hey everyone! i'm a newbie to this msg board and also to bettas, so i figured i'd introduce myself, and let you know how the worst betta mommy can evolve when we know the real facts! i must have made every rookie mistake in owning a betta, and thought i'd share my experience.
this is the first time i've ever had fish! all my past experiences as a kid ended up with the poor fishies floating belly up in their tanks within the first few hours. the longest living of the fish lasted 3 days before it died. i'm sure it didn't help that they were "fair prize" feeder goldfish, but i certainly didn't know anything about de-chlorinating water, amonia, ect...
after finding a fish bowl at a yard sale i convinced my boyfriend to let me get a fish for our apt, and i impulsively went out and bought a male betta fish we named Sushi :) thankfully the girl at the petstore advised us to buy water conditioner and the right kind of food, because we had no idea!
here is what his initial set up looked like!
i was very happy with the initial set up - i had a pretty fish in a pretty little bowl, and as far as i could tell he was happy and had a much better life outside of the little cups at the petstore. once he was at home and settled, i went online to do some research - things like cycling a tank, plastic plants being bad for bettas, and the fact that bettas don't actually live in puddles were all new info to me! i felt terribly guilty, and went out the next day and bought him a more appropriate habitat!
in that pic, i hadn't yet installed a heater(25w w/ adjustable dial), but it is now there. his tank is a 5.5 "top fin" tank that came with a filter (which pushed the water too fast into the aquarium, i ended up putting a small piece of sponge in the uptake which slowed it down for him), hood w/ light all for 34.99$! great deal, and it gave him loads of room to swim and i feel great about him living there (no more guilts!). he now has all silk plants, and a cave to explore and hide in.
within a few hours i could tell how much happier he was in this tank - in his bowl he could only swim circles around the plastic plants (which did in fact tear his fins). in his tank he could swim high and low, explore all of his "territory" and was much more active and looked much more "alive" than he had in the bowl.
now, cycling was my biggest problem! i still hadn't fully researched the cycling progress, and instead had just talked to a lady at the petstore. she was actually very knowledgeable, explained fishless and fish-in cycling process, but with my situation had suggested i try a bacteria suppliment to speed things up. i ended up buying Nutrafin Cycle and a water testing kit and followed both of the instructions. i've tested the water multiple times (2x per week for 3weeks) and all the levels have been normal! no ammonia or nitrate spikes, and no dead fishie! i definitely had a good experience with the nutrafin cycle, although in the future i will definitely go the fishless cycle way :)
all in all, i'm very happy with my new fish, and i feel like i'm a much better betta mommy now! he's such a little character, and i'm so happy i got him out of that cup, and from the bowl into a proper tank and set up! his tank is right beside our couch in the living room, and he hangs out in the corner closest to us when we're watching tv - i swear to god he's watching tv with us! lol. he loves his cave and spends alot of time swimming through the tunnels, but most of all he loves his red silk plant - he has built all his bubble nests close to the leaves, and sleeps between the leaves to make a little sushi sandwich :)
i can't wait to get another tank and another betta - i'm thinking my next betta will be a halfmoon marble.
my exprience just goes to show how big of a difference it can make when a new owner has all the correct info required to take proper care of a betta! why don't pet stores post the correct info in their stores and keep betta in a larger cup/tank to display them? i felt so bad for some of the bettas in the store, sushi was by far the healthiest, the others looked half dead. :(
sushi's tank (print out the web page, as they will try and charge you 45$ in store!!)
nutrafin cycle that i used to cycle the tank