After a solid three days of research, I understand that the baby betta's are difficult to raise, but I bought one anyway. Realistically someone had to buy him or he was going to go to Fishy heaven in Petco if no one did. So I figured I'd take care of the little fella and honestly could use all the help I can get because I am way too emotionally invested in Carlo (assuming it's male. It changes to Carly if I can see a difference later in life haha) for him/her to die. So I am going to list what I have done so far and any help or advice you guys can give it greatly appreciated!
1) I have Carlo in a 5.5 gallon tank. After purchasing everything, I realized that this might be a little too big for my little guy although I understand it's much better for him/her in a month or so.
2) I have a water heater that keeps the water at 76-80 degrees. Realistically I would like it to be a few degrees warmer, but 76-80 is okay right?
3) I have a water filter that Carlo seems to have a bit of trouble dealing with swimming wise, but nothing too bad. He hides behind things to stay out of the current when he's tired so I think he's alright.
4) I am feeding him baby betta pellets. I understand that brine shrimp are healthier but I forgot to ask about them at the Petco :( they just told me that they feed them baby pellets. I assume these are okay though; just not as good.
5) I have put "betta bulbs" in the tank. They sit at the bottom nestled inbetween rocks. This is where I get a little worried. I didn't read about these until after I had put them in the water (I know I'm an idiot). They don't seem to be very reliable according to a lot of reviews, and I know that Carlo would definitely appreciate some live plants.
P.S. - Direct question: Do the bulbs require a large source of light to grow or will they grow regardless of light level? (They have access to the large ceiling light all day, just not a direct source right above them.)
6) He seems very lively. He spends quite a bit of time exploring his new home and often dashes at bubbles that appear so he seems to be alert and excitable which is a good thing (I think!).
7) When I filled the tank I put in the recommended amount of water conditioner and when I put him in I made sure to let his container float in the water and synchronize temperatures before putting him in. However, I regret not filling up the tank multiple times and rinsing it out before setting him in. I don't notice anything yet but I am deathly afraid he will choke on a string or something that may have floated into the tank in the pet store.
8) He appears to be a bit old for a BABY. He's already at least 3/4 inch (not including tail). Does this increase his chance of survival?
Again any advice you guys can provide is greatly appreciated. I'm not sure what I'd do if it was my fault my baby Carlo died :(
9) I forgot to mention this. I am not sure if it is something to praise or something that should cause alarm. Carlo has a pretty wide variety of color on him, but where his gills are on both sides of his body (I think these are where they are; stereotypical gill spot on fish) he has a metallic grey oval stretched horizontal and in the center is a really shiny bright scale/cluster of a few scales. It looks very cool, but at the same time, it almost seems unnatural and it's got me worried a bit. Hopefully it's something I can be proud of!