I've had my betta for about a month and a half/two months now. My boyfriend and I bought him being sold as a "baby". The last two months we've been watching him grow and develop into a very playful, colorful fish. He lived by himself for a few weeks until he was old enough to be put in a bigger tank. He now [normally] resides in a 29 gallon community tank and gets along perfectly with everyone (as long as they stay out of his corner when he's eating).
About a week ago, (the 9th I believe) we went to a specialty fish store. They said they had live food, so we figured we would get it as a treat for our fish. Not a single one of our fish has had live food before that day. We only feed them Hikari foods. However they do occasionally get frozen food, never anything live. All this store had was black worms. We weren't sure about it so we asked the worker there (who apparently turned out to be the manager/owner). We told him what kind of fish we had and asked if they could eat them/would be ok with them. He ensured us that all of our fish would be fine and have no problems eating black worms. We went home and gave them to our fish. They all seemed to love the live food and went crazy for them.
The next morning our male betta seemed to be bloated, but other than that he seemed fine. We assumed it was swim bladder/constipation. We didn't want him to eat but we also didn't want to take him out of the tank so we separated him with a breeding box. At first he seemed to be doing better in there. He wasn't fed all that day or the next day and the bloating was starting to go down significantly. On the third day we attempted to feed him a pea. He didn't seem to take any interest in this. He picked at it a little, but the majority remained uneaten. Later that afternoon we let him out into the tank. He didn't seem to be interested in anything. He seemed better, didn't look bloated anymore, but almost seemed depressed. He normally hangs out in the plants at the surface of the water and swims around happily. Instead he was laying on the bottom of the tank looking miserable. He would come up to eat a little bit, but would then spit out most of his food. He acted like this for a couple days.
When our betta first started showing symptoms we had started looking up black worms with bettas and it turned out, it's not recommended they eat them due the complications they can cause. So we threw away the rest of the black worms. Unfortunately at this point all of our tanks had been fed the worms already.
On Thursday night he was still hanging out on the bottom of the tank. I had been trying to feed him daphnia because if he was still having problems with constipation I knew it would help a little if he would eat. Unfortunately he still wasn't too interested in his food. He was still laying on the bottom of the tank, only now he was hiding in the plants. Around 11:00 pm Thursday night he went from laying on the bottom of the tank to acting in a manner that I can only describe as having a seizure. He bolted across the tank faster than I've ever seen him move, then jumped a good 3 inches out of the water, darted to the center of the tank and swam in a tight circle "chasing his tail", and finally darted back to the bottom corner of the tank and into the plant. We could literally HEAR him bouncing off the sides of the glass as he was doing this. It only lasted about a minute, and when he was done he seemed to be "gasping". We didn't know what to do so we put him in a quarantine tank.
He's been in the quarantine tank since. We have been treating him for parasites since last night, although we're not 100% sure that's the problem it seemed most likely.
I haven't seem him have any "episodes" like the one before we moved him, but I also can't watch the tank 24/7 and if I hadn't happened to be up late Thursday night I never even would have seen him that time. However just a couple hours ago he started acting strangely again. He's been darting in circles and flailing, listing aimlessly, folding himself in half. He's clearly not in control of what he is doing, he's been slamming into the sides of the tank and even got stuck in the roots of his plant once. At one point he spun in spirals from the top of the water to the bottom of the tank. Occasionally he'll stop and sit in the bottom corner but it almost looks like he's twitching. Also, when he stops it doesn't seem to be for more than just a few minutes.
Everyone keeps telling me "darting is normal behavior in bettas". But this doesn't seem like normal darting. Something is clearly wrong.
Around feeding time we also noticed in our 14 gallon tank that one of our tiger barbs has separated himself from the group. He didn't seem to be hanging out with the rest, and when we fed them he didn't go anywhere near the food. We even tried dropping the food right to him, but he just ignored it. Shortly after he hid in a corner in one of the plants. He doesn't seem to have anything physically wrong with him other than he is just acting strangely. He's been sitting there for an hour and a half now and we're not sure what's wrong. If what my betta has is a parasite then maybe it is possible the tiger barb has the same parasite.
The episodes my betta has been experiencing almost look as if he has whirling disease. But I am told this is not possible in a betta.
If anyone knows what my betta might possibly have or how I should treat him please let me know. We don't know what else to do and we really don't want to lose him.
Also, is it possible that what is going on with the tiger barb is connected to what my betta has? We're pretty sure the black worms are what made the betta sick, but we don't know what exactly it is or what to do about it.
Thank you to anyone that can help in any way.