Yesterday our male betta fish died.
He was between 2.5 to 3.5 years old (depending on how old he was when we bought him). Betta fish have a lifespan of 2-6 years and that is heavily influenced by the conditions they are kept. These solitary tropical fish prefer a 5 gallon or larger heated, filtered, tank all to themselves. The colorful males will fight to the death with other males and show aggression towards other flashy species as well.
Fishy was older than Frugal Boy, and started life with us back when we lived at our apartment. We adorned his space with live aquatic plants that gave him places to rest and hide. The living landscape changed as plants grew, died, and were replaced.
Frugal Boy enjoyed watching fishy, and one of his first recognizable words (apart from mama) was “isssh”.
Fishy had a variety of tank mates over the year. It felt a little absurd to let him have an entire 15 gallon tank to himself. He murdered half a dozen ghost shrimp.
Fatalities usually happened when the shrimp molted and smelled like food. Other times he would snack on them when we were gone for the weekend instead of eating the time released pelletized food we provided him.
He also had a never-ending supply of snail companions. We added several large nerite snails to help control algae. Fishy enjoyed eating the eyestalks off these cleaners. Later on, one of the live plants we added carried a different type of snail eggs and the tank has been infested ever since. We could add some copper to kill them off, but it would also kill off the cleaner snails. It doesn’t help that the small snails can produce asexually. Leaving just one behind results in a complete re-infestation within a matter of days.
The latest tank mates was a school of harlequin rasboras, or as I like to call them, pork chops.
The rasboras are peaceful community fish. Sometimes the betta bruiser would chase them around, but his long showy fins made him much slower than the streamlined pork chops.
Fishy has been slowly deteriorating for the past few weeks. We noticed that he was no longer eating as much, and then not at all. He spent most of his final days resting on plants or hiding out below them. Every morning we would check to see if he had expired until one day he did.
Shae made up a fishy coffin for him. Contrary to popular belief, you should never flush aquatic life down the toilet (unless you have a septic). Most aquarium species are exotic foreigners and the damage they could potentially do to the local ecosystem if they survived could be devastating. It is better to toss them in the trash or bury them in the yard.
After a few words, fishy was buried under our (future) front porch right below the electrical outlet.
So long fishy, you were a good pet (when you weren’t eating our other pets).