I'm new to the forum and I'm very impressed with the comprehensive site and active membership.
I own two male bettas, Zippy (5 months) and Victor (1 year) both of whom are experiencing the same disease simultaneously. I first noticed two days ago when Zippy rose towards the top of the tank in an erratic zigzag. They have become discolored underneath their jaws. Victor is becoming pale on his right side, while Zippy appears to have become brighter. Both have become rather sluggish and listless, although Victor is now darting rapidly. They want food, but will not eat either the Tetra Betta Min Tropical Medley flakes or the Aqua Culture pellet food I give them (one tiny pinch twice a day). I have fasted them for the last two days. Their torsos directly behind their gills has become bloated by maybe 1/8" equal on both sides - nothing like either dropsy or swim bladder. I'm not sure if their eyes are popped as I have never seen popeye before to be able to compare.
I have read through the Fish Care sticky and several other websites, but no diseases share similar descriptors. So, I am curious if anyone on this site has some advice or has experienced these conditions before. I have owned two other bettas previously, but never experienced this disease before.
Here are the conditions and other information:
Zippy and Victor live separately in one gallon tanks, unfiltered and unheated (my room is fairly warm year round). Their last full tank change was about three weeks ago, although I did do a complete change today. I have not tested the water because I cannot afford a pH kit yet (college student - no excuse, I know, but homework, food, gas, bills and rent come before fish). I do have filtered well water with no chlorine.
I had been giving them freeze-dried bloodworms until I ran out and cannot find any in a convenient store, so I'm not sure if they are refusing food because of taste or because of illness.
My area of the country also experienced an unusual 70-80 degree heat wave in the last week. I'm wondering if the heat coupled with some uneaten food created incredibly disastrous conditions - mold had developed in Victor's tank rather rapidly.
I would appreciate any thoughts anyone has to offer, because I'd very much like to keep my guys alive.