I remember when we first brought Bando home. The whole Bandology team had gone out to shop, and I had resolved to get a fish (after having "given up" bettas several years before). I had him in his cup on the drive home as we pondered a name. "How about Bando," I said, "after the project."
When we first got him set up in his tank, he clamped his fins and dashed behind a fake plant to hide. However, his timidity was short-lived. As soon as he caught sight of Joe's black winter coat hanging up nearby, Bando went on a flaring rampage. He flared at the coat for so long and with such vigor that I was worried he would exhaust himself, and put a piece of paper on that side of the tank so he couldn't see it anymore. Thus began Bando's trademark hate of anything the color black. We tried to make him a progressive fish, but it just didn't work.
Bando was a tough little fish, and unlike previous bettas I have owned, he was not a picky eater at all. He'd gobble up anything dropped into his tank, including a piece of popcorn that fell in there by accident once. He attacked it, ripped off a little piece, and ate it right up! All the same, frozen brine shrimp were probably his favorite treat. I fed them to him out of an eye dropper, and he would bite the end and suck them all out at once!
When I went on my internship at Insomniac, Bando spent his summer at Schell Games, winning the heart of Brian Evans. Bando loved Brian, and frequently did his happy dance every time he approached later in the year.
However, the true love of Bando's life was Tracy Brown. The first time Bando built a serious bubble nest was for Tracy, and he was all flirting and dancing whenever she approached. That's another difference between Bando and my previous bettas: he was teeerrrible at building bubble nests! He'd try now and then, but they'd always fall right apart, until there were all kinds of stray bubbles floating about the tank. But for Tracy, he always put in top effort!
Moving from the ETC to Schell Games and back several times, I discovered that Bando was very low-stress about being moved. He just shrugged it off, as well as a fish can shrug. Thus, I was confident that he could make the trip across the country to California. He rode out with Josh and I in a travel mug, sitting in the cup holder of the car, and residing in his one-gallon tank at nights to rest. When he got settled back into his big tank at Insomniac, he was happy to go on patrol and make sure all the decorations in the tank were keeping in line.
My desk at Insomniac was a brighter place with Bando around (both literally and figuratively), and he was happy to swim up to say hello to anyone who approached his tank. He loved that he could see me out of one side of the tank and Josh out of the other, and spent most of his time swimming about, resting in his cave, or defending his territory from the dreaded Mirror Fish.
Bando has been an enriching part of my life, and I will sincerely miss him. I am very sad, but I am happy that his suffering from dropsy is over. Goodbye, Bando, you were a good fish!