Hi there! It's been almost a week since I've been here and I thought I should post an update and follow up on my initial questions two weeks into my betta ownership. :)
First of all, I decided to name my guy Rafa. :)
Second, I have not had any more problems with my filter and it works fine to keep the water clear in between my bi-weekly water changes.
Third, I am glad to report that I finally got Rafa's heater, and he is now swimming around in a comfy 81 F.
It also was not until the heater had gotten the water to the target temperature that Rafa decided that he looooooves pellets! I have some of the Hikari ones and also the Omega One pellets and I feed him a couple of each every day.
I did have a bit of a 'fungus scare' with him, but it apparently resolved itself and now, with his habitat and eating finally straightened out, he seems very comfortable. In fact, his colors have gotten so much more vibrant- his previously flat brown scales are now irridescent blue on top and shiny gold on bottom. And to add to that, he is now an addicted bubble-blower!
Anyway, my fish is now doing great and I just want to thank everybody for their input and for putting together such an awesome and educational website, because it really helped me turn my tank into a nice healthy fish hangout! :)