I think there is something wrong with my betta, Renza. Last weekend I noticed yellow-ish bubbles at the water line in her tank so I increased the filter speed and changed 20% of the water, adding NovAqua and Amquel. (No, my tank was not cycled, I didn't know about it, sorry!!) The next day, she had red/brown gills and I noticed dark red pelvic fins. I looked it up and figured ammonia poisoning, changed 50% of the water, and bought a test for ammonia the next day. Ammonia came out around 0.25 ppm - who knows what it was before. I have been consistently testing with strips for days since then and doing every other day 20% water changes, with another 50% water change today, and here's the problem - none of my tests after that first one have shown any nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, anything, according to them my only water quality issue is hard water, but Renza still has the very dark red gills and fins. Did they already have this color and I never noticed? But she looks pale on her body too. No other symptoms - she's energetic, swims well, not scratching on anything, no other discoloration. She was spitting up her food but I switched from flakes to pellets and that solved it. I keep seeing signs that I think mean she's not getting enough oxygen, like flaring her gills out and moving them more, or breathing at the top, but she seems more active overall, especially when she sees me near the tank, and I've been watching her a lot more so I could just be reading into the behavior. The only other thing is that I've been trying to lower the pH because it's naturally 8.0 for my tap water and I heard a high pH can increase susceptibility to ammonia poisoning, but now I've read that pH Down does nothing but hurt your fish so the pH may have been fluctuating and stressing her out. Still, would it account for the dark red gills and pelvic fins? It's the pelvic fins and gills specifically. All her other fins look fine. They have a little reddish-pink in them, but she's generally rainbow colored.
Here are all the answers to the questions:
What size is your tank? - 3 gal
What temperature is your tank? - 74-76 degrees (I have a heater in there which is supposed to keep it at 78 but it's small and it's been really cold - even my HVAC is having a hard time keeping the air temperature decent)
Does your tank have a filter? - Whisper filter set at a low speed, medium biobag filters
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? - No
Is your tank heated? - Yes, Marineland 10W heater
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? - None
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? - Was BettaMin, just switched to Betta Bio Gold
How often do you feed your betta fish? - Was a tiny tiny pinch every other day, now 2 pellets twice a day (since ammonia has stabilized at 0 - before I was trying to limit food until the ammonia was dealt with, especially since she would spit it up a lot)
How often do you perform a water change? - In the past week I've done two 20% water changes and two 50% water changes
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? - See above
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? - NovAqua, Amquel, and pH Down (but I will discontinue pH Down since I've learned that a steady 8.0 pH is better than a fluctuating 7.6-8.0)
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
I've been testing with strips (except pH), which I know aren't as good as the droppers, but there's no way I can keep those chemicals in the house with my 2 year old - is Jungle a good brand? I'm beginning to worry about not getting correct results)
Ammonia: 0 ppm (was 0.25 ppm, possibly higher at one point)
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
pH: 7.8 (current - has been 7.6 to 8.0)
Hardness: GH = 150 ppm
Alkalinity: KH = 180 ppm
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? - Paler body, dark red pelvic fins, dark red gills
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? - More active, flaring gills, maybe breathing at the top more? I can't tell, don't know how often she's supposed to do it.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? - Sunday for the dark red fins and gills, but the activity level change didn't start till a couple days ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? - Increased water changes, tried to lower pH without success, changed food, added a handful of cultured gravel
Does your fish have any history of being ill? - Not that I'm aware of, but she was a very recent purchase (2 weeks ago)
How old is your fish (approximately)? Don't know - bought her 2 weeks ago
Thank you very much for any help or guidance anyone can provide! My son will be heartbroken if this fish dies, and so will I!