Hello all -
I've been fish sitting my friend's betta for a little over a month now and I'm not sure what could be wrong with it. When I first got 'Shark', his 1.77 gallon tank was only half full with the filter running (this filter is made for a 6 gallon tank - it was part of a kit). My friend said she fed Shark by throwing something like 20 pellets in at a time. I knew nothing about fish and stupidly just took her word on how to take care of him (she did own a living creature after all). Over the next couple of days, the tank started smelling HORRID. I did a TON of research on bettas and finally figured out it was likely due to stress and high levels of ammonia. I did a 100% water change on the tank, bought a small heater, and put pantyhose over the bottom of the filter (Shark's fins are all torn up from being sucked into the filter). I've been doing small water changes every day or two, with a 50% water change once a week and a 50% water change plus gravel clean once a week. I also started feeding him only 3 pellets of food, twice a day...with the occasional treat of bloodworms or daphnia. From observing him over the last four weeks, I've noticed that he tends to stay at the top of the tank and is VERY lethargic. I've tried feeding him cooked peas, thinking that maybe he's constipated, but he wants nothing to do with them. He also tends to take HUGE gulps of air and is very skinny, despite eating. He has no real place to hide in his tank. There was only one decoration and one plant when I got him. I added an extra plant, but had to take out the other decoration recently due to paint peeling. Any clue what could be wrong with him? She is coming back to get him soon and I would at least like to TRY and make him better before she gets him. She has the mentality to just dump the fish and get another if it dies.
I tested the water parameters a couple of days ago; ammonia and nitrites were both at 0 and nitrates were over 0, but under 5.0 ppm.
I know that was a lot!! SORRY! I'm just concerned and have NO clue what to do at this point.