Remember our Betta fish–the one we saved from the dreaded Ich? Well, we didn’t. Not that he’s completely dead, though he has a running start; he just never had Ich in the first place, apparently. How do I know this? To date, I have logged 24 phone calls to various pet stores, 5 hours searching the Betta fish sites on the net, and made 6 trips to pet stores near and far.
We have now spent fifty-three dollars on a four dollar fish, not including toys to cheer him up.
Carolyn, do not comment on this post. I am well aware of your views regarding extraordinary medical efforts to save small fishies and plan to disconnect the garbage disposal should you come to visit before Bluestar dies from natural causes.
But I digress…
Bluey seemed to rally after we doused him in Ich cure, but then he got kinda raggedy looking and developed several new symptoms that, I swear, have put me off eating anything with a fin, probably forever.
Our most recent medical excursion was to a pet store about a half hour from us. They had a very knowledgeable aquarium expert, who sold us 13 dollars worth of anti-biotic. It comes in only one size; there will be enough for us to keep Bettas for the rest of our lives, as long as they all develop bacterial infections, and we live to be a hundred and twenty-six.
“You’ll have to disinfect his bowl, rocks, toys and heater, of course, before you administer the first dose,” the fish guy informed us. “Treat him for two days, then two more, changing 25% of his water on days three and four. Take a day off, watching him carefully and then begin the process again. Now, naturally, when you feed him, you remove every piece of food he does not eat.”
My husband looked at me…not happily, as he is in charge of Betta water and waste removal.
I looked at our daughter. “Sweetie, why don’t you pick out a new collar for Autumn?” I suggested. We watched her skip off in the direction of the dog collars and then I turned to the fish expert. “Listen, how long do Betta’s live in general?”
“Two years!” my husband exclaimed. “He’s two years old already. Are you telling me we’ve spent this much time tying to save an 80-year-old fish?”
Fish Expert looked a bit affronted. “Sometimes they live to be three.”
I held out the anti-biotic. “Where are the ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ papers?”
He didn’t smile. “Your fish is probably only sixty.”
Well, that did it, hit us right where we live. Tim will be fifty-two in November. I turn five-o in October (it’s amazing how much closer that seems to sixty than 49 3/4 did.)
We bought the stuff. We’re medicating, changing water, removing leftovers.
Why? Because we relate. We’re feeling our mortality, too. Maybe hoping someone will change our water, buy us extra toys and drive all over town for the right medicine. Although I don’t know; if I look like Bluestar someday, I think I’ll just go ahead and sign those Do Not Resuscitate forms. And make a nice tuna sandwich.
For now, though, Bluestar is blowing bubbles (a good sign) as I type this. And it’s almost time for another water change. Keep your fins crossed.