This is my first post here, but I've looked around your site before and gotten lots of great info. But I'm really stumped (and worried) with this one. It's gonna be long... sorry.
I have one betta, Morris, in a 1/2 gal bowl (I know, not enough room, but there's not much room to work with in the apartment) with gravel and a very small plant - less than 2" tall. No filters or lights or anything, and I've had him for one year. I use Jungle test strips to check the water, and everything is normal except the water is hard and alkaline.
About a month ago, I decided to get another plant b/c I thought he'd like some more hiding places, and he loved it. I'd see him sleeping on the leaves, and it was the cutest thing ever. I noticed that the other plant also loved the company and quickly got bigger than it had been.
A few weeks ago, I started noticing other things moving around in the bowl - very tiny dark brown/red "spots" and white worm-like strands. I assumed they had come in with the new plant, and I kept an eye on them, but they didn't seem to be bothering Morris - I even watched one of the "spots" swim toward him and bounce off, with no reaction from Morris. It seemed like they were eating the dying plant matter, so I let it go and just kept an eye on things (first mistake?).
Last Sunday, I noticed that Morris was staying at the bottom of the bowl, tail pointed up. I thought he was sleeping until two more days went by and he was still like that, in different places in the bowl. When I finally saw him move, he stayed like that in a weird C-shape, like his head was too heavy to lift. And at one point, he suddenly moved around very quickly, like he was trying to get away from something (is that flashing?), and that's when I took him out and put him in a separate bowl with fresh water. He stayed at the bottom of the new bowl overnight, laying toward one side, and in the morning he was back up near the top (right side up). He wasn't curved anymore, and didn't seem agitated. I fed him, but he didn't eat much.
I also tested the water right after I took him out of the bowl, and everything was the same as usual.
I came on here to do some research, and can't figure out exactly what it might be. Are the dark "spots" in the bowl lice? It's hard to see white spots on Morris b/c his body is white/pale pink, but he does definitely seem to be paler than usual. I've looked for worms attached to his body and anus, and don't see anything. And I'll be honest, I have not changed the water recently but have added fresh water, and I'm sure that's helped whatever-it-is that he's got.
Yesterday I got some API General Cure Powder http://aquariumpharm.com/Products/Pr...x?ProductID=62
which is supposed to help with worms, lice and velvet (my options at the store were limited). I put a very small amount in Morris' water - he was back at the bottom of the bowl at this point, on his side, labored breathing. I also noticed that the tops of his lower front fins (where they meet his body) were turning white. This morning he was still there, and some scales had fallen off his gills. And that's where we are now. The package says to wait 48hrs and add more; I'm just afraid I'll have a dead fishie when I get home.
Any help or advice you could give would be fantastic!