My name is Jes. I've kept fish before, roughly 12 years ago, and had MANY bettas. At one time, I had about 5 boys, my longest lived was about 3-4 years (I lost him to what I now know was fungus, a white fuzz like disease that I wasn't educated enough at the time to treat- I didn't even know back then that there was medication for fish, I think I was basically VERY lucky that anything I kept survived
I had started with a pretty boy in a goldfish bowl, added a golden (mystery?) snail, and my love of bettas started off strong. I lived in Texas then, so we didn't experience the same level of cold, none of my boys were heated, but had water changes, at the time about once every 10-14 days, or sooner when it looked dirty. I know so much more now, and know that was not good for them at all. I can only blame myself, I didn't ask anyone for help, I only did a bit of research and pretty much flew by the seat of my pants.
So, my one boy expanded into 5ish "betta keepers", those nasty little betta hexes that could stack atop each other. Then I got a 10g community tank in which I kept one boy with some tetras, danios, way too many plecs. In time, I got a 29g tall for cheap and upgraded. I still didn't know enough about fish, but somehow I kept three females and a male together successfully in a community tank. Shocking, I know!
I've come a long way, learned a lot more, and have such a wider access to information now that I want to start again.
Of course, I impulse bought a gorgeous tealblue veiltail female at Walmart with a 1g "vase". I ignored the whole plant idea as I knew that was stupid even when I
was fish-stupid, got proper food and conditioner (not the crap betta specific stuff, but the API stress coat). I worked three years in a pet store, two of those years was in a VERY well educated store in Nottingham, England which provided ongoing and intensive animal welfare information, which is where I learned practically everything I know now about fish.
It only took a week for me to decide the girl needed an upgrade, Wisconsin is simply too cold even with heat going, I could feel that her water was cold just by touching the side of the vase. She was active, inquisitive, and beautiful, but a 1g is just not good enough. I took advantage of Petco's sale, got a 15g, 25lbs of the fine gravel, three bunches of the large plant mixes, and API stress zyme.
Currently, I am working on a harem. I have three females, and plan to get 2-3 more. I also have 5 ghost shrimp, and want a few more as well. The three girls are two veiltails, my original teal girl from Walmart and a girl with a blue body and somewhat reddish fins from Petco, and a crowntail female in teal/blue from Petco. I didn't intend for all three to be so similar colored, but I can easily tell the difference
I just added some aquatic plant bulbs, with plans to get more of those mixed bunches from Petco when they come in, and I want to use natural rock or slate to make hides and caverns. I don't want any neon stuff, or silliness in my little tank, I want a more natural appearance as I find it more pleasant to look at, and besides, I don't want the brightly colored stuff to take away from the girls' colors.
Everyone is peaceful thus far, but I check/watch them constantly and am prepared to remove or breedbox quarantine if needed. The first teal girl is the largest, with the most 'tude, which was expected as she was the original even though the tank has been rearranged when the two other girls were added. They do also check out the ghost shrimp but lose interest when the shrimp dart away.
I haven't named them yet as I haven't decided on a naming scheme. All three come right to the top during feeding time or if I open the cover to remove floating plant debris etc. The ghost shrimp are also pretty hysterical, even THEY come up if they think there's food coming! They will even swim up and turn upside down to skim just under the surface when I add in finely ground flakes for them. I had read that ghost shrimp can be an entertaining addition to any calm community tank, but I never expected them to come begging for food! I also don't intend for them to breed, only to be cleanup crew and to just be additional pets, but if they do, I'm hoping the harem finds them as tasty treats so the tank doesn't get overrun with inverts.
This got longer than I had intended, and it's pretty rambly. I've been reading tons of threads, especially for harem/sorority tanks, so figured I should say hi. I've already learned so much and definitely hope to learn more.