First off, a HUGE thanks to everyone who offered advice in my previous thread. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, Oscar the Betta did die :( However, I am not giving up on Bettas, so any advice on how to improve what I'm doing would be really appreciated. So here's what I know of how Oscar progressed in the past two weeks since he's been in my house:
Oscar is purchased at Petsmart and transferred to a half-gallon plastic tank. I don't know when/if his water was changed or how often he was fed, but when I got him on 12/28 (he was a gift from my parents), his gravel was littered with fish flakes. He was kept in my dad's office in the basement, where the room temp was probably between 65 and 75.
12/28: My parents gave me Oscar. He was in the half-gallon tank. I did a 25% water change (the water seemed very dirty) and treated with what was probably too much dechlorinator. He stayed in the basement (again, room temp between 65 and 75)
12/29: Woke up, did another 25% change, tried to feed Oscar. He was stationary, lurking at the top of the tank behind a plastic plant. Went to Petsmart and picked up a 2gal tank, a heater, pellet food & freeze-dried brine shrimp. Tried to feed Oscar pellets and brine shrimp. Took a little nibble of brine shrimp, but refused pellets and I took the pellets out after a few minutes. Fully set-up tank.
12/30: Woke up, tried to feed Oscar, he refused. Did 25% change. Similar activity to the day before (which is to say, not much). After tank had been set up and running for 24 hours, began to move Oscar over. Took 4 hours, each time adding ~20% new water to tupperware container full of old water floating in the new tank. Oscar darted around, was more active than I'd ever seen him. After 4 hours, introduced him to new tank. Swam around and seemed happy.
12/31: Tried to feed Oscar, he refused, did 25% change. Swam around a little more than he had in the smaller tank but did not swim around as much as the night before. Mostly stayed near the top, by the heater.
1/1: Tried to feed, he refused. Did 50% change. Similar activity to day before. Oscar's fins, which had been very crimped, began to expand a little more and he gained a bit of colour.
1/2: Did 50% change, did not offer food. Went to Petsmart to get an adjustable heater instead of the pre-set, introduced to tank at ~3:00pm. Oscar was very interested in the heater (set to keep tank at 78F) and swam around it. At ~5pm, tank temp was at 71 and Oscar was swimming around. He would occasionally sink to the bottom, stay there for a few minutes, then dart up and start swimming around again, only to go back and repeat. At ~7pm, tank temp was at ~75F and Oscar was swimming around pretty energetically. His fins had become much more normal looking although his stomach looked rounder than I would have liked and his mouth was moving a lot as though he were gasping for air although he would do this while he was sitting at the bottom. He had begun to get colour in his body. I went down to dinner, then came back up at ~8pm to find his dead body sitting at the bottom of the tank, looking healthier than he ever had except that his fins weren't moving.
Oscar was my first fish, and I honestly didn't expect him to live this long because of how terrible he looked when I got him. My dad and brothers know nothing about Bettas (I originally was going to purchase one for myself, after I'd done quite a bit of research on them, but was waiting for birthday money to come in so I could afford the setup I wanted) and I'm pretty sure that the week he spent in my dad's office basically involved flake food being delivered whenever they remembered to feed him. Plus, most of the Petsmart Bettas look sick anyways...however I really want to keep a Betta (alive, preferably) and so would be interested to see if anyone has advice about what to do next time before I get another one. Also, is there anything special I have to do to my tank to get rid of dead fish germs or is it okay? I have enclosed a picture of dead!Oscar at the bottom. Like I said, this is the healthiest he has looked in the time I have had him.
Thank you all so much!