Very good and informative post Adastra! Although, it is a little long, wondering if theres anyway to condense it slightly more? I think 2g could be a nice cut off point for standard care, but again it shouldn't seem like its a "forced" thing. The only thing I could critique (of my own opinion of it again):
-At no point should this be to critisize the prefered size of a tank. It should be informative for sure! But not discouraging.
-Some parts which are particularly wordy might want to be 'dumbed down'. "Books R Hrd to anderstaned", but no seriously lol There are a few parts that are slightly to vague due to large word usage, and no thats NOT contradictive!!! lol
-As stated: Condensing, in the interest of keeping new people reading, and not thinking its all just filler (Although I understand the need for it myself, but then again I'm also a reader)
Which brings me to the point that this should have an easy-to-read index at the very begining too.
Oh. Were we supposed to actually design our posts in the format of the final standard article? I was just arguing for what should be designated as the minimum tank size and the fact that a note on betta behavior should be included.
Honestly, we could write a book on betta care. I think the best way to organize it would be a very general article discussing betta needs, disclaimers, and the products you need to get started. I've gone through a lot of "Just Getting Started!" threads, and what people usually end up wanting is a list of things they should buy, and a simple explanation of why one product will help them more than another.
A separate thread should discuss proper housing and how to maintain that housing, another should discuss proper diet, one with common illnesses and their causes, and another should discuss tank mates. That way as the new person goes through each of the forums, they can get an overall view of betta care in chapters rather than going up against a huge block of text when all they want to look at is a very narrow topic. They are more likely to go to the forum whose name corresponds with their question than they are to refer to one sheet at the beginning. Say one person comes in, and all they look at is the Betta Habitats forum, because that's the origin of their question. They'll immediately see the sticky and have a better idea of what to do.
I would also love it if there were disclaimers in the breeding section. Too many people jump in there without any idea what they're doing.
I hate to double post, but I just had the opportunity to read some of the earlier posts, and I would like to say this in response:
As for the idea that the minimum standards of care are somehow restricting what people can say and putting too much pressure on new people, I disagree. There are other forums with stated care standards that thrive, and are a great influence on many people.
Think of it this way--someone asks a question about what tank size is appropriate for a betta, they get answers from someone who hasn't kept bettas long who says one gallon tanks are fine, after all, breeders do it. Another person says one gallon tanks are unacceptable, you should only keep bettas in 5 gallon containers or more. Another person says two gallons is the bare minimum. The new person has no idea who to believe, they all gave good reasons, but the first person who gave the worst suggestion would likely win out because, let's face it, one gallon tanks are cheap and novel. It's also possible that the person might just give up and accept that you just can't trust all the crazy stuff you hear on the internet. If we are united on what we recommend we will be much more effective in promoting betta care.
I've seen plenty of people acknowledge what they did wrong with their first betta very graciously. As long as we are kind and sympathetic to one another they will understand that they can make it better and more importantly, that they should. Perhaps if we publish standards of care, they won't come to realize that they were doing something wrong while posting in the Diseases and Emergencies forum.
I <3 u Adastra. You say everything I want to say only much more eloquently.
I definitely agree that there should be a disclaimer at the top of the breeding section and I'd be happy to write one up if asked. I've learned first hand what jumping into breeding can do to you and your babies (even though I did do my research).
Thank you for saying that, I really hope that we'll be able to make some good, informative, and comprehensive articles for this forum that will hopefully stop the flow of bad advice.
Right now someone in Diseases and Emergencies is telling someone with a lethargic fish that they don't need a heater. Sorry to sound ranty to everyone else here, but I do the best I can to give people the best advice possible and say the same things over and over and over--and still it's like everything I say goes in one ear and right out the other. I get really frustrated, but no matter how frustrated I am I can't let that show because it will sound abrasive to the people who really need help. Telling someone their lethargic fish doesn't need a heater is just--it doesn't make any sense to me..
Just the basic stuff, really. My main concern with the breeding forum is someone casually perusing through the threads will think, "Well, my two fish are really awesome and beautiful, maybe if I put them in tanks next to each other and overfeed them for a few weeks, they'll breed like guppies!"
I don't think we should type out instructions on popular breeding techniques, I think it's necessary to state what some of us would find to be obvious, including the risks involved (spawning injuries, shortened lifespan, post-spawning death of the male due to starvation and exhaustion), the expense, the huge amount of time and effort required, and some of the dirty details such as culling and culturing live foods that might deter less serious individuals from attempting it. It should urge people to be patient and assess their living situation (whether they are independent, have disposable income, have time on their hands, transportation, etc.) before thinking about whether or not they should breed their fish.
I think the document should have a darker tone than usual, it should sound serious, because it is serious issue. However, I do think it should end on a light note of encouragement--we should encourage people not to just research techniques, which is important unto itself, but we should encourage people to research genetics, talk to other breeders, become IBC members, look at IBC standards, and look at what other breeders are doing to work with those standards or outside those standards to create something new.
The FAQ is a good start but I think it needs an overhaul. For one thing there are some typos and as that is generally the first thing new comers to the site read that should probably be edited. Also I think some of the things passed over in the thread should be emphasized like NOT keeping males with males or males with females. I think a link to the cycling sticky should be provided in the section about tank maintenance. Also it mentions that 100% water changes should not be done but most people agree that on uncycled (unplanted) tanks that are small (less than 5 gallons) 100% changes are necessary to fully remove the ammonia/fish waste.
Like I said I think its a great start but I think it should be overhauled and fleshed out. I also think it should be closed so people don't feel overwhelmed by the 123 replies. IMO I would also like to see the General care separated from the FAQ into two different threads with the emphasis on the care.