So I should preface this by saying that I didn't plan to get another betta- but yesterday, my boss gave me a little blue guy. Apparently he had been given too little attention at her house (she is incredible with all animals, but lacks the time/interest for the aquatic ones). The fish (then-named Alpha) had been her daughter's, and he was sulking on the bottom of a jar filled with about 1/4 gallon of water and nothing else. I realized that poor little Alpha (now renamed Julius) had been fed flaked betta food since the day they got him (yuck) and his jar was littered with old rotting food and poop.
I agreed to take him home, and tried desperately to remember if I had any leftover betta supplies since I had been forced to leave my two beautiful boys in the care of a friend after moving across the country (I'd had them for almost a year, and kept them both in prime, energetic condition- in bowls of about .75 gallons, on a diet of pellets). When I got back to the house, I found that my sister still had betta food and water conditioner from her two most recent fish disasters (she had bought into the idea that bettas could "thrive" in the tiny bowls found at carnivals)
I searched the house for a bigger place to keep him, but could find only a few old and very grotty aquariums (too big for the dorm room I occupy from September-May), so I settled for a total water change. I added marbles and a few carved stone ornaments to his jar so that he'd have a place to hide. The combination of fresh, conditioned water, food, and a little TLC seemed to perk him up, but I was still anxious that Julius might not live more than a few days (not wanting to run out and spend $50 on new fish supplies for an animal that would die quickly).
Well, today I woke up early and the grungy blue fish I'd met in my boss's kitchen was alive and swimming, but he seemed sluggish. It was enough to convince me to get him a bigger bowl and a few other things.
So, here are the improvements:
1-gallon fishbowl (this is the limit for what my school will let me have, so it's non-negotiable)
small 7.5 watt water heater (zoo med bettatherm mini)
fake plant (plastic, but I did the "pantyhose test" and it seems fine)
a castle, so that he'll have somewhere to hide
I read that low water temperature can make bettas lethargic, so that's why I got the heater. Like I said, the bowl size can't change, but it seems like a huge improvement and he looks SO happy (he loves his castle, and is much more active than yesterday).
I've been feeding him pellets and a small amount of freeze-dried bloodworms (he eats like a greedy little pig, so I feed him slowly and not too much, without letting any food sink), and am planning to stick to a once-weekly full water change. So I guess my question is… am I doing this right? Is there anything else I should do? I'm a student, so my budget isn't endless, but I work two jobs so I do have some cash to spend on the fish.
P.S.- sorry, this ended up being REALLY long!