I have been asking BL for quite some time for a pet. I would prefer a guinea pig, maybe two because they’re cute and they squeak I’ve been told their cages smell and that they can get mean if you don’t play with them, but I wasn’t too worried since I would play with them all the time. BL promptly used his veto power for the guinea pigs. We don’t have our own house, so a cat or a dog was clearly out. This is the conversation via text the other day:
BL: We should get a fish… Something really cool… I’d like a fish. With a cool little tank.
Me: I’ve been asking you to get a fish forever!!
BL: A rare cool fish though
Me: Um, maybe lets start with a beta fish and see how that goes
BL: No! Boring..
Me: Lets just try a beta first. They’re cool. Plus we have to make sure Charlotte (his mom’s cat) doesn’t eat it.
BL: No. I’ve had one already.
Me: I know but we need to start small. Not with a $200 fish that Charlotte is going to eat or that’s going to freeze to death.
BL: No. He wants a cool fish or no fish! Like a $25-$50 fish…I want something cool.
Me: I want a beta named George. If we can keep the beta alive we can invest in a fish tank.
BL: Beta’s are boring…I had them before. We’ll look together.
I let the conversation go at that point, because there was no point in trying to text my complicated history with aquatic life. I’ll give you a run down to the best of my memory, which I’ll admit isn’t the best.
Freshman year, I got a beta. I named him Ryan and he lived in my dorm room with me. He had a cute little light up bowl that wasn’t big enough to fit a net into. So after a few happy weeks/months, I was trying to clean Ryan’s bowl and I scooped him out with a shot glass. He flipped out the shot glass and down the drain. Nash tried to capture him, but it was too late. I like to think that he traveled to the sewers beneath his namesake Ryan Hall and lived happily as a mutant beta, however my mother informed me that there was probably a screen trap and he most likely died in the sink. Thanks for killing my dreams mom.
Then there was beta number 2. He had a cool tank full of fun, glow in the dark nonsense that fills a college sophomore’s dorm room. His life was short lived. He went belly up shortly after I got him when my asshole roommate left the window next to his bowl open. In February. In Upstate NY.
Junior year I took a break from beta’s when one of my roommates (not the one who left the window open) brought home turtles. She was a terrible mother, so I went out and got them a nice big tank, some turtle accessories and a heat lamp. Their tank smelled worse than a guinea pig’s ever could, and they hardly ever moved. At one point, I though the small one was dead so I tried to flush him down the toilet. He promptly started swimming around, so I modified their tank to have a swimming hole. The didn’t use it. I would order them Chinese food (shrimp with steamed vegetables no sauce) and try to convince the roommate that these were HER turtles. They ended up at WB’s apartment over Thanksgiving and stayed there until February or March. I can’t remember what happened to them but I think we gave them away. Or they too, died.
Also that year, WC (another roommate…I had a few through college) got 3-4 small fish in a tank. They were doing great, until one night when they came back from her boyfriend’s dorm room. He had been fish sitting, and one was belly up. I’m almost positive they put vodka in the fish tank but it has never been proven. Anyway, WC was going to be horrified, so WB and I piled into the car at 2am, drove to Wal-Mart and got her the exact. same. fish. Or so we thought. It turns out in our addled state, we picked a fish that looked cool, but nothing like her fish. She was sad that fish 1 had died, but appreciated our efforts with fish 2.
In a dorm room a few floors down, Nash, Loggerhead and their roommate had the idea to make fish tanks out of Sevdka bottles. Short story…those fish died too. The bottles got nasty and it was impossible to get them out to clean them.
At one point, I don’t remember the year, another beta inhabited Ryan’s light up bowl. I ended up donating him to my brother, however Zoots dropped the bowl, it shattered, and this fish went flying into a clothes drawer. They found him, plunked him back in a make shift bowl, but the poor little guy’s PTSD was too severe and he ended up dying a fishy death.
So needless to say, my track record with fish hasn’t been great. I will add this disclaimer: I have a cat (who lives with my parents) and a dog (who lives with my ex) and both are alive and happy, and have been for 3+ years. Apparently its only marine life that I can’t deal with.
I’m pretty sure I should try a beta before moving on to a fancy fish that needs a filtration system.
Roommates: If you’re reading this and I screwed up any of the details, please correct me.