In the hope that he will live long enough for me to one day look back at this and see how far I've come, I fully intend to prattle about my new fish with no attempt whatsoever to avoid the boring blather of an overexcited new owner!
I will begin by describing his day and a half of life with me so far: Toyo swam into my heart almost from the moment I picked him up, although I didn't really know it at the time. I was considering a fish because it's the only pet my landlord allows, I was considering a betta because I'd heard they were easy to take care of, I'd walked over to the table because one of the other cups had tipped over and was leaking all over. When I picked up his cup, he was the only one that swam around with energy, and when I picked him up the second time, it seemed like he was looking at me.
Half-convinced by the hearsay I'd been given about the ease of betta and them being content in small environments, more freaked out by the idea of a filter--yes, honestly--I initially bought a gallon and a half bowl, along with a rock with a hole in it, betta pellets and tropical flakes, and a wisteria, thinking that would be fine for filtering.
Having already purchased him and not knowing the condition of my tap water, I bought a couple gallons of spring water to fill the bowl. Over the course of an hour or so I fiddled and labored to set up the bowl, take the temperature and began to acclimate him to it by floating him in a Ziploc bag. Looking at him, with the rock and the wisteria in there, I realized that it was not going to be big enough and I'd feel terrible keeping him in that bowl, no matter how pretty it looked.
Fortunately I was able to return the bowl and get a ten gallon tank instead which came with a free filter. It was at that point that I also bought a heater, gravel for the bottom and a sprig of curly bamboo, since I was already realizing the wisteria wasn't going to survive. As low maintenance as they are, I was psyching myself to the point that it would be too much for me. It had partially dried out from its time in the bowl, which was too small for it, I didn't take the time to establish a decent substrate for it, and its leaves had started to turn black by the time I went to bed. I chucked it when I got home from work today.
Looking at that last paragraph, I feel like I'm going to end up killing Toyo from my own ill-timed ignorance! I'm a lot more invested in his survival than I was of the even more thoughtless and impulsive purchase of the wisteria, but I hope the fate of the plant will not be shared by my betta!
Still, I've continued my research, first offering him way too many pellets, which he showed no interest in at all and it was a fun little endeavor to fish all THOSE out, only to learn that pellets will expand in a fish's stomach. And could make them sick! I gave him flakes as well which he did eat, and it was amusing to watch him chase after them as they got pushed around by the filter. Today I bought a packet of frozen blood worms and frozen brine shrimp, which I feel better about anyway. He was such a riot when I put the first cup in. He was looking very intently at me, drifting closer to the glass where I was, and then suddenly he realized something was floating behind him and he darted around and up to investigate.
As of yet he hasn't shown a particular interest in eating, more so in chasing the things floating around and investigating them. I'm thinking if I don't feed him tomorrow, he'll be more more motivated the next day.
I feel kind of bad that he really only has one place to hide, so I might have to swallow my unease about fake plants and find the money to get some tomorrow until I can vest the time in live plants.
I really hope all this swimming he's doing is a good thing, is him interested and engaged in his environment, and not him stressed and unhappy. Only time will tell, but I wish I knew for sure!