Velvet, one of the most common diseases affecting betta fish, surfaces from contact with one of several species of the parasite Oodinium, and it can affect every Betta in your tank. Velvet is not select, and it will attack all kinds of fish, even newborns. Goldfish, killifish, anabantoids, zebrafish, and danios are especially susceptible to Velvet.
This protozoan disease shows up as copper-golden spots on your fish which resemble “gold dust”. This layer may be difficult to detect at first, but it is visible by casting a flashlight beam on the fish in a dark environment. The layer is most often evident on the fins and gills.
Though Oodinium is present in most home betta aquariums, it will only become a problem if deteriorating water conditions exist. It is the single most pervasive disease that kills Bettas.
- The Betta scratches itself against hard objects
- No appetite and rapid weight loss
- Difficulty in breathing
- Clamped fins
- Skin wounds emerge
- Skin peels off (in advanced stages)
In its early stages, the Betta rubs against hard objects to shake off parasites. As the disease spreads, the fish becomes inactive, his fins are nearly motionless, his appetite nonexistent, and he may ultimately lose weight and eventually die.
- Place new Betta in quarantine for two weeks
- Monitor aquarium water quality
- Feed your Betta a nutritionally balanced diet
Velvet usually only occurs when there is a poor tank environment. When it hits, it becomes extremely infectious. Placing your new Betta in quarantine for two weeks will significantly diminish the chances of fouling a healthy tank. Remove any fish that appear infected immediately and keep them in quarantine to avoid the spread of the parasite.
- Keep the water temperature warmer – 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit
- Dim lights for several days
- Add the proper aquarium salt – 1 teaspoon for every gallon in the aquarium. Gradually add it over a 3-hour period.
Since Velvet is extremely contagious and it progresses to advanced stages before it is diagnosed, it is vital to implement treatment measures as soon as possible.
The commercial malachite green remedy is a very effective treatment. Use it according to the manufacturer’s specifications for the number of days indicated to ensure you eradicate Velvet completely.