There may, however, be a ray of sun in my gloomy tank.
The betta seems much improved this morning.
When I posted last night he was laying almost on his side at the bottom of the hospital tank with his pectorals splayed respiring quite heavily.
I watched him struggle to the surface for air and then sink back to the bottom of the tank.
I resolved to make him as comfortable as possible so I got him in his cup and drained out all the water in the tank.
I was resolved to make things as nice as possible for him so I took the tank and rinsed it out with hot water and wiped in down before filling it with less than a gallon of the Epsom salt water.
About an hour after I released him back into the tank I noticed that he was swimming a little bit, and I got him to eat some of his flakes.
I did another partial water change and filled the tank about 3/4 full.
This morning he is buzzing around and flaring at his reflection
He is still occasionally doing the thing where he brushes against something and leaps away from it, but I haven't seen him swoon.
Also His color has gotten much better.
I plan on leaving him in the hospital tank until at least Saturday, with daily 50 and 100 water changes to keep the water as fresh as possible.
But I need to figure out what to do with the big tank.
I cleaned it out, did to 100% water changes, and set it back up but am worried that it could be contaminated in some fashion.
I think I have a few options:
1) Do massive water changes every day until ready to put the betta back in
2) Completely tear the tank down, scrub the tank out with bleach replace everything but the tank and start over from scratch.
3) Do a 100% water change with the hottest water that comes out of the tap, add 2 gallons of bleach for a 10% solution and let the tank run overnight, and then do 100% changes until ready to use the tank.
I'm open to suggestions on making my deathtrap of a tank safe for my fish.