Okay I got my fish, Ray, at Walmart [never buying fish from them again] on June 5th. So it's been a little over two weeks. I didn't know anything about bettas when I got him since it was kind of on a whim and I didn't have my phone with me to google anything about bettas. The idiot who was working back by the fish pointed me to the bettas when I said I wanted a low maintenance fish. Well she clearly didn't know anything about anything.
After getting home and reading up on bettas, I decided to embrace the fish-owner life and run with it. After living for a couple days in a 1 gal bowl I bought at Walmart the day I got him, I bought him a 5.5 gallon tank, fd blood worms, dechlorinator, gravel, a plant, a hiding rock, a heater, filter, testing strips, and aquarium salt from PetSmart. I've delved into this fish keeping thing 120$ too far to back out now, clearly.
Well I'm absolutely in love with Ray and I may or may not be paranoid. Now this could be first-timer's paranoia since I'm not very experienced with owning fish but I'm really starting to worry. First off, I noticed right away [within the first day I had him] that his left gill protrudes. I didn't notice this at the store, otherwise I would have kept looking through the fish. I googled the symptom and came up with him possibly having something called gill hyperplasia[sp?] and I got the salts at PetSmart to fix that.
Next, I heard on here that paling color is a bad sign. Well after the first week of having him, his color has started to turn a dull red color instead of vibrant red. Near the back end of h is body he has a pink/purple sheen which I've concluded is just part of his coloring.
Well within the first few days of having him I noticed at the base of his tail he has a few silvery shiny patches. I thought that was normal but now I'm finding out it may not be?! within the last five days or so, His belly looks slightly enlarged and the bottom is turning white. I made a post about it and some people suggested that he may be constipated since I feed him mostly flakes. I only feed him a flake a day so I decided to stop feeding him for a few days to see if it would solve the problem. It's been two or so days now and I don't see a difference in his white belly, though it doesn't seem to have gotten any bigger.
He has a white spot now behind his protruding gill. and for the last few days I haven't seen him swim around much, he's mostly been resting at the bottom of the tank. I checked google to see if fish sleep and upon finding out that they do sleep by resting at the bottom of the tank I brushed it off and figured he was just catching up on his sleep, that maybe me staying up really late was messing with his own sleep schedule...
I feel really overwhelmed right now and I'm just scared and I don't have any answers and no one to personally talk to who has experience with bettas. I'm close to tears just picturing all the bad things that could happen to my precious Ray and I don't want him to end up suffering because of my naivety. It makes me really ashamed that I can't do better for him because of my lack of knowledge. I just really want some help.
pictures of his white belly and slightly shiny gill undersides and a sideview of his side with the protruding gill and white spot