Please take a moment for Mr. Fishie.
Mr. Fishie was a lovely blue veiltail, purchased from the local PetCo on February 5th, 2012. Going out shopping before my first date ever was exciting, and I decided to go visit the betta section in PetCo while I was out, just for fun. I had a 2.5 gallon I had bought a few weeks before that, attempting to raise Triops, but they all died in that tall, expansive tank because they couldn't find any food.
And there I saw him. Mr. Fishie. He was this lovely shade of slate blue I'd never seen in a betta before. I grabbed him up, swept him home, and threw him in his little 2.5 gallon tank. While I was getting ready for my date, I talked to him nervously. "Do you think it will go well? Will everything be fine?" He just kind of swam around, fluttering his long, beautiful tail as if to say, "I'm hungry. Feed me."
The date went well, and my new boyfriend made friends with Mr. Fishie as well, admiring the jungle of plants in his tiny tank. I began doing more research on how to keep my new friend happy. Heater? Filter? Okay, $26 and a trip to the pet store later I was equipped to keep his new home clean and warm. Jumps out? I made a makeshift lid out of a microwave meal box and taped it to the top of his tank. It was rough, but it did what it needed to. With some nutrition, Mr. Fishie went from that unusual slate blue to a rather typical royal blue. I was a little disappointed, but it was such a beautiful shade I couldn't complain much.
I experimented with a couple of ghost shrimp at the time, too. Results of experiment: One snack, one suicide. I was half expecting them to be eaten, so I wasn't too disappointed, though I was hoping they'd stay around longer than a week. I thought I had found a good solution for all those pellets Mr. Fishie was too dumb to chase after.
He kept me sane through finals week, watching my graceful little swimmer flit back and forth in his little tank. I found myself growing more and more attached to the little guy.
That summer I got a job and some extra income, and I knew what I was going to do: I was going to give my little buddy the best little betta condo ever. So I did.
I sucked it up and dropped around $200 on an Aqueon Evolve 8, a heater, some gravel, a piece of driftwood, and buttloads of plants, and marveled at its beauty when it was all set up. I bought some more ghost shrimp, too, hoping these would make it longer with more cover - of course, I was wrong. He downed all 5 of them in a period of days.
Sometime after my birthday in October, I got another betta, a little baby female, and put her in a 5 gallon Aqueon Minibow. I had been bitten by the betta bug. I also had a good amount of "bonus bucks" left from the earlier tank purchase, so I brought home four cute little false Julii cories.
About two weeks after I put the cories in there, I came back to two dead cories, one limping cory, and one cowering cory, and one very pissed off looking Mr. Fishie. Horrified that he just killed $10 worth of fish ($15 actually; the wounded one didn't survive), I moved the survivors over to the 5 gallon and decided to never let him have roommates again. Not long after that, I brought my tanks from college back home for Christmas, leaving them in my Mom's trust. I decided to switch him over to my 5 gallon tank, and put the female and the sole surviving cory in the 8 gallon, where they still peacefully reside. My mom noted that while my female would zoom up to the corner of the tank to eat, she almost had to drop food on the head of my male until he would cooperate. Unfortunately, she also killed all but one of my plants because she didn't turn the light on. A short moment for my plants, please.
I found the 5 gallon tank to be rather bland, so when I got back to school, I spent some of my Christmas money on pimping his new bachelor pad.
I took to calling him Fred Fishstone for a while. He really loved that little faux rock cave. He developed the habit of biting me whenever I would go to clean his tank, but I didn't mind, it didn't hurt.
Sometime in March, I noticed he was getting a little bloated. "Don't feed him for a week and it should clear out," said my LFS owner. I was going on spring break anyway, so it was a perfect opportunity to let him fast. But when I came back, he was more bloated than ever.
About three weeks after I got back from spring break, he started having buoyancy issues, and he just kept getting more bloated. He could hardly get himself off of the ground. I looked around, desperate for solutions. "Feed him a frozen pea." After much difficulty, I did. I waited and waited, but nothing happened. I kept his water pristine, I made sure the water was warm, I tried to do everything I could to make him happy and healthy again. He sadly limped along the bottom instead, and I started wishing he would just be taken out of his misery soon and seriously considered euthanasia. But I didn't know if it was serious swim bladder disease or just constipation still.
"Add some aquarium salt and feed him some frozen food for a change." I went to the pet store to get some about a week after I started feeding him peas, seeing no results. When I came back from the store, he was gone, finally out of his pain and suffering, and I felt more of a feeling of relief than a feeling of sadness.
So you ate everything I ever put in your tank and attacked my hand when I tried to clean it. So you weren't very bright. But you were a good fish, you kept me lots of company, and you kindled my interest as a fish keeper, even if I'm just dealing in mini tanks right now. Here's to you, Mr. Fishie: May you eat all the ghost shrimp you can fit in your tummy up there in that big rice paddy in the sky.