Does my Betta have Velvet, Or...?


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Jul 18, 2017
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Hi all!

First post, so a quick intro. My name is Shauna, and I adopted 2 betta fish, Phinneas (blue crowntail) and Pepe (red & white Dumbo) in March 2016. They both live in a 5gal filtered tanks with a heater & a fan (I live in AZ) that are controlled by a thermostat so the tanks stay, in summer, at 81 +/- 1 degree and 80 +/- 1 degree in winter. Pepe lives with a little apple snail, Jacques; Phin had a mystery snail that recently went toes (foot?) up.

I was out of town for three weeks recently, so sent the boys to a fish sitter. When they're home with me, they get 20% water changes on a weekly, and a deep cleaning once every 6-8 weeks, so their tanks are (usually) spotless. I instructed the sitter to clean their tanks, and assume she did, but can't be sure. (I say this because both tanks came back with some icky brown algae in them that I've never seen before.)

They came back on Sunday. After the stress of the drive over, Phin settled in quickly but Pepe has been acting depressed. He just hangs out, fins clamped, either at the top or bottom of his tank. I've given him a couple days to get over the stress of coming home but he's still in a funk. He's also missing some scales from the top of his noggin and just looks... unhealthy. Pics attached - I >think< he may have come home with a case of velvet? Or does he have signs of something else?

I've read up on how to treat velvet, if that is what it is. I just don't want to jump in without someone (hopefully) more experienced than I concurring that's the issue.

Also... what do I do with my snail? I know I can't keep him in the tank with the medication, but also read that if I try transferring him to Phin's tank, I risk transferring the parasite to his (seemingly) clean tank. Thoughts?

Finally... I use the same vacuum for both tanks. If I let it dry out between using it in the infested tank and the clean tank, will that prevent contamination? Or do I need to do more (e.g. vinegar, bleach, etc.)

Thanks in advance! I love my little fishies and am very proud they've survived so long; I really don't want to lose this little bugger.


Side view, showing gold on him; I don't >think< it is due to the flash.... but not sure. Also there is some black 'stuff' on his white dumbo fins.

Shot showing the missing scales on his noggin:

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