So let's face it: If it wasn't for the internet, how much would you know today about bettas? Have you tried to find a real good book on bettas lately? Yes, just what I thought.. :).
I remember when I got inoculated with the betta bug. God was I hungry for information! Where to find it? Back then, the net was still wimpy, sorta like an embryo waiting to blossom. So I went to every pet store, every bookstore, every public library, and came home with a few books, but still had to go to bed on an hungry stomach: It just wasn't enough. It wasn't enough not only because I was so very hungry, but also because the information contained in most of these books was either sparse, or outdated. And so very little was said about how to set-up a spawn or raise the fry!
Yes, these were the tough years my friends. You guys are totally spoiled rotten because you have US. Us the e-freaks who spend a good chunk of their lives pampering their websites and stuffing them with info. Heck I have even heard of this crazy chick who started an e-magazine about bettas!! (hu-hum!) LOL. So you are on the information highway, pedal to the metal, zooming down the fast lane of betta data.
In your excitement, you even take a few short cuts and end up on a betta forum or two. Well, see, it's just that there are SOOO many other betta freaks out there, and they are all there (or so it seems), posting info, ideas and (agh) advice for others to see. Seems this should be the end of all your problems. Yikes, if only life was so simple (sigh)...
So, to save you from chaos and sheer aggravation, I thought I'd give you my two cents about betta forums:
Betta forums, although a good thing (see further down in the 'pros' section), must be approached carefully. Wear a hard hat if you will. You will have to dodge evil projectiles that might be thrown at you because of something you said. This is, after all, hostile territory, so proceed at your own risk. There is always someone out there who will disagree with you, and some of them weirdos lay pretty heavy on the trigger. Get in their way and they will tear you a few new a...holes :), which although possibly useful if you are prone to constipation, have little benefits outside of that. I mean, really, life is stressful enough at the office, do we REALLY need to also introduce stress through our betta hobby???
Wish all hobbyists were courteous to one another but that is utopia and THIS is the real world my friends :). Forums, just like restaurants, look nice and smell good from the front entrance, but they tend to stink from the rear :). Endless streams of posts aiming at flaming, badmouthing, discrediting other hobbyists/breeders, many of them fueled by personal vendetta or jealousy. If you are the kind of person who buys and reads every single page of the national enquirer, then betta forums might be just the place for you to be. With a little luck, a warp in the cyberspace/time continuum might occur and suck you whole into limbo. One less bullet to dodge for the rest of us LOL.
Just when you thought it couldn't get worse, it just does. Why? Cause the question you posted two days ago now has a string of replies attached to it. This should be cause for celebration but there again the motto is "caution". Ignorance and big ego make for a bad combination. And you can bet you will bump into a lot of that on betta forums as well. What I mean to say is that there is always a few 'know-it-all' out there who in fact are just beginners (like you) and know basically: "SQUAT". But they sound so sure of themselves, and since you have no idea who you are dealing with, you proceed to follow their instructions! OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are now bowing to a framed post received from Lulu, age 11, of Moronsville (state unknown) LOL. Her screenname "email@example.com" sure sounded credible!! Or you get several replies, each giving you a different answer, some of which in complete contradiction of each other. How do you, new betta comer, sort through all this madness? Who do you trust? Who do you listen to? I only have one thing to say: May the force be with you! (you're gonna need it!!!!) LOL.
Now the pros:
It is truly wonderful that the net has provided us with a platform to share info on bettas. Should forums be used properly, they are truly a good thing. If you have the patience to sort through the bogus replies, and the erroneous advice given, you might come out ahead, with a few good pointers. And that can make a big difference for your bettas. Cause let's face it: Unless you personally know a good breeder in your neighborhood, where do you go for betta questions? Your local pet store? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! Hum, sorry. I just had to laugh my head off. (snort). So Forums are still your best bet. My advice, check several forums out there and pick the one that seems most supportive and 'positive'. if you see a lot of flaming and bad mouthing, go your merry way :). Good forums are out there and with a little e-probing you are bound to bump into one. A good forum visited by good betta people can give you encouragement, motivation and support. Cool betta people are known for their solidarity and all will flock to your rescue should you ever be stranded in the Bettamuda Triangle (LOL).
For as long as you are selective, watch where you are stepping, wear your hard had (and possibly a bullet proof jacket) and arm yourself with a bad advice detector, you can actually enjoy your little excursions to betta forums out there. And maybe leave with a few good souvenirs. Remember to take everything you read with a grain of salt, to double check any advice received, find out who you are really dealing with, to never read, participate, fuel or instigate any negative posts about anyone out there (bad karma my friends!). Be nice, be cool, be safe and most of all, remember to have fun!!!!!!