Half of me says no, b/c it's so darn rare, and this has happened so suddenly. The other half says maybe, b/c he has many symptoms.
So here's the story: Neil (a light orange dal veiltail) has been happy, fat and healthy since they day I brought him home from PetSmart. (about 6 months ago) Always a cute little character with a healthy appetite. He shares a divided tank with 2 other male bettas.
Until 2 days ago. He was fine when the lights went out after feeding, his normal perky self. I turned on his tank lights in the morning and he's laying on the bottom, not able to right himself. I left him in the tank, and monitored for a day. He did not get better, so I moved him to a cup (it is heated via heating cables that I use for my jars on a wire shelf) with an inch of water so he could get air easily. I put in an IAL piece, and around 10 granules of epsom salt. Left him be except for feeding him, which he still wants and does eat. (pellets right now, Atison's and Golden Pearls)
Today I changed his cup out, new salt, new water. He seemed able to stay upright, so I added another inch or so of water. He returned to not being able to stay righted, and now I notice that he is bent in the shape of an S. He is also very skinny, as if I haven't been feeding him. Yet I have, and he does eat.
There are normal (once weekly) water changes in this 10 gallon tank, I use R/O water treated with added minerals (but no buffers) I do not honestly religiously check on ph and all of that every week, but maybe every couple of weeks. Everyone is always happy and healthy with no problems on this routine. Recently I found the ph in the tanks far different than that of my holding water can, so I am starting to use tap water again until I can get my hands on buffers for the R/O water. (yes this could be a problem leading to whatever disease this is, I realize that) Of course the tank is heated and filtered by 3 sponge filters. (one in each section)
The only thing that fits to me is TB - I originally thought SBD but now with the spinal curvature and the sore on his head .. I'm not sure. His color is normal, his fins are clampy. He doesn't seem to be in pain but ....
and here's a big but ...
We are leaving Friday on a week long vacation. I have a friend who can care for him, but I know more than likely he will die whether in her care or mine. She is not as knowledgeable as I am on bettas, but she does try her best. I'm just unsure what to tell her as far as how to treat him, and then there's the problem of how to treat him in a small cup that she can't keep heated in her house.
I can put him down (clove oil) but just very unsure. Any valid advice would be much appreciated. I am attaching some pictures. The curve you see is not the cup distorting his image, that is really how curved it is.