Spartan sounds amazing. No wonder you miss the little guy.
You could probably start channeling Conan's biting into learning. I play tag with Valentine: let him chase my finger in circles around outcroppings of his fake reef or around silk leaves that stick out, or just in circles. (He cheats, though, without something to actually circle around and cuts across the 'circle' area. ^.~) Then I reverse and chase him with my finger, and he shrieks gamely and runs away.
I bet Conan would play that game. If you feed him from your fingers, that will get him started.
I definitely miss Spartan D: He even swam into the water change cup for me (better than surprise scooping, or a net!).
I tried that I had him chase me (DARN is he FAST!) then I reversed it. He doesn't back off XDD little bugger attacked me hehe. I feed him by the tip of my finger - like most of my bettas. Only ones I don't are the pirahnas (sorority) because they jump 3-4 inches and their bites are like needles stabbing El Dorado would play the chase game, just he'd pout when I chased him and sulk at the bottom of his tank until I go away -.- lol. weird fish...
Valentine will swim right into his cup, did it from day one. Valentine has a pet betta too: Dracula. Dracula took longer, but he cup-swims too now. I recently got 3 girls; they're just finishing up their 2 wk QT. They ignore the cup and then get shocked when they're scooped, but at least they're not afraid of it. And, yeah, when they grab a pellet there's a splash and an audible chomp...unlike my boys! I haven't tried finger feeding yet because they're so serious about it. They do follow my finger across the glass...but then try to bite it. >.< I see why you don't finger-feed your sorority!
I can imagine your bond with your Spartan was much like mine with my Valentine. I don't even like to imagine how hard it must have been to lose him. I've read about your betta rescue, and I think that is a beautiful legacy for Spartan.
lol for Conan savaging you! Try working him up to reverse-tag by circling so fast that you catch up to him from behind. Try rewarding El Dorado with some food for being chased. Like, chase for just a couple of seconds and then treat. Work up to longer intervals.
I was just remembering this site, though I don't have the addy anymore, where a professional animal trainer was telling about a betta she got just to see if he could be trained. She had an alternative to a feeding wand. You know how dogs are trained with a clicker? She used a penlight. When the fish did something she wanted, she flashed the light so he could see (not in his face/eyes), then treated at the surface. Eventually, he associated the flash with the treat. When he learned that (surfaced for fod every time the flash went), she started encouraging him to swim through a hoop. When he did something right, she'd flash and then treat. Basically the same as a two-step feeder wand, though harder to lead/lure the fish around. If he follows your finger, though, you could run it along the glass to lead him. You'd have to do this in more stages than with the feeder wand, I think.
I did get his fins, then he turns and gets even angrier o_O he is...well..Conan. The Barbarian xDD it fits!! And thanks for the tip of El Dorado. He was supposed to be a breeder, and end up being a pet betta rather he won't breed but -shrug- all well!
And thanks for the comment about Spartan. There's some stupid comments, aimed to bash me, but tell THAT to 5 already adopters, another 2 for February/March time... People rather bettas which they can SEE a transformation, which they can SEE the upkeep/tank, which they can SEE the TRUE color and activity. -shrugs- just saying =D One comment by the adopter of Reggie, was that she was happy she could take care of a betta that had been through rough time, but was not sick. she owned bettas before, but all were sick beforehand and she hated it.
And I used to snap my fingers. Ghengis responds to that immediately Maybe I'll "snap train" them? :3
Snap training sounds like a great idea. I always wondered how well/if our fishies could hear sound originating outside their water...I know from scuba diving that sound produced in water carries a great distance. Like you can hear boat motors from far away, and banging on your tank really carries. But anything that occurs out of contact with the water -- people talking on a boat or dock, thunder, etc -- is muffled out of existence. I wonder if it's because of the tank: perhaps the glass/acrylic acts as a conductor for sound vibrations, which you would not get in an open body of water?
But if they are responding to snapping fingers, then I guess I know they can hear us!
Yeah, snapping should be exactly the same as a clicker/penlight. Just make sure that every time you snap, without exception, you treat. It's really important to build up an indelible association between the sound and the food. Train on that first, and don't go to a hoop or anything until the fish has it down.
I've seen a number of people ask if El Dorado is the one in your avatar. He looks absolutely gorgeous; even his face is particularly cute. No wonder you wanted to breed him! Also no wonder you kept him. ^.^
About the rescue...I wonder if it's possible to advertise around, say, college dorms, Craigslist, public billboards at the library/grocery store for people to give you their unwanted bettas? That way you're saving potential flushies and not actually supporting crappy petshops/Walmart by buying their sick fish...though I certainly understand how hard it is to walk away from them! If you haven't already, you might go to the local shelters and make them aware of your program and see if they have any advice for you or could help you find adopters. Maybe they could even explain how to become a non-profit organization enabled to take donations. Idk, maybe you already do that. :P I've never run a rescue so I'm just talking. I think it's a good thing, and that one adopter of yours described the same reasons people take a rescue dog. The concept is sound. I'm happy that Reggie and the others got well and found a good home.
I'm in contact with two Edmonton fish rescues, I have a post up on Camrose Freecycle, and Kijiji I know that to accept donations I have to be registered - therefore, it's only adoption fees (and shipping fees of course, for within Canada only during spring, summer and warm part of fall), plus donations like fish food, conditioners, tanks, etc are welcome Just for now, anyways. Once I get into a comfortable spot, and am able to expand I'll work more on it. I might ask the self run corner store near me, if they could put a poster up for me.
Right now, on my site I do have available bettas up on the adoption list, listed as ADOPTED, DECEASED (Riddle...so unexpected.), available or adoption pending, and sadly for certain ones "adoption not allowed" like Shadow who has a high chance to fall into the disease that killed Maine AND Riddle. -.-
LilyK isn't that cute?! lol I love having bettas come to me for their food.
hmm i'm still in the beginning of training my betta fish, had him for maybe 3 weeks now. I first fed him by damping the end of a plastic spoon with the tanks water and place a pellet on the tip of the end and hovering it over the water. Then, he would usually jump a little to get the pellet. Once he got used to the spoon and more interactive with my finger, I replaced the spoon and used my finger instead by putting the pellet on my finger and hovering it over his water. Now, I'm sticking the pellet on my finger and moving it around the tank so he follows it and gets used to following my finger and then i feed him the pellet using the hovering method. So far it's going great, my betta is very responsive. I do plan to teach him more in the future, seems like he trusts me a little more but still gets freaked out during cleaning which makes me feel really bad.