Fish Killing Mommy

27 Mar

Fish killing mommy, a re-post from 5/15/2012


I found myself googling “life span of a Beta fi sh” a few nights back. My son’s fi sh, “Wall-E”, who he got for his 4th Birthday, had been acting weird. He was no longer enjoying his fishy life. He wasn’t swimming or “puffing up” or hardly eating. He wasn’t even trying for that matter! I just thought “Well, we’ve had him for almost a year, and, well isn’t that considered a long time in… fi sh?”

I did not reply.

Frankly I thought I knew about them. My dad always had one in his office at work and I had a few growing up. I guess I never remembered them dying or for how long they actually lived. Apparently, I do not know everything there is to know about a Beta fi sh. Which is correctly spelled Betta, who knew?!
So there I was researching the “life span of a Betta fi sh” when I came upon a gruesome discovery…
“…these fi sh can normally live up to 2-3 years…. minimum.” I said shockingly out loud. Mine hasn’t even made it 10 months yet, I MUST be doing something wrong!
So, fi rst lesson learned (that I didn’t already know… the little bastards can live 2-3 years minimum. Check )
I continue to read on… “To get the FULL potential of the life of your Betta fish is to have optimum living conditions…”
An instant …..”shit…” comes to mind.
As I continue to read I start to plan his funeral care about Wall-E’s well-being and I don’t want his life to be cut short! The look on my son’s sad face would kill me if all he knew was that I killed Wall-E and it was all because I didn’t let Reilly get him that Castle-on-the-Sand tank decor! Okay, second lesson learned (and maybe I should have researched this little fella when we got him/her?)
I continue to investigate what seems to be the survival guide to:
I found many useful tips on a web-site called BetterBettas, written just for fi sh killing mommy’s like me.


side note: I even found a video titled ‘bettafi sh kills my cat’. Really? I had no idea these fi sh could help me conquer the feral cats in my neighborhood. Lesson #{blank} learned
“What have I been doing wrong?????!!” I pleaded with myself. I mean, when you tell me that “…questions like that (what have I been doing wrong) show you are not alone
and that others too are seeking answers to insure their Betta’s live a good, long… time.” I say wow… THIS IS THE WEBPAGE FOR ME. It was like a sign or something. I must continue on If I want to have any ideas on how to save my son’s poor fi sh. It is my last and only hope. I shall share with you the things I learned that you can do to let your fish swim aimlessly around for up-to FIVE years:
1. Size matters, tank size that is…
Yes, its true. Betta’s, or any other fish, weren’t meant to live in a little glass baby jar (but those baby shower gifts were so nifty!).Pssshhhh, even I knew that. How sad to let your fish survive in a jar that I can’t even open! Our fi sh is kept in a gallon tank, plenty of room for a small Betta, or so I thought. One gallon tanks are not for Betta lovers who want their whole FIVE years with their fish. “No, the ideal tank size for any respectable Betta is a FIVE gallon tank (what is up with all the five’s?) and the minimum you can get by’ with is a 2.5 gallon tank“. I called Petco right away after I read this. They awkwardly agreed but they “can’t guarantee a longer Betta life span if you choose to break the rules”. Wait, rules? I’m in deeper shit than I thought…
2. H2o quality is critical. Well duh!
Shouldn’t this be every ones motto?! Don’t we all know that if you drink live in water that is filled with soggy leftovers and your own feces that you might get sick and die? no? (cough cough cough) I’m starting to feel quite queezy…
I thought that changing Wall-E’s tank once a month was enough. It was never “cloudy” or nasty by my eyes. I was wrong, yes, again. They recommend that you change the tank’s water at least once a week and in between water changes they recommend that you pour half of the water out and fi ll half with new water. I can understand, why waste away in old water?!
3. Don’t over feed, don’t under feed.
Well great, because I am sooooo good at finding that right medium in everything in life. The poor, poor fish. We feed the thing at least twice a day and some days maybe more (because I can’t remember if I fed him, when I fed him or who fed him…). Betta fish (like cows or my late grandmother) will, apparently, eat and eat and eat. They have no sense of when they should stop eating thus eating themselves to death. And, I’m sure it doesn’t help that we never know if we fed him or not. When that happens I feel bad so I give him a ton of food.”Never feed him a lot. Never more than a spot! Or something may happen. You never know what.” Reilly says quoting one of his favorite books A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer Geisel. You’d think that since I’ve read that book enough times that it would teach me a thing or two…
4. Some climates may need a warming light at night.
Okay! Something I didn’t have to do since we live in a warm climate, it’s Hawaii for Christ’s sake! I debated with myself (something I do often) I continued…
“Betta fi sh are tropical, Hawaii is tropical and always a lovely 78 degrees, right? So, we mustn’t need a warming light for heat”. It’s usually warm here and I sure as hell don’t want to waste anymore electricity on this sucker, I already had the fresh air bubble machine plugged in (I did something right). I hate “wasting” electricity and that was my fi nal closing argument. I had won my argument, for the time being. Come to find out, all my convincing I did to myself was WAY wrong. Do I even need to say it…. again. If I needed my down comforter and an extra blanket on me at night (yes it does get that cold in the mountains of Hawaii) then shouldn’t I have known the fi sh would literally freeze to death thus needed a warming light?! doh!
All of these things can extend the life of your Betta, and, shit, if I had known maybe we wouldn’t be standing over the toilet with our heads bowed and having a moment of silence for the short life that Wall-E lived.


“Mommy, why is Wall-E…. died…?” My four-year-old asks me in a sad, confused but curious voice. Ugh, should I confess and tell him of all the things I did wrong that ultimately lead to his fishy demise?


fish pic
A last few words and a moment of silence…

You know how sometimes it’s okay to tell a white lie? This is one of those moments…
” He was just old baby…..” I stuttered quickly.
The good thing about a fi sh is that they are easily replaceable…
“…but you know what!?” I said exciting. “We can go to the store and buy a new one!”
Flash, Bam! Boom! Instant smile. Instant hug. Instant, I forgot that I am the one who killed his
fi sh….moment.
You best believe that Topper, our new fi sh will have the life that Wall-E never had, due to me being a complete dumbass. I shall rid myself of the title Fish Killing Mommy and reclaim what is rightfully mine!? And when I fi nd out what that is, I’ll let you know, and GOD! Heaven forbid that we ever have a dog die!… i’ll deal with that tomorrow…


Meet Topper, our new fi sh


UPDATE: Since I have written this, Topper has been alive and well! He is still swimming aimlessly around and that makes me HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!)
side note: here is a cute idea for you mom’s to put to use those baby food jars …. no, please don’t put real fi sh in them! doh! CLICK HERE!

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