thinking if it was being sold it was worth a try and the pathetic way he crawled onto it and slept broke my heart, he looked so relieved.
I might not have had experience with fish but I knew that tank wasn't enough for him. I managed to walk home lugging an 8 liter tank as soon as the shops opened after easter and got the rest of his equipment over the course of the week (I don't have a car so it was tricky).
Even in the first hours after bringing him home his color shifted, he became bluer and his tiny little ventrals unfurled, they looked like red toothpicks against the rest of him. His fins squished in an odd way that lead me to believe he had some fin melt and he didn't like swimming normally, preferring to use his 'hover mode'.
In the brief time I have had him he has certainly blossomed, his colors are deeper now, every single fin has doubled in length and while he still uses his helicopter fins the majority of the time I am convinced it is just an odd quirk instead of an illness, he swims just fine when he is in a hurry to go eat or feeling silly. He has an odd tendency to shy away from objects and seems to have little interest in caves, I can almost see him asking for an instruction booklet in how to use one. I can only assume he has never seen more than an unfurnished clear box and is still getting used to the new environment.
He is my boy and not a moment goes past I'm not happy that the shop was busy that day, or I might have judged the best fish in the store on his looks.
(this is Kaida as close as i could get him...he doesn't like the camera much so getting an halfway decent shot is tough)