When I first joined this site, I didn't post an introduction of myself. I didn't come for the fun and games and joy of betta keeping. I didn't feel like I had any hope to save the baby that I had only just begun to learn to truly care for properly. Rainbow, my very first betta and fish had a short life and a bitter painful end. He was a beautiful Crowntail with a black face, blue and teal body, and his fins had literally every color of the rainbow. He was artistic and adorable and he didn't get the life that he deserved.
In the middle of November 2011 with my second paycheck ever at my then new walmart job I ventured into the fish section. I had no idea why or what I wanted. I've never really interacted with fish other than admiring them in public aquariums, but I walked the isles anyway. There was a lovely crowntail male who was blue with black and teal. I carried him around as I searched through the rest of them. I had no idea how to care for them truly, but I decided that I wanted one. While I was browsing the supplies I came upon the little man who would be my Rainbow. The moment that I saw him I knew that he was mine and that I had to take him home. I set the other male down in the shelf and snatched the colorful fish up into my arms. I then with the direction of one of my fellow associates gathere a .7 gallon tank with a cute background and under-drawer, some blue and green marbles, a blue net, a bottle of Jungle de-chlor, and a container of betta pellets. I promptly took all of them home and set up the tank with water from the tap, dechlorinated it and set his cup in the water for a while. When I deemed him acclimated (I knew THAT much about fish as far as water temp) I released him into the tank. I immediately discarded said cup. Within a week a coworker suggested I get him a bamboo plant for him to rest on and swim around. I got one and it had a snail on it. The snail's name was Potter, he was the pot of gold at the end of my Rainbow. Until the end of April 2012 he lived in that little tank, no heater, no thermometer, only a couple water changes and when I added water, I added it and then added dechlorinator to it. He was my pride and joy, and he was miserable and I never knew it. I was also afraid of touching the water.... a fear I've only recently gotten over actually...
Anyway, the same coworker who told me to get him a bamboo plant also told me (with a couple months of pestering) that he needed warm water, a heater, a larger (at least 5 gallon) tank, and a filter. Finally, at the end of April, I listened. I bought the 5 gal starter kit from my work and took it home. I followed the instructions carefully and set up the aquarium (I knew nothing of cycling). After the 24 hours of running the filter I acclimated Rainbow to the water (I had decorated it a lot) plopped him in. He was so active and happy and he showed me his true colors. Within a week I decided that he needed friends. I had always wanted ADFs so I got two, and some ghost shrimp because my friend said that they would help clean the bottom of the tank. They liked each other well enough, although the ADFs weren't faring well.
I went to work one day, everyone was happy and fine. When I came home, Rainbow was no where to be seen. I didn't think much of it. Then when I didn't see him for a long while I went over to see what was up. That's when he came out for air... He was hiding in his rock cave. His face looked like it was covered in spider silk and his eyes were clouded and over half of his fins were disitegrated off and the rest was graphite grey and rapidly spreading to the rest of him. I was utterly horrified. I had finally started taking better care of him and now he was seriously sick. He quickly became very, very weak and within a couple hours he was being sucked to the filter so I unplugged it. Meanwhile I was in hysterics searching the web for answers. I was blaming my ADFs because there seemed no other explaination at the time. One of them were dead when I got home. I assumed they had gotten into a fight.
After hours of searching I finally posted about my dilemma on yahoo answers. Several people answered with things that made no sense to me, diseases, cycles, acclimation, things I'd never even heard of. Then finally, a blessed soul, and I don't remember who you were/are but you my friend, are the best thing that happened to me as far as fish care is concerned, came and told me about this site and directed me to the evil betta disease thread. The freak columnaris like disease that appeared to be attacking blue/green/teal bettas and eating them alive within 48 hours. I read the thread horrified and realized that there was absolutely nothing I could do for my Rainbow baby. I cried myself to sleep that night and in the morning I found him dead... I had my boyfriend cup him for me. I ended up burying him when no vet clinics in my area would help me preserve his body for study and he was getting gross. All of his fins were gone btw.
For several months, the ghost shrimp prevailed in the 5 gallon and I didn't respond much to them other than to feed them. (the other ADF died as well). I felt certain that I'd never have another betta again. I returned to this site and began to read. I learned a lot, slowly. By mid summer I was looking around in petsmart, I was just looking around, bringing my courage up to see more bettas. (to this day I have not taken another CT male into my care... I just can't...) There were two on the shelf that I really liked. One was a platinum colored dragonscale and the other, who entranced me the most, was a pinapple delta tail. I was completely lovestruck. I brought him home and placed him in my .7 gal as a quarantine to make sure he was healthy. After a week, and when I was pretty sure my cycle was stable in the 5 gal (still kind of ignorant) I released him into his tank. I had deemed him my "Sunshine, my only Sunshine". I went to work, and came home to what I thought was a dead fish. I, being ignorant of plastic plants and betta fins, hadn't known how delicate they were. He was stuck in amoungst one with bloody torn fins. I was horrified and immedaitely removed him from the tank and into the hosp tank. I learned how to care for his injuries on this site and set about caring for them. After he was healing nicely I tried placing him back into the tank. He went berserk and wouldn't stop simming crazy and doing really scary things (I don't remember everything, but burying himself, slamming into walls, and swimming funny are some things that stick out) so I deemed the tank cursed and permanently removed him. His health would get better and decline on a varying basis. He never was the same. Anyway, within the next month I had brought home my girl Mystique( a CT female who actually has surprisingly comparable colorations to Rainbow...) and a beautiful over half-sun man. He had a white body with red spots and deep blue purple for the first half of the viens on his fins, deep red, and then the very tips were white. Beautiful fish... he was super pale in the store and when I got him home in clean warm water he brightened up so lovely. He fluttered around his tank and I called him Flutterby, but just called him Flutter.
Just over a month from when I brought Sunshine home I was visiting petsmart again and I saw that same platinum colored dragonscale male on the shelf. He was a skull with fins essentially; entirely emaciated. I was outraged and brought him home. Within a week he was already filling out healthily and within a couple weeks he was a full beautiful little man. I called him Titan, because he was my titanium and my trooper. He was a fighter.
Eventually I separated the 5 gal into 3 sections, the one with the filter reserved for Titan. Flutter turned out to be a tail biter hard core and shredded his beautiful fin. (I also aquired another male, Mayim who I still have, who was blue and green with a black face and white tips at his tail) Mayim and Flutter lived in the 5 gallon together for a long while while i treated Titan for Velvet (which I now believe that he never actually had, it was just hiscoloring... but maybe not). I took much better care of them than I ever had Rainbow, but no where near as well as I have become in the last month or two. In october of 2012 I went away for 4 days and came home and within an hour Flutter was dead. (He had had the tail biting problems and I had also treated him for a swim bladder problem. I thought he was better.) I didn't realize until after I took him out that he had died of Dropsy. I immediately treated Mayim with... Kanamycin I believe, whatever you can use for Dropsy, and changed his water. He then had the 5 gal all to himself. Sunshine also soon passed, he never really did get better. I think he had something wrong with him that I couldn't figure out :/.
In March I moved in with my parents (40 minute drive away)(ugh) and brought Titan, Mayim, and Mystique with me. They didn't come until almost a week after I moved, staying in the care of my sister in law... I forgot to tell her not to feed them EVERY morning and EVERY night... they were bloated and sick and clamped and their water was filthy with old food when I finally got them to my parents. It was terrible. She felt horrible but I felt at fault for not telling her that. I stayed up until almost 3 in the morning shanging their water and figuring out what med to give them. By morning Mystique was awesome and Titan had less bloat. Mayim took almost a week to get better. They (my folks) were moving within another month or two and my cycle got destroyed so I just emptied the water from the 5 gal and kept the boys in 1 gals and Mystique in her 2.5 gal. Everyone was doing pretty well and then we moved again and Titan declined. Then he got really, really sick. Some members on here tried to help me and I tried to help him get better for almost two weeks he held on and then he finally gave up. So then I had Mayim and Mystique. I became extrememly religious in water changes when Titan got really sick, like extremely, and when he passed I decided I'd just have the two and give Mayim the 5 gal all to himself.
Well as fate would decree I was in Petco looking for flea medicine and saw the baby bettas. One of them, a larger one appearing female. Would not stop looking at me. Following me around. I was nervous but I decided to jump for it... I think I was sad after Titan and I wanted someone new to work with. Well anyway, I brought "her" home and got her all set up in a 1 gal hosp tank. Within 6 hours, she had a full belly, heated water, and her colors had darkened and begun to show. So encouraging btw, to see that happen when fish first come into your care.
Anway, I was all set to completely clean out the 5 gal and reset it up to cycle for Mayim when my mother suggested that I put a divider in it and place baby on one side and Mystique on the other until/unless I found out that baby was male. I thought that was genious. But then when I was cleaning out the 5 gal I found out the bottom had been cracked in the move. So I looked online for a replacement and discovered that the 10g setups at walmart were only like $3 more than the 5 gal tanks... See I've been dying to set up a sorority since I got Mystique, but me and my man never got a bigger place so it didn't happen then. And anyway, I feel much better equiped and more disciplined to actually properly care for said sorority. Moving on, my mother and I went to walmart and I bought the 10g setup and gravel and a couple decorations (one rock formation was on sale for $2.50 and I think it's pretty neat) and promptly came home to set it all up.
Baby, has a wonderful and curious personality. I really hope she is actually female because I would love to put her into the tank after it's cycled but she had to get bigger first. I believe that she was between 6 and 7 weeks old based on development and color and size and I've had her for about a week now. Baby bettas are freaking amazing and she had been such a blessing. Whenever I am anywhere near she follows me around. Mystique does it too, but for some reason the baby is so much cuter about it.
Mystique is currently in the 10 gallon doing a fish in cycle. I had read and learned a lot about cycling and the method I am using and have been indepthly discussing my sorority and the cylce with an experienced member on here (yay Lilnaugrim!) and am testing the water daily and changing it when I need to. I also have aquired two more girls for the sorority. They are floating in the 10 g and keeping clean and warm. One is VT White/iridescent on her body with red splotches on her face and white lips with purple/pink/red/blue pale on her tail. She also had a tear in her dorsal and a literal hole in her tail. I am taking special care to make sure they heal nicely. She's great.
The second female I found is a cambodian CT with bright, bright blue eyes. She also is awesome.
Baby's tank is set up right next to the big one and she follows Mystique around whenever she swims by. The girls appear to be settling in well, as well as they can until it is fully cycled. This time allows me to find at least 2 more girls and plently of plant coverage. The cycle has only just started about 4 days ago. Mystique is such a trooper and so chill with the girls in her tank.... It's kind of crazy how chill she is. The two in the cups flare at her when she comes by (only just got them yesterday afternoon and it has decreased considerably) and she watches them and then turns around and swims away like "B&^$%, please~" I love it!
I also got Omega One betta flakes yesterday, Mystique and Mayim adore them. My mother found my frozen BW, Daphnia, and BS also, which I had assumed she'd thrown out in the move cause she thinks they are disgusting. We agreed that I could keep ONE of them in the apartment freezer but the rest had to stay out in the outside freezer. I chose the BW for now. I can always go outsite and find the others. So, on top of the new flakes and forzen foods I also have two different betta pellet foods. I think I may get rid of one of them when I find another small pellet food. The two pellets I have now are from walmart and cheap gross....
I've got all sorts of the good medicines and the only ones I still want/need to get are Maracyn I and II and whatever PP is...
So there we go everyone. That's my betta adventure. I've come so far since that first day that I carried my precious Rainbow home. I wish I could go back and talk to myself. Tell myself not to by dumb and/or lazy... ever. He might still be here... but I'm naming my sorority tank after him.