Hi! I've got this beautiful betta named Shiro (he's the betta in my avatar). He's my baby, and I absolutely love him and have done everything in my power to make sure he stays happy and healthy. He was labeled in the store as a dragon scale, but I've decided that he's probably metallic. (Only bringing that up because it might be important.)
So here's the scoop. I'll start at the beginning, because I have no idea what's wrong with him, or what might have caused it. I'm covering all bases.
The PH is a little high (8.0) but ammonia levels are good. His water stays consistently at between 78-80 degrees. I do a 20% water change every week, a mixture of distilled and tap water (NO chlorine), conditioned with Splendid Betta water conditioner.
Three weeks ago, my Shiro was happy and healthy (as shown in the picture). Had been since I bought him after Christmas. No stress, no swim problems. He was a happy little betta.
Then I went to the store and bought him a moss ball (which I soaked in conditioned water and checked for worms and rot before adding them to the tank.) I also purchased some freeze-dried bloodworms, daphnia, and mysis (I've been trying to wean him off of the fish flakes with soy and wheat that he loves so much).
He got a little constipated a few days later when I accidentally fed him too big a piece of bloodworm. I fasted him for three days, then switched to feeding him a mixed diet (eyeball sized pieces!) of fish flakes and daphnia under a watchful eye every other day. But he still got constipated again, so this time I fasted him over the weekend and added a bit of aquarium salt to his tank. Then I gave him a quarter of a thawed frozen pea on Monday two weeks ago, broken into tiny pieces. He passed the food, and seemed fine for a few days.
But then his fins started...shredding. It's not rot, and he's not biting at it. For a while I was seeing something like slime trailing from his fins. It was gone within a day, but the shredding remains.
I thought maybe it had to do with the moss ball, so I took it out last week. He has absolutely nothing in the tank to snag on (I use aquarium marbles, not gravel, in the tank), and I am in the room with the fish most hours of the day. I swear he's not biting his own fins. There is no sign of discoloring. The fins are just slowly disappearing.
Also. Ever since the second constipation problem, he's been showing signs of SBD. But they're NEVER consistent. One day he'll be stuck on the bottom of the tank, or he'll be almost floating at a weird angle on the surface, or his fins will be clamped or splayed, or he'll have a 'S' in his spine... Each symptom appears and disappears within hours. He almost never displays two symptoms at once.
He doesn't like to swim much, and either sleeps on the bottom with his head in the marbles or floats in the corner. Not good. His feces the other day was a normal round, brown lump, but today it was thin and worm-like (but still brown).
There is no gill inflammation. His eyes are fine. His white scales seem like they may be changing color, but I don't know if that's normal for metallic and/or dragon scale breed. He's not bloated. He's not gaunt and emaciated. No signs of ick, velvet, fungus, or parasites.
What is wrong with him? Depression? A swim bladder injury? Or worse...tuberculosis?
If someone could give me some advice, I would appreciate it! I've read stuff on nearly every site out there, but I can't find anything to fix him.
Thank you so much for reading, and double-thanks if you can save his life!