The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Celebrity profile: Beloved boy navigates newfound fame

3 min read
A bright red betta fish with a flowing tail swims in a tank.

Swedish Fish goes from your average betta to overnight stardom, all because of his thermostat. Jess Kirby / The Weekly Ringer



A typical day in the life of Swedish Fish, a bright red, twintail halfmoon betta and Eagle Landing resident, involves relaxing in his favorite corner, eating and making bubble nests.

But since he was on the front page of the Jan. 27 issue of The Weekly Ringer, his outlook on life has changed drastically.

“I’ve always felt cynical about humans outside of my family,” said Swedish. “But this article changed everything for me.”

The Weekly Ringer attempted to interview Swedish in January for an article about the broken thermostat in his family’s apartment. When his family’s apartment dropped to 59 degrees, his tank dropped to 70. His moms explained that although he has a heater, the temperature it heats the water to depends on the room temperature. With Swedish’s tank wrapped in a red, fluffy towel, the reporter wanted to interview him but did not have access to a fish translator at the time. They promised to set up an interview with him at a later date, and the newspaper has since hired a translator.

“It was the first time anyone outside of my family had taken an interest in what I had to say, even though the first interview didn’t work out,” he said. “Humans call us Siamese fighting fish; they like watching us fight. I think that, historically, they’ve misunderstood us. We’re not mean—we’d just rather have our own space.”

Swedish said the article has brought him newfound fame.

“Since the article came out, I’ve had so many visitors who knock on our door and just want to meet me,” he said. “I’ve always been the center of attention in our little apartment, but having complete strangers know me by name is still so bizarre.”

Although his tank is full of decorations and hiding places, Swedish prefers to reside in the upper corners. 

“I appreciate the decor, but I’m just a chill dude,” he said. “My corners are where I work on my bubble nests, and they’re just where I feel most comfortable. If my moms come and sit at the counter next to me, I’ll swim up close to them, stare at them and blow a bubble. I just hope it shows them how much I love them… and that I want food.”

When Swedish was adopted by his family on March 1, 2021, he was about half of his current size, and he’s grown immensely since then. His moms acknowledge that he has his quirks, but they love him even more because of them.

“I like that he swims up to wherever we are to see what we’re doing,” said Lauryn Bailey, a junior history major in the secondary education program and one of Swedish’s moms.

Another one of his moms, junior psychology major Carson Miller, described Swedish as “fiery,” and not just because of his looks.

“He goes on hunger strikes, even though he’s just ravenously hungry all the time,” said Miller. “He’s a special boy.”

When asked about the hunger strikes, Swedish sighed deeply and paused. 

“I think there was definitely a learning process for me and my moms,” he said. “I never had a tank before I moved in with them, so I used to get really upset when they would take me out to clean it. Sometimes I’d get so upset that I’d refuse to eat for a day after just to show them how pissed I was. I think we have a better understanding of each other now, but it was just something I had to learn to trust them on.”

Swedish requested the newspaper refer to him by his first name rather than his last.

“Fish is so generic,” he said. “My moms rarely ever call me Swedish Fish, but it is my full name. Usually I’m Swedish or Silly Boy.”

In an effort to share his perspective with others, The Weekly Ringer offered him a position as a recurring columnist, but he politely declined—he’s got betta things to do.

This story is part of our April Fool’s edition and is intended to be satirical in nature. All information or quotations are made up and not to be taken seriously.