Hi, we have a new betta and he's sluggish, and it could be a bunch of factors, so please help us figure out what to do!
We got him 11 days ago and put him in a 2.5 gal
tank with top filter, betta heater, gravel, a couple fake plants, a couple real plants, a decoration, and a couple of snails. The temperature has been varying between about 79 and 84 F. We hoped we had cycled the tank by adding filter floss from another healthy tank, but apparently not.
He seemed fine (see attached photo). We fed him freezedried bloodworms because we hadn't bought betta pellets yet.
The water kept getting cloudy and green. We did partial water changes every other day or so, with tap water treated with Prime, but it kept coming back. On Wednesday, we realized it was because the floss in the filter, exposed to the tank light, had a lot of algae. It was bright, vivid green. We took the floss out. We're still running the filter, and there's still a pouch of filter floss covering the filter intake. We put it there to protect his fins from being sucked into the filter intake. That floss came from the other tank's filter, so we hoped it would help the tank cycle, but the ammonia level has been slowly climbing. Today it was 0.25. Nitrate and nitrite are zero, pH is 7.4.
Tuesday he refused to eat the bloodworms. Wednesday we didn't feed him, figuring he might need a day off. Thursday he refused to eat again, and started to act sluggish, spending most of his time perched on top of the heater so he could keep his mouth close to the surface. Today (Friday) we got betta pellets but he wouldn't eat those either. He's even more sluggish and looks pale, maybe bloated, fins kind of clamped, and his gills look kind of fuzzy and gray. When he swims, he gets around fine, but seems to get exhausted quickly and rushes back to lay on top of the heater. He keeps his mouth at the surface and blows a bubble now and then, but he doesn't seem to be gasping for air.
We just gave him some stresszyme and did about a 20% water change, using water from the other tank (hoping that would help) and a little aquarium salt.
What do you think is wrong with him, and what should we do? We're wondering if he might have an infection (we have the bacterial or the fungal infection treatment but haven't given him any), or constipation from bloodworms, or he's sick from the algae, or the ammonia, or shocked from too many water changes. We have a large bowl we could move him to if needed.
Thanks for your help!