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Old 02-21-2013, 06:48 PM   #1 
ipndrmath
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Treating Velvet with CopperSafe and a Snail (Pictures)

Background

I have a female betta, Alex, which I purchased Sept. of 2009 in Phoenix, Az. Six months ago, we found ourselves here on the east coast. As a first time fish owner, I really didn't consider that she might need a heater as a tropical fish in the much colder climate. I feel absolutely awful that my ignorance has caused her so much trouble.

In January, her eyes became cloudy - My first indication that something was wrong. I realized that she needed a heater as the water temperature had dropped well into the low 60s. After slowly heating the water to 75-80 F, cloudy eyes went away.

Alex is keeping her fins clamped and has lost much of the color on her body however. I've come to believe that she has Velvet. It's not visible under normal light but - with a flashlight - there are gold color patches under her head and fins. There are also smaller spots on her tail fin. She's been wedging herself between the filter and the tank side - an action I interpret as attempting to scratch at it.

Aquarium Setup

Two Gallon, filtered aquarium. One fully submerged plant and one nerite snail to eat algea. I use water conditioner, but no aquarium salt.

What I've Tried

I'm not crazy about introducing chemicals into my aquarium. I attempted to combat the Velvet by keeping the entire aquarium covered and in the dark. Perhaps 30 minutes of light a day to feed and periodically check on the temperature. In five days, I haven't seen any change in the Velvet.

Experience Level
Please make no assumptions that I know what I'm doing - as I said, she's my first and only fish.

Questions
  • Do I have any other options to treat the Velvet without using CopperSafe? I've heard that it can be risky and I'm attempting to avoid it.
  • I've purchased another two gallon, unfiltered aquarium, heater and thermometer since I read that copper can be absorbed into the tank and make it permanently uninhabitable for snails. Should I still use water conditioner with the CopperSafe?
  • Do I need to do anything to the main tank? Will the Velvet exist even without her in it? What can I do with a snail in there?
  • How long should I keep Alex quarantined?
  • How often should I change the water in the quarantine tank? Do I keep adding CopperSafe?
  • Do I need to do anything special to reintroduce Alex back into the main tank?
  • In one of the picture below, there are black spots on her top fin and a splotch on her body... Any idea what this is?

Thank you ahead of time for any help you can offer!
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:33 PM   #2 
AyalaCookiejar
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Sorry. I don't think this is velvet. I don't see anything concerning on her top fin but the spot on her side should be watched... It could be an injury of some sort.

Velvet is misdiagnosed often. It looks like gold dust under a flashlight and would spread to the rest of her body, not just one area. I have a male who has gold patches on his gills that shine under a flashlight. If its just in one or two areas, I don't think its velvet. She would look like she was totally covered in pollen.

Velvet also has behavioral symptoms like scratching and darting quickly up against ornaments. Velvet is an external parasite, so it makes them itchy.

I am glad you have a separate hospital tank, though, because you are correct that snails are sensitive to meds and salt. I would look at upgrading the tank in the future, though. You should probably be doing three weekly water changes because one Betta and one snail is too much for a two gallon tank. You should have at least a five gallon for that.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:37 PM   #3 
MattsBettas
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I agree, that's probably not velvet. And FYI velvet needs compleat and utter uninterrupted darkness.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:54 PM   #4 
ao
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It dosnt look like velvet.

I'm not sure about the utter and complete darkness part, but I treat my last bout of velvet with 90F and ich attack by kordon (quadruple the dose, dose twice a day)

this was also in a tank by the window...
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:09 PM   #5 
AyalaCookiejar
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Velvet should be cured with copper safe or malchite green in two weeks.

I don't think its velvet, so it doesn't really matter. Like I said, I've seen velvet misdiagnosed MANY times. I haven't seen many actual cases of it.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:14 PM   #6 
ao
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velvet is unmistakeable....
I had one fish who never recovered, flashing against absolutely everything... in he end even though she wanted to scratch against something... she didnt have the energy left for it anymore.... and twitched about on the substrate....

under he flash light it looked like someonedipped her in gold powder....
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:51 PM   #7 
AyalaCookiejar
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It's misdiagnosed because some bettas have natural gold coloring that shines under a flashlight, but that is usually concentrated in one spot, unlike velvet.

Any concerned owner would be worried about it, though.
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:48 PM   #8 
ipndrmath
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All,

Thank you for your feedback. I'm glad to hear that you don't think that it's velvet since it's in patches. I suppose with CopperSafe in hand, everything looks like velvet. :)

I do wonder why she has been losing her color and keeping her fins clamped then ... even at rest, in the past she would keep them fanned open. Not the case now. I can't help but wonder if it's the water conditions with the new snail. I've used test kits for the pH, N03, &c, but they aren't exactly color-blind friendly and I have a hard time seeing the subtle differences between "kind-of-orange," "sort-of-orange," and "definitely orange."

I'll start looking for a larger tank - I didn't realize the limitations on a 2G though a larger aquarium seems to often be the answer to problems.
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:11 PM   #9 
callistra
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Please fill this out: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=49233

Have a friend look at the tests.
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