I didn't bring this up at the time, but after my first beta fish, Spectre, died, we almost lost his replacement, too. My new fish, Phoenix, was doing well for about a week but then began exhibiting "sick fish" behaviors: specifically, burrowing into the rocks at the bottom of the tank and swimming up into the filter. A close look revealed distressing news: a fungal infection and the dreaded ick (the best-named disease ever!).
By this time, my husband had fought the good fight over my previous fish and he wasn't about to let another one die. As is his wont, he went on a quest to compile the bulk of mankind's knowledge about Betta splendens. He talked to the owners of the little local pet shop, went online, and talked to the fish people at the big chain pet shop. He took Phoenix to the pet shop in a Mason jar and put him in some different water. He bought a new tank. He treated him with sea salt and medicines and healthy bacteria. He started calling the betas by their correct name, "bettas," even though it bugs me and makes me think of those awful commercials for Better Blocks, which I thought were called "Betta Blocks" because of the spokeswoman's accent.
The best treatment seemed to be some blue, Alka-Seltzer-like tablets. The fish was his old self again after just one treatment (although it did stain the jaguar skull decoration in the tank - a small price to pay).
My husband's ultimate research source for all things beta? BettaTalk.com. He now thinks the BettaTalk gal, Faith, is the supreme beta expert on earth. I'm sure the fact that she's a hot, blonde rock 'n roll chick is merely a bonus.
My fish is fully recovered now and spends all of his copious free time making a huge, slimy nest of bubbles on top of the tank, in anticipation of a mate who will never arrive. Both of our betas will come up to the side of the tank when someone approaches and do a little excited shimmy. My husband thinks they like us. I think they're big pigs who want to be fed more often than they should be. Still, it's fun to see them wriggle around joyfully when you talk to them, no matter why they're doing it.
We've discovered that having the fish tanks on top of the TV causes us to watch the fish instead of the television on many occasions. That's yet another reason that it's probably just as well that I didn't bring a beta into the office. I'm distractible enough as it is!