Hello all! I am new to this site and brand new to keeping bettas. Here's my story. You seem like nice people, so I will tell all.
A couple of months ago, I fell victim to the fish vase. Yes, I did. There I was, a lover of animals (a cranky rabbit, two overactive hamsters, and a cat), ready to embark on a new experience of pet keeping and the shop was selling miserable little deathtraps for fish and calling them charming homes.
My first betta was named Beofish (Beowulf... but fish... I'm an English professor, okay?). He was a mighty, kingly fish and floofed his fins and looked very happy at first in his vase with his little tiny castle. He ate well and was very interactive. Of course, that couldn't last. I didn't know I should be changing his water nearly every day. I didn't know he needed heat. I didn't know he needed space! Vague memories of successfully keeping a betta as a child made me think I was doing fine. Of course, he was doomed from the start. The mighty Beofish's passing was extremely upsetting, especially because I had the growing suspicion that it was my fault.
So I started doing research. We profs like research. I researched a LOT and discovered that bettas like space, warmth, clean water, hidey holes, plants, and all manner of things I had not given my poor Beo. So I determined that I owed the betta world penance. I would do it again and I would do it right. The vase went into the closet.
I bought a Marineland Hex 5 gallon aquarium because it seemed like most people agreed 5 gallons was a comfy size and I have just enough space. I bought live plants, a bigger castle with a little tunnel for the soon-to-be crowned king. I bought a heater, too, of course.
Beofish II was soon introduced to the new kingdom, a feisty brilliant red fellow who loves to jump out of the water to grab food from my finger and spends his days swooshing about in fine form. It's been two days and I am thoroughly in love.
If you've read this far, I'm grateful and impressed. And here are my questions:
1. I didn't cycle the tank. During all my research, I received conflicting opinions about whether a tank that size with one fish needed it. It sounded like if I do regular 50% water changes for the first several weeks, it would be okay. Question: have I hopelessly doomed another fish?
2. BeoII's personality is clearly very active and aggressive, which I love! I adore watching him floofing and flaring his magnificent fins and darting about. However, he spends a lot of time shimmying up and down along the sides of his tank seemingly attacking the glass in the front of his tank. It looks like he's banging his little face pretty hard against the sides at times, very agitated! Is he just seeing his reflection or is he still getting used to his tank? Or is he just a little crazy? I can't really cover up the front of his tank... so I'm not sure how to handle his behavior. I have this nasty sense that he's upset about something that I've done wrong.
3. The Hex 5 has a very quiet filter in the lid with a Biowheel, but I'm not sure if the flow it's creating is still too powerful for BeoII. He sometimes goes into the current and seems to be enjoying fighting it, but again, is he happy or upset? I can't tell! He does have plenty of places to go to escape the current, and I've been unplugging it at night just so I know he's able to rest. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with this tank and has successfully lessened the flow. No, there is no setting to slow it down.
4. Finally, is there ANYthing else I can do to give BeoII the chance of a longer reign? In the name of my poor first fish who suffered for my ignorance, I want to do it right!
And dangit, I love the little guy already.
The obligatory pictures of my new resident warrior king:
Every king needs a castle.
He spends a lot of time in the very front of the tank, possibly keeping an eye on my every suspicious move?
Trying to attack me. Adorable!