I left my betta in the care of a friend while I was off campus this past summer. The end result was a broken tank, a broken thermometer, the loss of my live plants (because he thought they looked like algae), an incident involving laundry detergent accidentally falling into the tank (I don't remember how long the detergent was in there, but he did say it happened when he was not in the building), and God only knows what kind of general care. Another friend who left his five tetras with this guy only got two back alive, and told me that he could tell that his were overfed and incorrectly heated.
The link below is the condition in which I received him (he is not his regular 5.5 gallon tank, just the bowl he first came in that was used for transportation).
The following links are pictures of his current condition. I picked him up yesterday and set him up in a new 10 gallon tank.
All of these pictures can be downloaded by hovering the mouse over the picture and selecting "Options" to see more detail.
I don't know how and when his behavior has changed since I have not seen him for three months. He was not doing well when I first went home for the summer (like I said, probably too much ammonia throughout his life), but he certainly is worse. He barely ever moves, barely goes to the top of the water, hasn't eaten, and I can barely see him breathing. Also, I tried to look up clear pictures of ammonia burns on betta fish, but have not been able to find any that clearly indicate what they look like, but there are some weird rust colored spots on his head and near his gills that do not look healthy.
So... diagnosis? Advice? He has likely been so miserable for so long, that I am wondering whether or not his health can improve to the point where he can be happy, and if it would be kinder to euthanize him. But if he can get better, I would prefer to see him doing well.
Also, a friend who is extremely knowledgeable on fish care is coming over tomorrow to help me set up the filter that came with the tank.
What size is your tank? 10 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 77 degrees. Currently trying to get it warmer with a 25 watt and a 50 watt heater (both are in there, watching it to guard against overheating)
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Betta bites
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice daily, two or three pellets each time
How often do you perform a water change? Weekly
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50%, and 100% once a month
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Basic water treatment
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
Ammonia: No test
pH: Between 7 and 8 (blend of two colors on the square)
Hardness: General, between 120 and 180 ppm; Carbonate, between 180 and 240 ppm
Alkalinity: No test
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Changed water, raised temperature
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Has never seemed very healthy, probably has prolonged exposure to high levels of ammonia, given the infrequency of water changes before I took over his care and started educating myself on water changes
How old is your fish (approximately)? I don't know how old he was when I acquired him a year ago