I just bought a new little betta from Petco- it's a VT female. She's quite small, she caught my attention because besides thinking that she was really pretty- she could hardly swim; it's like she has fish scoliosis. Kind of an S curve in her spine. I asked an employee if she was ok; they fed her and her appetite seemed healthy, she just has a really hard time swimming and reaching the food. They also said she's been sitting there in the store for a long time. I took her in hopes that maybe if I took care of her she would make it! I have her in a little Petco keeper, heater, rocks, fake plants. I use API tap water conditioner and a little epsom salts. After I got her situated I thought the move must have really stressed her out because she just layed at the bottom and didn't move very much, so I just let her be. Though I did keep taking more and more water out of her container until there was just an inch or two left, because she was having such a hard time swimming she couldn't reach the surface. Because of having such a small amount of water I did a water change within the same day.
So today (I got her yesterday) she actually is swimming much better. She even looks like she's straightened out a little. The problem: yesterday I thought I started to notice that her front gill area was turning red, today both sides of her are very red and I can clearly see that she has ammonia poisoning :( I did another partial water change (twice within 24 hours) And I have been gradually adding more water since she is swimming better. I have some plastic wrap over her house to keep things well heated and humid (about 82 degrees). And I plan on getting some IAL leaves to put in there.
I just don't know where I went wrong here! I took her from the store because I was hoping I could help her feel better, but now I have her and within 24 hours she's now suffering in a new way. I didn't have very much water in her tank, but it was still more space and clean warm water than she had in the store- so I'm not sure what I'm missing! I feel really bad that she's sick. It looks like she's in pain. What can I do? And what should I know to prevent something like that happening again? Also, though she had a good appetite in the store I haven't seen her eat anything since. I've offered her pellets several times. ( And remove them after she doesn't eat them).