The Sorrows of Young Werewolf (eyeteeth) wrote,
The Sorrows of Young Werewolf

Blue cheese, ranch, creamy Italian, or Siamese fighting fish?

All aquarium decorations are horrible and tacky forever -- hot pink Mesopotamian ziggurats sculpted out of some spongy aquarium-safe material, plastic skulls and no fishing signs, silk plants trailing scratchy threads, and on and on. While I'm on the subject, what is with those no fishing signs? What is the implied narrative? Is it that the sign was erected by humans on what used to be dry land but has become flooded? Or that the sign has fallen into the water? Except that neither of those interpretations really has the shape of a joke, and it must be intended as a joke, right? So am I supposed to understand that the sign was erected by the fish themselves, in which case wouldn't they put it on land, where the fishers are? And why do fish signs look just like human signs -- assuming, as I am, that the sign is understood as being full size, just as those plastic divers and skeletons and whatever are supposed to represent regular humans, not leprechauns? I don't know if I would even have thought of any of this if I hadn't become a cartoonist, but I find myself irritated by it the way I would be by a one-panel cartoon that doesn't make any sense.

Anyhow, all aquarium decorations are horrible and tacky forever, so I decided to make Bela a little fort out of jars. This would be nice for him because bettas enjoy secreting themselves in little nooks, and nice for me because I'd get to watch him doing it. He already had a little baby food jar that he liked to park himself in, but I could do better than that.

First, I bought four smallish containers of varying shapes (note the quarter for scale):

Then I glued them all together in a pleasing arrangement, using aquarium sealant:

Finally, I painstakingly glued pebbles and gravel over portions of the glass to make the jars more cave-like. It had actually taken Bela a while to figure out that he couldn't swim through the glass of the single baby-food jar he had at the time, and the more gravel I heaped up around it the more time he seemed to spend in it, so it was my assumption that for him being surrounded by clear glass does not count as being "inside" in the way that bettas enjoy. (I think the idea is to survey your territory from a secure position.) Of course I also wanted to see him in his jar-fort, so I left some of the glass bare.

He took to the bottom two jars immediately, possibly because he had already figured out one jar in that position. The top two took him months, though! Now he can't get enough of that cruet in the middle. He spends a lot of time in there -- mostly staring out through the glass, as you can see.

Anyway, this was a fun and easy craft project that cost a few dollars and has given me great pleasure because I'm the kind of person who gets a kick out of watching a fish swim in and out of jars. I don't think Bela's equipped with a brain that enables him to exactly get a kick out of things, but I think he finds his environment more suitable now than when he did not have a jar-fort. So if you are like me and you have a fish who is into being somewhat hidey, you may want to try building one yourself.
Tags: bela, fish
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