How to Treat Velvet in Betta Fish [ Proven Methods]

It’s worrying to notice strange behavior with your betta fish. More so if you suspect lethal diseases like velvet. To save your lovely pets, get ready to learn how to treat velvet in betta fish.

Velvet is a common disease that many aquarists wouldn’t love to hear of. It brings about deadly symptoms that will stress you every time you visit the aquarium.

But worry less. Velvet is treatable if discovered early. However, there are effective medications for even severe cases.

Thankfully, this article will loop you in on how to treat velvet in betta fish using different methods. And if you implement what you have learned, you will interact with your betta generally within a few days.

Read on.

Understanding Velvet Fish Disease

velvet treatment betta
Healthy betta fish

What is Velvet Disease?

Velvet fish disease is a kind of infection that can quickly strike your betta in the aquarium. So, don’t be fooled by the pleasant name.

Velvet disease is also called rust or gold dust disease. This disease is caused by a parasite known as the Dinoflagellate of the genus Piscinoodinium. It’s sometimes classified as protozoa and other times as algae.

Surprisingly, this parasite contains chlorophyll, and it can produce some food through photosynthesis.

Read the table below to understand more;

NameVelvet, rust, or gold dust disease
Area of infectionSkin and gills
OrganismOodinium pillularis

How the Parasite Survives

Piscinoodinium parasite is partly photosynthetic because its cells have chlorophyll. As such, the chlorophyll gives it a gold or rust color hence the name gold dust disease.

The parasite derives some nutrients from the live host and also through photosynthesis.

Read: How long can a fish live with swim bladder disease?

Symptoms of Velvet Disease in Betta Fish

The parasite undergoes 4 stages. Take a look;

1. Reproduction stage

The parent tomont lives on a waterbed in the sea or the aquarium. During this stage, it reproduces asexually through binary fusion.

By the end of reproduction, it forms about 8 rounds of divisions to form the tomites.

2. Infective stage

The tomites are also known as Dinospores. They freely swim around the tank to find a live host.

After 48 hours, the tomites that lack a host eventually die. At this time, they survive by producing nutrients through photosynthesis.

3. Feeding stage

Trophonts attach to the betta fish slime coat and gnaw the skin to find its way inside. Once they attach themselves, the fish’s immune system weakens. At this point, you can see some symptoms.

4. Maturing stage

They take 6 days to mature and get into reproduction again. The maturing process is speeded up by high temperatures and slowed down by low temperatures.

Read: How do I know if a betta fish is pregnant

Symptoms of Velvet Disease in Betta Fish

Before you learn tips on how to treat velvet in fish, the most crucial thing is to understand the symptoms. Read on!

Early Symptoms

  • Rubbing the body against objects
  • Gold dust forms as the fish body react to the attack.
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

Late Symptoms

  • Cloudy eyes
  • Fins clamped on the body surface
  • Ulcers on the skin
  • Protruding eyes

Read: How to clean a 2.5 gallon betta fish tank

How to Treat Velvet in Betta Fish

It’s important to note that isolation doesn’t apply to velvet disease treatment. This is because the parasite doesn’t infect the betta fish alone. It’s also found in water.

So, it’s wise to treat the whole aquarium to minimize the risks of spreading.

Early Infection Treatment

1. Raise the Water Temperature

Although velvet-causing parasite requires high temperature for faster maturity, extreme heat may kill them.

As such, raise the water temperature to around 85°F, and since they are so sensitive, they won’t survive in the aquarium.

2. Reduce the Light

In fact, cover the aquarium during treatment. This is because the parasites require light for photosynthesis.

Most of the parasites that will be in the infective stage will lack nutrients when finding a live host and finally die.

3. Use Aquarium Salt

Aquarium salt is one of the most effective medicine for mild parasitic and fungal infections.

Measure 1 teaspoon per gallon of water and stir the salt to dissolve in a separate container. Afterwards, pour it into the tank and continue the treatment for 10 days.

4. Frequent Water Change

Ideally, frequent water changing should be done together with other treatments. This eliminates most of the parasites that still swim in the water.

Change around 80% of the water after 2 days while carrying out other treatments.

Severe Infection Treatment

1. Copper Sulfate Treatment

Copper sulfate for betta fish is very effective in treating severe cases of fungal and parasitic infections.

However, it’s hard to keep it at the right concentration because it dissipates very fast.

To effectively treat your betta fish, avoid frequent water changes and ensure no other chemical medications are in the water.

Carry out the treatment for 14 days while keenly following the guidelines as directed by the manufacturer.

2. Malachite Green Treatment

It’s highly effective in treating external parasites, but it can be toxic to your betta fish if you treat them with an overdose.

Adding one teaspoon per ten gallons is recommendable. But ensure no other chemical medications are in the tank.

3. Atabrine Treatment

It’s also known as mepacrine or quinacrine hydrochloride. The drug is manufactured to treat malaria, but it can also be used to treat parasite infections in fish.

During treatment, add around 3mg per liter of water and continue with the treatment for 3 days.

4. Bettafix Treatment

Bettafix is an antifungal and antibacterial chemical treatment that kills the parasite and fixes the skin.

It enhances the re-growth of fins and healing wounds on the betta fish body. Use bettafix for velvet and other diseases if your fish’s body is severely damaged.

FAQs on How to Treat Velvet in Betta Fish

How Long Does Velvet Disease Last?

Velvet disease can live in your aquarium as long as live hosts are inside. But if the parasites lack a host, they can survive for only 48 hours on photosynthesis.

Does General Cure Treat Velvet?

General cure treats velvet and several other parasitic diseases in fish.

How Do Fish Get Velvet Disease?

Fish get velvet from the Oodinium pillularis parasite, which survives in fresh and salty water.

As an aquarist, learn how to treat velvet in betta fish because the disease may occur unexpectedly. Additionally, master the symptoms to notice them during the early stages.

Read: How to keep betta fish happy and healthy


The Spruce Pets: Velvet: Aquarium Fish Disease Identification and Cure

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