I bought Casper not long after Thanksgiving, getting his tank during a Black Friday sale. My bf and I purchased him knowing that he had fin issues. SHORT fin issues (labelled as an HM). His personality shown through though, and I just couldn't leave with any other betta.
The beginning wasn't easy. Being a novice, I was trying to cycle the tank with him in... I was also contending with less than ideal source water (here the tap water is treated Mississippi River water.... This far down the river, we're getting run-off pollutants from like 60+% of the country.) After numerous weeks, although he still seemed happy and perky, he just wasn't really touching food. Not even stuff from a treat dial. At first we would take uneaten food out, but then we knew
he wasn't eating, and fearing starvation, we started leaving it in in case he would scavenge. At the time, someone on this site suggested he could have been eating little organisms in the gravel.
To help water quality and clean up some of the uneaten food, we decided on adding ghost shrimp. Best and worst decision.... for one, it (we named him Dammit) was a mislabeled glass shrimp for sure. It, plus the live plants, hugely helped with cycling and overall water quality, and despite the source water, it's been super safe ever since. It didn't wait for uneaten food though and would charge for whatever went in. Funny enough, not after too long, Casper became interested in what the shrimp was so excited about, and would defend the food without even eating it. And when he started eating, he sure was happy. For a while things were peaceful, because Casper would eat the pellets, and the shrimp would eat flakes. Then Casper started eating anything. The two would lazily compete during feeding time, but Casper's delicate fins were RUINED. For a while he looked like a female CT.... We talked with a pet store, and if we couldn't find a fix, we were going to give the shrimp to them.
We experimented with taking Casper out during a water change and feeding them separately before adding him back in. When Casper went back in the tank, I swear he knew
what was up and patrolled the tank for hours, looking for the shrimp's fallen food. By the time I woke up the next morning, Casper had eaten the shrimp.
I shed some tears, and we've learned our lesson.
But in the shrimp's absence, Casper's fins have recovered so nicely.. We're very excited to see them getting longer for the very first time!
(There's dust on the outside of the tank, sorry.)
Do you think he's a regular HM? What is his coloration called?