I'm Michael, but my fish is named Murphy so I'll go by that. I was first attracted to Betta fish in college because it was all I could have in the dorms. Unfortunately I kept my little guy in one of those tiny jail cells because I bought into the lie that he would be happier in a smaller space. He made it one semester before going belly up. Makes me sick...
Fast forward 12 years and I'm now gainfully employed and a happy family man. About a month ago I decided I wanted a Betta for my office, so I stopped by Walmart and got the best looking one of the sickly lot they had on display. I also picked up another 1/2 gallon prison cell because, again, I thought that's what they preferred. In no time flat I had a beautiful fish living right here by my laptop...
It didn't take long though for me to become concerned about Murphy. He just kept swimming non stop against the side of this little cell he was in. Side to side, against the side, constantly. I began to wonder about that mud puddle myth. A quick Google search led me here, as well as to other sites, and almost immediately I was reading a plethora of information that confirmed that my fish was as unhappy as any other creature would be in such living conditions. Off to Walmart we go.
I read here that 5 gallons should be plenty so I purchased their 5 gallon starter kit and got to work. I knew that setting up a tank is supposed to done in a certain way and that it takes time to get everything right, but I felt like I needed to make haste. Filling it with spring water and using store bought aquarium conditioner, I let it filter a full 24 hours before introducing Murphy to his new home.
Immediately upon putting him in I was concerned about the water flow, but a quick search here on bettafish.com showed me how to make a baffle. I still wasn't happy with the flow so I made another out of a water bottle, but left it more intact this time. I've been very happy with the results of the second one. After getting that settled out, I'm convinced I've got a very happy fish.
The guy just swims around non stop! This time though, he rarely hits the side of the tank; he seems perfectly happy with the space he has. Top to bottom, all over, he's just constantly gliding around the entire tank (and to think of how trapped he was before...). My baffle directs the water down the back wall and sometimes he plays in the flow, circles around, and goes back for more. I have the best time watching him play and enjoy himself.
I have a lot more to learn about tank cycling and plants and other things to keep his home in top condition, but I feel like I'm definitely on the right road.