Heightened Security Measures

For Reddy.  Alex's Betta, or Siamese Fighting Fish.

Here's Reddy in his original set-up.


(photo by Alex)

Cute little tank, some pretty colored glass and some fauna.  All a little red bachelor fish could want in an aquatic pad.

But then these two came on the scene:

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Adorable little babies, weren't they?

Well, they're bigger now.

And they're not always so adorable.

Particularly this one.


That was then – the end of July, the day after we brought the babies home.

This is now…two whopping months later.



She is certainly bigger.

And she's coming into her own as a hunter.  I remember when they were babies, and they'd play and wrestle, and usually it was Scratchy who would attack Softie, and Bill would worry and fret about Softie's safety.  If he heard so much as a peep out of either of them, he'd separate them and cuddle with Softie a bit to make sure she was okay.  I told him she was fine and perfectly capable of defending herself, but that fell on his deaf, kitten-virgin ears.

Well now I am proven right.  She is just as likely – or more likely – to launch an offensive.

She's still cute and all.  But consider that her sheep's clothing.

So, back to Reddy.

There he had been, swimming happily in his tiny habitat, building houses of mucus bubbles, dining on his three daily food pellets, basking in the peace and quiet.

Then one day I saw Softie sitting up on the table that the lizard tank is on.  The table is right beside the desk where Reddy's home perches.  And Softie was looking up in that direction.  "Hmmm…something very interesting is up there…."  You could see the wheels turning in her little feline brain.

I shooed her off. 

Next time, she was up on the desk, sitting by the lamp, right beside Reddy's tank.

I shooed her off. 

Bill tried to fashion some sort of mesh cover to keep Softie out, but that didn't deter her.

Nor did our repeated shooing.  And our covering the entire surface surrounding the little fish tank with lots of STUFF so Softie wouldn't have anywhere to sit.

And so last night, after dinner, Julia and I were downstairs and Bill and Alex were in the music room with the door closed.  Bill was giving Alex a guitar lesson.  Julia and I were watching something on TV.

And then…


Of course.  And not just one crash, but a whole stumbly series of CRASH sounds. 

It could be nothing else but…

I just about threw Julia off my lap and ran up the stairs.

Bill was closer – when I reached the top of the stairs, he was gently scooping Reddy off of the floor and setting him back in the half-empty habitat.

Water and colorful glass rocks were all over the living room floor…one of the lights from the lizard tank had somehow been included in the fall, so that was there, sitting in the puddle.  Scratchy was eyeing the fish, and Softie had probably been startled away by the unexpected tumble.

Two amazing things:

Reddy's tank didn't break.

And Reddy didn't die.

Alex chased down Softie and told her she was a very bad kitten, and I cleaned up the mess while Bill added water to Reddy's tank so he could swim comfortably.

And then Bill created a small fortress for Reddy.

He got an old 5 gallon fish tank that we'd used for the first lizard we had (Razzcake.  I think Alex was two when he named it.) and miraculously, Reddy's tank fit perfectly inside.  Bill had also (back then) made a very tight-fitting screen cover, so Reddy is completely protected at this point.

Here he is in his fortress.


The lid fits so tightly that I have to use both hands to wiggle it off the tank.  So I don't think Softie will have any luck getting inside.

At least for now.

5 thoughts on “Heightened Security Measures

  1. Wow, I can never believe it when I see a kitten change into a full blown cat. She’s really beautiful and does have the look of a hunter in her. The new tank is hilarious and very pretty. Like an elaborate piece of art.

  2. Awesome solution! I can’t believe the cats look so much older–I’ve been following your blog since you brought them home. As persistent as she was, is she still eyeing the tank?

  3. At this point, Softie doesn’t seem interested in going after the Reddy – we also have a 55 gallon tank in the basement with some neons and an angel fish and a few other assorted nibbles – I mean, fish. Both Softie and Scratchy are fascinated by these little swimming snacks, but they haven’t figured out how to get them without falling into the water.

    Beth – remember to breathe, okay?

  4. I don’t mean to sound rude, but what you are doing to that betta fish is complete animal cruelty. You should have put him in that 5 gallon tank, instead of putting his vase, which doesn’t even have enough water in it for him to spread his fins, inside the 5 gallon. Where’s the logic?

    Please educate yourself about what conditions betta splendens need. They are tropical fish, which first of all means that you need a heater for their metabolism and immune system to work properly. And the gallon per inch of fish rule applies to them, too, which means that for a betta you need *at least* 1 gallon, though 1.5 is even better. (Most fish keepers believe that 5 gallons is the minimum, because it’s the smallest tank that you can cycle, but if you do proper water changes you can get away worth a gallon.) Also bettas, like all fish, excrete ammonia, which is a toxic waste product. With the not-even-puddle of water you’ve got him in, you’re making him live in his own toilet. Ammonia is invisible in water, and has no smell, but if you were to test your betta’s water with a test kit, I bet the ammonia levels would be through the roof.

    You probably bought him in a pet store, in one of those short term torture chamber plastic cups. It doesn’t mean he should spend his whole life in confinement. It’s like you living in a wardrobe. You treat your cats so well, please do the same for your fish. You could fill up the 5 gallon only half way at first, so that the betta can develop the muscle mass that he will need for a larger body of water. I wasn’t going to write anything, because so much betta cruelty happens every day due to misinformation, but I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw you’d put his vase into a proper fish tank.

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