I had a betta in a heated 2.5 gallon glass fish tank I had received used. When I got the tank I sanitized the tank with a vinegar solution and tank cleaning solution from petco. After about 2 weeks or so, I noticed the fish had clamped fins and was lethargic, but was otherwise fine. It died appx 26 hours later. I do 50% water changes about every 3 days and a 100% change every week. Thinking nothing of the other fish's death, I scrubbed the tank and sanitized everything. I got a new betta and settled him in.
Now, a week later, he has started to clamp his fins and is very lethargic. I was observing him for a while, and then did a 70% water change and added aquarium salt. When the new water went in, he seemed happy and healthy, before settling back to the bottom. A couple hours later he had not changed positions other than to breathe. I just pulled him out of the tank and into my spare .5gal acrylic unheated tank. I put new gravel in it and dechlorinated the hell out of the water and added aquarium salt. Now, 30 minutes later, he is looking much better and is starting to swim around the small tank.
Is it possible that the previous owners of the 2.5gal tank had used some sort of chemical in it that had leeched into the water? Would chemicals leeching caused such a reaction in the fish? Everything else in the tank was stuff I had boughten brand new from petco. (2 fake plants, aquarium gravel, 2-10gal heater, glass thermometer) If that was not it, what would have caused both fish to deteriorate so quickly? I know it is sad to have the guy in the small unheated tank, but right now it is better than him dying. I turned up the heat in here so the room temp is higher so his water will not get too cold. As soon as I am able to get another tank for him (first thing tomorrow) I will get him in a better setup.
Also, does anyone have any tips on how to help him? Should I do 100% changes every couple hours so he has nice clean water? Or is there anything else I can give him? I don't want this guy to die too.... Any advice would be amazing. Thank you in advance.