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I thought it would interesting to know when members started keeping Bettas and what drew them to buy a Betta? If you started keeping fish before you bought your first Betta you can add that, too.

Me? I helped my Dad keep tanks with Guppies, Swords and Mollies from the time I was 10. When I graduated high school I saw this most beautiful fish in a department store, Woolworth's, and had to have one. Took some of my graduation $$ and bought my first Betta as a graduation present to me. One had to pick either a red or a blue VT. No other colors or fin types were offered to the general public.

His name was Raymond I. If memory serves, he and the other Raymonds live 6-7 years. Raymond I and II were my college Betta. They lived in two gallon, filterless and heater-less bowls. Neither were available at affordable prices for bowls until the mid-1970s. At some point I added III and IV and had four Betta.

So, that's my start: 61 years with aquariums and 55 almost continuously owning Betta. What was yours?

1. How long ago did you get your first Betta?
2. What drew you to getting a Betta?
 

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Micheal, Betta 6 months, Neon Tetra, 9 Dwarf Gourami 1, False Julii Corydoras
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I started when I was 8, I had a 10 gallon. Bettas? About 3-4 years.


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Grim Reaper the Platinum dragon betta
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I was 6 and it was a gift it was a blue and aqua but it had no distinct tail type though
 

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My mother has been keeping fish since I can remember. She also worked at our local pet store for years (privately own small shop) My mom has always advocated how awesome female bettas are and we had females in her community tank but my first fish I bought myself was when I was around 20 years old and it was an orange veil tail male. I had never seen a betta that color and being at the pet store a lot I had seen my fair share of betta fish back then. His name was crush after my favorite orange soda. I had him for about five years maybe 6. He was in a 2 gallon vase with a rooted pothos plant cutting. No filter or heater. After he passed I didn’t get another fish for a long time. Fast forward to my daughter being 4 and winning a goldfish at the spring carnival. Bubbles the comet goldfish. She lost her tail to an internal filter accident. Still going strong to this day and she is very large even without the tail fin. In February last year I went to our now local chain part store and upgraded her to a 29 gallon and saw my first koi betta fish. I promptly brought him home. I did end up moving the goldfish into a 55 gallon too. I’m very much enjoying having betta fish again. The goldfish are fun to watch but they just don’t interact the same way my betta fish do.
 

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I was about 8 when I got my very first betta, I knew nothing and only got him because he was the only pet I was allowed to have at the time. I admit that poor betta was not well taken care of, he was in a 1.5 gallon tank with a horrible diet and water changes only every few months. He began to get sick after about 8 months of having him, my older brother told me he had "Fish disease" whatever that is. In reality he had fin rot and tears and a very severe case of swim bladder, he would swim upside down for hours and I thought that was just part of his personality (I was very naïve). He passed a little after he turned one, I wish I would've given him better life but man I loved that little fish (I named him Finn).
 

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When I was about 15 friends of ours gave me a job at their pet store in our small town. I learned a ton about fish from them, which started my hobby along with my Dad's. My first fish was a blue/green metallic VT, I also don't remember much more than blue or red varieties being offered then but I also don't know that my little town had access to many great breeders. He lived 7 years in a little 1 gallon critter keeper with no heater or filter.
The pet store had this beautiful 30 gal salt water tank that I LOVED so much. It was my job to look after it and they even gave me keys to the store to come look in on it on the weekends. It was a Mother/daughter that owned the store and sadly the daughter passed away and the mother chose to close the store. She was kind enough to gift me the salt water tank, it is still by far the most precious gift I've ever been given. I did some travelling work as a dancer on some cruise ships in my early 20's so the tank went to my parents where it currently lives. One day I will take it back.
So long story short I have had betta since I was around 15, minus some travel years.
 

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when i was 6. He was a half moon red male in a planted community tank (100 or so liters) with zebra danios, cardinal tetras, and more. (I dont remember most because it was a long time ago, but my mom has told me about it.
 

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Mr Garvey, male rose tail; A-aron, male betta, no-name; and male P. Clarkii rayfish
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I bought my first betta in March of 2020. A friend of mine had a huge BiOrb (the spherical one) with a betta and I couldn’t get over the beauty of it sitting on her kitchen counter. I decided to get the smaller BiOrb and tried to replicate what she had. This is when Mr. Garvey came into my life. He was by and far the most beautiful betta at PetSmart.

After about a month I learned that this globe-like tank was far from ideal, so I moved my betta into a 10g ‘normal’ tank. Added some anubias, Java fern and a few pathetic Amazon swords and I was hooked. In September of 2020 I bought a Fluval Spec V and got my second guy from PetSmart.

After looking at hundreds of images of tanks, bettas and plants, and reading many more hundreds of posts about betta husbandry, I’m still just as excited and interested in this hobby as ever.
 

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2 chihuahuas, a chameleon, 4 betta splendens and 1 betta mahachai.
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Ummm. quite embarrassing story...We first have to start with my first fish.

I won Kelly the goldfish at a carnival, and fell in love. Came home and plopped him into a giant cooking bowl, no acclimation and I didn't even use water conditioner. Kelly was fed a nutritious diet of crushed dog food. I think my sister fed him crayons at some point too. I loved Kelly so much I tried to hold him. My 6 year old hand chased the fish around the tank and picked it up out of water to "hold it". Kelly lived a whopping 4 days.

Yeah, after that came Marco and Polo the goldfish who lasted like 12 hrs. I gave up on goldfish after that.

Then came Shine, my first betta. She was a plakat female. She was actually fed fish food and I did actually use water conditioner. She lived in a bowl and lived 4 years I think.

I had many fish after that, I believe we had a Shimmer, Fins, Surf, and a Firework until I finally got tired of them all dying and started research. I purchased my first 10 gal tank and got Pluto, a marble halfmoon. Pluto had live plants, a filter, heater and guppy friends. He was a really good fish but unfortunately succumbed to a bacterial infection. I then got Pepper, a lovely nemo koi HMPK. He lived a good life as well. I have also had 2 wild female mahachai-Valorie and Hendra, as well as a male yellow copper koi named Mark who I recently lost this past year.

Currently, I have Malachi the mahachai betta, Cedric the elephant ear dumbo betta, Val the veiltail, Lexi the female copper koi, and Sunday my special needs fish.
 

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Mr Garvey, male rose tail; A-aron, male betta, no-name; and male P. Clarkii rayfish
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Ummm. quite embarrassing story...We first have to start with my first fish.

I won Kelly the goldfish at a carnival, and fell in love. Came home and plopped him into a giant cooking bowl, no acclimation and I didn't even use water conditioner. Kelly was fed a nutritious diet of crushed dog food. I think my sister fed him crayons at some point too. I loved Kelly so much I tried to hold him. My 6 year old hand chased the fish around the tank and picked it up out of water to "hold it". Kelly lived a whopping 4 days.

Yeah, after that came Marco and Polo the goldfish who lasted like 12 hrs. I gave up on goldfish after that.

Then came Shine, my first betta. She was a plakat female. She was actually fed fish food and I did actually use water conditioner. She lived in a bowl and lived 4 years I think.

I had many fish after that, I believe we had a Shimmer, Fins, Surf, and a Firework until I finally got tired of them all dying and started research. I purchased my first 10 gal tank and got Pluto, a marble halfmoon. Pluto had live plants, a filter, heater and guppy friends. He was a really good fish but unfortunately succumbed to a bacterial infection. I then got Pepper, a lovely nemo koi HMPK. He lived a good life as well. I have also had 2 wild female mahachai-Valorie and Hendra, as well as a male yellow copper koi named Mark who I recently lost this past year.

Currently, I have Malachi the mahachai betta, Cedric the elephant ear dumbo betta, Val the veiltail, Lexi the female copper koi, and Sunday my special needs fish.
You’re hilarious. I need to know more about Sunday.
 

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2 chihuahuas, a chameleon, 4 betta splendens and 1 betta mahachai.
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You’re hilarious. I need to know more about Sunday.
Ah, Sunday. What a name for a fish? My mom is terrible with names and suggested it, so I was like "sure lmao". I saw her and she appeared to have a spinal deformity. Her spine looked crooked. Even worse, she was in a betta sorority at petco and was 1/2 the size of the other fish. I asked the worker and they said she was "fine", but I knew otherwise. Brought her home, and it was clear something was wrong. I talked to Russell and we both agreed most likely paralysis. Sunday has since been living in a 1.5 gal tank and has been getting stronger everyday. She still swims funny but has gotten bigger and stronger after lots of nutritious food.
 

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I had goldfish off and on when growing up. We had racehorses so spent my summers at county fairs and would win a goldfish. Of course back then they where kept in big fish bowls. Always had a love fore animals so went to vocational school my junior and senior year and took animal care and husbandry. Had verity of animals in my classroom and salt water and freshwater fish was part of it. Few years after graduating and marriage I took my little boy to the new reptile and fish store that opened in town to show him the snakes we had when I was a kid in school. I saw this gorgeous angelfish and decided he was going to be mine. Bought a hexagon tank and him. He was growing so big so quickly I went and got a 29 long for him and since he was my baby I went and joined a fish of the month club( yep I was hooked again) before long I had a nice community tank. Had my angel for about 6 years loved that guy. But after the tragic mishap( should have stayed with my gut instinct) all my fish and my baby died. I gave away my tank and decided never again. Well as you can see after several years I went into a local pet store and saw the prettiest betta I had ever seen. So since I never had a betta before went home did some research. Went and bought a 5 gallon tank set it up, couple days later went to 3 different stores looking for a healthy looking betta. Found Mando and got him. And then the obsession with fish started again. Went got a 20 gallon tank for a regular community tank but while I was at the pet store just to get live plants saw a tank with 4 female bettas in it and I bought all 4. The start of my sorority tank. Went to get a nerite snail came home with him and another male that went into my 5 gallon hospital tank. Hubby wanted me to get another angel and he bought me a 36 gallon bow front thats housing 4 mollies. And this love for bettas started about 2 months ago and now my house has 5 tanks not including the empty hospital tank. That’s how I ended up with 7 bettas. What drew me to getting one was I have never had one and saw a gorgeous one at a store. If it wasn’t for my husband keeping me under control I would probably have several more. But I will be getting 3 more for my sorority when I rearrange my tank.
 

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it was in October, I had always wanted a fish and my aunt had a betta for a couple of years in a 2.5 gal, then that betta sadly died, and she gave me her supplies, so I got the tank all set up and got my first betta: Cosmo. After a couple of weeks or maybe a month I decided he needed a bigger tank, so I set my eyes on a 5 gallon, and I did everything I could to get the money, I asked all over the neighborhood if I could do work for money, I set up posters about it and got around 50$ but that wasn't enough, until I got a call from 2 girls who saw my poster and called the number, I answered and they said they had an extra 5 gallon and they could give it to me, and I took it in a heartbeat, I spend the rest of the 50$ on substrate filter heater etc., and that's where I am now, one betta who is happy in his 5 gallon tank, (for others who have seen my dropsy post I did some more research and he doesn't, natural coloration.)
 

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Just found this terrific thread.

When I was a 7-year-old in the 1950s, my mom kept two goldfish in a large drum bowl on a table in the living room. They lived for years. I was fascinated by them. Seeing this, she brought home a seven and a half gallon aquarium with all the necessary equipment. This soon housed a pair of blue platies, some neon tetras and a few corydoras. A 20 gallon soon followed and among its eventual residents was my first betta, a red cambodian veiltail male that I spotted in a jar in Macy's department store on 34th St. in Manhattan. (Macy's once had a substantial pet department complete with rabbits and monkeys.) That red cambodian had no trouble adjusting to the 20 gallon or to its residents. At age 11 I bred my first pair of bettas and entered into a barter arrangement with my local mom and pop pet shop--my baby bettas in exchange for fish foods and supplies. I've rarely been betta-less since, even in college.
 

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Like Imaal, I just saw this thread.
I won goldfish at a carnival as a preteen. Had those goldfish til I moved out of my parents' home, a good 10 years. Inherited a 155 gallon tank and had tropical fish when fist married. Moved to small farm and put the tank in storage for the real pond...fast forward 27 years to Covid, July 2020. I had stopped into the local fish store for the first time because I had extra time between classes. (teacher) Saw a galaxy koi male betta that reminded me of my goldfish as a child. Went back a few days later and brought him home. (Bozo) Decided he needed a friend and found a nice looking female (Betty) at Petco. They became the parent of my 11/20 spawn. 6 tanks later and 2 fish bowls......here I am with Kaleidy, Cali, Neot (patron saint of fish, black hmpk) and Patriot....and a handful of guppies, snails, and corys.
 

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I was 5 and the tank wasn’t even 0.5 gallons and we kept gold fish or bettas in it and had to “replace” the fish every 2 months and probably only cleaned it when a fish died,

know that I’m older I’ve learned more and have managed to keep bettas to live 4 years

also I don’t keep goldfish anymore they need huge tanks
 

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Helios the Platinum ?
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Honestly Helios is my first Betta. Before him koi and goldfish were my favorite fish but I knew I couldn't give any of them a proper home. I was missing animal company because I grew up with cats, rats, gerbils and ferrets (never again for either.) and more then a few goldfish. Had to give the goldfish away when we moved so just went down to the cats.

Try driving cross country with two teens, three cats two of which were Siamese the other a Persian and a ferret.

Moved again last year right before lockdown. Relized I was missing the animals but mom didn't want anymore cats and decided I wanted a betta. I always liked how they looked but hated how they were kept. Helios is from a specialty fish store and was in a community tank. Love him he's a total goof. Need to add some more pics to my Meet Helios thread.
 
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