Betta, Goldfish, and Pleco Make Great Manfriends: Owner Soils His Knickers
Recently by accident, I came into an old Betta gentleman; he had been sitting there like a dead thing in an unheated twenty-gallon all by himself, with little cover and water in dire need of changing, owned but not loved by a one-night-stand who spoke of fishkeeping as if it were a mistake. So I took the little guy home, unprepared for his keeping; my old ten gallon was somewhere the attic, and since my tropical tank is inhabited by the sort of fish who would inhale a Betta on accident--and do worse on intent--I put him up temporarily in a planted thirty-gallon with my [ambiguously male] Dragon Eye Goldfish and my [very male] Bristenose Pleco while I got my ten-gallon set up for him.
This is the sort of set-up that any knowledgeable fishperson could call a 'problem.' The bristelnose gets angry when other fish tresspass around his driftwood, but otherwise is about as outstanding as bristlenose plecos usually are. Goldfish, however, like cold water; Starvling gets the upper end, around 73-74-75 degrees, because his owner is the sort of person who gets hypothermia on sunny August afternoons, and because aquarium chillers are a nuisance. This particular goldfish also has fins the length of his body once and half over, he's rather slow-moving, and he has no survival instinct to speak of.
But now that my ten-gallon is ready to be inhabited, surprisingly, I don't really see a need for it. When I got Bottom--that's the Betta--he was extremely lethargis; His previous owner had to poke him to make him move. About a week later he's flying around my goldfish tank like he loves his life, playing with things and exploring and doing whatever it is that fish do when they're happy. I've been watching him like a hawk the entire time, and I haven't seen him flare his fins or chase after or place a single nip at Starvling--even when Starvling was investigating him, pronounced 'asking for it'. What's more, sometimes they just chillax together, or swim around and rub sides and generally act as if they aren't very worried about each other, in fact, I'm beginning to suspect that what I'm looking are the first glowing embers of a passionate interspecies bromance. They're already beginning to learn which food is Starvling food and which food is Bottom food, and both are friendly finger eaters, so I can feed one adorable little fishy out of one hand and the other adorable little fishy out of the other hand, hence avoiding starvation for either individual. And I am a happy, happy fishkeeper.
After all that elaboration, my question comes to this--can Bottom's life get any better than it already is? It seems logical that moving him to his [very own] [heated] tank would be the best thing for him, but it looks to be that this particular Betta is thriving in all the wrong conditions. On the other hand, it could be that he's only half-thriving now, and if he should be given the real proper conditions I'll end up with the thrivingest Betta ever known to man. On the third hand, switching tanks might just be more stress on his poor Betta system, all trying to fix something that isn't broken. On the fourth hand, my Bottom tank already prepared, and is sitting there waiting to have its presence graced.
Any thoughts, opinions, insights, or speculations?