My Betta journey, since I got him in March, has been a huge 'learn the hard way' experience.
I had been wanting a Betta for some time and just I jumped right in one day thinking he could live small, but couldn't stand to see him suffering in just one gallon of water. Next came the used tank/filter/decor and a week of sterilizing and discovering that the decor I bought the used tank for couldn't be used. Bought more 'silk' decor and it shredded his fins so I broke down and bought real plants even though I was convinced they would die in my house. The first heater and first filter quit within a week of use. Then he started biting and got an infection and had to be quarantined. Two weeks into quarantine he was nearly killed when the 1 gallon "submersible" heater began to melt in the bowl, causing it to foam over and smoke. How he survived that I will never know. Second filter took a **** because I forgot to unplug it before I stirred up sand with a water change. His tank never did cycle even after weeks and weeks of effort, so I tried the food method. I put tons of food in the tank and waited a week or more and the ammonia level never went up. Nitrite/Nitrate never registered either.
After the second filter died I wanted to give up. I had already spent $300 on him and was at my wits end so I decided, "Screw it. I'm going filter-less. I am not spending one more penny on this fish." I moved him back into the tank and went back to my old routine of 50% water changes every day and 100% water changes once a a week and lo and behold, he is thriving with new fin growth and the water is testing very low for ammonia even after a day or more with no change. I think I have the plants to thank for that.
I don't know how I feel about this. I mean... after what I've been through and the money I've spent it's hard to be happy about it, but at the same time I am very glad that he is happy and doing well finally. My only concern at this point is that my heater will burn up with out circulation and I'm still not convinced that the plants are doing all that well.
Has anyone else gone this route? I'd like to hear your stories or opinions on the subject.
This is what he's got going on right now:
5 gallon tank
1 java lace fern plant
1 crypt wendtii plant
"instant aquarium" sand
blue glass transformer cover
aqueon pro 50 heater
15w incandescent overhead light (12 hours per day)