Pardon the smudges. Puppies and kitties enjoyed Jack's company immensely, and spent large amounts of time with their noses pressed to the glass.
I had this little quarantine tank in the back room. We used it to purchase the residents of our "big tank" in the living room, and keep them separate long enough to be sure they weren't gonna go ichtastic on us or some such.
After the last residents moved to the living room tank, Mrs. NFB said, "we need to put something back there. The kitties love that tank."
It was true. They would spend countless hours sitting next to it and staring at the little critters swimming around inside. So, with that in mind, I decided to finally indulge in one of the long-standing "never tried that" members of my cool fish list.
This blue and purple specimen lived on the betta wall an the LFS I frequent. It's the only LFS I've seen that has actual filtration on the itty-bitty betta bowls. It's actually a fairly ingenious little system, tiny little feed lines pushing barely moving streams of water into little overflow equipped bowls that can quickly be removed, moved around, rearranged, and put back with a simple slide. But that's all beside the point.
The guy at the store handed me a little mirror. He said, "don't buy one that won't react to his own reflection. If they won't react, their spirit has already been broken." A sad statement on the life of a betta in a pet shop, but likely true.
Several appealed to me on looks. The only one of the lookers that reacted was this blue and purple guy. And boy did he react. Gills flaring, fins extended, wiggling back and forth threateningly.
And so he came home with me. The heater had been turned down, the filter tuned to spread water slowly and evenly rather than quickly like the river dwellers like, and he was placed into his new home.
The kitties promptly lost interest in the back room.
Mrs. NFB took to him quickly. She called him the shark in the back room because of the way he glided slowly through his little water world, creeping out from the back shadows anytime someone entered the room. He'd flare and throw his body back and forth in agitation as you'd clean the tank. He'd pop up to try and take the food from you before you could place it in the water. He'd watch you warily if you sat and stared at him, occasionally pushing himself quickly to the glass to flare and then just as quickly retreating to the shadows by the filter tube.
Eventually, we moved him out to the living room behind the couch so he could be more a part of our family time each evening. He and LLT spent some quality time together each evening, staring at eachother like they couldn't believe the other even exists.
His placement in the room meant the natural light he had been getting wasn't reaching him. Last Friday we finally ordered him a very soft lamp so he could see a little something without having to pull the shade from behind his tank. Direct window light would be bad.
Sunday night he didn't eat quite like he normally did. That had happened before though, off for a meal or two and back to normal the next day. Monday morning he was laying on the bottom, not reacting to anything that was done.
I carefully pulled him out and placed him in a cup. I examined him closely. No gill movement. No fin movement. He was either gone, or close to gone.
As a big believer in making sure an animal has fully passed before the final arrangements are made, I slowly dripped brandy into his cup until the water turned a deep brown. I poured a small amount into a cup, raised my glass to him, apologized for not recognizing the problem in time, and then accepted the deed was done.
Your time with us was brief, but you made an impact on all of us. As the first fish to actually reach Mrs. NFB, you hold a special place in our memories. Goodbye little friend. You'll be missed.
|< A Day in the Life -- ATTENTION $MEGACORP VP INFIDEL | Marmite >|