Fish Advice, Anyone?

27 Jan

Last weekend, Husband and I decided to get a fish. To be more specific, we decided to allow our three-year-old to use some of his birthday money to buy a fish. He had expressed some interest in a pet of his own, and fish seemed to be the most simple way to allow him that opportunity. The fish he had specifically requested was a goldfish, but, when we arrived at the pet store we were told that Betta fish were far easier to take care of than a goldfish. Presuming the person working at Pet Smart was telling us accurate information, we bought a Betta fish which Child named Rusty. We planned on using a tank we’d had from an old Betta fish (which was actually a centerpiece at my brother-in-law’s wedding). The person at Pet Smart told us that the size bowl we had was fine, but that the fish would need a heater (especially given the below zero temperatures we’ve had in MN lately). We came home that day happy with our new pet. We settled him into his bowl with his heater and went to bed. He died that night.

We told Child that Rusty was just sleeping and used our ninja skills to switch out the fish when he wasn’t looking (we are very, very sneaky). We had no idea why he died, but when we checked the water temperature it was much higher than it should have been, probably due to the small size of our bowl (even though the Pet Smart person had told us that wouldn’t be a problem). Thinking we’d better safe than sorry, we decided to upgrade our fish bowl to a larger size. Rusty the Second was living the life in a gallon-sized bowl with natural spring water set to a comfy 77 degrees. He seemed to be thriving. He was eating, swimming around, etc. Today, after swimming around in his tank all morning, he inexplicably died. Now, once again, Rusty is sleeping and we’re at a loss as to what to do.

The Betta fish we had previously owned survived for nearly two years in his small wedding centerpiece bowl with no heater. Everything I’ve been able to find on owning a Betta says we’re doing everything right. Is there anyone out there who has any advice? I’m not looking forward to purchasing our third fish in one week. This was supposed to be an “easy” pet to have, but at this rate it would have been cheaper to buy a caged animal. I hate to give up on the fish idea entirely, especially since I’m not sure how I’d break that news to my son. He loves his fish, and I’m not ready to have that conversation about death with him. Is there something glaringly obvious I’m missing? Do we abandon the heater? Switch to a different kind of water? Something else? Any words of wisdom you fine people of the interwebs have would be much appreciated.

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