Killing the Beta-Revisited

Since I haven’t had a Freestyle Fridays guest post in a while, I decided to recycle some old posts. It is freestyle after all. This post  is almost a year old and seems àpropos because I learned after replacement fish #3 that I was over loving them. I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him and call him George…yeah, that was me. My hair guy suggested this to me and said I should leave it be…don’t feed it so much, don’t clean its bowl so much and just let it live! ha! So that is what I did, I still feed it once daily but I leave it alone and it is a happy, vibrant fish. It survived a flood and was left alone in a dirty bowl while we went to Disney after the flood. It is a happy fish now that I no longer smother it. Enjoy 🙂

Originally posted July 4, 2013-edited

I feel pretty good about keeping things alive. I mean, I have two children and have managed to keep them healthy, safe and happy for 5 ½ years and 2 years . Over the years I have kept gardens, potted plants, and dogs and they have all, for the most part, thrived. Except when I don’t water the plants and actually take care of them; I will admit I have been guilty of neglecting my plants. But, when I actively take care of something, it tends to live except for the Beta fish.

My daughter wanted her own pet about three months ago. She promised to take care of it, love it, watch it, read to it, and dance for it. I liked the idea and thought since she was newly 5 it would be a nice thing to do for her. So, as a family, we all set off to the pet store to purchase a fish. I was hopeful and gaining “cool mom” credits by the minute. I was excited for her to have purpose and learn responsibility. Plus, I thought it would be peaceful and soothing to have a fish to watch swimming around.

Three months later, my daughter completely lost interest in the fish and I was feeding and washing its bowl. This seemingly peaceful fish was stinky and the weekly bowl cleaning was just about the last thing I wanted to be doing among the gazillion other things taking up my days. So, I let it slide to two-week cleanings instead of one. But then I felt bad and got back on track until I saw the fish looking kinda fishy (cheesy pun intended.) It started getting slow and funky-looking until it died. Operation: get replacement fish ensued.

My partner in crime, aka husband, went “to the vet” otherwise known as the pet store to “get the fish well”, aka buy a new fish. We covertly got the fish; put it in the bowl and bam! Fish is “healthy again” without a certain 5-year-old knowing any different. I was relieved that the crisis was averted and we could go about our business; of course with me sighing every time I washed the stinky bowl. But I was still happy that my girl didn’t have to deal with pet death quite yet. My crime partner and I discussed the pros and cons of even having a fish and I decided that when this fish dies, we are done!

Then, the next fish died only one month after we got him. He died two months faster than the first. So, I began wondering, “Am I unknowingly murdering my precious daughter’s fishies??” I consult friends and family on the complicated business of fish handling and they all agree I am doing it correctly. So, maybe I am just bad mojo to the fish? I actually found it all very concerning.

I tried to discuss the issue with my daughter and it immediately resulted in tears and how she must have her fish friend to keep her company and she promises to take better care of it and feed it if she could just get the hang of how not to over or under feed it. She begged and of course, I relented. How could I not with those precious pleading eyes, knowing that I probably killed it in the first place? So, the next time, I went on the mission alone as the partner was at work and my daughter was with her Nana. I walked with determination into the pet store, found the first worker I saw, and plead my case that I was not knowingly killing the fish. He looked at me with a bored expression and basically told me I was doing it all correctly with a couple of suggestions thrown in for good measure. But basically, “they are fish; they die quickly unless you’re lucky.”

I got home and was all jazzed up about fish #3 but guilt began rising to the surface as I actually flushed a half-dead Beta down the toilet. I had the new fish in hand, what was I to do? I suppose there was no really good answer. The semi-alive fish or my daughter’s emotional well-being became the question and the answer was obvious. But…the fish? I cringed as he went down the toilet drain but began convincing myself that maybe he would have a better life; maybe that was where he was meant to be, not in a little bowl. Then, reality came to me and I said to myself, “why the hell would any living thing be better off in a sewer, you moron?!” Yet, the guilt continued but I moved on knowing that I was getting a bit “hung up” and it’s time to move forward hoping karma does not pay back too hard on that one.

So, here we are with fish #3 and I am hoping that I can keep it alive. It is now becoming like a game to me as to how long I can keep a Beta fish living. Round #3 is going to be the charm!…until I get tired of dealing with the stinky bowl again.

Galilah, the Beta, alive and kicking!  (knock on wood)

Galilah, the Beta, alive and kicking! (knock on wood)

7 thoughts on “Killing the Beta-Revisited

  1. I had fishes for a long time growing up. I went away for a week – camp maybe? – and came home to an empty fish tank. My dad was so sweet and wanted to clean the fish tank for me, but couldn’t find where the “cotton” for the filter was, so he figured he’d just put a washrag in the filter until I got home.
    You know what is on washrags? Laundry detergent and fabric softener.
    Guess what is toxic to fish? Laundry detergent and fabric softener.
    He felt really bad apparently as he was flushing all those fish away!

  2. I’ve had a couple of Betas. I had a hard time keeping them alive too. Now, with kids, they’re asking for a pet, and we’re considering getting a fish. We’ll see.

  3. Love it! When I was a kid my grandmother cleaned out our skanky fish bowl with bleach, thereby killing a goldfish we’d named “Skudsy.” I was old enough not to cry. Hope everybody’s doing okay in your world. Peace, John

  4. I remember when I was kid, I was always cleaning my fish bowl and I thought it was a good thing.There were times that I use detergents and soap just to clean the bowl. That was the reason why my mother stopped buying a fish for me when I turned 9. Now I regret those times.

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