Thank you all. You couldn't have said it any more clearly, and you are unanimous. I'm embarrassed to think what I've done for her so far is barely a step up from that crappy cup in Petco – I’ll get a heater and a bigger bowl or small tank ASAP!
About giving her absolutely plain, cooked foods; my reasoning was, I knew where the meat bits came from and what was (and wasn't) in them. I'm afraid worms, etc, are subject to quality and freshness issues, that they could cause bacterial or fungal contamination in her only habit. But, okay...no more 'people food', I promise! I'm grateful that she's active and seems healthy in spite of my ignorance. I'll keep reading here, and learning. I want what's best for my fish -- I hope I’ll be posting about her for a long time : )
Thanks for actually considering what we say! Lots of people just wave us off. I don't want to give you the full scientific reasoning behind why it is innaropriate to give your fish land animal foods, but basically the fats in farm animals are to "hard" for the fish to digest, and they are not natural. Worms are safe if you get them from a responsable source.
I can tell you do care about your betta and did mean well. Thank you for being open minded. You'll not regret it. A healthy, happy betta is much more enjoyable than a sickly one that just sits on the bottom of its container doing nothing. :)
Yay! It's lovely to meet open-minded people who care so much about their fish. :) And everything you have done has been motivated by your desire to care for your fish, so don't feel too bad. :)
If you can't get hold of a larger tank just yet, I wouldn't worry. Some people keep their bettas in one gallons happily enough. :) I prefer larger tanks, but OldFishLady, for instance, has kept many healthy bettas in one gallons. If you can get a larger one, though, I would, just because females tend to be more active than males, due to fin-length.
A heater, water conditioner and a high-quality food such as Omega One or New Life Spectrum are the most important things. :)
If you are worried about the freshness of betta safe treats they really enjoy go to the frozen foods section of the fish department and get some frozen blood worms, brine shrimp, and mysois shrimp. My betta LOVE then and after a good thaw they are very fresh and plump. I have even had blood worms so plump they practically were still squirming, one had some after death spazms which freaked me out as it swam around the tank a few inches and then started sinking. My fish thought it was creepy too and we jokingly called it the zombie worm. Also if you live in a warmer wet state or have a warm wet season with mosquitos you can farm your own larva. I lay down a giant kiddy pool with plants growing inside it and shallow water. After the females lay their eggs and the larva hatch I collect them into smaller containers and pass them through a cleaning process before tossing them to my fish. They love those guys and are helping to control out mosquito populations xD
The reasoning behind a two gallon or more minimum is that it is a lot easier to keep the tank or bowl clean and stable (especially of you plant it). The more water there is, the more forgiving it is to ambient temperature fluctuations and missed water changes. You don't need to perform water changes nearly as frequently in a large tank. Besides, take it from someone who use to keep much larger species of fish in much larger aquariums (like an 18 inch long silver arowana), a couple of gallons doesn't take up much space at all. So, don't be intimidated. Good luck with your little CT. :)
I've heard of breeders conditioning their fish for breeding on special blends of raw salmon and shrimp. They may also feed their fry extra protein to maximize their growth and development. I know beef heart is fed to other types of carnivorous fish as a treat. But in extreme moderation. Too much can cause bloating and other digestive problems.
I'm new here, too, and learning...but I think the more experienced folk would also say that the larger tank offers more dependable heating capabilities as you likely can find adjustable heaters that work for those sizes. I started with a one gallon, then moved to a 2.5, and have finally settled in at a ten gallon. The heater I have now is adjustable and more dependable than the nonadjustable one that I started with in the one gallon. (Not a lot of options in my area for shopping, so I ended up ordering online quite a bit.)
This is a great site with a lot of information that will definitely help you provide a great quality of life for your fish...