Velvet is a very common disease among betta fish. However, it can affect many kinds of fish, even young ones. Anabantoids, goldfish, zebrafish, and danios are likely to be infected with velvet.
This disease can appear as a gray or golden-velvet coating on the fin areas, or body. It can sometimes look like gold dust has been sprinkled on your betta fish. If this gold layer is difficult to see, it will become very visible if you project a flashlight beam on your aquarium when the environment is dark.
Unfortunately, Velvet is a disease that can kill your betta if left untreated.
Symptoms of Velvet Disease
- A gray or golden velvet coating on the body and fins
- Sudden weight loss or loss of appetite
- Fins that are clamped
- Peeling off of skin
- Breathing difficulties
- Wounds on the skin
- Betta scratching against objects that are hard
In the beginning stages of this disease, you may notice your betta fish rubbing itself against hard objects. This happens because he is trying to remove parasites. However, as the disease spreads, the fish may become almost motionless and have no appetite, lose weight and sadly, could die.
How to Prevent Velvet Disease
First, place your infected fish into a quarantine tank for at least two weeks. This is where you will treat him. Next, test the quality of your water regularly. Lastly, keep your betta fish fed with a nutritious and balanced diet.
Velvet can only occur if your tank conditions are poor. This condition is quite infectious, so by having a quarantine tank ready to go, you can greatly reduce the chances of the disease spreading throughout the entire aquarium. For this reason it is very important to immediately remove any fish that may seem infected and place them in a quarantine tank.
Treating Velvet Disease
Although many people don’t realize it, water temperature plays a large role in helping to treat an infected Betta. It is important to keep the temperature of the water on the warmer side, usually between 82 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Lighting also plays a big role. Keep your lighting dim for a few days. That will aid your fish as well. Lastly, add the right amount of aquarium salt. The rule of thumb is for every gallon of water in your tank, add 1 teaspoon gradually over a three-hour period.
Velvet is a highly contagious disease, and it can develop into an advanced stage before you ever realize it is happening. Therefore, it’s vital to apply treatment procedures as soon as you notice any signs. An effective treatment is malachite green. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the amount of time it should be used to make sure your betta fish is completely healed before re-entering him into your original aquarium.
Checking for signs at an early stage can help prevent any disease from occurring. The greatest thing you can do for your betta fish is to pay attention and try to prevent the disease from ever manifesting in the first place.