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Velvet Confirmed - Beware, All!

Posted By: LeadFoot <leadfoot@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Sunday, 1 February 2004, at 3:39 a.m.

Hope I'm not beating a dead horse here, but I'm hoping that my experience, and now Harold's, will help us all be better armed in the future.

Tonight, after reading Harold's post describing the behavior of his clowns prior to him seeing the "whites stuff, not ich", which sounded similar to what I'm seeing now, I coincidentally discovered what I've been suspecting, and more recently actually hoping, that velvet is what ails my fish.

You know how I finally know? Because I have a pure black bristle-nose pleco who got into the perfect spot about 6 inches under my 220watt compact flourecents, but off to the side on the tanks's right side wall. And, as I was walking by the tank, I thought I caught a glimpse of a gold reflection on his body, just for a second. Of course, he scooted off when I stopped, and I could never get him at the right angle again. I even shined a flashlight on him, for the millionth time in the past 3 or 4 months or so, just like I've been doing to nearly all my fish, but I never saw that "shine" again. It bothered be for a couple of hours, the wondering if I really saw what I thought I saw.

Well, I ended up chasing his butt all over the 75 gallon tank, in and out of caves, around plants, under wood, getting water all over me the tank stand and the floor, but it was worth it, because when I finally caught him, and put him in a betta container, held the container up under strong light at every imaginable angle, I finally saw it again, just for a moment. I then got some magnifying glasses on and tried again..and there before my very eyes, I discovered... GOLD! If this sounds like I'm excited about the discovery, it's because I almost feel like I've struck gold, because now I finally know what's been ailing me, er, my fish. I know it sounds crazy but I feel relieved to know that it wasn't just me.

I ended up taking almost all my fish out of 5 tanks, except my clowns (couldn't catch 'em!), and looked at them 1 by 1 in a betta container. Lo and behold, almost all of some evidence of velvet. Not white stuff, like Harold saw, but a fine, fine, FINE gold dust, that is barely visible, even on the fish that are obviously covered in it.

In fact, as you can tell by how I found it, you can't even really tell they have it. The Velvet is apparently a mastermind in disguise, especially on fish which naturally have the same hues and/or shine in their natural colors, which nearly all fish do. Consider for example, my fish:

Gold marble bristle-nose pleco, among others
Yellow and brown striped Panaqolus pleco
Brown, gold and orange cactus leopard pleco
Red swordtails
Sunset platies
Variatus platies
Siamese algae eaters
Striatas
Angelicus
Red-tail zebra loaches
Histrionicas
Clown Loaches
Geophagus cichlids

Now, those of you who have been following my threads KNOW that I've been looking, and looking, and looking at my fish for months now, right? And, I never saw anything. THAT'S how hard it is to see. But, now that I know EXACTLY how it looks on a fish, I can see it. That's scary!

I can't see it on my clowns, but they haven't eaten now for over a week. But, with the orangish/gold colors and black bands that fade to grey under the tiniest bit of stress, it's no wonder you can't see it.

Then, I went to my son's tank to look at a gold-marble pleco who hasn't been eating and is always in a cave. I shined the flashlight on him, which startled him and he quickly turned around in the cave, but I saw the gold flash as he turned. I swear I never noticed it, and obviously I hadn't up until now, if I hadn't seen it up close on that other pleco. My son, was watching me inspect his tank at the same time, and he didn't even notice it! Damn, that's really scary, isn't it?

So, I moved all my plants from four tanks, into one, then distributed the fish among three tanks. Unfortunately the 75 gallon, and all it's inhabitants will have to wait until Monday, because I don't have enough copper to go around, and unearthing 2 ft. tall swords and more in itself is not an easy task.

Well guess what I saw when I moved a starlight pleco from my 29 gallon into a 20 gallon for treatment? Patches of grey on her head area, like Harold described, except it wasn't white...yet. Sadly, but interestingly, it seems that the gold dust on her has given way to the greying of her skin, and I can see how if it gets any worse those grey spots will turn white, like skin flaking off. She probably has the Oodinium in her internal organs by now, but I'm praying I might be able to save her with antibiotics together with the copper!

Remember that my fish have been flashing for months, that's how long they've had it. UV sterlizer is doing nothing to