I found my Betta at a chain store where all Bettas were clutching their fins in cold and dirty waters, not moving...except for a flesh-colored, non-descript little guy who looked at me, turned, and flared blood red gills at me. He had not enough water to fully expand his fins. I walked around the cup as far as I could and he'd follow me, eyes fixed on my every movement. Of course, Gismo got to go to the office with me, to a 40 L tank with silk plant and fake rock bridge, where he instantly hid. I did not see the fish until two days later. Every now and then, he'd peak out of his plastic rock cave. Then he emerged - a changed fish. He was iridescent pink with light silver-blue fins that gradated into by now almost transparent fins. He is a feisty possessive fellow who wears his pink with male pride. :) He lives in the entire 40 L of water, enjoys temperatures of 25-26°C most, and goes nuts in anything warmer. When the water gets too hot, he'll dart across the tank, running into the glass, racing back and forth in obvious distress. He also comes up to surface in one corner when the office lights come on, and if I don't show up in a few minutes, he'll slowly glide around the tank flaring, obviously annoyed. As soon as he sees me (yes, he recognizes me, we've done tests), he calms down and comes floating to his feeding corner. As soon as I feed him his first 5 pellets (which he puts in his mouth and spits out until they reach the desired consistency) he darts off to the heater corner, where he flares with the heater as if it is the enemy. Then the day begins :)
Your site is very informative and I enjoyed reading the comments. I still have my original male betta which I purchased at least three or maybe four years ago. His name is Sushi. He is still brilliantly colorful and active. When he sees me coming by he will go to the top of the water and rotate his fins, holding his nose just above the water line. I have become very good at dropping the pellets right into his mouth. I am astounded at the character these fish display. Sushi lives in a square, flat sided large vase. The square sides do not distort the fish as a round bowl does and he is much easier to see. Since I got Sushi, I have added 4 more with 4 more vases all put together in a very attractive display on my kitchen counter. I keep pieces of white construction paper between those males that seem more aggressive towards each other in order to keep the stress down. The separate vases are easier to clean than one large tank and the large vase provides more than enough room for a betta and a fake plant or little castle where the fish can rest and hide. I get comments from all who see my "separated aquarium" about how gorgeous the fish and the display are.
My roommate had a standard blue betta. We decided to let it enjoy some heated water and floated it in it's own bowl in my 110 liter tank, equipped with an elephant nosed fish. The next day, I glanced at the tank and noticed that the betta bowl had dislodged itself accidentally from the side of the tank, floated over to the cascading filter, filled with water, and submerged; this meaning that the betta was loose in the tank. I couldn't find it anywhere, in any section of the tank after searching with much scrutiny. I then assumed that it had died (it was looking a bit under the weather) and my roommate had spared me the ordeal of disposing of him and done it herself. Well, she had assumed the same, and we were both very confused at how a fish that size had vanished. We then noticed my elephant fish, Edgar, ramming one of the hiding spots that we had checked under. We then took the hiding place out of the water and shook it vigorously, eventually producing an increadibly bedraggled betta, with only rags of fins. The elephant fish then lunged at it immediately and it hid, quaintly enough, in the recess of one of our nets. We then placed it in it's standard 2 liter tank, and with medication, it's fins grew back to almost complete health - thank goodness.
I'm just writing to share my experience about betta compatibility in comunity tanks. It seems that one of the many very bad choices for tankmates with betta are angelfishes, specially males. Angelfish are usually peaceful, but keep in mind they are cichlids, hence at least a bit territorial. They will harrass the betta, or more often than that the betta will mistake them for one of his own kind and flare at them, at any angelfish per say, but if it's a male angelfish, and if it's big, the betta don't stand much chance. Keeping a betta in a community tank is great and sure the fish loves it to live in bigger place, but you have to be VERY careful with the choice of tank mates :)
We have two male bettas: Blue Sam, who lives in a 20 liter tank with a mystery snail and Sam-I-AM, who lives with 4 cherry barbs, 3 zebra danios, and two emerald cories. Both fish are very happy and get along with their tankmates. When we put the snail in the tank with Blue Sam, he flared for a little while but I think he appreciated the maid service in his tank. Sam-I-AM gets along well with the cherry barbs (great little fish!) and zebras. The tank he is in is well planted and he has a cave to hide in, but he rarely does so. He's active most of the day and needs to be handfed because the cherries and zebras skim his pellet food right off the top of the tank as soon as I put it in. I now distract the others with sinking pellet food so I can drop pellets to Sammy as he wants them. I had quite a bit of trouble getting a betta to live for more than 2 weeks for some odd reason (water condition was fine), but decided to give it one more shot. Blue Sam was originally purchased for our community tank but he was immediately set upon and rolled around the tank brutally by the Green Tiger Barbs, so out he came and into the hospital tank he went. I added plants to the tank and fixed up a bachelor pad for him. His fins are all grown back and he's a happy fish in his new home. I think getting a betta is a good idea when the shop has a lot of them - that means they just came in. I made the mistake several times of choosing a betta from a selection of 4 or 5 and they never lived more than 2 weeks. Based on how my bettas love to swim and "ride the wave" the filter puts out, I cannot imagine why anyone would want a betta in a small bowl where it can't swim and play.
These pages have enough comments to give the reader a basic idea on the topic. Further comments are still very welcome (through the site's contact form) as long as they provide new and/or advanced information not yet discussed in the existing ones.