Okay... So... little Pascal, the crowntail, died the same night I bought him.
I have come to believe that there is something about my tap water that is harmful to my bettas... which is not removed by conditioner.
So I scrubbed the tank out with spring water, rinsed the gravel, and tried again. I added two amazon swords because the Ludwiga kicked the bucket... I needed more algae fighters, and I loved the beautiful round leaves.
I have had success pruning the plants weekly to keep them short. (they grow very large when left alone.) Pascal II loves them.
The Java fern is growing new ferns on it's leaves...
I had to remove the castle as this betta thinks its funny to shove himself through the tiny door and swim in circles inside. He lost two scales doing this, and was game for losing more. (dork).
I took the filter out (it has carbon) as I am treating him for fin rot. He has had fin rot since the day I bought him and it hasn't gotten better with aquarium salt and water changes. (plus he's now missing two scales).
He swims around like a maniac and I was barely able to get any pictures at all.
Again.. I apologize for the large pictures!