I love dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, jumpy dogs, and old slow ones too. I just love dogs, and for as long as I can remember I have been begging my parents to bring one home. By this point I've given up on the thought of my parents gifting me a puppy, however, I am thankful they've allowed me to have pet fish. I always thought that if I proved to my parents I was responsible enough to care for a pet, big or small, they'd be convinced to get a dog. I was on the right track until recently when I made a fatal mistake.
Dorito, an orange-red beta fish, had been a birthday gift when I turned seventeen. My little scaly friend was a constant in my life during drama filled high school years, college applications and transitions. When I left for school, Dorito moved from my bedroom to our living room, thus becoming a family favorite. My mom took on the role as her "buddy fish" caretaker while I was away, but as soon as I came home for the summer it was back to normal. The tank was getting dirty so I took some time to clean it, a task I had done many times before. This time, I made a mistake.
My family had bought a new bottle of water conditioner while I was at school, and I somehow misread the instructions. His tank needed 21 drops of conditioner. I gave him three. The job of a water conditioner is to remove any harsh chemicals and other toxins in the tap water used for a fish tank. Dorito was exposed to those threats and became very ill. He swam only to the top for air. The rest of the time he spent laying on the bottom of the tank breathing heavily. Over time his bright orange color was drained, and he popped up even less.
My mom and my brother try to tell me that, "He was just old." I know two years is a long time to have a pet beta fish, but we all know my mistake caused his death. I know I can't let that fact hang over my head, but I'll never forget about it. And I will always check and double check instructions in the future. So above all else, at least I learned something from this experience.
P.S. I know it's bizarre that I just wrote 400 words about a pet beta fish.