I haven't posted here in awhile but the last time I did it was in January regarding a new fish I had gotten which I had named Alpha/Flow.
We had some trouble naming him, infact me and my brother gave it a bunch of names. His complete name was Flow AlphaBetaGammaDelta, but we had fun with it sometimes naming him Sir Galleth (character from sly 4), but we usually stuck with referring to him as "The beta" (Pronouncing him as beta instead of betta), or more commonly "The Fish", since he was our only fish.
A vast amount of improvements for this little guy. I learned from here that our first fish (swimmy) that the basic starter betta kit from PetSmart is probably the worst thing to get. He only lasted 2 and a half months so we always questioned our selves where we went wrong with him. Both of us cried when he did hit that decoration though and blamed ourselves for something that could have been avoided.
Me and my brother still look back at him
But in a way, his death taught me a lot of things. I took the time to look up and researching a lot more about fishes on this forum since then. So when we got our next fish on January 5th, a few weeks after Swimmy`s death, me and my brother decided that this time we would take some real effort into looking over our next fish and that we did need one to get over his death. It was probably best to move on.
But we need in good preperation. We picked up a 5.5 gallon tank, an heater, gravel, a little cave that provided cover for the new fish (that had soft edges) and looked over each decoration with care so that it would never be able to harm the new fish in any way.
So we did what we did. Set up the full system and went to petsmart and picked out the new guy. When we brought him I realized he was not exactly the healthiest of most bettas.
Infact, I was so worried I asked arround here and became more of a worrywart.
He got better though, and I was really pleased to see him flowing around in a full 5.5 gallons. And for almost a year he flowed peacefully and ate regularly.
I noticed he was much more calmer than Swimmy and did not flare up as often as he did, but I also thought that Flow/Alpha always looked a lot older.
The best day ever was when he started making bubble nests around the heater. We would always take them out during the weekly change (had no choice but I would try to preserve it for the little guy as much as we could). For a few months he would make them, but after around March he stopped, which left us kind of puzzled. He was still acting normally, just didn't make bubble nests anymore.
But over the past few months he slept alot more near the top of the tank rather than searching around the tank as he usually did. I don't bother him so I left him to do his own thing, he would function less and less over time.
Last week though it started getting really bad. After the 100% change I noticed he wasn't acting normal at all. He had trouble getting air and functioned less. I added in aquarium salt and the stress coat + to see if that would help, but it didn't. Infact I noticed he had trouble settling at the top of the tank and would sink to the bottom of the tank. That wasn't normal.
He would lie at the bottom of the tank. So I realized something was up and placed him in a little cup while in the tank so he could rest near the top of the tank with ease. Unfortunately he stopped eating too. For almost a week now, despite leaving pellets or blood worms close to him, he wouldn't rip them up or jump towards them as he usually did.
I figured he was getting older, but I didn't expect the eatting thing. My brother is responsible for the morning feedings and he mentioned that he spit out the pellet after he took it.
I tried to make things better by removing most of the water from the tank and leaving it extremely low water for him, so he could effectively rest in the gravel and go up for a quick gulp of air just by leaving it at low water. Probably must have been a gallon or less left, but it still gave him good room to roam around in. He still remained stationary on friday and just kept his head up towards the water.
He didn't eat over the weekend either, but on sunday I began to notice him laying down on the gravel instead of usually sticking his head towards the top of the tank. He was still breathing so my brother and I didn't say a word to each other, we knew he would die soon.
This morning though, we noticed he wasn't breathing anymore and was laying at the bottom of the tank.
I'm not sure what happened, and I'm no expert but I suspect it was because he was getting older. I know these little guys are capable of living up to a few years, but this guy seemed like he lived a content life with what we provided him with. It was just sad to see him slowly lose functionality like that over time.
I still believe he had a great time over his 10 months with us. I was really hoping he would live to the day we got him (January 5th) so we could kinda give him a birthday/advent day for him since we never knew how old he truly was when he bought him from that batch.
But looking back, he was a loyal friend. I never once used the fish net during his changes, but used the little cup I got him instead. He would know what was up and swim into it rather than give me trouble. He would follow our fingers against the tank, and he seemed like he was enjoying life.
He may have been the second fish me and my brother ever got but he was the first one we learned over the responsibilities of a betta and taking care of one. Keeping track of the temperatures, keeping the water clear and clean, adding in aquarium salt in new 100% changes when things looked weird.
Looking forward, I don't think me and my brother really want to get another betta. We may keep the tank empty for awhile and clear it out after we let his body rest in there for a day to see if he may magically come back, but its way too much heartache to see that one fish go that you took care of and loved for so long. Especially if hes the only pet and friend you have. My brother always recommended keeping a companion in his 5.5 gallon but I never figured he was responsible enough to take care of ghost shrimp or dwarf frogs with the betta and it would just be more to clean up. Something I had difficulty myself finding the time for. The good times make up for everything, but the bad times and end is really devastating. Of course we weren't exactly bawling over his death like we blamed ourselves over Swimmy, but there was still a moment of silence and acceptance over Flow's death.
I'll really miss him and I hope wherever he is, he still remains as cool and timid as he always was. Don't forget about us Alpha! Because we will always remember you.