How My Betta Fish Made Me Reevaluate My Romantic Life

21 Oct

Day 40 of the 90 in 90 blog challenge.

I’m the type of girl who likes to take care of others. I’m a nurture-er. It’s just in my nature, and I’ve come to learn to not fight the desire to take care of others. Pets, mostly, but the occasional manboy has also been a specialty of mine. That being said, it’s hard for me to live in a place and NOT have a pet. Or a manboy. But mostly pets. Manboys can be emotionally demanding and exhausting, while other creatures, such as… oh, I don’t know, a Betta fish, just require two pellets of food a day.

So I got a Betta. His name is Pea, and he’s purple and blue. Here’s a picture of him.


Betta’s really are fascinating little guys. They’re also known as Japanese fighting fish, because if you put two males together, they’ll immediately fight to the death. Pea may look small and colorful and unassuming, but put another Betta in there and he’d morph into a lean mean, aquatic fish fighting machine….submarine. I always imagine my little Betta’s having these HUGE, deep voices, and talking down to me. As in, “Clean my tank now, you incompetent fool!” and “Feed me, mortal.”

ANYWAY. I moved Pea into his new home, and I watched him for a few days. I was waiting to see if he would start to build a bubble nest. (Male Bettas only do this when they feel safe and secure enough in their environment to breed.) I started to worry, because he wasn’t making a bubble nest. I worried if he was happy. I wondered if there was anything I could do to make his little life any better. Then again, maybe it had nothing to do with his environment. Maybe it just wasn’t the right time, you know? Maybe… he just wasn’t “in the mood.” But then again, I’ve heard that a lack of sexual interest is a sign of depression, so, that just made me worry that Pea was depressed.

And then, I woke up today to a thin ring of bubbles surrounding the entire surface of Pea’s tank. Complete. And total. Betta ownership. Victory.

But then I started thinking about Pea’s relocation, and how the whole situation played out. And I started to realize that… Pea wasn’t depressed. Pea wasn’t unhappy. These things just take some time. And! Pea’s priorities are completely in line. Not only that, but humans can probably learn a lot from Pea’s example.

For example:

Step 1. Get your own place. Nothing is sexier than a man who has his own place to come home to, without having to worry about his eccentric shroom-growing librarian roommate being on the couch eating a bag of cool ranch Doritos and watching Storage Wars. I mean it’s no wonder why Pea would kill any other dude trying to take over his pad.

Step 2. Learn how to be alone. Men who don’t need the constant reassurance of female companionship are pretty much stoic bad asses. It’s kind of hot to know that your man doesn’t NEED you… but he wants you there, anyway. Maybe I should have named Pea “Stoic B.A.”

Step 3. Take the time you need to figure out your own life. It’s not like I plopped Pea in his new environment and he immediately started constructing a babe-beckoning bubble nest. He had other important stuff to take care of first. For starters, he needed to know that he had a reliable food source. (Sensible.) He needed to make sure the water was just the right temperature. He had to make sure this new life was secure enough for himself, before even attempting to bring a female into it. And not only that, but he probably took a few days to just collect himself. Moving is emotionally stressful. It’s hard to say goodbye to everything you once knew and start all over again. It took a good three to four days before Pea built his nest, which in Betta years is like… six months. I’m just saying, it’s a good idea for people to get their shit on lock before attempting to start a relationship.

Step 4. Let’s get it on. Now that you have your own place, and a job that keeps your life secure, it’s time for the fun part… Bubble nest time! OH yeah. YOU know!!! NOW that you can consider yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally available, you’re ready for that special someone. You’ve learned how to be happy while you’re alone. You’ve gotten your own place and your own job (your “constant food source,” if you will). You’ve said goodbye to the past and have successfully moved on! And so, Pea says, “It’s time to get nasty.”


Here’s a picture of a completed bubble nest by my last Betta, Jekyll.

“Look what I made while you were at work, mortal! Look!”

Jekyll was a beautiful fish, pink when the lights were on and then this strange aqua green when they were off. (Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde… hence, his name.) But I don’t think my cat Oxford liked him too much, because one day I came home and the fish bowl was on the ground but there was no sign of Jekyll.

Annnnd to anyone who knows me and my slight Betta obsession, you know about the infamous DeathTip who was my first Betta ever. I think he and I actually managed to bond, I.E. he knew when I was in the room vs. when I wasn’t. I would turn on Girl Talk really loudly and he’d swim around like crazy. He liked dancing, and food pellets, and basically just being a genuine bad ass at all times. I think that’s eventually what he died from… being such a bad ass always. RIP Deathy.

“I’ll kill everything.”


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