Oh yes, tannins would be beneficial to help ward off any further bacterial infection. Once you have the oak leaves dried, just place a leaf in or crumble the leaf (your choice) into the water. Crumble/place as many leaves as necessary to get the water to turn a weak tea color. Tannins can be used with epsom salt/Stress Coat no problem. That's a good idea to phase him down to 1 tsp at least and see if he can handle just that amount. You're doing a great job with him. :) Such a lucky fish he is!
I'm too scared to take him off of epsom salts. lol. I might try to dilute it a little. Maybe to 1tsp/1gallon. He's on 3tsp. I have been doing some research on these forums and was thinking about providing a tannin source. Would that be safe with epsom salts and stress coat +? I am drying black pin oak leaves myself at the moment. I will see how he does in a bigger tank (bigger meaning a 1/4 gallon tank.) I will also keep up with the 2 50% water changes a day. If he can't handle his old 3.5 gallon tank anymore, will he be able to live happily in a tiny tank the rest of his life (with daily water changes)? Sorry again for asking all of these questions. :/ Thank you.
Sounds like his skin has shrunk to fit his face. Since he was really huge for a really long time, there is a distinct possibility he'll always have some swimming problems like you suggested. His organs were being pushed inward by his bloat/tumor/whatever and that in turn pushed them into his swimbladder. He can be on epsom salts pretty much all his life if that is necessary but if you want, you can try to phase him off them and see if it makes much of a difference. If he doesn't have a bacterial infection or fluids in his system, the epsom salts may not help anymore. If he has trouble, you might need to adjust his tank so that he has lots of tall plants to rest on near the surface. This is what I've done with my paralyzed betta who can't move his back end. He has a shallow tank with lots of plants that he perches in like a bird.
His eyes are not sunken in anymore. His head seems to have shrunk or something and fixed itself. Even though he is almost healed, i have noticed he's still tipping. He is being treated with epsom salts daily and been on it for a while. Is it possible his swim bladder is permanetly damaged? :/ I am thinking about moving him into more water soon (basically only a cup more of water. i'm going to move him up extremely slowly.)
That's possible. Kind of like how someone who has had a puffy face (due to heart trouble, perhaps) has some saggy skin when they lose that extra puff. But he can see just fine, right? If he can, then we'll just keep an eye on him. Could be an illusion too, that his eyes look abnormally small after his face was so abnormally big for so long.