Our beta fish, Maestro, died this afternoon.
He fell ill early last weekend. He started acting strangely, floating on his side during the day, lying down on his side during the night. Soon his behavior became much more erratic. Without warning, he would sprint to the top of his tank for air, and allow himself to sink slowly back down to the bottom. After these fits of swimming, Maestro invariably came to rest on the smooth river rocks that lined the base of his tank. I like to think the cold stones gave him comfort.
When his illness began, my first instinct was to change his water, and this seemed to help. He showed a little sign of improvement, swimming around the tank, rather than swimming on his side. All seemed well for a day or two.
But last night the same symptoms came back. This morning I found him resting on the cool rocks again, his gills weakly breathing. Food held no interest to him. I can’t imagine fish having overly complex minds. But it seemed like our little friend had simply lost the will to live.
This afternoon, I checked on him knowing the end was near. I found him in his favorite corner of the tank. He was already gone. But he looked at peace.
Maestro’s tank sits empty now, beneath the windows in our living room. It’s strange that a fish so small, could bring our lives such joy.