Today began with some drama. I came into work to find my new fish, Dreadlocks Bob, swimming sideways in his vase. He ate when I fed him, but seemed to linger at the top of the bowl looking at me so forlorn. It was like he was saying, “Help me, Mom. I don’t feel well today.” What was I going to do? I had already formed a bond with this little guy and there were others that also thought that he was special. I was close to tears thinking that I would lose him.
Having done research on Betta fish before, I knew that swimming sideways wasn’t a good sign. It may mean that they have an infection that enlarges their bladder. It also usually means the beginning of the end for them. If there was any chance of saving him, it required some drastic and immediate measures.
First, I changed his environment. I put him in a temporary container while I prepared a larger vase with clean water for him. As soon as I placed him into his new home, I was convinced that it was a mistake, though. He dropped right to the bottom, appearing dead. Then, he attempted to swim, but instead of the sideways struggle, he now did 360º circles around and around in the middle of his vase. If he didn’t die of bladder infection, he was going to die of vertigo.
As I was about to empty out the temporary container that I had just had him in, I noticed a very large “poo” in the water. He must have excreted it while he was in there for that short transition. Not thinking too much about it, water and poo went into a co-worker’s plant container. At this point, I still believed that the next thing that I’d be doing is flushing the fish down the toilet.
But I’m a determined sort and wasn’t about to give up on him yet. I made plans to go to the pet store on my lunch break for some medicine. Doing some more fish research beforehand, I found out that special salt in the water might help a bladder infection. I also learned that swimming sideways might indicate a bout of constipation. Hmmm.
By mid-morning, my fish was already showing signs of improvement. He was also starting to swim upright again. That’s when the light bulb went off in my head (it can be slow to react). I then recalled that “big poo” of his—the one that I had used as plant fertilizer. My poor Betta may have been constipated after all and, once able to do his duty BIG TIME, he started getting better. Imagine!
The drama is over and I’m happy to announce that, despite his tough morning, Dreadlocks Bob made it through the day. He is alive and well and seems to enjoy his new larger home. Many co-workers are now calling me Dr. Doolittle. Well, I’m not sure if I was instrumental in helping him make that “big poo”, but I’m relieved that he did, and I’m glad that he’s going to be hanging around right-side up for a little while longer.
Don’t you just love happy endings?