Today I went to the Tropical Fish Store where I bought Maxie. I told a young lady about Maxie's conditions, and described his behavior and appearance. She questioned me for a quite a long while - an interview on my care of Maxie.
Is the water heated? How often do I change it? What do I clean the bowl with? How much water do I leave in the bowl? Do I have gravel in the bowl? Do I check the acid content? I answered, as they say, to the best of my knowledge, but with each question I began feeling more and more guilty of neglect, mishandling, abuse.She also asked about Max's age so I told her two years, and, trying to make her feel a bit guilty also, informed her that I bought Maxie from their store, but he hadn't come with a birth certificate, so his real age is unknown. She shrugged that off and said two years is a good age. Betta fish, she informed me, are inbred and so suffer from genetic mutations! Without seeing Max she can't say exactly what he has.
Eventually I left the store having spent $24.11 for mineral salts, some kind of drops which apparently may help, and a thermometer. I had a heater I had never used for fear of boiling Max. I promised I would heat his little home. She said he may improve within three days - on the other hand,he may not. Whatever, I should return in three days to report on his condition.
I have scrupulously followed her instructions, and will let her and you all know in three days how little Max is faring.