Blue male crowntail

How did you choose the name for your betta?

My daughter names all fish after Roman or Greek gods. This was her first.

Is there a story behind your betta – when were you first united?

Hercules is the first betta in the family – my daughter brought him home when a friend bought him for her. She didn’t know anything about them at the time, other than they were really beautiful. His home was a tiny “betta tank” – a tank maybe 4″ x 8″. Unfiltered, unheated, just some rocks in the bottom and a small tiny plastic plant. He hovered, which was what we assumed bettas did because we never bothered to check. He lived a most boring life just hovering, with his only excitement being lethargically eating a pellet once or twice a day.

What makes your betta special to you?

Later, I got into planted freshwater tanks as a hobby. As we learned about our fishy friends together, we realized that her betta (there were three by then) needed bigger homes. Poseidon moved into our 60 gallon planted community tank, where he thrived – we never knew bettas were supposed to be happy! When I set up my 120 gallon (as Hercules observed with glee,) he went in as soon as it was cycled. A single betta in a 120 gallon planted tank. He was happy. Soon I added other stock – including some RCS. Hercules started picking them off and had to be put back in the cube for just a while until we could figure out what to do. They all died off, so he went back into his home. Adding to the tank, we put in 4 dwarf gourami, 2 of which died (sadly, not unexpected for dwarf gourami.) The other two were peaceful for about two weeks until one started asserting dominance. She stressed the other until I had to relocate the stressed one to my community ta nk (sadly, Poseidon had met an untimely demise by getting his fins caught in an air-powered water wheel decoration.) Hercules just observed from a distance. We later added croaking gourami – yes, I know that betta and gourami supposedly aren’t compatible, but we keep a very close eye out for issues. Everything was fine there until the croakers (7 of them) began the pecking order process. The winner decided it was time to pick on something else, and the dwarf gourami was too big. So, the queen croaker decided to start chasing Hercules, and he was miserable for three days. I pulled him out and put him in the community tank (with a now disabled water wheel) and he loves it. He’s a happy fish in a heavily planted tank, giving him many places to hide and rest.

Is there anything else you would like to add about your betta?

Hercules’ life has been one of excitement and misery, and it was all on my shoulders. I learned that surviving is not thriving – after all, I could live in a linen closet all my life, but I’d be miserable. Bettas aren’t “starter fish” nor are they easy. They are just like any other pet and require dedicated care, equipment, and love.