So, Valentine's Day has come and gone, and I find myself in possession of a betta much earlier than I planned. My tank isn't cycled yet, but I'll just have to knuckle down and really keep on top of the water quality until it does. It's 5-gallon, filtered, 78 degrees, and as of this morning, pH 7.5 and no ammonia that my test can pick up, but he's only been in there one day. Every muscle in my body is clenched waiting for an ammonia spike. I use Stress Coat to condition and I've got a dose of Stress Zyme in the water, though that feels more like a voodoo ritual than anything useful. Maybe the bacteria's alive, I guess it doesn't hurt to try.
My V-Day present, a blue crowntail that I've named Magnus, was lying in his own poo at the bottom of a cup that looked like about a third of the water had evaporated out of. I'm still anxious, but the change in this fish's demeanor after just 24 hours is pretty remarkable. Once he got acclimated and I released him from his cup he drifted in the middle of the tank for a minute, sort of puzzled-looking. Then he did a slow lap around the perimeter of the tank, and after stopping to show the thermometer who's boss, he seemed to have gotten the idea that this is his space.
When I came into the kitchen this morning, my boyfriend had already switched Magnus' tank lights on, and the little guy was exploring, swimming under his bridge and investigating the heater, the filter housing, and his little stone lantern decoration. The only thing he didn't seem interested in was his betta log, but I turned it 90 degrees when I tested the water, and once I'd closed the hood he watched the log until it stopped moving and then swam right inside, pretty as you please.
I'll see if he'll let me take a picture of him later today because I've got a question. He's blue everywhere except for a couple strands of his beard, which are black, and a few black spots on his head where the scales line up a little wonky. Could this be fin rot, or is it coloration? The black beard sections aren't ragged, and they're as long as the other fins, just...black. Would it stress him if I did an aquarium salt treatment for a few days to see if there's any change? I don't want to let it go if he's sick, but I don't want to overdo things when he's still so new to his tank, either.