Spot Beta Fish

You can imagine how hard for Mr.A, a pet lover to live in a pet free community. Considering the current situation, decided to buy a fish which we think can be accommodated. When it comes to pet, maintenance becomes a vital criterion during selection. After analysis, found that beta fish maintains a reasonably clean tank but it has certain limitations. Beta fishes are well known for their anti-social behavior and dominance. It doesn’t mingle well with any other fish. Also, it will be a complete harassment for a female fish if it is accompanied by a male beta fish in the tank and vice versa. Knowing all that theoretically, we went ahead and bought 3 female beta fishes just to reduce clashes and other controversies. We named them as rithi, preethi and keerthi. It is a fun-filling experience to watch 3 beautiful varying colored female beta fishes happily exploring a 10 gallon tank, well decorated specifically for them.

After sometime, we could see rithi expanding her tails and touching keerthi frequently and it appears as if they were enjoying the place and playing well. But it was actually an unannounced election process going on inside a small tank. Within few minutes, election campaign is in full spree, rithi was aggressively chasing keerthi and preethi. Rithi’s tails were clashing hardly with keerthi’s tails and they were running away from her as possible as they can. Even though food was poured commonly in the tank, rithi never allowed other two fishes to even go near the food. Rithi was trying to show lot of gymnastics as part of this campaign by jumping high, floating in different styles, even frequently changed her mode of harassing keerthi and preethi. Rithi was showing sheer dominance and unanimously elected as a head of the tank within 1 or 2 days. The other two fishes looked terribly depressed and always floating in one area of the tank consciously checking rithi’s presence. Tension was dissolved in the tank water for 24/7 and she didn’t even let other fishes to sleep. Rithi was consistent in exhibiting her dominance even after the election just to maintain her position safely.

At first, I looked at rithi as a mischievous kid but bit surprised to see supremacy from such a small creature.  We felt bad that 2 fishes are unnecessarily under the stress and decided to keep an eye on the tank frequently. On Saturday afternoon, we were getting ready to go out and I was waiting for Mr.A to get ready and casually thought of checking the tank in the mean time. I was taken aback for a second because I could see only preethi and keerthi swimming in the tank but still look depressed. Shockingly, rithi was missing in the tank. Mr.A came immediately and we both were frantically looking for rithi under the cave, inside the pebbles, in between the trees but she was nowhere. Searched everywhere even in other fish’s stomach!!!! Finally, Mr.A found rithi lying under the table unconsciously. Immediately rushed to fill the water in a small bowl and poured the fish liquid and transferred rithi carefully to that bowl. There was no movement in the bowl and it looks like rithi’s wings were very much damaged, the whole body shrunk and lying at the bottom of the bowl with no response. After 5 minutes, started seeing some subtle jerks in the body and slightly trying to move but her body didn’t cooperate. Because of the serious damage in the wings, she couldn’t move. We put her back in the tank but she didn’t show any improvement in health. We had no other choice other than returning all the fishes back to store.

This incident remained in my memory for long time. At that time, we were preparing for PMP examination and came across the Tuckman’s 5 stages of group management. As we know, group of people are involved in the project and project manager must be aware of Tuckman’s group management concepts in order to handle it effectively.

The five stages are: Forming -> Storming -> Norming -> Performing -> Adjourning.

Forming – whenever group of people are allocated into the project

Storming – There may be some clashes within individuals by exhibiting their technical abilities etc…

Norming – After one point, group of people understands capacity of each other and they agree to listen to one person whom they think has got good knowledge and commanding power.

Performing – This is where entire team indulges in work in a full spree.

Adjourning – Project members are de-allocated at the end.

Every group will go through these phases and it’s up to the project manager to identify the stages of group and apply respective technique for its smooth handling. This theory was designed to match the behavior of group of people but unfortunately, this theory exactly matches with the behavior of group of beta fishes. This comparison affected me a lot. Because, human mind accept the good behavior exhibited by other species easily but not vice versa. Whenever I come across a dominant person, my mind voice says “Oh boy! Found another beta fish here – Grow up man”. I feel that people are dominant just to maintain or boost their esteem and keep everyone under their control but unfortunately they are completely losing their respect and present themselves as clown before everyone by their own behavior.


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