Figured I'd take advantage of this new thread option to start a journal on Ratchet's progress through life... since I've got so many pictures of every stage and all.
I got him on June 1st, and 11 at night from Walmart. I walked back to the fish section and saw a pathetic little crown tail just sitting listlessly in his cup. right then I decided that I could totally handle a betta since it had been years since my last pair. I could have chosen from quite a selection of pathetic ones, but they all had more color than him. He was just a tiny little grey betta, one that no one would be impressed with. As soon as I looked at him closely, I was smitten. He could care less about me, but I wanted to heal him.
I bought a 10 gallon, the decorations and a heater that night while my sister bought a giant, green female. I posted in the morning about how to help Ratchet since he was completely listless and breathing so heavily.
Oldfishlady came to my rescue and instructed me to clean water and time. Of course she was completely, 100% right about this and by day two he was already improving immensely.
Soon he was out of quarantine/hospital tank and gaining strength by swimming in 5 gallons. I made sure he had plenty of tall plants and resting areas since he was so weak when I got him. As his health improved, so did his personality. He had such a fire to him and such sass that I could watch him for hours without noticing. He was starting to look healthy as well and his fins were starting to grow. His body, unfortunately, didn't follow the growth of his fins so he looked pretty disproportionate.
While he was improving, his neighbor (My sister's female bought at the same time as him was going downhill. She unfortunately passed from dropsy despite our efforts to save her). Ratchet didn't seem to take notice since he could care less about her and was more interested in stuffing his little tummy.
Soon, he got a new neighbor in the form of Iorek. As soon as he saw Iorek, there was electricity between them. They were destined to be mortal enemies. I've never seen Ratchet so intent of flaring all the time over any other male. He truly believed he had a chance of winning, should he ever get loose, against Iorek, who was easily twice his size and quite healthy.
Eventually, I divided the 10 gallon once more, so it was now in three sections. At first all went well, but Ratchet (His attitude ever worsening, fitting his namesake) soon decided that he was unhappy. Instead of dealing with it or just becoming listless, he took matters into his own "hands." He began to tail bite. At first I though it was just a tear from one of his plants. I dismissed the first bout and continued letting him live in the divided 10 gallon. It was the second occurrence, as well as catching him in the act that forced him into solitary life.