I am new to this forum and bettas! I have wanted to purchase a betta for some time now, and last Saturday at Petco I noticed they had baby bettas. I asked a Petco sales associate how the care differed between a baby betta and an adult betta, to make sure I could handle caring for it properly. According to them, the only difference is that babies need smaller food. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that one of its eyes was cloudy and its water was dirty. I decided to take this one home as a rescue, in hopes of giving it a better life. Now, I need some advice as to how to properly care for the little girl (at least I'm calling her a girl for now), as she is sick, young, and in a new environment.
I will try my best to explain her current tank, husbandry, and physical appearance. Keep in mind I have only had her for 5 days and I am still learning! Also, all the advice I had for her care was given by people at Petco, before I had discovered this forum.
Tank: She is in an approximately 1 gallon glass half orb bowl (one side is flat, the other rounded) with tap water and Aqueon betta bowl plus water conditioner/dechlorinator. There is no filter or heater, but she is in a temperature controlled room. The water is a stable 71 deg F (which I think might be too cold for a sick baby, but I didn't want to cause any more stress by drastically raising the water temperature) and the tank is sitting in a dark corner to help her feel more comfortable. I put her in her new home on Monday after I felt she had acclimated to the stress of traveling in a car twice (I bought her at a Petco near my parent's house, approximately 50 minutes away from where I live). I moved her tank last night to a warmer area of the room, and now the water temperature is 73 deg F. This is a temporary solution until I can get a water heater tonight. I haven't tested the water yet, but when I go to the pet store tonight, I will bring a sample.
Treatment: API Bettafix, which she has been treated with 3 times. It says to repeat the dose daily for up to 7 days, and then make a water change. I did a 50% water change last night with spring water before I treated because her water was slightly cloudy from the food she won't eat that falls to the bottom. I was advised to use this treatment for her cloudy eye.
Food: I have been attempting to feed her twice a day, with either Tetra BettaMin Tropical Medley flakes or ZooMed Micro Floating Betta Pellets crushed up.
Appearance/behavior: She is approximately 1 1/2-2 inches in length with a white body and reddish fins. One of her eyes is cloudy and possibly slightly protruding (popeye?). When looking at her profile from above, her back has a slight curve to it. She is always at the bottom of the tank, but when she is prompted to move, her movements are darty and appear to be difficult. She will come up to the surface to get air, and I try to tease her with the food. She seems interested, but will usually not eat any of the food (maybe a small crumb). After a while of swimming up by the surface not eating, she will then nose dive down to the bottom of the bowl, using objects on her way down for support (she has a rock sculpture decoration). Her breathing looks like it might be difficult, but since I am new to bettas, I don't know how normal breathing looks. Also, her fins appear clamped. Since I moved her tank to a warmer area, she now floats at the top with her head slightly pointed upwards. This morning she seemed unresponsive to water vibrations and food. She may have still been sleeping, or she may be taking a turn for the worse
What is so difficult about her care is that there are so many factors that could be causing her appearance/behavior. I don't know how long her eye has been cloudy and I don't know if her current coloring is her normal coloring or due to sickness. I don't know how long she hasn't been eating. I really want to give her the best possible care so she survives and has a loving home. I welcome any suggestions about what I should be doing differently to get her healthy again! I will try to get some pictures of her, but I have been trying to leave her alone as much as possible as to not stress her more.