An Unexpected Fresh Start
A beautiful purple and red double tail, hiding amongst the sad, poorly treated Walmart bettas. And he seemed quite happy considering. I swore to my fiancé (then boyfriend) that the little guy just lit up when I picked up his little cup. I felt like I had connected with the little guy, I felt that click and I knew I had to bring him home with me. Dovahkiin, that’s what I named him, Dovah for short, (I was on a skyrim kick) and he was perfect. He acclimated well, and was super happy with his new tank and his new home. He gobbled up his pellets almost faster than I could drop them in the water, it was a complete 180 from my most recent betta experience.
He was such a happy little boy, and he was such an adorable fish. I had his tank set up on my desk where I would do my homework, which a lot of times consisted of me highlighting notes and whatnot. This is how I found his first little quirk. He would flare at my highlighters, just the highlighters. If I held one up to the side of the tank he’d follow it along and flare the whole while. I tried holding up a pencil, and similarly a brightly colored ink pen, and he had no reaction. It was only with the highlighters that he flared. I thought it was the cutest thing at the time.
Another thing I kept at my desk and coincidentally by his tank was a thermos of coffee. This particular thermos was a marvel comic book printed one, and had a myriad of bright and vibrant colors. I began to notice that he would hover around the side of the tank that I had placed the thermos cup at. I began moving it to different spots to see if he would follow, and he did, every time. I eventually retired the thermos from duty to serve as an out of tank decoration for him. I would move it around outside his tank every week and he loved it.
He was quite the little character indeed. I happened upon a dragon skull decor/hiding hole for him and thought it was perfect (his name means dragon in skyrim video game language). It didn’t have any sharp or rough edges and I figured you could never have too many hiding spots for bettas, so I picked it up. He was adorable when I first added it to the tank. He swam around and around it, went inside and sat for a bit then came darting back out and began flaring at it. I think it was the red jewel eyes on the dragon that he was flaring at, but it was so cute. After the first few hours, he finally figured flaring at it wasn’t getting him anywhere and he went back to swimming around it and resting inside. It soon became his favorite place to sit.
He provided many hours of entertainment and happiness. I would even go as far as to say he was my best betta experience so far (not that I had a lot to compare to, but still). The nearly 3 years that I had Dovah was a little brighter and happier because of him. He just passed away this last month at the beginning of June after going through a move and getting into fin biting. The move stressed him more than I would have liked, and he wasn’t the same afterwards. He wasn’t his normal happy little fishy self, but I still loved him, and I will admit that I cried like a baby when he passed. I’ll also admit that I teared up writing this.
After a little over a month, that addiction that Peter had started came itching back. I had drained all the water from Dovah’s old tank and cleaned everything before setting it back up. I just wasn’t ready to put it into storage. I kept the filter going and kept up water changes just like he was still there. Three years of habit is hard to break. His tank sat empty for the entire rest of the month, water enticing me every time I happened to glance over. At this point in time I had adopted a new fur baby. The apartment I had moved to allowed pets, and I now had a kitten to chase after. Maverick kept me entertained and distracted, but every time I looked at the empty tank, I felt it, that itch.
I was in Petco getting cat food for my kitten, and I just had to go by the betta section. It’s just something I always do no matter the store (I’ve hopefully saved a few betta lives this way, but that’s a whole other mini-rant). And I saw him, sitting in his little shelf-cubicle thing (Petco has interesting betta storage to say the least). He was fast, swimming in circles around his cup, half flaring, seemingly rainbow colored fins flashing…