I know how sad to see in those little cups and how much we betta lowers want to rescue them but if you not experienced do not buy fish if you think you have to treat it, because the end can be sad and your mom will not want another betta. So just look for active betta with no fins damage, make sure betta not bloated, laying on the bottom of the tank or just hanging on the top, don't have white patches, white strings on the tail, swimming sideways...i can give more symptoms but i don't want you to be paranoid .
I want to say about Bettafix, melafix medications. It has tea tree oil in it which is bad for their labyrinth organs it can clog up the organ and cause them to suffocate. You can use it in very low dose, but it very easy to overdose. I found this thread from Myates i want to post it for you guys:
For AQ salt, 14 days is the maximum amount of time they should be in for, 10 days is the average of what is recommended. AQ salt is for external problems such as ich, external parasites, fungus, fin rot, etc..
For Epsom salt there is no time period as it is very gentle on the fish, they can be in it indefinitely. Epsom is best for internal problems such as SBD, popeye, bloating, constipation.
Both are used the same way - 1-3 tsp per gallon, daily 100% water changes readding in the salt + water conditioner. You don't want to mix the two salts together. Some medications do not do well with AQ salt when used at the same time.
Bettafix is a watered down formula of Melafix - which has an ingredient that has been known to harm the betta's labyrinth organ. Many believe it should never be used (both Bettafix and Melafix) on a fish that uses the labyrinth organ.. there have been many cases of bettas becoming ill or even passing when exposed to the medication.
I am leaning more towards improper use rather than the medication itself is deadly- as it's very easy to overdose on it as most people use smaller containers to house the ill betta in, and measurements can easily be wrong. It's a harsh medication, so one has to be very careful when using it.
Bettas are sensitive when it comes to medications, as are most all fish... so it's recommended to be very careful when using any medication. Why most will tell you to try Epsom or AQ salt first as they are safer and easier on the organs.
Bettafix is a huge debate in the betta world - I personally would never use it as there is just too much controversy to ignore.. no other medication (involving bettas) have this large debate going on.
The salts, General Cure and the Maracyn products are all safer to use, and do the same (if not more) that bettafix does. So do research before using medication, as there is usually always a better alternative.
Bettafix is like those "betta water conditioners".. not any different than a normal water conditioner, but was created to get people who did not know any better to purchase their conditioner.
The medication may not be ideal, but it was created to bring money to the company rather than to help fish - they just wanted a different source of buyers as they were seeing people who owned exclusively bettas were not purchasing their Melafix.
So all in all = AQ salt has potential to harm the kidenys/liver, but that is = ONLY= when they are over exposed, or exposed constantly. When used properly, AQ salt is very helpful and safe.
Melafix is not ideal.. it may not directly kill your betta, but it has potential to do some serious harm if not extremely careful.
This thread has been really helpful! *taking notes* I've been making a list myself on things to get for Shark, and the explanation on meds and salts was really interesting and informative. Epsom and Aquarium salt has gone onto my need-to-get list.
I also want to give the link for acclimation betta to the new water temperature
Check thread #26 http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=158401&page=3
And some of the symptoms you don't want to see when you buy a betta:
bloating, betta lay on the bottom, just hanging on the top. A healthy male have bright colors,long flowing fins, full fins. A healthy female is the same except for long fins. You don't want dark or discolored edges that are ''smudged'', any white cottony , fluffy looking patches on the betta. Not sure what else to add. Don't want people be paranoid. But sometimes betta might really look healthy and show symptoms later on. So that is why i always recommend you can put betta in the tank but hold on on the gravel and decorations. Because if it appears that betta is sick you will need to disinfect them.
just want to add something about betta leaf hammock , it contain a thin wire down the stem of the plant which can rust,and pollute your water. You can easily fix this problem by pulling the wire out before placing it in the tank. :)