I just joined today and thought I'd introduce myself. Like many of you, I'm sure, I got my first betta because I couldn't stand to see him in a tiny cup on a dark shelf. His name is Wally and he's been with me for a little longer than a year. He's red and has grown significantly since I brought him home. A few months ago, I got a second betta, this one is blue, and his name is Marty. (I got both of them at Walmart, LOL). I went to Petsmart for some treats for the boys and they had female bettas on sale, so ... now I also have Ellie, short for Cinderella. When I was buying decorations for her new home, I set her tiny container on the shelf by the decorations and consulted her about which ones she liked, and she was definitely in favor of the tiny replica of Cinderella's castle. She is fascinated by that castle and spends a good portion of her day just staring at it. She's kind of a pale, pale pink on her body with darker fins and face.
They each have their own bowl and sit in a row on the kitchen counter, far enough apart so they won't feel crowded. Wally was an only for so long that when I brought Marty home, he was quite fascinated and stared at him for several minutes, but then he wandered off and they don't seem to even notice each other now. Marty stared at Ellie's bowl for a few minutes the first day and did the same thing, kind of shrugged and went on about his business. Ellie ignores them entirely. All three come over to be sociable when I stop to talk to them.
I feed them pellet betta food, change water regularly, and each has a hidey. I call all of the hideys "castles," but only Ellie really has a castle. Marty has a Sponge Bob pineapple that he was very suspicious of at first, but now spends a lot of time in it, and Wally's is a multicolored thing that sort of looks like a misshapen rock with lots of openings in it.
I offered them bloodworms for a treat because I read that bettas love those, but they did not, so I offered them to my starling and she LOVES them. At least they weren't wasted. The fishies just want their pellets and they want them on a regular schedule and that's ALL they want.
The reason I call us the Ark is I have eight birds: Clyde and Jade, Quaker parrots; Maggie, a pigeon; three tiels, Freddie, Johnny and Greta; a budgie, Benjy; my starling, Ringo (she's a girl, though); three dogs, Jack, Gigi and George; and the fish. I'm a sucker for critters. I feed the wild birds and probably worry and fuss over them almost as much as my indoor birds, who have their own room set up to suit them. I'd have more bettas if I had more bowls. LOL They have big bowls and if we had proper outlets -- it's an old house without nearly enough outlets -- they'd each have a tank. I change their water two or three times a week and they're so used to it now that they swim into the glass when I put it down in their bowls and wait patiently while Mama changes water and cleans up their castles and fake jewels. I don't catch them in a net to take them out for water changes. I have a jelly glass and dip them out in that. Ellie's tiny, not much bigger than a guppy. Marty's mid size, but he hasn't had time to grow yet. Wally was about that size when I brought him home, but he's grown alarmingly and his fins are quite impressive now. Marty's doing his best to catch up.
Hi Siobhan - you mentioned a lack of outlets. Does that mean you don't have heaters? If not, I would strongly advise purchasing a power-board to make room for three heaters. Your bettas sound like they have a great life already, but, as tropical fish, they really need heaters to thrive. :)
No, I don't have heaters. When I say lack of outlets, I mean there are none anywhere near the fish village. There are a grand total of two outlets in that room. The fridge and stove occupy those outlets. Because we have a large and rambunctious dog, the fish village has to be on the kitchen counter to be safely removed from potential accidents. I've had Wally -- the eldest -- for over a year and he has grown and thrived. Marty has grown and his fins have filled out and are quite gorgeous already. Ellie is very curious and active and never fails to want to visit when I talk to her. I keep their water scrupulously clean and it's room temperature, which is around 71 degrees. Wally has never had any issues with fin injuries or fin rot, no spots, and all three eat heartily every day. Because of the birds, I'm a student of pet poop (if you didn't know, birds hide illness by instinct, and a good way to discover illness early is to keep an eye on poop) so I watch the fish poop when I change water to see if it looks normal in quality and quantity and theirs always does.
In order to get power to where they are, I'd have to run an extension cord from another room, or move them to another room where they might not be as secure as they are now. I can't put them in with the birds -- whose room is inaccessible to the dogs -- for the birds' safety. Birds like to play in water and if they should fall in, they'd drown. They have water to play in, but it's in a shallow dish they can easily get out of. I have to leave the fish uncovered so their water stays oxygenated, you know, and and it would be too tempting to the birds. Outlets are at a premium in every room. Our house was built in the 1960s by an amateur carpenter who apparently thought lots of cabinets were more necessary than electrical outlets. LOL
Wow, that really sucks! However, I would definitely move them to the bird room. You don't need to leave them uncovered for the water to be oxygenated - a small gap between the lid and surface of the water will do just fine. Bettas use their labyrinth organ to breathe from the surface of the water anyway, because they typically come from water with an extremely low oxygen content. :)
If that would enable them to have a heater, it would be completely worth it - just like any other tropical fish, cold water depresses their immune system, and if they do get sick, it's going to be super hard to cure them without heaters.
I went to Petsmart today for food for my birds and they had 2.5 gallon aquariums on sale. I was going to get just one, because Wally has grown and I thought his bowl was a bit small, but I decided I couldn't give him one without giving Marty one, too, and though Ellie's very tiny, what the heck, I got her one too. And I had to get some plastic plants and some more glass "jewels" because their new tanks would look awfully bare otherwise. The checkout clerk said they would be "scared" because of all the space and I figured that instead, they'd be tickled pink. And they were. Marty's kind of suspicious of change, and he was a little grumpy about the whole thing at first, but Wally and Ellie were both very pleased right away. Marty is, too, now that he's had a chance to poke around and notice he has plants. Marty likes plants very much. All of them have been swimming and swimming.
Heaters will have to wait until next payday. They're still in the kitchen. The tanks came with lids, though, so that would fix the worry about the birds taking an unexpected swim. However, the birds' room tends to be chilly, while the kitchen is warm, and for now they're better off in the kitchen. And outlets are also at a premium in the birds' room. So is space. There are seven birds in that room, and each has a large cage.