I'm going to save some time and tell you that I was NOT prepared in the way I should have been when I purchased my bettas. I used to have them as a kid, but I wasn't the one who really took care of them. I am a teacher, and I thought the fish would liven up the classroom. I made a lot of mistakes starting out, but I have read through many, many, MANY threads on this website to inform myself. I have read thousands of articles and watched hundreds of videos on tanks, conditions, and care for bettas. I LOVE my bettas. They're my pets just as much as my dog and cat, and my students are now in love with them as well.
This is how it started:
I bought two male bettas (both veil tail) from Petsmart because they looked just sad and run down. I bought a 10 gallon tank with a divider. The divider was mesh, but they didn't seem to bother each other much. I had some plastic plants and decorations for them. At this time, I had not the slightest clue about water levels. They seemed to be doing fine. I took them to school, and they were very active, happy fish.
Then it was time for Spring Break. I took them home in their cups, and set up two 1 gallon bowls with a heater and a betta log for each of them. Spring Break was only five days, and I was an idiot who still didn't understand. They seemed fine. They built bubble nests and were pretty active. Then I took them back to school. From day one, they were at the divider constantly. I thought they would get over it, but they didn't. Then I noticed one of them (Cap) had a pretty jagged tail. I researched and thought he had fin rot. I took him home, cleaned (without soap! I knew that at least) his bowl, and put him in there with aquarium salt to treat the rot. After about two weeks, I saw fin regrowth. So I took him back to school. Then I noticed the other fish had jagged fins, and figured out ammonia could do this too (his didn't look like fin rot). I tested the ammonia, and it was a 3! I felt like absolute crap. So I did some research and actually set up their new tanks with super care.
I now have two, five-gallon tanks with brand new rocks, plants, decorations, and filters. I have sanded down the decorations to make sure there are NO sharp or tough edges. ALL plants are silk. The filter has a sponge (filter sponges meant FOR FISH) around intake to keep tails out, and a sponge to buffer flow back into tank. Their light is on for nine or ten hours a day. Their temperature is a solid 76`. They seem pretty active. They come to me when I feed them. One in building a bubble nest in the corner of his tank.
Today, I was sitting with them and noticed Cap's fins are a little dull. So I shined a light in the tank, and the clear parts look YELLOW! It is just his tail. There are no signs of Velvet anywhere else. Then I looked at the other one (Stark), and a small tip of his tail looks like it could be fin rot!
What am I doing wrong!?! I am trying with these babies, and I just keep messing up! I will list their specifications below, but I don't understand what is going on! I know they have been through A LOT with me, but I want them to be happy so badly. Please help! ANY advice is welcome!
I'M SORRY THIS IS SO LONG!
These are the specifications for each tank:
Tank size: 5 gallon
Betta type: Veil tail
Temperature: 76/78 (It doesn't fluctuate. One tank is just a little higher.)
Light: Yes/ 9-10 hours
Food: Pellets/ 3 a day with two days (the weekend) fasting
Ammonia level: 0-.25
pH level: 7.4
Nitrate level: 0
All of the pictures are of Cap. His tail looks yellowish with the light on it, so I'm afraid he has Velvet. He doesn't show it on any other part of his little body though.