Hi, this is my first time posting. I've had my beta for about a year now and I'm very well aware of how poor of a job I'm doing. I was devastated when I realized the fake plant I'd put in his bowl was tearing his fins.
I got my Mr. from a friend. Her previous fish had appeared to die, then came "miraculously" back to life after she bought a new one. Too bad for him. That poor fish was in a tank that had never been cleaned! It looked so tiny and shriveled in all the brown water. The fish she gave me, unfortunately named Sophia despite his actual gender, would have been flushed because she didn't want two fish! Uhg, I shudder! So I took him home, having no idea how to take care of him and not being particularly lucky in the fish department in the past. Or the pet department, actually.
Two weeks later her fish formed a tumor and died. She said it was because whenever she names a fish it dies. Nice logic, but no.
I put my Mr. in a big vase I had with just those little glass pebble things, and he really seemed to like those. The first time I changed the water I put him in a regular bowl while I went into the other room to wash out the vase, and while I was gone he jumped out! I was so worried about infection and the possibility of brain damage due to suffocation I went online and started looking for answers. Imagine my surprise. There are so many misconceptions about these little guys it makes me want to cry! I once had an aunt who put her betta in a vase with a plant in it, thinking heíd eat the plant. The poor guy had barely any space in there, and I canít imagine how he got to the surface for air! Of course he died soon after she got him, and now I know why. I was relieved to find out about the labyrinth. I kept a close eye on my Mr. after he jumped, and there were no signs of infection, so I just kept up a regimen of cleaning his bowl and keeping the water warm. I was considering getting him a tank, and then I started college. I kept on getting images of a shattering glass tank and my baby torn to pieces by the glass. I was freaking out the whole drive up about the stress the trip would have on him, but of course heís fine. I put the offending plant in his bowl, having heard how they like plants, only to realize a week later that his fins were tattered. It went right into the trash. Having no access to a car I havenít been able to go to the store to look for a silk plant, so Iím keeping the water very clean. I also need to get some water conditioner, something I hadnít realized he even needed until after it occurred to me that my dorm gets city water rather than the well water I get at home that goes through our filtering system. Iíve got so much to learn! And every day my poor Mr. has to deal with my fumbling. I have nightmares about trying to find a safe place for him as he gradually disappears or slips through my fingers, and then I canít find him anywhere. I feel a little more secure knowing thereíre people here who might be able to help me when Iíve got questions.
Well, you've come to the right place for help :) Don't worry so much about your fumbling, you're learning. Just think, if it wasn't for you he'd be in the sewers. I was actually in your boat when I first got my Little Guy (his fins got tatterred, but not by a plant :P I accidently filled the water up too high and my other betta jumped the divider and beat on him :(, lesson learned though)
Don't feel too bad, I killed one Betta and made my other very sick before I found this forum and realized all the mistakes I'd been making. Thanks to a lot of reading and specific answers from some very caring, helpful people, my little guys life is much improved nowdays and as a result I feel much better too. Stick around, you'll like the place and learn a bunch too