Hi! I'm not really a forum person, so I'll probably lurk more than post, but I felt compelled to join because I stumbled across this site on Google and have learned a good deal from others on here in just a few hours.
I've had bettas off and on since I was very small, but it wasn't til late summer of 2009 that I got obsessed. I was away at university. The town the uni is in is very small, so small that even the Supercenter Walmart didn't carry fish til after I moved back home.
Anyway, a small, family-owned pet store had just opened across from the main campus and I desperately wanted a fish, specifically a betta, for companionship. I'm sure some people find that weird, but I've always loved aquariums and have carried a soft spot for bettas all my life. They're hardy fish that can handle more than any other species I've ever had. At the time, a friend had come to visit me at school, and we decided to go to the pet store to see if I could find a new fish. I was very pleased to see that the owners kept their bettas in larger than average glass bowls with gravel as opposed to small plastic cups. They also kept the bettas's temporary homes incredibly clean. I fell in love with the tiniest blue veiltail male I'd ever seen. I snatched him up and my friend bought him as a gift for me. I named him Socrates.
And then I completely lost my mind over bettas.
I was going through a rough patch, and so I poured all my spare energy into taking care of Socs. I adored him. I pampered him. I babied him. I was constantly improving his tank size and quality as funds became available. I kept his tank as clean as I possibly could. I went to the internet to learn all I could about the species because I fully believe that when one brings home any living thing that they are making a commitment, a promise, to care for that being and treat it with respect. It makes no difference if it's a dog or a fish.
By the time I'd moved back home after leaving uni to go to a community college in my home town to study art, he'd been moved into a 1 gallon filtered tank with plenty of places to hide and explore to keep him active and calm. Come summer of 2010, one betta was no longer enough, so I went and bought a second male, a double tail male with what I think is called a butterfly coloring (pinkish crimson and violet fading to translucent in the fins). I got him a matching tank and named my new baby Aristotle.
Socrates passed after a little more than 2 years of life with me. I was devastated. Thankfully, my love of all living things is a family value, so my parents didn't think me too strange for being as upset as I was. My dad even found a very nice little box for me to put him in and bury him. I couldn't bear to flush him. Aristotle lived about as long as Socrates did and died in in July of 2012.
Because fin rot was a constant issue with Aristotle along with fin biting, I decided to buy a plakat this time around due to their higher resistance to fin rot and other diseases. In August of 2012, I went to Petco and bought the fish who I named Voltaire. He's not only gorgeous but spunky. I decided to just keep the one fish, but life had other plans.
Just a few weeks ago, I was in the local Walmart with my best friend and her little sister. While her sister was engrossed in hair products, I decided to go look at the bettas. I normally don't bother to look at Walmart's fish because they don't typically have the best fish, but this night I broke custom and wandered over.
And there I found him.
A black crowntail male with highlights of smoky lavender and red with a severely deformed mouth. I was so shocked that he'd even managed to survive thus far. He had an attitude about him, a certain toughness, and I couldn't bring myself to leave him. My best friend helped get me some last-minute supplies and I bought him and brought him home with me. Because of his mouth and what looked like scarring on his back (which has since started to clear up) I decided to give him a warrior's name. My best friend, her sister, and I all ended up voting on the name Leonidas.
I kept Leonidas in a medicine tank for the first couple weeks to nurse him back to health. It was rough going finding food he could eat, but I have since managed to find two kinds to alter between to make sure he gets proper nutrition and some variety. Today he was moved into his permanent tank which I made sure was one I could properly watch his food intake in. He tends to drop a good deal of food since his bottom lip is U-shaped and not properly lined up and therefore doesn't close completely.
That's my long-winded introduction. I'm glad I found this site
And now for a picture of my 2 current bettas: