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Hi there,

I can share my perspective but at the end of the day only your opinion will matter to your fish. Here are my thoughts:

Any amount of ammonia is harmful to fish. A cycled tank will show zero ammonia and nitrite. Until you have a fully cycled tank, do 25% water changes every day, and use Prime by Seachem, two drops per gallon, every day that you either do not test your water or that your tank shows more than zero ammonia or nitrite. The Prime will detox your water and lock up the ammonia and nitrite so it can't cause further harm to your fish.

Clean water, I always consider that to be essential in treating illness. Do the 25% daily with a good vacume. Make sure to use the Prime, two drops per gallon daily. Do this regardless of any medication you use.

If you believe this is Velvet (which is basically ick on steroids) then begin treatment. If this were my fish I would treat daily with a medication such as Kordon Ick Attack plus Kordon Malachite Green. A more stubborn case of Velvet may call for Kordon Copper, that product requires the use of a copper test and it must be monitored carefully. Velvet is difficult to cure but not impossible. Begin treatment ASAP. I would not use aquarium salt. It can dehydrate your fish, and I would not use any product that doesn't specifically state it is for Velvet and/or ick.

More medication options:
http://www.seachem.com/downloads/charts/Medications-Chart.pdf

I would add a hang on the back filter to your aquarium until it is fully cycled or consider changing to a hang on the back filter permanently. The more filtration you have right now the better, add aeration as well if possible. Remove any carbon from the bio pad or replace with carbonless filter pads. Do not remove the sponge until the new filter is established as the positive microbes are living there. You can pick up a product like Stability by Seachem, positive microbes to jump start your new filtration. But I would not use it for more than a week - they say you just can't have too much positive bacteria but I don't think that claim is correct. I'd use it just to jump start 7-10 days max.

76 isn't a bad temp but Betta do better a little warmer, I'd up it to 78 in general and 78 to 80 during treatment.

If you do not have a fully cycled tank and your tests are reading ammonia, you should be testing your water every single day. You can be more flexible with testing when your fish are healthy and your tank is cycled but if you have ammonia right now you could be having spikes higher than .25 during the week, and in the case that you have .5 or more I would do a 50% water change daily until its back down to .25. Get the test strips they are convenient especially if you are at work.

Wear gloves when working with medications or tank water. I view my fish as very healthy yet I use cattle exam gloves they go all the way to the shoulder. Fish carry disease. You should protect your skin. It doesn't need to get any more complicated than that, better safe than sorry.

Good luck, sending positive thoughts your way today.
 
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