Please help me get my little Betta better. He is quite a genius betta. I know that you can teach bettas to "jump" before you feed him but he actually jumps up and grabs pellets straight from your finger. He is an extremely friendly betta and gets very excited when people walk by. If you stare at him for a long time (and he's healthy). He'll do this thing where he'll go on his side and stretch out his fins and look at you. Then act all shy and swim away. But then he'll return and stretch out his fins again. When he first got into his bowl (since it's glass) he thought it was another better and chased it furiously. He stopped after one day. Now even if it's angled and he sees his reflection even more clearly he knows it's not another betta. I honestly think my betta has an extremely high IQ. (No I did not name him, I am very attached to him, and not naming him is just more of something I've never done. I've had turtles for over 15 years and never named them not because I didn't love them, it's just my thing I guess. I never remember names of anyone I meet either, guess names never were my thing :P). Although, I do talk to him everytime I see him. And I always say "Heyy Buddy, good job Baby." So you can use Buddy/Baby interchangeably if you'd like to refer to him as such too.
I bought my Betta from Petco and unfortunately I do not have any fish stores nearby, therefore the medication I have access to is very limited. Petco seems to favor "all natural" medicines and don't have many strong medications despite the fact that they sell Bettas in bulk.
I'm hesitant to do a water change only because he got sick both times with his last two water changes. I think he may have a lowered immune system and along with the stress of a water change he gets sick.
What size is your tank? 1 gallon glass bowl
What temperature is your tank? Unsure, room temperature is 84F
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? During winter
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? No
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari Betta Bio-Gold
How often do you feed your betta fish? 1 pellet in the morning, 1 at night (we used to feed more but then he got swim bladder disorder so we had to feed him less)
How often do you perform a water change? Once a week with drinking water
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Aquarium salt, water conditioner (wasn't used until he was sick since we typically use drinking water so it wasn't necessary).
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His gill appears to be a dark red color. He's lost a LOT of color. He used to be a brilliant red but it's like all the color just started falling off his fins or something. His fins are also clamped and not brilliantly shown (though no apparent fin rot!)
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He sometimes lays on his side on the bottom or almost completely vertically toward the top. Sometimes he would dash to the top for air or something and go back down.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? This morning
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes, with multiple treatments (I really wanted to save the little guy!) He just recovered from a Bacterial infection and was on BettaFix for six days and extra aquarium salt. He was pretty much all better on the third day, but I wanted to be safe. He was still very spritely after his water change yesterday morning. This morning he suddenly was lying sideways on the bottom breathing heavily. I first added extra aquarium salt, then I added Kent Betta Bowl Essential (because according to the description it also neutralizes ammonia, which I believe he has ammonia poisoning). I then went to Petco to see if I could obtain any stronger medicine. Since a gill infection could be either ammonia or bacterial (I ruled out nitrate because it's not tan colored), I got two things. Tetra Lifeguard (which is an all-in-one treatment, I broke up the tablet so i wouldn't over treat) and Acurel Bodyguard Rx (mainly because it helps with his slime coat and has aloe vera and plus it's supposed to boost his immune system which I think he needs since this is the third time he's gotten sick EVER and these two times were consecutively).
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Yes, he had a fungal infection in December because his water was too cold. We treated him with aquarium salt and Betta Revive. When that wasn't working, we got him a heating pad that warned his temperature up significantly and he got better shortly after that. It was very strange he suddenly got sick twice in a row.
How old is your fish (approximately)? He was bought in May 2011 but he was already fully grown at the time. He's definitely over a year old.
Additional Notes: Since, as you can tell, I'm very fond of him, and might've overdid it on the medicating, he has responded positively a bit! He is no longer completely lying on his side or floating vertically near the top (although he is still slightly slanted on the bottom). And he also ate! (The petco guys said "As long as he's still eating, there's hope.") My betta adores his food though, and unless he's extremely ill, he ALWAYS eats. He was also completely unresponsive earlier, but after my medicating, he is still lethargic but responds again.
Would anyone care to give any suggestions? Please also keep in mind I co-own my betta with my dad who is extremely stingy and says thinks like, "He's not even worth that much money. You shouldn't spend so much money curing a fish, blah blah blah." The last two medications for example, I just put on my own card and didn't bring up the money so that he couldn't complain. That being said, I can also not afford $200, or even $80 treatment medications, unfortunately.