Velvet In Bettas 101 (Symptoms, Cause & Treatment) is supported by our readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission.

Velvet disease is a very common disease that aquarium fishes, especially bettas, suffer from. As such, all aquarium owners should know how to treat it.

Often referred to as gold-dust disease or rust, it is caused by a parasite known as Oodinium that is present in aquariums. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at what betta velvet disease really is and what you can do to treat it. 

So, without further chit-chat, let’s get straight to the good stuff.  

What Is Velvet Disease In Betta Fish?

Photo: rayray101

As previously mentioned, it is caused by a parasite called Oodinium, which latches onto the fins, gill, or the body of bettas and feeds on the nutrients present inside them. This causes the Bettas to lose their majestic color, and they are further dulled by a gold-like coating all over their bodies. 

Velvet affects all kinds of fishes, but bettas are usually more susceptible to it. Certain conditions may put your bettas at a higher risk of catching velvet, including sudden shifts in water temperature, poor water quality, and a dirty tank. 

However, there is nothing to panic about as this illness can be treated if it’s caught early. Therefore, we suggest reading the next following sections carefully. 

The Symptoms Of Velvet In Bettas?

Velvet Betta Fish has a Gold Rust Look
Betta Fish has a Gold Rust Look (Photo: Bugger)

Fortunately, Betta Velvet is not always fatal, which always produces symptoms that you can observe. This is a big relief for all those who are trying to prevent the dreaded velvet disease from taking its toll on Bettas!

Symptoms in the early stages of velvet

You may not notice the gold-like coating over your betta in the early stages – this occurs because they produce excess mucus to fight off infection. However, there are many symptoms that can be detected.

Different Behavior

One of the earliest symptoms you’ll notice in your bettas is that they will start behaving differently. They will often rub their bodies against the inside of the tank because the velvet-causing parasite irritates their skin, and they want it to get off.


Another early symptom that you’ll notice is loss of appetite and lethargy. This happens because the parasite feeds on the important nutrients present inside the fishes, and as a result, they become weak and lethargic.

Gold-Dust Coating

You will see gold-dust-colored spots on the bodies of your bettas. The gold coating occurs because the bettas start producing extra mucus to try and fight the infectious parasite. But if you catch your bettas in the early stages of the illness, then there’s a good chance they will be fine.

Symptoms in the Late Stages of Velvet

You may notice many telltale symptoms in the late stage. The most noticeable symptom is difficulty breathing, resulting in rapid gilling than under normal conditions. Other symptoms include:

Your Bettas May Protrude

At later stages, your fishes may start to protrude, which mainly happens when fluids start to leak into an area behind their eyes, making their eyes pop out. That said, keep in mind that it is not the same as Popeye disease.

Skin Ulcers

As the skin keeps getting more and more infected, it begins to form ulcers. So, you might notice the fish starting to shed their skin. 

This mainly happens because, over time, the parasite eats more and more into your bettas. Also, skin shedding could take place when your bettas are constantly rubbing themselves against the tank.    

Clamped fins

Another symptom you are likely to notice is that your bettas might start keeping their fins close to their bodies. Keep in mind that it might not be caused entirely by velvet, as it is a common indicator of most diseases. However, if you notice it with some of the other symptoms mentioned above, it is velvet.    

Cloudy Eyes

More often than not, it happens when your tank is filled with a lot of bacteria. But, it is also one of the common symptoms of velvet disease.

How To Treat Velvet In Bettas 

If you catch your little guy in the early stages of velvet, then chances are he’ll be just fine. However, you must take action to treat it as soon as possible because it’s highly contagious. If you think that it’s velvet, take the following steps.

Increase Water Temperature

If you catch your bettas with velvet disease in the early stages, we highly recommend raising the temperature of the aquarium between 82 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Hotter temperatures will ensure that the velvet-causing parasite dies in the tank. 

However, you shouldn’t raise the temperature too quickly, as it will put your bettas at risk of getting killed through shock.   

Dim Lights For Several Days

Additionally, dim the light of the tank when you are treating your bettas. The velvet-causing parasite has chlorophyll in its cells, so it can use the light in the tank for photosynthesis.   

Add Aquarium Salt

Lastly, if you catch your bettas with velvet disease, add salt to the aquarium. Again, don’t add it too quickly. Instead, take some water out of the aquarium, add the salt, and then pour the water back in. 

Ideally, you should be adding one teaspoon of salt for every gallon of water in your aquarium. To avoid accidentally killing your fish through shock, make sure you add the salt over a 4-hour period.  

If you’ve tried the above measures and they don’t work. Furthermore, your little guy is showing the severe-phase symptoms of velvet; you may need to use stronger medication. The main two are copper and malachite green. A quarantine tank is a must for anyone who plans on using these methods.

Malachite Green For Velvet In Bettas

In severe cases, you might have to use malachite green to treat velvet in your bettas. Different brands come with different recommendations, so make sure you follow them accordingly. Also, remember that malachite green will stain the decor in your aquarium, so make sure you use it only in a quarantine aquarium. 

Copper For Betta Velvet Disease

Copper is an effective medication used in the treatment of velvet disease. You can either choose chelated copper or copper sulfate. But we highly suggest using the latter as it is more effective than chelated copper. 

However, keep in mind that it can be a little tough to maintain the optimal level of copper sulfate in the aquarium as it dissolves quickly. So, before using copper, make sure that you move your betta into a quarantine tank, as copper can seriously harm the plants and other invertebrates.  

Final Thoughts

So, that was pretty much everything you needed to know about the velvet disease in bettas. 

We hope you now have a good idea about the entire process of treating this disease. Just make sure that you put your bettas in a quarantine tank before using copper and malachite green. 

On that note, let’s call it a day. Until next time, see you soon with another interesting guide!

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Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt

Hello, I'm Jeff- an aquarium enthusiast with over 25 years of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish, including koi, goldfish bettas, cichlids and more! For me: Aquariums are like jello - there's always room for more!

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