Hey, I'm Sage and I'm new around here. I got my little guy Harlot three days ago from Petco, where he was very poorly mistreated (no surprise there).
Since his fins are torn and jagged from improper maintenance/rough handling, I've put him on an aquarium salt treatment (he is on day two). He's currently in a 1gal aquarium with sponge filter, and his water went through a 100% change on Tuesday and a 75% change today. I tested his water levels, and the only thing out of the ordinary is a nitrite reading of .5 and a pH that may be a little high (7.8-ish)... strange, because he's going through regular water conditioning!
His water looked fine all day, until I left to dogsit for five hours. I just got home, and there's like a diluted clear smokey material rising from from the bottom of the tank. At first I thought it might be because I put a new "shelter" in for him today that may have had preservatives on it (it was a smooth coconut half-shell that used to have ice cream in it years ago... I've held on to it for a long, long time - and for the record I steamed it well before placing in the tank). So I took the coconut out and thoroughly washed it with vinegar, and it is now sitting in a cup of steaming water. But the steam-like substance is still there, floating towards the filter! What on earth is it, and what do I do?
Second, I wanted to make sure my method of sterilizing is the correct one, if in fact the coconut was the cause of the issue all along. Can something cleaned with vinegar be harmful to a Betta? What if it still smells like vinegar after I've left it out to sun-dry?
And my third and last question is, I found a very pretty rock at the beach several months ago that's been sitting on my counter, and I had the idea to place it in Harlot's aquarium. But since it still smells like the ocean and surely still must have some essence of salt on it, can it also be cleaned in such a way that it will not be harmful to my little guy... or should I just not risk it?
Thank you all so much in advance! I apologize for my ignorance, but this is just my third day of owning a Betta fish, and I want to make sure he is as happy and healthy as he can be!