I thought fish really loved pots.
But not just any pots – pots with holes in them. Pots which are actually more like vases with holes in them.
And I thought this not because I felt that fish necessarily appreciate the ornate designs of mock-shattered vases, but because I thought they liked to sleep inside them. In fact, all my hours of research clearly pointed to one solution: buy a pot. Fish like to sleep in them.
For those of you who haven’t read Fish, Love, and Companionship, you should probably know that I own a little veil-tail betta named Hemingway. I’ve had him for about four months now, and despite my inexperience as a fish-mom, I’d like to think that I’ve taken pretty good care of him. I mean, I bought him a pot after all.
But what I’ve really learned in my short time with Hemmy is that fish, like people, need room to grow. When I bought Hemmy at the pet store, he came in a tiny little plastic container with barely any water or space to swim. I thought I was doing him a favor by buying the largest glass bowl that store offered (which wasn’t much), but he wasn’t getting any happier and I soon realized that he needed more space.
So Hemmy got to move. I went to a different store and bought him the biggest bowl they carried, which was a one gallon globe with a light. After some adjusting, he took to the new size really well and enjoyed all his extra space. Four months and several battles with fin rot later, Hemmy required another move. He was probably happy in that globe, content even. But, I knew he was never going to reach his full potential in a space he had clearly outgrown.
More research and careful planning led me to a 2.5 gallon tank with a gentle filter, light, and enough space for a pot (bonus). It’s only been about a week, but I can already see Hemmy’s fins growing back together. He’s much more adventurous now, exploring every inch of his new home (having been kept in globes all his life, he was really perplexed by corners). He swims through his plants, sits by his filter, and seems to love life in his tank. However, he hasn’t once gone inside his pot.
I’ve been pretty distressed by this. Of course, I thought he would love the pot instantly. I imagined him seeing this new huge thing in the middle of his tank and immediately rushing to swim through the little holes and openings. I was so excited by my new purchase that I forgot he might actually be scared of it. He needed time to adjust. But I’m impatient.
So yesterday, when I saw him approach the big opening in the front of the pot, you can bet I was there eagerly watching to see if he’d go in. He didn’t. He stuck his head in a little bit, looked around, and then slowly backed out and went about his business. Though disappointed, I was happy he’d made a little progress. And then I had this mini-epiphany about life which is actually the real purpose of this post.
I need a bigger tank.
I’m at that point in my life right now where transition and change is good. In fact, it’s needed. If I don’t move on to the next stage of my life, I’ll start to feel cramped and all my fins will start to fall out (metaphorically, of course).
Granted, it might take baby-steps to finally find the right fit, but once I find where I’m supposed to be, everything else will fall into place. That big pot, that dream that I’ve always wanted, will be right there in front of me. I might be scared to approach it at first, but I have to try. I need to. If I don’t, it’ll still be there, but in a taunting you-never-achieved-your-dream kind of way. I can’t let that happen. I can’t work so hard to get to my own 2.5 gallon tank and then never explore all of it. Even the pot. Especially the pot.
And a special note: I just looked over to Hemingway’s tank and watched as he successfully swam through a hole in the pot. He finally did it.
Now it’s my turn.