Hi, new, first time betta owner here. And by new, I mean two days ago.
Basically, what had happened is that my roommate decided that we needed a fish. I didn't want anything to do with it (because, as many know, college students make pro pet owners) but when she and our neighbor brought Rakesh home and were about to dunk him into cold tap water, and he started flipping the heck out, I had to step in.
So I've been playing fish doctor for the past two days. He's doing TONS better than he was (he would spaz out and then float to the top, then spaz out again) but he's definitely not the happiest fish I've seen. They managed to remember to buy food, which is always a good thing, but they didn't get any dechlorinating drops. My roommate claims that she had kept her betta fish of three years in tap water his whole life, but with how Rakesh reacted I somehow doubt it. Over the first night (we finally got him out at around 9:00pm) he stayed in the cup that he came in from Petsmart that we filled with bottled drinking water. I know that isn't the best, but he started swimming again and seemed to recover splendidly.
The next day I moved him back to his 1-gallon tank (after cleaning off the tank, rocks, and plants), which I filled with distilled water. I know that's a red flag, too, that just went up in all of your heads- I know now, after buying two gallons of it, that distilled water is horrible for fish. But given that the choice is between tap water and distilled water, I'm pretty sure the latter is better for the moment.
I've been trying to get back to Petsmart to get dechlorinating drops since supposedly tap water+drops is better, but me lacking a car and the closest bus stop being about a twenty minute walk away, I haven't been able to get out there. I also wish that I could get him a properly heated tank, a good filter, and all the necessities of actually good
fish owners, but I'm currently on a strict college-freshman budget. I'm trying to see how well I can do without digging too deep into my pockets to save a fish who, as much of a jerk as I am to say it, isn't even mine.
So to get to the point:
I need help. Desperately. I've been cramming on taking care of betta fish between classes, trying to figure out what we're doing wrong and how to fix it. Rakesh's a red veil (I'm guessing, from the posts on here), and he's been sitting on my desk for awhile now. He's watched me (so I'm guessing he's responsive) and he's flared once or twice. However, I've also noticed some white, almost iridescent looking spots on his face and what looks like faint stripes along his sides. He's also eaten I think a total of two pellets since we've gotten him (Top Fin, Color Enhancing Betta Bits). Rakesh has been swimming around the tank, hiding under the plants a bit, and basically investigating since I put him in. His fins have uncurled since he got into the drinking water, and more when in the distilled water, and he looks much brighter than before.
What are the necessities that I most definitely need to get? Like I said, I wish I could spoil him rotten, but from what he has right now it looks a bit better than what he had at the store. Our rooms are, beyond our control, at about 80 all day, so though I haven't taken the temperature of it, I'd say the water is about 70-75 degrees. His fins are a bit ratty, but I'm pretty sure that Rakesh looked like that already when he came here.
Here are some pictures. Unfortunately the lighting at the moment isn't the best, but I did my best.
Thank you so much, all of you, for your help. Or at least reading. And I'm sorry that I let the two of them purchase this poor thing without thinking it through.