About two and a half months ago I started taking care of bettas again. I've had experience on and off since about the age of four (becoming progressively more serious over the years), but this sort of marked the first time I opted to do it on my own-- all the research, all the care, buying equipment, setting up tanks, worrying, nail-biting, getting excited and then worrying all over again. I'm not new to this but I'm doing it on my own for the first time. (Which is SCARY.)
The beginning of this adventure was marked with some less-than-pleasant experiences. Armed with a new tank, conditioner, heater, THE WORKS, I set out to my LPS.
Within five days I lost two fish. The worst part was that they died before I could even identify the cause of the problem-- I now know they were very sick when they came to me, but it hit REALLY hard, and it was right at the beginning to, so it shook my confidence. Still, I resolved to try again.
I woke up, a week later, on the morning of an exam to find my third had jumped through the one-inch space at the back of his tank (with the water level at least two inches lower) and landed behind it. I was traumatized and upset beyond words. Nevertheless I cleaned him up and went and wrote the exam, coming home and bawling my eyes out afterwards.
The very same day, an acquaintance of mine told me he was offering up a betta he couldn't care for. The betta had fin rot. I didn't feel like I deserved another but I knew the alternative was a flushing and I couldn't say no. Cue frantic forum posts, obsessive water-changes, monitoring, attentive care. Isaac's fins turned into swiss cheese and eventually he lost about half of his back one before they started to heal; two months later they're not as long as they used to be, but he's healthy.
An unfairly lucky twist of fate left me the owner of four new tanks, ranging in size from 3 to 10 gallons. As of now they all sit empty. Isaac is in a heated 1.5 gallon bowl while his tank cycles and is happier than I've ever seen him. I know I'm ready to start again, slower this time, but I'm ready. It's all ready, even down to filter flow and the softest plants in the universe.
However, after my less-than-commendable ventures before, I'm basically terrified. I know what I'm doing and I'm doing it right, but I'm so unbelievably worried.
Reassurances, guys? I just want to know I can do this.