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Baldur had some orange spots on his head when my gf brought him home three weeks ago, but we thought it was just his natural color. A few days letter he lost those scales near his dorsal fin, but I read that that could be normal stress from moving. Then we went through the "Is the orange growing or is it my imagination?" phase, but pictures confirm that there's more orange than when we got him. He's also developing some magenta-colored streaks in his fins that we thought were an improvement in his color "because he's so happy and healthy", but now I'm questioning if that's Velvet, too. He seems happy, is eating well, curious and active, spreads his fins, and they're not clumped, nor is he constantly flaring.

He's currently in a 3gal aquarium that a friend gave us. It was already cycled, so seemed convenient. I added a few plants, and have a small cyano-bacteria problem, but have reduced the light period and am removing the bits I can with a turkey baster- hopefully getting that under control. Ammonia and Nitrites are constant 0ppm, Nitrates start to show up after 4ish days, and then I do a 30% water change.. I'm using RO water, because that seemed to be universally approved, and remineralizing it with Imagitarium Aquarium Salt, but following the directions on the bottle leaves my water still super soft, with GH and KH not even detectable on the strips I'm using. 50% more raises KH to 80ppm and GH to 60ppm which seems low for what most sites recommend (but different websites are all over the place), but also raises my pH to 7.5, which is higher that what I've read Bettas prefer. His previous heater was struggling to keep the tank at 75, and it was likely getting colder at night. I put in a new, bigger heater and set it for 80 - but that heater is technically too big for the tank and I'm worried about other problems. I also bought some alder cones and am going to put one in to add tannins to the water, and hopefully bring down the pH. He has a shrimp and snail friends, so copper sulfate isn't really an option right now. Is there anything else I should be doing in the short-term?

Long-term, I have bought a 6gallon tank and am going heavily-planted, but I want to make sure it's cycled properly and plants are established etc. before I move him, plus I'd rather not take the velvet along for the ride, if that's what's going on, so I'm not expecting that tank to be ready for a few weeks.
 

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Sorry, I originally posted on a different part of the forum, and didn't see this form.. most of the questions are answered in my original post, but in case they're not:

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 3
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What temperature is your tank? Was 72-75, but just added a new heater, and today it's been a solid 78
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? The tank's built-in filter aerates
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? 2 nerite snails and a ghost shrimp

Food:
What food brand do you use? imagitarium betta pellets
Do you feed flakes or pellets? pellets
Freeze-dried? blood worms
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 2x per day, 12ish pellets, he eats them all right away, blood worms once or twice a week, he gobbles up 2 or 3 then loses interest

Maintenance:
Before
your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? I think he may have had the infection when we got him 3 weeks ago. He spent is first 1.5 weeks in a 1 gallon bowl, I did a 50% change twice in that time. Now that he's in the larger 3gal, I've done a 30% change every 3-4 days
What percentage of water did you change? 50% or 30%
What is the source of your water? RO
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? vacuum
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? imagitarium aquarium salt - starting with the dosage on the package, I've been slowly raising it to get the GH and KH up to 60 and 80ppm respectively.

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? Please give exact numbers. If tested by pet store please get exact numbers. "Fine" or "Safe" won't help us help you. Important: Test your water before the regular water change; not after one.

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH:7.5-7.7ish
Hardness (GH): 60
Alkalinity (KH): 80

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? He had orange spots on his head 3 weeks ago when we got him
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Orange spots have spread, magenta streaks appeared in his fins, he has a few missing scales in front of his dorsal fin
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? No noticeable change
Is your Betta still eating? Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Raising temperature, added salts, reduced light period from 12 hours to 6, and I have some alder cones boiling as we speak, that will go in the tank momentarily (after a water change)
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? Don't know his history
How long have you owned your Betta? 3 weeks
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? - possibly, though we didn't recognize it at the time
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
He seems about the same. He honestly doesn't seem to be suffering (I think he's spending more time at the bottom of the tank, but my gf disagrees), but at this point I'm almost certain the orange is something growing on him, and not natural color change, though I haven't been able to find any other pictures of Velvet where it's quite as bright. The store I got him from uses RO and the same salt I'm using, though they're using almost twice as much as what I started with, and what the bottle says to use. I decided the bottle directions are probably for adding to dechlorinated tap water, and not RO. So, with the water change yesterday, I increased the salt, and added cones for tannins. The water is just starting to get tinged... doing everything I can to just make the healthiest environment for him, though it occurs to me that mimicking the pet store's environment, where he likely acquired the parasite, might not be good enough. Hopefully the tannins and the reduced light are enough... if he doesn't improve in a couple days (I'm taking pictures to monitor the growth), I'll pull the invertebrates out and try copper sulfate, maybe - or would it be better to pull him out and put him in a fresh 1.5gallon bowl?... unless anyone has another recommendation. I've done a lot of research, but ultimately I'm a total noob at this.
 

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Could you try dechlorinated tap water ( with seachem prime) in that 1.5 g, and put him there with some Indian almond leaf for a little bit, to see if he improves? I've read that nerite snails are messy so they may be causing some issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Could you try dechlorinated tap water ( with seachem prime) in that 1.5 g, and put him there with some Indian almond leaf for a little bit, to see if he improves? I've read that nerite snails are messy so they may be causing some issues.
I could try that... it's just a matter of weighing risk vs benefit, I guess (which is where my lack of experience hurts). My understanding is that changing water types like that can be stressful, and it's harder to maintain a constant temperature, or actually even get it above 72ish, with the small heaters I have that will fit. By 'messy', I think that just means that they produce a lot of ammonia? But I haven't had ammonia issues (checking every other day), and especially with the constant water changes, I don't know that that's an issue? Plus he had the orange before he met the snails. I'd really like someone to tell me that orange is or isn't velvet so I knew for sure what kind of treatment to do. :p
 

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So sticky says:
Velvet
•Symptoms: Can be found by shining a flashlight on your betta. If it looks like it is covered in fine gold of rust colored dust then it has velvet. Clamped Fins, no appetite, darting/rubbing, loss of color, lethargic
•Treatment: It is very contagious so you should treat the entire tank. Treat as you would treat Ick. PP is also my favorite for treating Velvet.
I found this, if it helps...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I found this, if it helps...
I feel like I need to see a positive case in person to compare. :p I don't see 'dust', and he's eating, and is fins aren't clamped... I don't know how to tell if he's darting/rubbing in an unusual way without anything to compare to. He does sometimes zip from one end of the tank to the other, and he sticks his head in holes, but it doesn't really look like he's rubbing it. I feel like he's less energetic than he was, but again, my gf who hangs out with him all day thinks I'm being paranoid. The orange is definitely growing and he's gaining a red color in his fins, but I don't know if it's normal for a betta to change color to that degree.
 

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Your Betta does not have Velvet. It is not visible to the naked eye unless you darken the tank and shine a flashlight. It will look like gold flecks of sand. Here is a Betta with Velvet:
Eye Close-up Macro photography



For now, I would treat him as if these were wounds. Make a strong tea of either Rooibos Tea or Indian Almond Leaves. Both have mild antibacterial and antifungal properties and can help prevent infection. Add conditioner and pour into tank. I also recommend leaving a leaf or teabag floating along with the tea. Tank should remain the color below or darker.
Freshwater aquarium Aquarium decor Aquarium Aquatic plant Kelp


Take photos every few days so you can see any progression or progress toward healing. A photo focusing on the magenta streaks in his fins would help.

If your tap water is good enough for you to drink it is fine for aquariums. If you are using RO water without mineralizing you need to start. For good health, fish need the minerals and trace elements that RO doesn't contain. Without these elements they can slowly die.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the response, and the affirmation that it's not Velvet! And yeah, I've done the flash-light thing and not seen dust. I took out the carbon filter and added some alder cones for tannins, and it's slowly darkening, but not quite to the point of that photo yet. I am remineralizing the RO - using the same product PetCo told me they use, but now I'm not really trusting it for long-term health. I have easy access to RO, and thought that would be easier than dechlorinating, for some reason, but it's probably not. I think I'll start doing water changes with treated tap and slowly switch over. The missing scales on his back have visibly healed over the last couple days, and I decided the orange spreading on his head is maybe because he's got some marbled betta in him? Because apparently their colored patches can spread/move around due to transposons. https://nippyfish.net/2009/06/11/marble-betta-fish-color-changing-genes/
 

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Almost forgot: IME, Nerites aren't messy and don't cause issues. As with any tank mates, they do add to the bioload. However, they can be tricky to feed. Most will only eat natural algae. When they skate over algae wafers they are often not eating. If there's no algae buildup in the tank it is recommend to grow your own by placing some rocks in a bowl of water. Place in a sunny window and when you see algae add to tank.
 
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