I've kept bettas in the past and have never had trouble caring for one until now. I'm trying to set up a new tank for him, but have several concerns before I go ahead. Now, this is all going to sound a bit strange, so just hang with me a moment.
I bought a chocolatey brown colored betta a while back that has had swim bladder disease since day 1. Nothing I did helped...and I was too afraid to move him into a big tank since he was having so much trouble swimming. One day, I put in some of my floating pond plants in hopes that it would help clean the water a bit...and that didn't make a difference either. The plants eventually died due to a lack of light and I didn't remove them right away, but that's when there was a change...the betta stopped floating and hasn't had a problem since. I've even been too afraid to clean out his tank because I'm afraid he will go back to floating.
However, now that he seems healthy, I would like to set up his big tank for him, but I am unsure as I do not want him to go back to floating again. I am thinking that maybe I should try something similar to my pond set up in hopes that it'd keep him stabilized...so, soil under gravel with some planted and floater plants. However, since I feel I've been in an unfamiliar situation with this fish, I wanted to ask for some opinions and suggestions on setting up the tank.