Overlord Prong has become my own Pavlovian experiment. Of course, that's what I tell myself to disguise the fact that it is clearly working the opposite and he is the one ringing the bell... I sit here and drool.
Whenever I change the water in his bowl, he gets moody. He is definitely scowling at me and he turns part of his scales from brilliant blue to brownish-black. He pouts, essentially. Often, he hovers in the same spot, watching me.
Last week when I changed the water, he sighed and rolled his eyes at me. He thrashed around the bowl, like he was being chased by a shark... he stirred it up so much that he flipped over the rocks at the bottom, scaring himself. He actually jumped OUT of the water. Then, right back to pouty face fish. So I felt bad (being the dog that I am) and so I gave him a cookie crumb*. Instant change, people. Crabby little attitude fish was suddenly my best friend. Sparkling blue scales, shiny disposition. He was a whole new man. I questioned if a fish could even taste the difference between the brine shrimp and Betta Bites that he usually eats and the yummy goodness of a sugar cookie... but he assured me that he could. Fish don't have tongues, so to push the food around in their mouth, they blow some of it out, suck it back in, lather. rinse. repeat. When he did this to the cookie piece he literally chased each micro-crumb that settled to the bottom. Again pushing the rocks around to try and find every last taste. I guess it was good.
So this morning, the O.P. was giving me the glare. The teenager-scorned/grounded-on-Prom-night stare. So I found a miniscule crumb of my pancake and reached over to drop it in the bowl. He swam to the surface and ate it off of my finger, before I could drop it in. I am really scared now. Not that my fish is a sugar addict, but that he has the mind melting power over me to coerce me into bringing him treats and feeding him out of my hand. I suspect that he has a plan to start a fish circus, where these mindless humans bring fish candy bars and cakes of all sorts... and other fish pay to watch. "She really comes back every day at 3? And you're not scared to eat off her finger? How did you make her bake those blueberry muffins, just for you? What's your secret?"
*please spare me the "don't give your fish people food" line, because I have heard it 20 times already. First of all, he's a fish and in the wild, he'd eat slime off of poo floating at the bottom of the pond, so whatever. Secondly, he's had literally four crumbs and they were all 1/4 the size of his food pellets that he eats - so now matter how much that little crumb is going to "expand in his stomach" he's not going to die from it. In fact, the little turd actually likes it. So whatever. Plus, I am 99.999% positive that if you asked him how he wants to die someday, he's not going to say "parachuting mishap" or "plane crash" - he'll choose stomach explosion from a birthday cake in the fish tank.