Unknow illness, don't know if I should worry or not
My betta hasn't been eating lately and I thought it was that the water was too cold. I live in a dorm in Hawaii and it has gotten a bit colder here but not that much colder. He has a half gallon tank so I think that is a little small for a heater.
He keeps laying on the bottom a lot and whenever I move the tank a little or put my hand over the top he flips out and runs himself into the bottom of the tank or plant. He is also darts back and forth and then runs himself into the bottom when I do this. He is a purple delta tail and has gotten more blue on one side of his face. He has slightly blue strips but now there's a lot. I'm not sure if this is a symptom of an illness or anything.
Please help, I'm trying to find a bigger tank because I have a heater that keeps the temp at 78 degrees F but it says it's only for 2-15gal.
Definitely find him a larger container. It doesn't have to be anything fancy--you can use something like a rubbermaid or sterilite plastic storage bin until you have enough money to get him a nice, fancy tank that is a proper size. Plastic storage bins are very cheap, practical, safe to heat, and very easy to keep clean. A 2-4 gallon bin is only about $3 at WalMart or Target.
A 1/2 gallon tank needs a 100% water change every day to stay clean and safe for your fish. The simple fact is that this quantity of water is simply too small to support any vertebrate animal. The reason he is ill is because the ammonia levels in the container rise far too quickly for you to keep up with it, and it is quickly poisoning him. Try to get a different container as soon as possible. Until then, keep him in the most stable, warm place in your house--away from doors, windows, direct sunlight, electronics, fans, vents or other direct sources of heat or cold, and do daily 100% water changes. Don't forget to use water conditioner every time. :)
Yeah, just rinse it out really well and don't fill it up all the way--you don't want the water to be so high that the fish will be able to jump out. :) Once you add the heater, set the thermostat so that it's close to the ambient temperature of the room, then turn it up one degree at a time every couple of hours until it's around 78-80 degrees. This will prevent him from becoming overstressed.
In this container, he will only need a 100% water change every 4 days or so. Much better than the little tank. :)
You could get a small sponge filter that is powered by an air pump--these filters are very effective, the low flow is great for bettas, and they are only about $4-$6. You just plop it in the tank so there's no worrying about how the apparatus will fit or anything silly like that. Once the filter is colonized by beneficial bactera (a process that takes about 3 weeks to complete), you will only have to do one partial change a week, and if you upgrade to a larger tank, you can use the same filter. If you like the idea of a lower maintenance, filtered setup, you should take the time to research the nitrogen cycle.
Thank you for your help!!! Hopefully his condition will improve. I just really hope he doesn't have an illness. I was looking up symptoms and my first that was that it was Ich, whatever the scratchy and itchy one is, because he kept running into the ground and hiding but he doesn't have those white speckles.
That behavior is likely a result of being irritated by the ammonia level in the water. Ammonia is a very uncomfortable substance to be around, and at high levels it can burn the fish--I'm sure he'll feel much better once he's in clean water.
I just put him in the new tank and he's hiding behind his plant currently. I put the correct amount of conditioner in so I'll see if he starts acting normal again after he adjusts to his bigger swimming space. I put in an old coffee mug of mine that I never use because I heard that bettas like a dark place to go. Thank you for your help!