My betta has been sick for nearly one month. The problem started during a cross-country road-trip because we were moving to a new state. We kept him as safe and comfortable as we could during the car ride, but I am afraid that either stress, not enough water changes, or a physical bump in the car has caused him to have a serious problem.
I have researched to the ends of the internet to learn about dropsy and swim bladder issues. I do not think this is dropsy - yet.
THE PROBLEM: We kept the fish in a small plastic container with ventilation during the 6-day car trip. Upon reaching our destination, we transfered him to a plain bowl. This is when we noticed that he was "listing" to the side and spending more time at the top than normal (basically floating). He also had a "kink" in his back. I immediately did researched, determined the problem was constipation, and stopped feeding him. He passed a HUGE bowel movement and all was well for a day or two.
I resumed feeding him, and then it started all over again a day or two later..
I fasted him, he pooped, all was well again for a day or two. I resumed feeding him and it happened again, this time he was basically on his side like a dead fish. I panicked and since his tank had not arrived with the movers yet, I bought a one-gallon tank like the one he is normally in and transfered him to it, hoping it would help him get back to normal (silly, but I didn't know what else do do). He actually DID get back to normal for 4 or 5 days, but then started floating again.
We fasted him and fed him a small amount of pea... it took about 2 days, but he got back to normal again.
This cycle of fasting, getting better, resuming feeding, and then getting worse continued until a few days ago when he was EXTREMELY bloated. The bloating is on his underside and slightly to one side. It is NOT all over. It clearly appears to be some organ that is full and almost protruding. I expected him to die during the night, be we woke up in the morning to find him completely normal again! We went to a specialty store (not a pet mart) and the guy there told us to get Maracyn-2, which we have been using for 3 days. I'm also using Betta Revive at the same time.
I waited a full day, then I fed him ONE PELLET. He almost immediately started to float and has not recovered since - it's been about 3 or 4 days that he mostly just lies on his side at the top of the tank. I fed him some pea and this just made him worse. This is the first time he has been lethargic through the ordeal.
Obviously there is something wrong with his digestive system and/or swim bladder.
I do not know what to do! The ONLY thing I have read about that I have not tried is aspirating him, but I don't think I can do that.
I am really new to keeping bettas and I have done so much research and talked to people at three stores. I love my fish a lot, and I'm sure I've made a few mistakes in trying to heal him, so please be kind and do not rub it in if I have... If you have any suggestions, I am open to them. I am desperate to save him!
(His name is Fook, he is red with blue trim, and he's amazingly feisty and beautiful when he is feeling well.)