Imagine being stuck in a transparent porta-potty where no one walking past you cared to clean or help you escape. Awful, right? That’s how my Betta fish friends were living when they were surrendered to Ahimsa Safe Haven from a grocery store. You’ve probably read or seen people talking about the cruelty of keeping fish in plastic take-out containers at pet stores, yet they’re still being sold and transported all around the globe. This story is different than many of the Betta fish accounts —it has a super sweet ending.
My name is Brittany, and I have a micro-sanctuary where I house several rescued or liberated animals. Thanks to the amazing care and time that Cari from Ahimsa Safe Haven put into taking in so many surrendered Bettas (over 30!) while finding their forever homes, I was able to adopt two of the boys and transport four others to their sweet new families.
My two new Betta residents are named Hex and Jinx. Hex is a radiant, teal colored male that loves to play in bubbles and sit on his leaf hammock. Jinx is a majestic, red colored male that adores swimming right by the filter stream and floating his way down to his mushroom house. The minute they see me walk by or sit by their tank homes, they immediately dart to my direction and stare (either waiting for food or for me to gush over them as I do several times a day). I have always loved fish, from their biology to their fascinating appearances, but I never knew how much personality they all uniquely possessed. While transporting the six Bettas from their stop at the sanctuary to my house, I worried the entire time about injuries or stress... but each time I checked on them, they were quite perky and nosy of what I was doing. When we got home and I laid them all out (still in their cups) in a heated room, they immediately started looking around and staring at one another. Hex was immediately sassy to the boys around him, puffing out to appear larger than them. Through it all, they stayed healthy and curious, ready for something new.
Although all of the boys are thankfully healthy, the toll of the fish trade still remains. Jinx arrived to the sanctuary with fin rot slightly consuming his tail fin; due to his immense strength and crazy appreciation for his tank, he is currently doing very well and living comfortably by himself in a 55 gallon home with numerous live plants and clean, treated water —the fin rot appears to not have spread and his coloration is returning, along with his massive appetite. Fin rot can easily spread throughout any fish body and cause potentially fatal problems, but clean, treated water is one of the main ways to help an ill fish friend —so if you have a fish friend at home, please keep an eye out and test your friend’s water often. Since these Betta fish were in such gnarly water before arriving to safety at Ahimsa Safe Haven, it is unfortunately not too surprising a few of them developed health problems.
I am beyond grateful to have these two boys in my life, and to help provide them both with happiness and support. Thank you to Ahimsa Safe Haven for finding homes for all of these sweet babies, and thank you to Meijer for surrendering these Bettas into safe hands. Hex and Jinx both deserve the world, and I hope their journey here will provide them with just that.
This week's blog post is brought to us by Brittany Menhart, our Fish and Wildlife Strategic Analyst. Brittany is a new volunteer, having recently moved to Pittsburgh after earning her Bachelor of Science in Biology. Brittany spends most of her time caring for her many animal companions (horses, rabbits, cats, dogs, ponies, and fish) and organizing local animal rights activism events.
Aimee Douglass is the Lead Blogger for the HAP blog, as well as HAP's Strategic Analyst, and has been a volunteer with HAP since 2018. She is an active participant in the Compassionate Living campaign and in 2019 tabled at her first event for HAP. Aimee works in the healthcare industry and has a bachelors degree in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and a masters degree in Communications with a health care focus from Southern New Hampshire University. She lives in Penn Hills with her husband and their three dogs.