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Back when I was about 6 or so I got my first betta. This was back in the late 90s when the top internet browser was Internet Explorer and Yahoo was THE search engine. Long before the glories we know today. So, as a result, I was stuck relying on second-hand information and faulty info passed on from clueless pet shop employees who just parroted what they were told by "experts", aka their bosses.
My poor first fish lived in a plantless, stagnant, unheated 1/4 gallon bowl. Against all odds he was comfortable and quite alert. His dismal bowl was cleaned bi-weekly by my fastidious mother, which no-doubt contributed to his over 1-year life-span.
I was the typical child who wanted to take her pets with her everywhere. This fish even went on camping trips, which I do not believe he enjoyed very much in hindsight.
Once, I took my beloved fishie to school for show-and-tell. At the time, I had no idea of how intelligent and observant betta fish really are. I fancied him a genius fish with human-level intelligence, but even my six-year-old mind knew better. So, when I was unable to get my fishie to look towards my classmates instead of myself, I assumed it was because he was too dumb to know I wanted him to face the other way.
In hindsight, and having had many betta fish who very clearly could recognize me and differentiate between myself and other visitors to his tank, I realize that my poor betta of long ago was just ignoring all the strangers and focusing on me, The Bringer of Food. Probably trying to ask me why I was exposing him to this hell.
Turns out, I was the stupid one in that relationship, and I'm just glad that my poor fishie managed to have some quality of life in my inept care.
RIP Curious George. Hey, you did get to be the one betta of mine who got to be buried in the ground beneath a tree, with a rock for a headstone. Yeah, like you care, right?
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