Guys, I'm doing a bad job at holding back tears right now.
I was trying to take my betta fish out of his tank with a clear plastic cup, and I was going slow in keeping him in there and putting the cup against the tank so that I could scoop him out, but I guess I pinched his tail since he freaked out and squiggled, and I freaked out. I pinched off a tiny bit of his tail or something. It's like a small thin piece (like if you bite along the edge of your pinky's fingernail). I feel HORRIBLE.
He flared his gills, but it's weird. Like, he isn't flaring at me. Maybe he was mad at the cup? Or the cup AND me, but now he's okay with me? I don't know.
Is there anything I can do or should do in the future? He's swimming just fine, but I feel really bad.
Its very hard to catch your betta with a cup, since you have to put it against the tank, what i'd do is buy a next or take a fish-tank friendly object and sorta "herd" him into the cup and then quickly scoop him out.
You could also try luring with a piece of their food -- I "toss" a pellet further into the cup and they can't resist swimming in for it. It doesn't always work, and sometimes they get a couple of pellets out of it, but once they're in I just start tipping the cup back up to catch them, and it's in "open water" so there's no risk if they manage to escape or anything.
Don't feel bad. It's happened to a lot of people. He'll be fine, but you might want to keep an eye on him and put some extra stress coat or aquarium salt in to help him heal. He doesn't hate you. At the most, he's probably just scared of the cup. If he's a social fish and has never had a problem with your hands around him before, he'll get over it fast. If this is one of his first experiences with your hands close to him, with or without a cup, he might be a little more skittish next time, but it can be overcome!
If you are more comfortable with a cup, get something clear and wide enough to scoop him all the way in. If the side of the tank is flat, you might want to find a square cup. I use a little Tupperware snack holder from a kid's lunch box. It's small, clear and square. If you are more comfortable with a net, get one larger then your betta, not the same size. Remember he's going to be fine in a net for 5-10 seconds, so don't worry about him being out of water. It can be a little stressful to move a fish, but they will be fine.
Really, don't worry about him... he doesn't hate you!
Aww he will be okay, don't worry about it. I usually wait until Goblin 'investigates' the cup and then suck him in. Sometimes it takes some pellets to achieve this, but otherwise hes just naturally curious and a bit of a turd. ;3
To help him heal just keep him warm and his water clean.