Several months ago (November) I became a first time betta owner. My first betta (male, crowntail, dragonscale) Ferguson Von Spikeyfin and I have had very little troubles (other than a minor freak out I had when I thought he might be developing fin rot and took him to the pet store to have people look. I was told that he was in an "awkward adolescent stage" in which he just hasn't grown into his fins yet and that the white, discolored parts of his fins were actually new fin growth). I have him in a 2 gallon bowl (completely round..no flat sides) with a fake plastic plant (has broad leaves and a flower), a silk feather like plant worked into the center of the plastic plant (added hiding capabilities), a betta leaf, a marimo, and a marble like substrate. His water is conditioned, the temp is a constant 74-76 degrees, he is fed 2 -3 pellets 2 times a day (sometimes I substitute dried bloodworms, Daphinia or Mysis for one of those feedings). I do one 50% and one 100% water change every week.
My issue is not with Ferguson though, it is with my newer (had him about a month now) betta Sir Finwick Fitzbubble (male, Halfmoon). He has the exact same schedule, bowl, water changes...everything basically as Ferguson (except he doesn't have the silk plant worked into his plastic plant yet but i have it ordered). He has been very inactive, spending most of his day hiding in the flower part of the fake plant. When he does come out of it, he frantically swims for a few minutes, diving toward the glass sides near the bottom or trying frantically to dig into the substrate. He usually then just goes back into the fake flower. Sometimes he won't even come out to eat and I have to sort of jiggle the flower to get him out of it. The behavior seems so different from my other fish that I've become really worried. I have the bowls on opposite ends of the table where i keep my computer (i like being able to see them when i'm working on my laptop). Sometimes i'll be working in this spot for many hours. I noticed yesterday that in all the time I was at the table Finwick hadn't left his flower...not even once. Is this normal? It doesn't seem normal. I've even seen him just hide his head in there. I feel like he is terrified and I don't know what to do.
I've started to wonder if Finwick's behavior has something to do with the bowl itself. It doesn't have any flat sides so the view, depending on the angle, can be a little distorted. Is it frightening him? Is this why he is hiding his head and staying near the very edge of the perimeter (where the view seems less distorted)? Does anyone have an experience with this sort of bowl and could tell me if it is perhaps part of the issue? The poor little guy seems really depressed and scared and it breaks my heart to think i'm doing something to upset him so much. If anyone has any suggestions or input on what is happening I'd greatly appreciate it.
*edit* Fin is also going to the top of the bowl, going motionless, and letting himself slowly sink all the way back down. Is that normal? It looks rather strange and I haven't seen my other fish do this. 0_o