About two months ago, my children convinced me to get a Betta fish. I researched bettas, conducted a field trip to the fish store, came home to survey the house, and then began several trips back and forth to properly outfit our home for a fish. This was what we ended up with:
We named him Bubbles because bettas put up little joybubbles when they’re contented, and we were optimistic. Eventually we picked up two amano shrimp as well, and everything was great. (That setup changed, too. Eventually we got rid of the brick and moved in a smaller rock and a napkin ring that functions as a tunnel, plus added a filter.)
One day, I looked at the tank, and Bubbles was gone. He’s good at hiding, but there’s not much space to hide in a two-gallon tank. I removed all the rocks. I disassembled the filter. We scoured the floor in case he’d jumped out (although the lid was still on) and moved the furniture, and we couldn’t find him. Everyone assured me Bubbles had jumped, had flopped quite a distance, and then fallen prey to one of the cats (even though one cat had been asleep in another room all morning, and the other seldom comes downstairs.)
That night, the second cat sat on my chest, purring, and I wondered how I could love her if she’d eaten someone else I loved. I mean, it’s a bit of a conundrum. It’s not as if the cat meant to hurt me or hurt the fish.
The boys wanted a new fish, so we picked up a blue and red betta who eventually picked up the name Señor Pez. That was about two weeks ago. Señor Pez enjoys his home and loves exploring all the little nooks and caves made by the rocks.
Last Sunday, I cleaned the tank, and when I took out the decorative lake snail shell, I found Bubbles.
I can’t describe what happened. I won’t. I think I exclaimed, “Oh, God, Bubbles!” and Kiddo3 came running up to me, but I didn’t want him to see. I had to clean Bubbles out of the tank. I pulled out the stupid snail shell where he’d trapped himself and drowned, and I gave it a burial in the front yard in the same spot where we buried our first unfortunate shrimp.
For two days, whenever I closed my eyes, I could see that moment when I found Bubbles. And by the next morning, the remaining two shrimp had cleaned the rest of the tank. How can you love someone who ate someone else you love?
Señor Pez is looking a little ragged-ended now. I’m treating him in case it’s fin rot, but I’m surprised by how attached I am to these silly fish. And Bubbles. I miss Bubbles. I feel so bad about what happened to him, and that I didn’t even know.