Fish Make Lousey Pets

Fish Make Lousy Pets

FTLComm - Tisdale and Kamloops - Wednesday, January 16, 2002 by Mike Townsend and Timothy Shire

On Monday in my daily tips I said that fish make lousy pets because of a communication problem.

On Christmas Eve my son and his girl friend set up this fish bowl and its lone occupant, a blue Betta Siamese Fighting fish. This remarkable little fish are highly territorial and live in the paddy fields of Thailand. They can get along in eight inches of water and have the unique ability to both absorb oxygen through their gills and through what are called labyrinth tubes. This means they actually can breath air.

To handle sex and procreation these guys are just a bit odd. The maintain their own territory and God help any other of their species from entering their area because they are ferocious characters. They can handle a female as long as once she lays her eggs she leaves the area otherwise its curtains for her as well. Once eggs are laid he will fertilize them and then put them in his special bubble nest which he creates with a little spit and some air. The eggs are protected in this floating mass of bubbles until they hatch and he will care for them once that happens.

These pictures are of "Gainsborough", well that's my name for this "blue boy." I have put him in the bathroom since it is the warmest room in the house and I thought he might just like it there.

It seems he does because a contended and happy Betta will make bubbles and Gainsborough routinely makes bubbles. There are two things he seems to like about the bathroom, hand washing and towels. The flutter of hands under the tap and the action of a towel to Gainsborough look a bit like another fish and that gets him worked up and he ruffles his fins and puffs out his little cheeks to frighten the hands or towel away. So far he has successfully defended his fish bowl and continues to be king of his domain.

Below is what Mike has to say about his "communicative and tough fish he calls "Crash." Click on the pictures to see larger versions of each of the images.
Hi Tim,

I had to respond to your Tip Of The Day, "Fish make lousy pets,
communications problems." Not true!

Crash, my fish, proves why. He was a gift almost a year ago. On the way
over to my house he had an almost tragic accident as the container he was
being delivered in broke through the bag and crashed onto the sidewalk. He
was quickly scooped up, run back into the house and put into another
container. He wasn't expected to recover. He is some sort of a odd character
as he cannot live with fish of his own kind. He must live alone or he will
fight. (sort of fits in well in this house hold wouldn't you say) He
recently got a new home, filter and light and everything, the condo. He
seems to be doing well. As far as communication goes, he is quite able. At
times he is welcoming, at times he says, "Get the hell away from my tank big
guy!" And I am learning more as time goes by.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.