Siamese Fighting Fish Velvet
Velvet is one of the most common diseases affecting pet fish and is brought on by one of the several species of
the parasite Oodinium, and can affect every Siamese fish in the tank before the unsuspecting owner realizes what is
going on. Velvet attacks all kinds of fish, even newborns. Goldfish, killifish, anabantoids, zebrafish, and danios
are especially susceptible to velvet.
Oodinium provokes fine white pustules on the fish. These pustules are so fine that they go undetected until the
Siamese fish dies. Oodinium is present in most home tanks, but only becomes a problem when the Siamese fighting
fish are subjected to poor water quality, variations in water temperature or being moved from one tank to
Symptoms of Siamese fighting fish Velvet
1. The Siamese fish scratches itself against hard objects
3. No appetite and rapid weight loss
4. Difficulty in breathing
5. Fins do not move freely
6. A rusty-like aspect on skin develops
7. Skin peels off (in advanced stages)
In its early stages, the Siamese fish rubs against hard objects in order to shake off the parasites. As the
disease spreads, the Siamese fighting fish becomes all but inactive, fins are almost motionless, appetite is lost
and the fish ultimately loses weight. Another important symptom is hard breathing, which causes hurried
Perhaps the most obvious symptom is the onset of a velvet-like layer on the skin that looks like gold or
rust-like dust. The layer may be difficult to detect at first, but can be readily seen by casting a flashlight beam
on the fish in a dark environment. The layer is most often evident on the fins and gills.
Prevention of Siamese fighting fish Velvet
1. Place new Siamese fish in quarantine for two weeks
2. Monitor water quality
3. Make sure the Siamese fish has a nutritionally balanced diet
Velvet usually only occurs when there is a poor tank environment and therefore becomes extremely infectious.
Placing new Siamese fighting fish in quarantine for two weeks will significantly diminish the chances of fouling a
healthy tank. Any fish that seems to be infected must be removed at once and kept in another tank to avoid the
spread of the parasite.
Treatment of Siamese fighting fish Velvet
1. Keep the water temperature a bit higher than usual
2. Keep the lights dim for several days
3. Add the proper aquarium salt
4. Add copper sulphate to the tank for about ten days
5. Avoid carbon filtration during treatment process
Since Velvet is extremely contagious (and often in advanced stages before being diagnosed), it is vital to
implement treatment measures as soon as possible.
Copper sulphate is the best type of treatment. It should be used according to the manufacturer's specifications
for the number of days indicated (usually ten) to make sure that Velvet is completely eradicated. Using Atabrine
(Quinacrine hydrochloride) is another way to treat Velvet.
Since Oodinium depends on light, dimming the tank lights helps in the eradication process. Bringing the water
temperature to 82°F (28°C) will also speed the eradication process. Adding salt to the water will relieve the
labored breathing caused by the deterioration of gill tissue. Like any treatment, carbon must be removed from the
filter, as it will destroy the drugs in the water.