The First fish I ever killed was a beta fish, and it was named Betta by default. Prior to my move to Boulder, I pre-purchased an Aqua Farm from a company that had just launched off of kickstarter: Back to the Roots. The kit arrived right before I moved into the house that I am living in to this day, so it took me a month to actually find time to visit PetCo. It took me two hours to find Betta because initially I wasn’t drawn to the beta fish in general. They weren’t cute! Nonetheless, Betta had a blue sparkle that made the idea of a beta fish palatable. The only issue left was the designation of a suitable name. Essentially, I just kept calling it beta, so I named it Betta. Once the kit was assembled, I purchased a snail as suggested in order to maintain the tank until the plants grew. My entire approach was utilitarian, and slightly detached: the first factor of killing a pet.
It’s important to note that the Aqua farm is designed well, and the utilitarian approach could have worked had I not started to become so busy that I neglected a few directions. One, top the tank off with concentrated D-Klor ( a de-chlorination product) and an anti-sludge formula at least bi-monthly. Two, taking the necessary steps to avoid shock when acclimating a fish to new water: temperature and pH balancing. With that said, I killed Betts because I shocked him with bad water during an attempt to “re-setup” the entire tank. Trial One.
After I literally watched Betta struggle to his death, I took a less utilitarian approach to the whole ordeal. I found fish variety that I had an affinity towards: Balloon Mollies! They were cute and tiny. Plus, I could buy two because they enjoy the company of other fish, unlike betas. I knew their names before I even made to the register: Lola and Jasperita. Lola was speckled white and black whereas Jasperita was all black. They were my babes, so the day I came home to find them floating belly up at the bottom of the tank was a tough one. Sure I cared for Betta, but I adored Lola and Jasperita. This time I had the water tested and discovered that the nitrate levels were off the charts because I had been feeding the Mollies more than they could eat in 3 minutes. Oh. My. God. I had been giving them extra food because they always seemed so hungry and ravenous as they nibbled on almost everything in the tank all the time. Ironically I thought I was somehow STARVING them!!!
After Lola and Jasperita died I was terrified to get another fish. After all at this point I was an accidental, serial fish killer, infamous at the local PetCo. Yet, I eventually gave the Balloon Mollies one more try. One disappeared , essentially floating dead under the water heater, while the other swam around as happy as could be. I decided that as much as liked and felt an affinity towards the surviving Balloon Mollie (Lola 2.0), I was most likely going to kill her too! Therefore Lola 2.0 had to go back to PetCo where she would be safe and potentially find a new home. All selfishness aside.
Persistence at the grace of aquatic life is human privilege that I had thoroughly abused, so I refrained from owning another fish until I studied the requirements of the Aqua Farm again. I decided that I would stick to the type of fish that the Aqua Farm was designed for: a beta. In order to make sure that the conditions were right, I frequented the PetCo until I came across a Black-Deep Purplish-Silver beta that I instantly identified as My Fish. On site I named him Jasper, grabbed his little container, and did my classic slow motion walk to the register (for some reason I was constantly afraid of shaking the fish to death like the little girl did in Finding Nemo SMH). I also purchased a Zen water statue and little Blue-Black shimmery stones to refresh and renew the tank, so the design of the tank became personal. The only utilitarian action was the setup of the tank, and I don’t think I have every followed directions more perfectly in all of my life! Later I also purchased a snail to accompany Jasper, and I named him/her Charlie. Ever since then we have been family!
Charlie and Jasper are in my heart, and today, April 1, 2014, I will have had them (kept them alive!) for two months! Each day that I wake up or come home and find them thriving in my “Zen Aqua Farm” I smile on the inside. In fact I’ve even expanded the types of plants that I am growing. I just planted Sage, Chives, Lettuce, Wheatgrass, and Mint with my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.
Persistence. Passion. Patience
Charlie and Jasper: AquaFarming
The First fish I ever killed was a beta fish, and it was named Betta by default.