My Jean Luc hates me! I have had him for 3 months. I keep him in a 2 1/2 g. tank and because I don't have a filter, I change his water every fourth day. I put aquarisol, salt & treat the tap water. I try to do right by him, but every time he sees me, he starts flaring:-(. Is this normal behavior?

Question submitted by Patricia, Indepedence - Missouri

A: Now now, Patricia, no one hates you. We all love you very much, Jean-Luc included! :). Well if I got a buck each time someone tells me their betta hates them because it is flaring at them, I would be one rich Mamma! (But no such luck - bummer). Bettas don't 'like' or 'hate' people. They're smart, granted, but not THAT smart LOL. Exactly how smart are bettas? They are just a knotch up from boyfriends LOL. (So not that smart LOL) - Just teasing you guys!

Why bettas flare at their owner, I am not 100% sure. Come to think about it, none of my bettas have ever flared at me (they wouldn't dare!). Mmmmmm.... Maybe Jean Luc DOES hate you! :)). No, but seriously I think it is just lack of interaction. Do you have other bettas? Or just the grumpy one? Bettas are very social creatures, and even though they are very aggressive and not friendly towards each other, they certainly do enjoy the interaction their altercations provide. When you have a single betta, it is isolated and unable to interact. If you provide a way for it to interact (via a mirror, or another betta), I bet you he will be a bit more respectful towards you LOL. So what you need to do is take that negative energy and channel it towards something else (other than you). For example, place a photo of your mother in Law by his bowl LOL. Or your ex husband. Or the head cheer leader at your local high school (you know the one). 

In short, do not worry if your betta flares when you show up, and don't take it personally. To him, you are a large moving shape and he is in need of expressing his dominance. Since he has no one else to impress, he is trying to impress YOU (in a way, kinda flattering I guess). But if his little betta bad a-- behavior bothers you, then as I said redirect his attention by providing something else to battle against, like a mirror (do not put in inside the bowl please) or another betta (in a separate bowl that is). One last thing: A betta that flares is a healthy betta so be happy!

PS and on another note. Changing his 2 1/2 gal every 4 days is a bit too much. Once a week would be more than enough. There is actually something called "too much manipulation" that will unnecessarily stress your fish out and hurt it more than it is helping it. Although it is necessary in the case of smaller bowls (under 1/2 gal) to change water on a 4 day cycle, it is not in the case of a large bowl such as yours.


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