What would make a perfect pet? One with low maintenance, cheap to feed, no odor, no vet bills, will not require walking ,though I always considered walking a plus except on nasty days. No litter box is required, will not chew shoes nor shred a couch. One that will actually be good for your health, will provide entertainment and is decorative.
It will come when called, watch your every move yet stay out from under foot. Will not shed, drool, jump on your friends, terrify a small child and is really, really quiet. No it is not a mechanical toy but a live, air breathing creature.
Impossible you say. Au contraire mes amis. Sorry for the French attempt. I am still smitten by that adorable French actor from The Artist. Anyway, it really is possible to have all of the above in one creature.
I normally avoid the aquarium section in most department stores. There usually are dead fish either floating on the surface or hugging the bottom. Not a pretty sight for a tender heart.
Then there are the special ones that always make me sad. In tiny bowls are beautiful fish that lie motionlessly in about one cup of water. Two inches of fish, oozing pure depression while draped in flamboyant colors.
The other day against my better judgment, I had to pass those tanks and yes, I looked. There looking back at me in total dejection was a stunning blue fellow who appeared to be waiting to die.
The Betta, also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, is a flashy fish with long flowing brightly colored fins. They can be blue, red or green. The Fighting part of his name is well earned. You can't put two males together, they will fight to the death and was once a betting sport in Asia.
Also putting them with a female is hazardous to the females health. When breeding, the male wraps his body around hers and squeezes. As her eggs pop out, he fertilizes them and carefully places them into a nest of bubbles he has blown on the surface. He then tends to and protects the nest. He runs off the female if she survives the breeding. Great dad, sucky boyfriend.
A Betta can live in a community tank if care is taken choosing his roommates. They must be non- aggressive and without flowing fins which will make the Betta fiesty. He really does have the attitude of a bar room fighter. I happen to have very peaceful Serpae Tetras that are about 8 years old and decided it was safe to add this poor fellow to my tank.
This unusual fish has an organ known as the labyrinth organ which allows them to breathe air at the water's surface. Some people put these fish in small bowls for that reason but I find that brutal. If cared for, I too could live in an 8 by 12 room and might expect to live a normal lifespan. Of course I would be nuts in no time. Just drawing a breath and eating is not living.
|Sorry about quality. Click on picture to see his fierce expression.|
|Yep, same fish. In different light, his color shading changes. Might have to change the background so he will show up better.|
It took him a while to adjust to the vastness of his new quarters. He just stayed in one spot or hid in some ornaments for about a day. You have to be careful that there are no places for a Betta to get stuck. They are the only aquarium fish I know of that can drown if they cannot reach the surface and breathe air.
Soon he was sprinting from side to side in my 30 gal tank and zooming from top to bottom. They eat special Betta food as they are carnivores. Fish flakes won't do. Also they have to be hand fed twice a day. Ok, maybe they aren't perfect but I actually enjoy the feeding.
As soon as I open the lid and call "fishy, fishy", he scurries to where I am standing and looks up at me expectantly. One at a time, I drop the small seed like pellets for him to eat. Six to 8 tiny pellets per feeding, twice a day is his diet. He would eat more but fish are a lot like most humans, they love to over eat.
So outside of the special feeding which requires less than a minute to accomplish, he meets all the requirements of the perfect pet. How is he good for your health you ask? It is a known fact that watching fish will calm you and lower your blood pressure. That is a nice plus.
If you have no pets and think you might enjoy a perfect one, consider the Betta. Only please give him a nice big, clean, aerated house to live in.
Or if you are like me and all ready have less than perfect though totally delightful pets , there is always room for a perfect addition. No current pet gets jealous and they do make great cat TV.
Any name ideas for him?? I am a bit tired of calling “here fishy fishy” at feeding time.