Most of us give names to our fishes that match their personality, color, or to give them a prophecy for them to carry through their life. My first Betta, Ciel, was a red piebald Crowntail that survived two weeks with me.
In these two weeks he has been the best pet on earth. He recognized me as I walked up to the tank, and swam around and chased my finger as it entered the tank. The 'fish are boring' stereotype no longer proved true to my friends who were entertained by my little clown. He lived up to his name: his vibrant colors that livened up my lethargic day as I watched him greet me happily , his angelic swimming motions that could match and sync with a beautiful, slow-moving song, like one that strung out of an ancient golden harp.
About a week ago I decided to fast him. In the mornings before I went to school I would always feed him and my turtles. After I left the home not feeding any and returning that fateful afternoon, I was greeted by a sickly looking fish with torn fins and a dorsal fin that drooped. It took me a while to realize that this was Ciel. As his human, his friend, I should help him in such a time of need. I played with him more often, watched his color and his life drain away slowly, day by day. A few days ago his tail was totally gone, the place where his tail and body were supposed to join looked stripped and as if it were bitten by a turtle - I knew the look of how feeder guppies were slaughtered. But no turtle had escaped, and even then they would not be able to enter my Betta's tank that stood high and covered. I put in a teaspoon of AQ salt in my 5G that was the home to my sick betta after I changed him over from the hospital tank back home. I bought a plant for him to hide in, something I should have done long ago.
Last night I floated him in the jar I got him in to part him from the AQ salt in his tank, hoping that a miracle would happen. This morning he looked pale, deathly in fact. His dorsal fin was slightly erect but whitened. I knew that maybe he wasn't fated to be with me from the start.
I did not have clove oil on hand at the moment and I wanted to get my little piece of heaven out of his misery and suffering as soon as possible, so I picked up the jar and placed three icecubes in, hoping to stop his system the natural way - like how a fish would go into 'sleep' mode in winter. I watched as I added three more cubes as his breathing slowed, his gill movement stopping and starting to move weakly as I sent a ripple through the jar. The whole time , my finger was in the jar as a farewell gesture. As I placed the last cube of ice in, his fins fluttered for the last time before he finally left me.
During the eight minutes this was going on, I contemplated lifting him from the jar and saving him. But I knew that his condition was beyond my ability to save him, the unknown parasite eating his life and body away slowly. I would not let him suffer anymore. I carried his limp body into the garden and dug a small hole that would allow him to rest confortably in his favorite position, curled up on his plastic bridge. I placed the bridge first then placed him on it, before dumping the soil on him and saying my last farewell. The edges of the bridge stuck up above the soil so I knew that he would still be there for me forever.
Rest in peace, little one. I hope that one day, we can meet at the rainbow bridge. <3