I have to admit that it was really my idea. We wanted to buy the betta (Siamese fighting fish), a gorgeous dark blue one with imposing fins. I was worried about his emotional wellbeing. Therefore we also bought a snail. But can a snail really compete as equal company for this gorgeous betta? I doubted it!
We understood that bettas are loners and two male fish would immediately attack one another. But what about a female? A couple – a foundation for further development. I could already imagine us as successful breeders. The living room full of numerous aquaria, because too many males had been born. The salesman said that keeping females and males in one aquarium, even one as miniature as he has just sold us, would not pose a problem. And so the tragedy took its course and our gem, which we called “Plus”, was dead.
My youngest set up an aquarium with loving detail with a lot of plants, hideouts and we put the pair in. The female, which we called „Minus„, felt at home, ate a lot and swam around. On the other hand from the beginning „Plus“ hid himself away, didn’t eat much and we, fish beginners that we were, did not properly read his stressed behaviour. After three days of living together, in the morning as ever we came to see how „Plus“ and „Minus“ were. „Plus“ was close to the surface with shredded fins and looked a poor sight. We were shocked and my youngest sick to death.
We immediately started a rescue operation and fished „Minus“ out and for the time put her in a large vase. But for „Plus“ all help came too late. He died away within 24 hours as a result of his injuries and we felt responsible for his death. The wonderfully dark blue body changed colour and became pitch-black. We buried him in the garden.
The relationship between „Minus“ and my youngest changed dramatically. His love and enthusiasm gave way to pure outrage and from then on he wanted to call „Minus“ a murderer, which I forbade.
It is brutal to watch how nature works and how there is no such thing as mercy, the basis of our culture. It is difficult to communicate to my youngest that „Minus“, although she killed, can do nothing about it and to restore his love for her. His sense of justice is much too strong and his mercy not yet there.
In the aquarium only „Minus“ stills swims around with the snail and we are wondering how the story will continue. The last word has not yet been written.
Image source: Lando Lampert / pixelio.de