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Discussion Starter #1
I got my first betta when I was quite young (5ish) and looking back now, I probably took terrible care of that fish, but he lived forever and started my betta obsession. I had a string of bettas and guppies as I was growing up. My last "childhood" betta moved with my family from Illinois to Texas in the passenger seat of the car inside my crayon tank, and then lived another four years after that. I don't really remember why I got out of the hobby, but a few months ago my roommate randomly decided she wanted another fish, and one thing led to another...and that is how I acquired "Swim Shady".

Our beginnings were not the best. My roomie bought a female at Petsmart (I saw a marble who caught my eye but balked at the "premium" price), so I told myself I would buy a tank first with her at Walmart before going back to get a fish. At Walmart we went the cheap route and bought one gallon tanks, water conditioner, a few decorations, gravel, and food. The Walmart had a tiny fish display and about seven bettas on the shelf. Five of them looked close to death, but in the front there were two CTs who still had the spunk to flare at each other. I liked the red fins on the one and took home "Sushi".

We took the fish home, set up the tanks, and acclimated the fish. "Sushi" was quite the ornery fellow, he tore his plastic plants out of the gravel and in general was a huge grumpy-gus. All my friends blamed his bad attitude on the fact that I named him as something edible, so "Sushi" became "Swim Shady".

Hindsight is 20/20 and the longer I had Shady the more I realized he deserved better than that dinky one gallon, but lacked the funds/space at the moment to remedy that problem. Instead he got driftwood and marimo moss balls to spruce up his living space. Shady moved home six hours with me and got a new 2.5 gallon tank (National Geographic Aqua Oasis). He enjoys the space, but also likes to scare me half to death by wedging himself in the most precarious positions possible.

A month or so later he seems like he 90% made of fins and will flare at anything and everything (nothing) he sees. Shady is a very picky eater and either refused or choked on all the food I tried to give him (soaked, pellets, flakes, frozen, etc) until I found the Hikari Betta Bio Gold, which he loves. The only problem with him is he hates the current from the filter in his tank, which I think is a by-product of him being all fins, so his filter is baffled with a water bottle. He is not the most visually stunning fish to look at, if he isn't in the light he just looks "Shady", so his new name fits him quite well!

He doesn't have a heater, but it is so hot here his tank is always right around 78 degrees. I'll probably look into one when winter gets closer, but since it is only going to get hotter here I don't think its an immediate need.

There's a few pics of Shady, his tank has always been on my desk in my room so he loves to spend all day interacting with me. The newest pic is the one with the pot since I had to do some re-arranging with the new addition (see next post).

Since I probably won't have too many updates after a while, I'm going to space out the introductions, etc so these aren't unbearably long. Hopefully I can look back and watch how far the boys have come!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
About a month ago I went to Petsmart to get a new filter cartridge for Shady's tank (learned my lesson about quarantining live plants the hard way), and I made the mistake of walking past the betta display. A few of the cups had yellow stickers on them and said they were 20% off because they were close to their "sell-by" date. One little white guy stood out to me, but I told myself I didn't need another betta, we had company on the way and I had just upgraded Shady's tank.

So I went home, but I couldn't stop thinking about him and I told myself if he was still there when our company left in a week I would go back and find him. Long story short he was there and looking in worse shape so I scooped him up. The funny part was he was on the front row of the cups (max exposure), but no one was interested in him until I picked him up, and then two people asked me if I was taking him because they thought he was interesting looking. But by then he was in my hands and coming home with me no matter what.

Since he was kind of an impulse buy, he got put in Shady's old one gallon when we got home. I never realized how small he was/how big Shady had gotten until I set his cup near Shady's tank, he looked to be half the size of Shady, and he made the one gallon he was in look huge. I also didn't notice until I got home that his ventral fins were curled in on themselves, and not just really short.

It took me a while to settle on a name for him, he was originally "Arlequin" (after the french black and white clowns), but i finally settled on "James Pond" (JP) to go with the punny theme.

JP got upgraded to the same tank as Shady. The two of them could not be any more different personality wise. JP has only flared like twice the entire time I have had him. He is super friendly and active, he loves riding the current from his filter. He is always up at the front of his tank (on the other side of my desk) waiting for food.

I can't wait to see how he marbles out and for his fins re-grow and straighten out! He is definitely Mr. Personable, and I am so glad I went back for him!
 

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A few of the cups had yellow stickers on them and said they were 20% off because they were close to their "sell-by" date.
I wonder what they mean by close to sell by date? Unless the fish is dead it can be sold, Betta keepers are famous for buying unwell bettas and nursing them back to health.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I don't know, they also say "short date" on them as the reason for the discount. I went back to the same store the other day and they still had quite a few of the same bettas on sale, but there were now 40% off. They didn't look like they were doing too good, and it was a struggle not to bring any of them home with me.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's too bad it isn't like that everywhere! These are a few that I recognized from the previous time I was there, and are now at a bigger discount.

The store didn't seem to have any additional "sale" bettas this time, only the ones that were there before. Hopefully they won't have such a large amount at one time again.
 

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That dark one has such great coloring, love his eyes. Can't believe no one wants him.
 

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Hopefully they won't have such a large amount at one time again.
Sadly they will, When this batch is " Expired " they will get another batch in, and another and another. You will find that places like that get their bettas from a farm for about $1 each.

This is not in English, but watch it anyway this is how Bettas are bred.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
He is gorgeous, he was even more vibrant the first time I saw him! He is a "premium butterfly" so maybe the high price is putting people off. He would have come home with me if I had the room.

Instead I only got a few new plants that were discounted for not looking so good. I think I am developing the good/bad habit of wanting to save everything I see!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Sadly they will
Unfortunately I know there is a high probability they will but I have been going to that store on/off for quite a few years and have never seen the "sale" stickers before. I hope it is a temporary thing instead of a new habit. But I know it probably isn't.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Last time I went to the store to check on the "sale" bettas I happened to spot some plants that were on sale too. I only have anacharis in Shady's tank and I'm down to only 2 stalks of it now. I learned my lesson about quarantining plants the hard way (there were worms and decay and it was gross).

I picked up a tube of Amazon Sword for less than $2 that had a few brown leaves. I also got a piece of "Mondo Grass" for $1 that I am conducting an experiment with to see if it lasts as an aquatic plant (I've heard mixed reviews and for $1 its worth trying).

So my old one gallon is now a plant quarantine/grow out. I was really excited to discover when I got home that there were actually two swords in the tube and after less than five days have both shot up a couple new leaves. I'm waiting for the anacharis to grow out some so I only have to replant the boy's tanks once, but even that is growing at a phenomenal rate.

I can't wait to get to all live plants!

I'm also debating starting a 10 gallon community tank with JP because he has to be the calmest betta I have ever owned. He's the only betta I know that likes to interact with his reflection in a non-aggressive way. He also didn't respond at all to Shady's flaring when they were temporarily next to each other as I was cleaning. It would be a while before I got the tank set up, cycled, and plants grown out to where I'd want them, but it might be worth a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
We're live!

My little discount swords are finally big/healthy enough to add to my tanks, so today the boys got an overhaul. Neither of them really liked their pots so I decided to re-scape without them and made the hardscape I do have work. I'm glad there are no more plastic plants and that my live ones are growing at a pretty fast rate.

Now my little one gallon in my window is looking pretty sad and I really want to start a ten gallon community with JP. I made the mistake of going to Petco today and I've got the bug again, we'll see what happens!
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I'm so excited, today is the first day both boys have made bubble nests at the same time! Shady's is pretty small and in the corner I thought he hated while JP's is about 3x the size. I've been sitting at my desk on/off all day, but I didn't notice them until now.

I was cleaning out my one gallon corner plant grow out/hospital tank today when I realized I had a clear plastic storage bin that might work for a replacement. It has a larger "footprint" than the 1gal (which I hate because of its inconvenient shape) and holds over 1.5 gallons. Right now I filled it up, added a thermometer and an air stone, and put my tiny anacharis trimmings back in. I'm going to do water testings and monitor the temperature to see if it could be safe to use as a hospital tank if I give in and "rescue" another betta, if it doesn't work I'll just use it to grow out my plant trimmings.

I added pics of the boy's bubble nests, plus their usual poses upon seeing me (JP coming over to say "hi" and Shady flaring because he didn't get food).
 

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That tub should be perfectly fine to house a betta. I had Sammy in a small tupperware tub when I first got him.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks, that's what I'm thinking but I am trying to convince myself I'm stopping at two bettas for now. Though the dollar per gallon sale is awfully tempting at the same time!
 

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Who needs to stop at 2? When you can have 16!
 
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Discussion Starter #20
I gave in and bought a 10 gallon today. I wish I had room for a 20 long, but the 10 fit perfectly on my nightstand. I'm going to set it up tomorrow and get it cycling asap.

I'm debating on whether to make it a community tank with JP and then get another betta to fill JP's tank once I'm sure he is going to be alright in the community, or make it a divided tank and get even more bettas. Decisions, decisions.
 

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