Most people buy a betta just for decor or as a beginner pet for their kid. After all, it’s just a fish. It’s not like you can play with it, or teach it tricks or anythi-
Oh wait, yeah you can.
Bettas are actually much smarter fish than most people give them credit for. They have been known to bond with their owners, usually by darting around the tank to “beg” for food. Steve’s tank is on a desk by my bed, so when I lie on my bed to do my homework, she usually looks at me and hangs around the side of the tank where I can see her. She even sleeps there inside the plant.
The males will also keep busy by making bubble nests. Typically when they’re content, they’ll blow bubbles and collect them along the rim of the tank. They make these to put fish eggs into (if there are any), but most make them regardless if there is another female in the tank or not. A few months ago, before learning Steve’s real gender, I had been looking out for these nests. I guess that explains why she never made them.
And as mentioned before, bettas can do tricks. However, they almost always need food as a motivator. I’ve actually managed to teach Steve how to jump out of the tank to get food off a pen. In the video, you can see her freaking out a little at the bottom (I think she was still mad at me because I’d taken her out of her tank earlier to clean it), but around 0:15, you can see her jump a little bit.
Other people have taught their bettas to swim through hoops and follow their fingers in the water. I usually drag a pen across the outside of the tank and let Steve follow; she has a strange thing for pens, especially colored ones. Maybe I’ll eventually teach her more tricks to keep her mind sharp.
But don’t say your betta can only eat and float apathetically. I’m sure it can be more capable than that if you let it.