As the thread title says, I am new to Bettas (well, fish period excepting the occasional and apparently indestructible garden variety goldfish) having accquired a male crowntail about three months ago. Except for the fact that he drove me bonkers for the first two weeks refusing to eat the freeze dried bloodworms and mini betta balls I bought him at time of purchase, freeze dried brine shrimp proving acceptable, I thought our relationship was going to be mutually contented- after being liberated from his Walmart cottage cheese sized container and sizing up his 1 1/2 gallon goblet with artificial foliage and a white gravel and green marbles bottom he seemed perfectly happy. The little booger would even depart his hiding spot in the foliage and dart to the surface to meet the inbound shrimp and didn't even seem to mind my presence.
In any case, I became emboldened and decided if one was nice, a pair of contrasting colored ones would be just super, so bought another one ( metalic blue to offset with the originals blood red), set him up in his own matching habitat and was pretty smug for another week as both seemed alert but not agitated. Fast forward two weeks...
Both are now listless, mostly disinterested in eating or my presence and one is hiding at the bottom of the tank, only coming up for air while the other is resting at the top. As of a week ago, the new family member had silently expired during the night and old number one could barely be provoked into showing any sign of motion. This is very distressing to me as I take the care of any living thing in my charge as a personal responsibility to be upheld, not just to keep them alive, but to make their existance a happy one.
Here I have obviously failed, and in just a few minutes perusing this forum I see that ther are several key points where I was was criminally ignorant and outright misinformed! As soon as this is posted, I will resume reading and looking for more answers, but in the meantime, I would appreciate anything you good folk can offer to help the survivor of my woeful attempts survive. Here are some hard facts regarding what I've done so far:
container: 1 1/2 gal clear glass goblets, open to the air.
water: 1 1/2 gal reverse osmosis city water, ala Culligan vending machine
at local market, changed completely once a week with with fresh
RO water at the same temp.
substrate: white aquarium gravel in one black in the other, both
rinsed in tap water, well drained and air dried.
environment: a west side room with afternoon filtered sun
and an overhead fluorescent light with plant tubes as the
room also contains several palms and cane plants.
Temperature is low eighties during the miday, mid 70s at
night enforced by an electric room heater set to come on as
the temp dips even slightly.
Foods: A) rejected outright: Tetra betta mini balls
Tetra Bettamin flakes
Sallys frozen brine shrimp
B) Tentatively interested: Tetra baby shrimp
C) Accepted with relish until recently: Hikari freeze dried brine
What I have NOT done: No outside chemicals of any sort,
including water treatments. No in tank heater
I hope this is enough information to give someone a clue as to where I should start. Obviously I have missed a LOT of essential points here and I want to do right by this guy. Living in the rural southwest, I am some 35 miles from the nearest (and only) pet supply place so would appreciate your help in compiling a shopping list for my next trip to the 'big city' (HAH!)
I'd be broken hearted and very hesitant to try again let alone expand to two again if I lose this little guy.
Sorry for the wordiness and thanks so much for your help.