UPDATE: After a complete tank change (rinsed the gravel out and everything), and rescaping his tank with a couple more plants, Pearlicus is much, much happier, and even blew me a bubble next this morning! He hasn't done that in a few weeks now, so he's on the up-and-up. Thanks for everyone's advice
My baby, the jewel of my collection, is a pink and blue halfmoon betta named Pearlicus Moon McFinnyfin.
Unfortunately, Pearlicus hasn't been happy lately. I had noticed about a month and a half ago that his tail was looking ragged. I assumed it was because he had been snagging it on the plastic plant that was in his tank, and that is what spurred me in the direction of live plants in fishtanks. I took the artificial decor out, and gave him some Argentine Swords (Not the best choice, I admit...).
And for a while, he improved. There was new growth on his fins, and he seemed to be swimming around more actively than he was for a while.
But then, lately, he's gotten lethargic again, and my roommate noticed his fins were ragged again. Sure enough, I had him flare for me so I could check, and most of what had grown back, has been nipped off again.
He's in a 2-gallon no-tech with basic 'aquarium gravel' substrate. The Swords are doing fine, honestly, it's just Pearlicus who seems to be unhappy. The temperature is fine, but I've noticed there's more ammonia than there should be, I suppose. I don't keep as close of an eye on the parameters as I should, I'll admit.
Therefore, with my next paycheck, I'd really like to upgrade him to a bigger tank, get some more plants, and maybe add some sort of bottom feeder to mop up any food that I miss him spitting back out--whatever he might get along with, that could help keep his tank in top shape. I already do 50%WC weekly, so I've upped that starting this week to twice a week, but I'm afraid for him in the meantime, I don't want anything to happen before I can get a 2.5 or a 5 gallon for him
So. Does anyone else keep bettas, who might be able to help me out? Looking through my budget, I'm going to have around $45-$50 for the tank and whatever else I'll need for him. I had my eye on a $15 glass 2.5g that I noticed at my LFS, which would give me more money to spend on a light, heater, plants, whatever else it takes to keep my baby happy. On the other hand, a 5 gallon ($23ish, iirc) would give him a little more room to stretch his fins, and hopefully be happy?
I know there are several schools of betta-keeping thought, so I hope everyone will be willing to weigh in and we'll see what sounds like it will fit my situation? I need to keep it as low-tech as possible, since I'm running out of outlets around my room (My roommate blames my 10g for the spike in our electric bill already!), so thoughts on setup are more than welcome as well.