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FAQs on Betta Diseases: Velvet/Oodinium

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Related FAQs: Betta Disease 1, Betta Disease 2, Betta Disease 3, Betta Disease 4, Betta Disease 5, Betta Disease 6, Betta Disease 7, Betta Disease 8, Betta Disease 9, Betta Disease 10, Betta Disease 11, Betta Disease 12, Betta Disease 13, Betta Disease 14, Betta Disease 15, Betta Disease 16, Betta Disease 17, Betta Disease 18, Betta Disease 19, Betta Disease 20, Betta Disease 21, Betta Health 22, Betta Health 23, Betta Health 24, Betta Health 25, Betta Health 26, Betta Health 28, Betta Health 29, Betta Health 30, Betta Health 31,
Betta Disease Causes/Etiologies: Determining/Diagnosing, Environmental (By far the largest cat.), Nutritional, Viral/Cancer, Infectious (Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic: Ich/White Spot, Velvet; Senescence/Old Age, Cures/Curatives/Treatments,

FAQs on Betta Medicines: Betta Medicines period, Antibiotics/Antibacterials, Anti-Protozoals (Metronidazole, eSHa...), Copper, Formalin, Malachite Green, Anthelminthics, Organophosphates, Salts, All Other Betta Med.s,

Symptoms: Rapid breathing, dusty/powdered appearance (usually reddish to brownish in color, not white). A very rapid onset parasitic disease. Is brought in on other fishes or on wet materials from an infested system.

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Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Betta with velvet.... /RMF      2/12/17
My Betta has had velvet for about 6 weeks.
<Mmm; doubtful; would have been, be dead>
When I first discovered it he was acting lethargic, had clamped fins, and was breathing heavily. I turned off the lights and with a flashlight was able to see that he was covered in a fine golden dust.
<Well; these are all symptoms... though, "could be just environment">
After doing research I came to the conclusion that he had many of the symptoms of velvet. He is normally in a 5 gallon heated and filtered tank with live plants and one Nerite snail.
For 6 weeks I have been treating him for the velvet in a 1 gallon quarantine tank with a heater. I have the temperature up to 85 degrees and have a towel wrapped around the tank to minimize light.
<Ahh; good treatment strategy>
For the first week I treated him with Betta Revive. He showed some improvement but was still covered in velvet so I discontinued treatment with the Betta Revive. For almost a month I have been treating him with Kordon Rid-Ich Plus and aquarium salt. He is no longer lethargic, his fins aren't clamped, and he is breathing and eating normally. Everything about
his behavior is normal, but I can see that he is still covered in the golden dust (although it is about half as much as when I started treating him). I am wondering if it is normal for it to take this long to get rid of velvet?
<It is not... Am going to ask friend and fellow WWM Crew member Neale Monks for his input here>
And is it advisable to continue medicating him with the Rid-Ich Plus? The improvement seems to have plateaued at this point. Any help or suggestions that you can provide are greatly appreciated.
<I would discontinue this treatment... too toxic; and if you're still concerned (best to confirm Piscinoodinium via sampling and looking through a microscope) switch to Copper Safe or other chelated copper treatment for a week. Otherwise, I'd lower the temperature a degree or so per day and return this fish to the five gallon; and hope it cures from here. Bob Fenner>
Betta with velvet.... /Neale    2/13/17

My Betta has had velvet for about 6 weeks. When I first discovered it he was acting lethargic, had clamped fins, and was breathing heavily. I turned off the lights and with a flashlight was able to see that he was covered in a fine golden dust. After doing research I came to the conclusion that he had many of the symptoms of velvet. He is normally in a 5 gallon heated and filtered tank with live plants and one Nerite snail. For 6 weeks I have been treating him for the velvet in a 1 gallon quarantine tank with a heater. I have the temperature up to 85 degrees and have a towel wrapped
around the tank to minimize light. For the first week I treated him with Betta Revive. He showed some improvement but was still covered in velvet so I discontinued treatment with the Betta Revive. For almost a month I have been treating him with Kordon Rid-Ich Plus and aquarium salt. He is no longer lethargic, his fins aren't clamped, and he is breathing and eating normally. Everything about his behavior is normal, but I can see that he is still covered in the golden dust (although it is about half as much as when I started treating him). I am wondering if it is normal for it to take this long to get rid of velvet? And is it advisable to continue medicating him with the Rid-Ich Plus? The improvement seems to have plateaued at this point. Any help or suggestions that you can provide are greatly
<Going to follow up on Bob's ideas here. For sure golden dust sounds a lot like Velvet. But I will render this opinion: not all strains of Velvet (or Whitespot) are equally deadly or difficult to treat. There seems to be a lot of variation. On top of that, fish surely have some type of immune response to this/these parasites; indeed, I'd not be at all surprised to
learn that very low levels can persist among basically healthy fish for months or years, and it's only stress factors (like poor diet or skipped water changes) that allow these parasites to gain the upper hand and become noticeable and dangerous. In any event, my medication of choice for both Whitespot and Velvet is eSHa EXIT, an inexpensive medication that seems to be highly tolerated by even quite sensitive fish species, including puffers. For this reason, I prefer it to standard copper-based medications, though as Bob mentioned, used correctly copper can be extremely effective.
In a very small aquarium, it is wise to remove carbon (as always, when medicating) but also remove anything calcareous (such as seashells or corals) that might absorb copper ions and release them months from now.
Also note that invertebrates, such as snails and shrimps, are likely to be killed by copper- and formalin-based medications, so remove them while treating. I would normally medicate the sick fish in its display tank because Velvet and Whitespot have free-living stages that can persist for several days in the water, gravel and filter (depending on water temperature). That said, if you leave the display tank fallow, i.e., without fish (you can leave snails and shrimps there) for at least a week at tropical temperatures, two weeks at room temperature, the life cycle of the parasite will be exhausted. Medicate the Betta in a hospital tank while this is going on, of course. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Betta velvet with possible copper poisoning      12/17/16
Hello, I'm afraid I need to trouble you for help with my sick Betta fish.
<Oh dear!>
10 days ago I noticed he was acting oddly, clamped fins, resting on the bottom, labored breathing (but still had his appetite). I grabbed a flashlight and saw what I felt pretty confident was velvet on him. I put him into a hospital tank (1 gallon) with some malachite green (all I had on hand).
<Almost never a good idea to medicate with whatever's handy. Better to delay treatment, but choose the right drug for a clearly identified disease.>
The next day I switched to using SeaChem's Cupramine because I was told that would be more effective for velvet.
He has a bubbler in the tank to help keep the oxygen levels up, and one small fake plant from his main tank so he has somewhere to hide and can rest on top of it to be near the surface. We have been doing full water changes every 3 days to try and keep the ammonia under control since we can't fit a filter in his hospital tank. His tank temperature has been
maintained between 23-24C since he was placed in the hospital tank.
<Possibly a little warmer would be better, I'd say 25C/77F is about optimal for farmed Bettas.>
So he has now been in the Cupramine maintaining levels between 0.15-0.25 for 9 days (we started at 0.15 to try and get him use to it while still being effective). On day 2 of the copper treatment he took a turn for the worst. In a last ditch effort I added API general fungus cure that has malachite green and Acriflavine. This helped a lot. He showed steady
improvement for 5 days.
Then yesterday he seemed mildly sluggish when I went to feed him in the morning and by last night he had gone down hill again. He was laying on his side struggling to eat, seemed disoriented and was hiding from me. We did a full tank change and re-dosed just the copper thinking maybe having too many medications was causing stress to him.
This morning he would not eat, still on his side (although swimming around a little bit), when he comes to the surface he seems disoriented. His breathing is not labored at least. I don't see any more signs of velvet on him but it's hard to tell because he is hiding too much for me to get a good look. I am worried his symptoms are the effect of the copper exposure and not the velvet. I want to remove him from the copper but everything I have read says I need to treat for velvet for 14 days or it can come back with a vengeance. Do you have any advice on what I should do for the little
guy? I feel like we got so close in curing him and now are watching him slip away again.
<Understood. It's tricky this, because Velvet can cause problems for fish, and untreated can kill them. It's also more resistant to the old salt/heat method that works so well with Whitespot. Not that salt/heat doesn't work, it often does; but sometimes it fails, particularly if the infection is severe or the fish is, for some reason, so weak its immune system can't be
relied upon. There are good anti-Velvet medications out there. Cupramine is one of them, but like all copper-based medication it's important not to overdose. For example, you need to be cautious about estimating how big the volume of water is you're treating. A 10 gallon tank for example rarely contains 10 gallons, and by the time you include rocks, sand, etc., it's more like 8 gallons, if that. It's a really good idea to count the buckets of water added to your tank when you first set it up, so in the future you know exactly how much water it contains. On top of that, some materials will absorb copper (such as corals and limestone rocks) and these need to be removed from the tank during medication so they don't release that copper back into the water later on. Using a copper test kit is a really good idea, as is the use of copper-removing chemical media when the medication has run its course. Personally, I prefer medications without copper, such as eSHa EXIT. Given where you are, I'd be doing large (25-50%) daily water changes before adding the daily dose of Cupramine, and when the course of medications is done, I'd wait at least a week before starting the medication over, should the Velvet come back. Make sense?>
Sorry for the long story.
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Betta velvet with possible copper poisoning      12/17/16

Thank you I very much appreciate the reply.
In my haste I forgot to mention some information I'm afraid. I have been measuring out the volume of what goes into the tank, not relying on what the tank says it is. I also have been doing daily tests for the copper levels.
I panicked after emailing you and I did a partial water change that diluted his copper levels back to 0.15ppm. A few hours after, I checked on him and he actually came to see me without coaxing and ate some pellet food. I could tell he wanted to eat more but he seemed to become disoriented and tired rather quickly. He is still resting on his side, although seems able to right himself more easily now. He moves resting spots every 5-10 minutes.
He has some minor discolouration (light brown spots on a blue Betta) on his head in two spots that appeared a week ago but doesn't seem to have grown.
I thought it might be from the velvet but now I wonder if it's from the copper.
<Possibly. Really hard to say.>
So I have two questions now. In your opinion should I remove him from the copper medication completely given that I saw improvement after reducing the levels? Or is this a bad idea given that we are only on day 9 of treatment?
<Very tricky this. My gut reaction is to finish the course of medication.
Seachem maintain that Cupramine -- used as directed -- is safe with Bettas, and I can't think of any particular reason they should be more sensitive than other 'bread and butter' tropical fish. For sure loaches and some catfish are more sensitive to copper, but labyrinth fish are generally regarded as being no more sensitive than the usual community fish. So, I'd just be very careful about dosing, I'd do water changes each day before adding more, and I'd use a copper-absorbing chemical media afterward the full course if at all practical (failing that, a series of 25-50% water changes each day across a few days should dilute any remaining copper substantially). Some aquarists get adequate results from Cupramine at half the stated dose, but the problem here is that Velvet is very resistant to copper, and my feeling is that this would be less successful than treating Whitespot with half doses. With all of this said, if the Velvet seems gone by now, and there's no evidence of further "flashing" or gill irritation, stopping now might be okay. The problem is that it's hard to be 100% sure the Velvet has gone, even if there's no flashing, and you might have to run a whole other course of medications a few days or weeks from now. >
If so I would place him in a salt and heat bath tank for the next few weeks to observe.
<Salt/heat isn't entirely reliable with Velvet, so approach with caution, and do keep a close eye on the fish.>
My other question is. Assuming he makes it, is there anything preventative that I can do in my aquarium (5 gallon with heater and filter) to prevent velvet from coming back again? I don't even know how it started in the first place. All my readings were good. No ammonia, no nitrite, 5 nitrate, and stable temperature of 24c (I am trying to get it up but my apartment is very cold and the heater claims it is for a 10 gallon tank so I don't understand why I can't get to 25c at least).
<Once Velvet is eliminated, using salt/heat or copper, that's it. Gone.
Forever. It'll only get back in via new fish, or else via some other wet object carried from an infected tank, such as net, ornament or even plants.
So quarantining is the name of the game here!>
I really do appreciate your response and your help. I thought I was doing everything right for my fish and I feel very guilty that he is sick. So the reassurance that I am at least getting some things right is good to hear.
Best regards, Kathryn.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Update on Betta Fish with velvet       12/22/16

Hello Neal/ wwm crew,
I wrote you last week about my Betta fish who was suffering from velvet and possible copper poisoning. I just wanted to give you an update and ask another question.
<Fire away.>
To quickly recap we were treating the Betta with Seachem's Cupramine. The directions said to maintain a does between 0.15-0.2 ppm for 10-14 days.
However, my Betta seemed to be struggling with the copper, as the velvet seemed to disappear the fish appeared to get sicker. In the end we managed to keep him in the treatment for 12 days before we removed him from the copper completely due to worsening condition. We placed him in a tank with API Fungus Cure which has Acriflavine and Malachite Green.
Removal from the Copper had a positive effect, he started eating again and appeared to be in less distress. After two days though he still wasn't acting "cured". His fins are no longer clamped, his normal coloring has returned and he is not flashing at all. However, he had labored breathing after he swam around for longer than 15 seconds at a time. Once he rested for a good few minutes his breathing would be normal again and he would be happy to swim some more.
<Bettas don't rely on their gills for oxygen, and will suffocate if they can't breathe air. If 'forced' to use their gills more than normal, Bettas will appear stressed, more so if their gills are damaged.>
Given that he had velvet and it attacks the gills, I really felt that his tired state may have been due to oxygenation problems.
<Possibly. In any event, gill tissue does grow back eventually.>
He already had a bubbler going in his tank but we upgraded it to a much better one. While I was worried about dosing too many medications I still decided to add Methylene blue to his water since I know it can help oxygenate the blood.
<I don't know about this at all! By definition, adding anything soluble to water displaces oxygen, even salt, and on top of that, medications all have some 'killing' ability or they wouldn't be used. If you're killing pathogens (germs) then decay will absorb oxygen from the water. But in any event, Methylene Blue is a dye that happens to fill fungi and some other
microbes, including Whitespot and Velvet, though neither of these particularly reliably. It has been used in blood transfusions to ensure the haemoglobin stays in its normal oxygen-carrying state, though toxicity worries have led to its phasing out, at least in the UK. It may have some medical uses along the same lines. A medic will certainly be able to tell you more about this than me! But for maximising the oxygen-carrying capacity of fish blood? Seems unlikely.>
The difference has been excellent. He is doing much better at getting his food on the first try, and seems to have a fair bit more energy. He is interested in what is going on outside his tank and comes out to greet me every time I go by. However, the labored breathing after swimming is still present, he can now swim for about a minute at a time but then he needs to rest for 30 seconds.
All this being said I am guessing that his gills are still damaged and without the Methylene blue he would return to a state of not having enough oxygen.
<Not convinced, but glad the results are positive. "Post hoc, ergo propter hoc" is not always reliable; indeed, it almost never is! I'd explain the situation as this: the copper largely killed off the mobile, infective stages of the Velvet from the tank. The generation of Velvet parasites on your fish finished their life cycle and died. Without mobile phases to
re-infect your fish, the infection ended. But the gill tissue remains damaged (this is, fundamentally, why Whitespot and Velvet kill fish) and your Betta is having to manage with less oxygen from the water. It can breathe air of course, so isn't in imminent danger, but under such conditions will be more lethargic than normal. It will take some days, perhaps weeks for the gill filaments to re-grow. The Methylene blue will be working as an anti-fungal agent, inhibiting further damage to the gills by keeping the lesions clean. It's a mild medication, used even with fish eggs and fry, with only very rare toxic effects on fish, so you should be fine continuing with it for some days yet. I wouldn't bother after a week
though. The gills should have stopped bleeding or decaying by then, and any infection is unlikely by this point.>
I've searched as best I could but I haven't found any information about if Betta's are able to regenerate gill tissue once it has been damaged. Do you know if it is possible that he could still make a full (of close to full) recovery?
<He should do.>
My other question is about velvet itself, we will add the last does of API general fungus cure tomorrow and then allow the level of medication to decrease through our daily water changes. At that point we will be on day 16 of treating the fish for velvet in either Copper or the API general fungus cure. Given the continued improvement of the fish and the lack of any velvet symptoms, is this likely long enough to have eradicated velvet on the fish?
<It may be. Velvet, like Whitespot, doesn't 'stay' on a fish. There are multiple cycles of infection and re-infection before the host fish dies (in the wild, they may even have low infections for years at a time). So some mobile phases get into the fish, burrow into the gills, form cysts, and within a few days reach the end of their life cycle, burst, spread another generation of mobile phases into the water, then die. Some of those mobile cells get into the fish, form new cysts, mature, burst, and die. And so on, many many times. What medication does is kill all the mobile phases
produced by the current generation living in your fish, so when they die, nothing replaces them. Individual cysts might only live a couple days, but we treat for a week or so because there may be cysts of different ages, so what we want to do is kill of all the mobile phases produced by all the cysts across a week. That means there'll be no reproducing cysts in your fish, and no mobile cells to re-infect your fish, and the cycle is broken.
Note that you can't actually kill the cysts in your fish. They're impossible to get at.>
Are there any problems to then continue treating him in Methylene blue for the next week to help keep him oxygenated while he regrows any lost tissue?
<I would do precisely this; see above.>
I need to keep him in his hospital tank for a few more weeks anyways as I need to get a fishless cycle going in his main-tank before sending him home again.
I apologize for the length of this, my questions always seem to require more explanation than I originally thought. I do very much appreciate the help though!
Happy Holidays,
<And a Merry Christmas to you and your Betta! Cheers, Neale.>

Betta with velvet       1/23/15
My boyfriend and I got a Halfmoon Betta a week and a half ago. He had a dark band at the end of his tail, but we picked him anyway. He is now in a filtered, heated 3.5 gallon quarantine tank with the goal of eventually moving him to a divided 10 gallon tank (with him having 5g and an African dwarf frog on the other side). Water parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites,
and about 5ppm nitrates. A few days after we got him, his tail and fins (except pectoral) became clamped and he was exhibiting some strange behaviours (hiding under the filter frequently, darting, some flashing).
Then his tail began to degrade. I suspected fin rot and possibly velvet, and I began treating with Paraguard and 0.5tsp/gallon aquarium salt with daily ~25% water changes. I also raised the aquarium temp to 81 degrees F
<Would raise this even higher... 85-6 F>
and covered the tank (as even if it isn't effective, he seems less agitated in the dark.) On what is now day 6 of treatment, the fin rot seems to be subsiding, but his fins are still extremely clamped and I can now see some gold metallic colouring on the scales.
<Mmm; don't think this is Velvet... would have shown up sooner; killed this fish by now>
His breathing also seems more laboured. I would like to switch the Cupramine, as copper seems to be "best practice" for velvet based on my readings. However, an employee at my LFS stated that it is too aggressive and advised my boyfriend that our tank is uncycled (although I doubt this due to the presence of nitrates)
<I agree w/ you; it is cycled>
and to continue treating with just salt and old water from the 10g aquarium (which seems to me would not transfer much filter bacteria anyway.) Despite the fact that I disagree with the advice, I am now questioning my original plan. What would you advise?
<Not adding the copper; but elevating the temp. as stated>
<Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta with velvet       1/24/15

Thanks, Bob, for your response. I have increase the tank temperature to around 86F as you suggested.
He seems very distressed -- he hides under the decor and rests behind the heater for most of the day, and although he is still eating fine, most of his movement is darting/flashing. I have noticed something new though: when he's in the light, I can now see a whitish (almost blue-ish) film coating his fins. Could it be some sort of protozoan? What else can I do for him?
<... Can't tell what this is w/o sampling and microscopic exam. What to do?
READ: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm
Scroll down... to Bettas, Disease.... Bob Fenner>

Sick fish, Betta, presumably Amyloodinium, Malachite, Methylene Blue  - 8/28/12
Hi Bob! I met you at SAS (Sacramento Aquarium Society) a while ago, and I asked you about disease treatments, and the use of malachite green. (I'm the kid that asked a LOT of questions) I have a Betta that I am sure has velvet, and the only med I have is malachite green. He has all the symptoms, looks like he's got gold dust on him, is lethargic, is flashing, (scratching) and isn't flaring at all and has a loss of appetite. This morning, I noticed that two more females are flashing, and looking slightly lethargic. One of them is breeding stock. I am debating the use of malachite green, as I am breeding for show fish. The fastest I can get Methylene blue is 5 days. I really don't want to lose any fish because of this, but I don't want to mess up the genes.
<I understand>
 So far, I've raised the water temp, added salt, and added banana leaf tea to the water, along with some stress coat. Is there anything else I can do?
<Water changes after each treatment. Please read here: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=57845
 Also, can I use Flubendazole to treat it?
<Mmm, no>
Also, would  Metronidazole work?
<It might, but I'd stick w/ just one med.... The Malachite at this point>
 Are there any ways I can prevent it with my other fish, other then not contaminating them, and separating them?
<Sure... isolation of new stocks is always a good idea>
 Will Methylene blue kill my plants and snails?
<Mmm, is a bit hard on these, but no where near as much so as the Malachite>
 Can plants and snails carry velvet?
<Not carry but anything wet can transfer this Protozoan>
If they do, is there any way to cleanse them
without killing them?
<Isolation for a few weeks should diminish the pathogenicity sufficiently>
Thanks so much for your time!
<Welcome Josh. Bob Fenner>
                     P.S. If there's any other med I can get, please tell me!
Re: Sick fish

So far, I haven't used malachite. Do you think giving the fish a bath in it will damage it?
<I wouldn't do this>
 Also, I read that velvet will die within 24 hours if it cannot find a host. Should I just keep my tank empty for 3-5 days, or more?
<A couple weeks>
I've darkened the tank, will that help?
<Some folks say so>
 I am considering taking all of my plants, (Italian Val) out, and keeping them outside. Can they take 60 degree water?
Can Malaysian trumpet snails take 60 degree water?
<For a few days, yes>
 Thanks so much for responding!
<I remember being young still. BobF>
Re: Sick fish

Thanks again for your time! Do you think you'll be speaking at SAS again?
I enjoyed your talk!
<Ahh, I do hope to come back... the gap from last time (eight years) was too long. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Sick fish - 8/28/12

I guess I'll have to talk to the president about you coming back. It was a really good talk.                                                          Josh
<Ah, good. Thank you. B>
Re: Sick fish, Betta     8/30/12

Sorry to have to ask you another question already, but suppose I spilled, let's say an ounce of Methylene blue into, hmmm, about 10 gallons of water with Betta fry, and after taking out a lot of water, the water is still blue, what bad things could I expect? How could I prevent these bad things?
<Not likely a problem. B>
Re: Sick fish, misc. FW, child      8/30/12

The people on fishforums.com said that it may cause cancer,
<... Methylene Blue? No>
use up all the oxygen in the water
<Actually aids in oxygen transfer>
, and raise the ph. I think I'll trust you though as I have met you, and found your info true so far. I don't want too much in
there, as I want good bacteria in there. Would putting a carbon filter in there be a good idea?
 How do I tell if it's activated carbon?
<One way, by activity... removal of the blue>
 Another question I have, which isn't related to Methylene blue,  is about my infusoria culture. I have seen little white worms on the sides of the jar.
Is that good food for my fry?
<Maybe. B>
Re: Sick fish     8/30/12

How do I tell if they're good? The are the perfect size for my fry.
<... the bioassay is most likely profitable here. Try them and see>

How to get rid of velvet disease.   10/3/11
Okay so my Siamese fighters just started getting all lethargic and dying and this morning I discovered that it was velvet disease. What I did was empty the tank , got rid of the gravel , refill the tank and I put it Methylene blue , stop fungus , aquadene gill fungus parasite special , and coarse salt. I then took the plastic plants and soaked them in hot water.
Is this how I get rid of the parasite? Or should I empty the tank again, scrub it and refill it with some more clean water and add more medicine?
<Velvet doesn't normally come out of nowhere. How long have you had this Betta? Why do you suspect Velvet? Velvet has a life cycle that spans just a few days, so the Betta will need to have been exposed to an infected fish within the last week or so. Failing that, while it is conceivable that a Betta might carry an extremely low level of infection for weeks, even months, something might cause a background infection to become an acute one. In such a case, environmental conditions are extremely likely. So let's recap the basics. Does your Betta live in a heated, filtered aquarium at least 5 gallons in size? Most Bettas that die prematurely are killed through some combination of (poor) environmental factors. I'm a little concerned about you doing total water changes and adding a whole soup of medications. Both these are bad things to do. Velvet can ONLY be killed during its free-living stage; infected fish CANNOT be "cured" as such. The best you can do is add anti-Velvet medication to the water, and then wait for the Velvet parasites on the fish to switch to their free-living stage once they mature. This takes a few days. Cheers, Neale.>
Re Velvet disease   10/3/11
I had the Bettas in one tank
<How big?>
two females and a friendly male.
<Hmm'¦ this doesn't usually work. Male Bettas are notorious for attacking females in small aquaria. To be fair, 30 years ago I kept both sexes in a community tank, without problems. But I've heard lots of times when it failed.>
They were all fine two days ago and then they died. And yes they lived in a ten litre tank
<3 gallons'¦ not nearly big enough for 3 Bettas.>
with a heater and a filter. This morning I saw the male with gold like patches on him and stained fins. Thursday I got a new Betta and Friday morning she died.
<You should never add a new fish to a tank where a fish just died. Wait 4-6 weeks before adding the new fish, just to be sure you've broken the cycle of infection and re-infection.>
She was healthy when I got her and she just died.
<Unlikely she "just died". Something killed her. Exposure to an aggressive male. Sudden changes in water chemistry. Sudden changes in temperature. Something'¦>
And a relative of mine suggested that I empty the tank again and leave it dry for two days.
<But this will of course kill all the filter bacteria. You can't have it both ways. If you honestly believe it's Velvet, then treat for Velvet.>
I was thinking of using chemicals to scrub it then dry it thanks for the help
<Pointless without understanding the goal. If you sterilise the tank, you will kill at the bacteria, and you will need to cycle the tank for another 4-6 weeks before adding any fish. Cheers, Neale.

Betta with Velvet - almost out of ideas, very worried   9/2/09
Hi guys,
I have been treating a Betta for Velvet for several months. I started with CopperSafe, carefully measured in a medical syringe. That seemed to be working at first, but after weeks of gradual improvement he would suddenly have a relapse, and it would start over again -- improvement followed by relapse. Eventually, by reading your site and a few others, I got wise to raising the temperature, treating him in a hospital tank, and turning off/blocking out any lights. But the pattern continued.
<Do you use carbon in the filter? Remember to remove this when treating fish.>
In desperation, I switched to Rid-Ich. This seemed to be working -- steady, slow improvement with no major relapses. But it's been over a month now, and the improvement is very, very slow. So slow that I'm no longer sure if he's getting better or staying the same. He's been almost recovered for a over week now, but it's still on his head and faintly visible on his body.
<I see.>
He's in a five-gallon tank, kept at 84-85 degrees. The carbon filter has been removed, along with everything else. I'm feeding him daily, pre-soaking his food and giving him a variety. The towel is only off his tank for about 15 minutes per day, and the rest of the time he just has a small opening in the front to see if it's day or night (thought that might be important). If there's anything else relevant about his environment I forgot to mention please let me know.
<Velvet (Piscinoodinium pillulare) is a disease that usually gets into aquaria. It doesn't, so far as is known, lurk in tanks for years at a time, waiting to jump onto unsuspecting fish. In fact the free-living stage must
find a host within ~48 hours or it dies. So, the first thing to figure out is [a] if this really is Velvet, and [b] how it got into your aquarium.>
In addition to the medication and darkness, I've also been adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt per gallon.
<Do need rather more salt than this... at least 10 grammes per 45 litres (about one teaspoon per 5 US gallons). Possibly more, up to 2-3 teaspoons per US gallon may be necessary.>
I cannot find an answer as to how much is best, that seemed like a good guess, can't seem to find a saline test in any LFS. As I understood the Rid-Ich instructions, the idea is to keep the concentration the same (.5mL per gallon) while changing 1/4 of the water daily. I have been doing this, but when his improvement slowed to a near-stop I went to 1/2 daily water changes, again maintaining the concentrations of salt and Rid-Ich. I even suction the water from the bottom of the tank, imagining that I am vacuuming reproductive cysts in the process. I don't know if this is helping.
<Marginally, to be honest.>
I don't know if anything is helping. I don't know why he wasn't better a long, long time ago.
<Are you sure this is Velvet?>
<<It is not or this animal would be dead. RMF>>
He's still active, eating and trying to get attention, but I'm starting to wonder if the poor guy is going to have to live what's left of his life in the dark, in poisonous blue water. His fins have started getting a little
ragged, too. I don't know what to make of this, but from what I've read it doesn't seem like any fungal or bacterial fin rot could survive in there, so I'm wondering if the Rid-Ich is causing it somehow. I'm very concerned in any case, I know this stuff is poisonous and I want out of his tank ASAP, but I'm afraid without it the bugs would overrun him in a few days. I'm afraid to experiment, terrified of another relapse. Please help, what else can I do? And why is this taking so long?
<I'm concerned that you're actually looking at something else, e.g., a "slime disease" type thing, where there's a bacterial infection of the skin, resulting in excess production of off-white slime on the body. This
can (usually) be fixed with antibiotics or suitable anti-bacterials.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta with Velvet - almost out of ideas, very worried   9/2/09

Thanks for the quick response, Neale.
<You're welcome.>
I have wondered too how Velvet got introduced. Some time ago I gave away the fish that lived in another aquarium, and the folks who took them used their own net. Even though it was a different tank, there may have been some accidental contamination. That was shortly before my Betta got sick.
<Sounds possible.>
As to whether or not it is really Velvet, I've never been 100% sure. It doesn't look like "dust," as it is so often described. I don't see individual particles, but it's a coating that is thicker when viewed at an angle and thinner viewed in profile. It is a brown, rusty color, not "off-white."
<Velvet is usually a distinctive metallic sheen, hence the name, and tends to attack the gills first, so you usually see heavy (or rapid) breathing alongside the other symptoms. It's actually pretty rare, in the UK at
least, when compared to Whitespot/Ick -- in 25 years of keeping fish, I've never seen it!>
To keep things short, I didn't mention that at first I only noticed swollen gills and eyes and treated him with a course of Maracyn, followed by Maracyn II. Neither had any effect. I began treating with CopperSafe when I noticed the rust coloring, and he improved immediately although, as I explained, he has never made a full recovery. Also, if it was a bacterial infection, wouldn't the Rid-Ich kill it regardless?
<No, anti-Ick medications treat against specific Protozoans, not bacteria.>
How do I determine if this is or is not Velvet? I need to be sure before I change course.
<I agree, diagnosis is important. Any chance of a photo? A reasonably sharp one, please! In the meantime, both Ick and Velvet should be cured by appropriate use of heat and salt, so increase the salinity as mentioned earlier, and see what happens. At the least, this won't harm your fish. If that doesn't work, and the fish continues to develop ragged fins, then treat for Finrot. I'd try something a little more general purpose than Maracyn, perhaps Something like Seachem ParaGuard for example.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta with Velvet - almost out of ideas, very worried (RMF, thoughts?)  9/27/09

Hi Neal, et al.,
I was waiting to reply until I had good news. Unfortunately, Tietam is still sick.
After the first salt dip and ParaGuard treatment, he seemed much better.
Then, as before, the improvement slowed and finally stopped. I've done two more salt dips, kept up with the ParaGuard, kept his water clean and the temperature at 85F, and added more salt to his tank as we discussed. The fin damage is reversing itself, and there are some patches of blue through the rust-brown, but I can't see any improvement in the last week and he remains a very sick fish.
<May take time. Good water quality and a varied diet will help. But essentially, you have to stick with medication, using as required. Be sure to remove carbon from the filter, if used, which medicating. Take notice of any comments re: water changes on the packaging.>
One possibility is the salt dips weren't aggressive enough. I checked around and guessed that a four-tablespoon-per-gallon concentration would be appropriate, but I'm not sure.
<A saltwater dip is 35 grammes per litre, or 4.73 ounces per US gallon.
That's your standard. Tablespoon, teaspoon and similar measurements are a bit vague and best not relied on, though I will tell you a level cooking teaspoon measure of marine salt mix weighs about 6 grammes, so there's just shy of six of level teaspoons marine salt mix per litre in artificial
Perhaps you could clear that up for other readers as well, since recommendations around the internet seem to vary dramatically.
<There's no variation at all among scientists about how much salt there is in seawater: it's about 35 grammes/litre. Being trained as a marine biologist myself, I prefer to use the textbook values rather than recipes aquarists come up with.>
Also, Neal, you mentioned that the salt dip would "shift" the external parasites. I'm not sure I know what you mean, could you clarify for my own edification?
<There are two explanations here. At very low levels, a couple of grammes per litre, as you'd use for treating Ick, the salt is used as a continual "bath". It's added to the tank, and over a couple of weeks, stresses the free-living stages of certain parasites to the point they die, preventing them from re-infecting the fish. That's how the salt/heat methods works for killing Ick. At much higher levels, seawater "dips" are used to dehydrate both the parasite and the fish, on the assumption the fish dehydrates much more slowly than the external parasite, and so the parasite dies after a few minutes whereas the recovers when returned to freshwater. It's a lot like chemotherapy or any kind of drug that's toxic to both humans and disease-causing pathogens, but the doctors aim to quit the treatment at the point where the pathogens are dead but the patient unharmed.>
Additionally, recently there's been a dandruff-like buildup in his tank.
It seems to be irritating his gills. I've increased the water changes and am holding it in check, but what the heck is this?
<No idea. Perhaps silt, perhaps fungus, possibly bacteria. If silt, merely means the filter lacks mechanical filtration media; if fungus or bacteria, usually indicates something wrong with the "balance" of the tank.>
Leftover medicine?
<Or at least a side-effect of the medication with respect to otherwise harmless bacteria in the tank, perhaps? Wouldn't be too concerned.
Physically remove.>
Is something growing?
<No idea.>
Please let me know if you have any more suggestions or recommendations. And much appreciation for indulging my U.S. measurements.
<Don't use teaspoons to measure stuff. Use kitchen scales, and weigh.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta with Velvet - almost out of ideas, very worried (RMF, thoughts?)  11/30/09

Hello again,
Your advice was good, eventually the slime disease was cleared up and we decided to stop the treatment and put Tietam's decorations back in, carbon back in the filter, etc.
<Ah, good>
However, the very next day he developed
equilibrium problems, his nose would point up. We gave him some pea, suspecting constipation. We dosed him again with ParaGuard,
<Mmm, why? Is too toxic for casual use/exposure>
probably more out of panic, thinking he got bad when we stopped. The next day he was lying at the bottom breathing heavily, still able to swim to the surface and eat but with poor control. He has lost most of his color, his body appears transparent, and he has swelled a little (slight pine cone scales). No sign of the slime disease returning.
<... just need time to go by>
We tried Epsom salt this morning, but he's not better or worse, and judging by the new droppings constipation is not the problem. No ammonia or nitrites in the water. We've lowered the water level to try to make him more comfortable.
<Good... do lay your submersible heater on its side as well>
What happened? He's lived with us for a year, is this old age, or did we damage his kidneys by treating too long for slime disease?
Or, more relevantly, is this his time to go, or is there anything else we can do?
<Really... just heated, filtered circumstances and time going by. Bob Fenner>

Several Sick Betta's  2-14-08 Hi Guys <Hello, Merritt here and not studying!> (2nd try, forgot some info and spelling was bad in first) I am somewhat of a Betta fan, 12 at home and 6 at the office. <They are like potato chips, you can't have just one> I have 2x4 gallon tanks at work, each have 3 Betta's (I had these tanks made specifically for my Betta's, false wall at back for the heater and filter) <Nice setup!> Last weekend, one of the air hoses from my pump, came loose from a joiner and majority of the water siphoned out of the tank. <Oh no!> This tank normally has 0 nitrate and ammonia, stable pH, nitrate between 20-40ppm. I also add a little aquarium salt once a week. Temp at 80-81 I change 25-35% of water (depending on nitrate levels) 3 times a week. I feed a variety of freeze dried blood and black worms, pellets, flakes and frozen foods also (I find they like the variety) <Great!> Issue is, as 70% of water was lost in one tank, the ammonia levels spiked. <Yikes!!> I worked on Saturday and all was fine when I left at approx 12.30pm, so this all happened between then and when I returned to the office at 8am on Monday morning. As a result of the ammonia spike and loss of heat, due to heater automatically switching off when water level got low, my guys picked up velvet, that I have been treating with aqua master multi cure (active ingredients malachite Green, Methylene green and Acriflavine) and darkness <Well, you are on the right track> They did seem to be getting better, however, this morning, they seem to be producing an excess amount of slime and have tendrils of slimy stuff floating off their bodies. Also, one has fin rot, that I have managed with water changes. <Um, not good. First cure the velvet, it will be much harder then the fin rot> All 3 are eating and getting around the tank well still. <That's really good to hear> Can you suggest anything else that may assist getting rid of this without losing my boys?? <I would increase the amount of salt in the tank or switch to Epsom salt and change the water more frequently. Velvet is caused by a parasite and is very contagious. I know of one product that works amazing on velvet (has saved several of my fish!) called Maracide. It is a concentrated medicine that cures external parasites. I buy it from here: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=4723> Regards <You are welcome!> Theresa Zonneveld <Merritt A.>

Re: Several Sick Betta's  2-16-08 Hi Merritt and thanks for your response, <Glad to help!> I looked for Maracide, but live in Australia and unfortunately it is not available here. Any other suggestions, as I attempted to order from the link provided, but no options were available for shipment to Australia. <Sorry, didn't know you were in Australia. If the Epsom salt doesn't work, then retry the medicine you were previously using. But, I am sure the Epsom salt will work> In addition, they seem a little better this evening, for which I am extremely happy. I have actually been changing 30-40% of the water every day this week, as they have not been well. <That's good, keep up with the water changes> Thanks for being patient, one last question, how much Epsom salt should I add and how often, and does the salt break down, or continue to accumulate in the tank? <You should use 1/4 teaspoon of Epsom salt per gallon. Epsom salt should be replaced only if you change the water. And do not completely re-dose, just add 1/4 teaspoon or two to the new water you are adding to the tank when you perform a 30-40% water change. The salt will not accumulate unless you don't change the water and just keep adding salt, don't do that. The salt will break down but it will take much longer than it will for you Betta to recover> Thanks again <You are welcome again!> Theresa <Merritt A.>

Question - Betta is discolored, looks dusty, what's wrong?   6/13/07 Hi, <Hello there> I've had a male Betta for 3-4 months now and just noticed a problem. He is severely discolored and has gone from blue and red to almost brownish. <Yikes! Bad> It looks like there is a coating of brown dust on him. <May be Velvet... or just poor environment...> I thought it might be velvet, but it doesn't look like individual spots <These are very fine...> and they aren't shiny or sparkly. It's just all over. He's also been staying in the top corner of his tank, not moving much except when there's food. He is by himself in a 2.5 gallon tank and I do 50% water changes once a week with tap water that has water conditioner added and has sat out in a jug near the tank for at least a day <Do set this aside a week in advance... much better> to make sure it's the same temperature. <... I take it from this statement that you don't presently employ a thermostatic heater? This is likely a principal cause of your induced trouble here if so> I'm honestly not sure how long he has looked like this, as the tank isn't lighted and I only noticed when I was right up against the glass and looked more closely with a flashlight. I feel horrible that this has happened to him. I went to PetSmart after trying to research to see what it was, and the girl there had no idea. She told me to try BettaFix, <Mmmm> so I put in just under 1tsp of that yesterday, then did a half water change today and added the amount required for the water I put in. I haven't seen any changes in him, and I'm not sure if this will help at all. Do you think it could be velvet or another parasite, and if so, what should I do? Would adding aquarium salt help (I never have before)? <Maybe... depending on...> Thanks so much. Christi <Mmm, need more information re water quality... I strongly encourage your reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

New Betta in 2.5 gal cycled tank breathing rapidly  - 12/29/06 Hi there, <<Hello, Mercedes. Tom here.>> My compliments on your site.  Very informative.   <<Thank you kindly.>> Despite all the info, I think I need your advice.  I have just introduced a young Betta to a cycled 2.5 gallon tank (nitrites and ammonia 0, nitrates about 20).  I watched him for about an hour in the LFS to check his breathing and for signs of disease.  He was the best of the bunch and looked very healthy.  The tank temperature is at 80F, and I have a UGF which could probably use a cleaning based on the level of nitrates.  The tank is stocked with 5 live plants (2 of which will be moving to my other tank once I'm sure my other Betta is through his velvet problem) and has been stable at 5 ppm of nitrates for 2 weeks, but the first test yesterday (after I did about a 50% water change before adding the new guy) was up to 20 ppm. <<Agreed that 20 ppm is a bit high particularly coming up from a very respectable 5 ppm.>> Because he's so new, I'm not sure what his normal behaviour is, but he's concerning me with the rapid breathing and fascination with the filter output and high level of activity, including sliding down the sides of the tank. <<Sounds quite normal to me, Mercedes. Could easily have been a description of mine for the first few days that I had him.>> While this could be normal, I'm concerned given my previous problem with velvet.  I should mention I lost a previous Betta in this tank who had a bad case of velvet (I took pity on him at the pet store because he was beautiful, but I could see then that his gills weren't closing properly so I knew it was a long shot -- treated him with Quick Cure but it was too late -- he only lasted two days).   <<As you have probably discovered with Velvet, the telltale signs are critical to saving the fish. Once the infestation has manifested itself far enough to be 'apparent', it's often too late to treat effectively.>> I broke down the tank and sterilized everything (bleach solution), leaving it without a fish inhabitant for over a month.  Everything I've read tells me that velvet needs a host within 24 hours of replicating, and that the life cycle is max 14 days, and that it doesn't like heat (kept this tank at 80F for 3 weeks before adding the new guy).  Should I be worried about velvet (he has iridescent blue-green colouring and I can't see anything that looks rust-coloured or reflective on him other than this colouring when I use a flashlight and magnifying glass) or is this more likely "curious about my new home" behaviour. <<Based on what you've described, I would say it's impossible for the parasite(s) to have survived the sterilizing/fallow-time. I certainly understand your concern what with your previous experience but, in my opinion, your fears are unnecessary.>> Also, to get the nitrates down, I think I should give the UGF a thorough cleaning and vacuum the gravel.  Am I on track with this? <<If you intend to keep the UGF, I would concur that a good cleaning is likely in order. Nothing wrong with these if you stay on top of the maintenance required of them but there are easier ways to go here.>> The charcoal part of the filter is not in, and I'd like to put it back in, too.  If this is a good idea, when should I be doing all of this?  The new guy's just had quite a trip and he's not adjusted yet, but if I'm going to do a 20% water change or more to control the nitrates, I might as well take him out for a short bit and do the rest of the cleaning.   <<Given the stress placed on your fish by moving him, I would clean the gravel with the water change and add the charcoal now. Leave the UGF for the time being but continue to monitor your nitrates. Let your Betta become more accustomed to his new surroundings, and you, before cleaning the plate.>> I just don't want to stress him too much.  His breathing does slow sometimes (when he's not racing around checking out the new digs), but it still seems too rapid to be normal. <<Consider adding some aquarium salt with the water change. I'm starting to sound like the proverbial 'broken record' on this topic (for those old enough to remember what records are :) ) but I consider aquarium salt a 'requirement' with Bettas rather than an option. I can assure you that you'll see a significant difference in his breathing and behavior in short order.>> Thanks in advance for what I'm sure will be good advice. <<You're welcome, Mercedes. My best to you and your new pet. Enjoy the New Year!>> Mercedes <<Tom>>
Re: New Betta in 2.5 gal cycled tank breathing rapidly
  12/31/06 Hi Tom, <<Hi, again, Mercedes.>> Thanks so much for your wisdom.  He seems to have relaxed quite a bit since yesterday.  I should clarify two things: my filter is actually a small volume model from Toms that can be placed under gravel, but is not a real UGF.  It has two-stage filtration and I had removed the charcoal.  The other is that I have already added the salt (non-iodized), which I had forgotten when taking the nitrate readings.  I had a "Eureka" moment this morning when I visualized the water test colour gauge, which shows darker shades of pink for salt water at lower ppm.  I cleaned out the filter, put the charcoal back in and vacuumed the gravel yesterday in both tanks, and moved two of the live plants to the other tank.  The nitrate test came back at between 5 and 10 ppm for freshwater, which would be under 5 ppm for salt water.  I'm going to check again today and in a few days for stability.  If all is well, I'll revert to weekly nitrate testing and weekly cleanings.  In a 2.5 gal tank, how much water should I be changing weekly? I've read suggestions of 10 to 50%. <<I would go no higher than 25% with the changes here. Anything in excess of about 30% should be reserved for problems with water parameters. Beyond that, all sounds quite good.>> Also, I notice that when fresh water is added to the tank and a Betta is in it, tiny air bubbles attach themselves to him in various locations.  Since velvet is so hard to detect, I've used this as an indication that I may or may not have a problem, though it could be another parasite that's also not easy to spot.   <<Whenever there's a water change, gases along with oxygen are introduced into the tank. One of the reasons why we recommend against large water changes on a regular basis. In connection with this, the salt in the water increases surface tension resulting in smaller bubbles than you'd find in pure, fresh water. (A key ingredient to why protein fractionators work in marine tanks much more efficiently than they will in freshwater tanks.) Less air in the bubbles means they're not as prone to rise quickly to the surface and will adhere to surfaces below including fish (organics have an affinity for air -- another principle of protein skimming). Certainly not an issue unless you happen to be trying to closely observe for problem indicators, right?>> This is not my preference as it's quite a bit of turbulence, which I understand is stressful for Mr. Betta. However, I'm happy to say that both of my guys had very few air bubbles attached to them yesterday after the water change, so I think all is well.  My tri-colour with the white and purple body, which easily shows velvet, is looking almost clean again and is back to blowing bubble nests.  (He came from the same location as the one with bad velvet, but was not as badly infested or affected).  Am I crazy? <<Well, I'm not a 'shrink' but I don't think so. :) Sounds to me like you're understandably concerned is all. Been there myself actually.>> Again, thanks for your help. <<Happy to do so, Mercedes. Tom>>
Re: New Betta in 2.5 gal cycled tank breathing rapidly
  1/3/07 Hi Tom, <<Happy New Year, Mercedes.>> Thanks for that info.   <<Happy to share.>> Unfortunately, my worst fears were justified.  The velvet finally appeared on his body and fins 2 days ago.   <<So much for my optimism.>> I now understand why my LFS sent the new guy home with me in a Methylene blue bath.  I thought they were just being careful, but now that I think of it, the other CTs from that shipment had what I now know are telltale signs of velvet (those little dark spots on the fins, even if you can't see the gold dust).   They saw something I didn't.   <<Like sending your new puppy home in a body cast. Wonderful'¦>> I'm treating with Jungle Velvet Guard, and the rapid breathing has stopped.  He's still eating (though I am feeding him one Bio-Gold pellet every two days right now, and will switch to frozen daphnia and krill to keep up the fibre as he's a bit constipated) and has become more active in the past 36 hours.   <<Good.>> I raised the temperature to 85 degrees as slowly as I could (it was 82 two days ago).   I understand temps that high weaken the parasite.   <<To a degree (no pun) but the key to higher temperatures is really to speed up the life cycle of the parasite and hit the juveniles with the anti-parasitic med's as quickly as possible. Ultimately less stress on the fish in more ways than one.>> The tank is also surrounded by brown paper to keep out natural light (there is no hood light).  The next treatment will be tonight. Should I continue treating for 10 days (as I have read the lifecycle of velvet is the same as Ich -- 10 to 14 days), or would less be sufficient with such a high temperature? <<Treat for the full 10 days, Mercedes. You're correct about the lifecycle mimicking that of Ich. Not the only similarity, by the way. In propagation behavior, they're nearly identical. Let's leave nothing to chance here and follow the manufacturer's instructions to the 'T'.>> Thanks, and Happy New Year! Mercedes <<Again, Happy New Year and good luck! Tom>> Re: New Betta in 2.5 gal cycled tank breathing rapidly   1/4/07 Thanks Tom.   <<You're welcome, Mercedes.>> Now for another problem: nitrites were between 0.3 and 0.8 this morning, having dropped a bit from closer to 0.8 last night when I did the 25% water change for the meds.  I can only guess that the Jungle Labs Neutroflavine is having an effect on the biological filter along with the other ingredients.   <<Agreed.>> I have double-dosed with Cycle (which I understand is not the best, but they claim the formula has been improved) twice since doing the 25% water change per Jungle Lab instructions. <<I'll withhold comment until I research this, Mercedes. Things change in the hobby and I don't want to give an opinion based on old information. (Cycle used to be worthless but made big bucks purporting that it was the end-all, be-all of cycling products.)>> I will check again tomorrow morning, and do another 25% change and re-dose with meds tomorrow night and add more Cycle the following morning.  (This is reminding me of taking pro-biotics after taking anti-biotics to help restore the good bacteria.) <<Ain't that the truth! Think BIO-Spira (Marineland).>> Is this enough to keep the nitrites from being too damaging? <<"Any" nitrites are damaging. The key is to keep them to a minimum, or eliminated entirely.>> I have also added another 1/4 tsp of salt to mitigate the nitrite effects. Any thoughts? <<Yep. Salt won't mitigate the effects of nitrites. Nitrites combine with hemoglobin in the blood. In effect, the blood is starved for oxygen. Displaced actually. Salt, by electrolytic effect, allows the gill tissue to take in oxygen more efficiently. Nitrites combine with the oxygen. Catch-22, if you will, if nitrites are in high presence. The upside is that your nitrite levels are >1. Salt "might" mitigate this to an extent, but don't wager your fish's life on it.>> Thanks, Mercedes <<Good luck, Mercedes. Please, keep me posted. Tom>> Re: New Betta in 2.5 gal cycled tank breathing rapidly    1/5/07 Hi Tom, <<Hello, Mercedes.>> Good news is that the velvet seems to be disappearing from Mr. Betta's fins, leaving them shredded, but hopefully they'll recover with time.   <<I'm happy for both of you! The fins will regenerate/heal as time goes by with good conditions.>> He's back to hanging out in the corner at the top of the tank, but still has an appetite.  The rapid breathing also is totally gone.   <<He's been through a lot so I wouldn't be concerned about where he's hanging out as long as his appetite is good and the breathing has slowed and stabilized.>> Are the nitrites high enough to make more of a water change tomorrow night, say 35%?  They're holding steady at 0.3 ppm, and nitrates are around 10.  (My other tank is 0, 0 and 5, so I know it's possible!) <<The nitrite levels have to come down, Mercedes, so a larger water change is in order. If these, or ammonia levels, are detectable, they're too high. No such thing as safe levels of either.>> I'm half way through the 5 day treatment cycle. <<I'm betting you'll be happy when this is over. You're doing a great job of staying on top of this. Keep up the good work.>> Thanks, Mercedes <<Any time, Mercedes. Tom>> Re: New Betta in 2.5 gal cycled tank breathing rapidly    1/5/07 Thanks for your support, Tom. <<No thanks necessary, Mercedes. You're doing an excellent job.>> My only concern with a larger water change is decreasing the effectiveness of the meds. The Jungle Labs container says 25% water change before re-dosing.  If I go higher, should I compensate by increasing the dose, or do the meds dissipate after 48 hours anyway?  I'm just not sure how stable this formula is.  I would be happy to do a 50% change to get the water parameters closer to normal if I thought it was OK.   <<Let's simplify this. A 50% change would require double the dose as with a 25% change -- and I didn't need a calculator for that, either -- so why not go that way and decrease the chance of error. Where your nitrites are concerned, a little bigger will be better, anyway.>> Next change is due at 11:30 pm EST tonight. Thanks as usual,  Mercedes. <<You're welcome, as usual, Mercedes. Tom>> Re: New Betta in 2.5 gal cycled tank breathing rapidly   1/8/07 Hi Tom, <<Hi, Mercedes>>> I thought you might be interested in this info from Jungle Labs: Hello Mercedes, Thank you for your inquiries about Jungle(r) products. We are happy that you have chosen our products to use in your aquarium to help you maintain the best possible environment for your fish and plants. Although the Nitrofurazone in the Velvet Guard(r) medication stays active for about 4 days, but the other ingredients break down earlier. If it has been 48 hours since your last dose, you can go ahead an make the larger water change you are planning and just use a full dose again. As the active ingredients break down, they can indeed produce some nitrogen by-products, which would explain your elevated nitrite readings. They are not alarmingly high, though. Adding a little aquarium salt to the tank will help keep your Betta safer by giving nitrites some competition for absorption into his body. An initial dose of ½ teaspoon of aquarium salt is a good idea. After the initial dose, add only more salt whenever you make partial water changes and only enough to salt the amount of water you are changing. Thank you for being a Jungle(r) customer. If you have any problems or need any other information, please do not hesitate to call our Customer Resource Representatives at 1-800-357-7104 or e-mail us at info@junglelabs.com. And don't forget to check out Club Jungle at www.clubjungle.com. Check back regularly for tips and free samples! Sincerely, Karin Fairburn Customer Resource Center Representative Jungle Laboratories Corporation <<Good of the nice folks at Jungle Labs to get back to you, Mercedes.>> In light of this, would I be advised to do 50% changes every time? <<I might argue with products, Mercedes, but not with manufacturers. I don't see where 50% changes would prove to be a problem in this case.>> Also, now that he's feeling a bit better, would a salt dip be a good idea to help with the parasites still on his body? <<Nope. The parasites on his body are immune to treatment. In fact, even after bursting away from the body, they're (largely) immune. (I've come across research that disputes this, to a small degree, but let's not 'split' little hairs.) For our purposes, the only stage that the 'tomites' are vulnerable to treatment is after they've burst from the cysts at the bottom of the tank and are at the juvenile stage of development, i.e. searching for a 'host'.>> (I think I can finesse a very gentle transfer method using a ladle, so he won't be netted.  I would use only 4 c. of tank water, salted with 2 tsp of sea salt, dipping him for 5 to 30 minutes, depending on whether he shows signs of distress.  I can keep the water temperature stable using this volume.  I have used Epsom salt baths to treat constipation in the past, and was successful at not causing too much stress.  I had conditioned him to think it was a good idea being in a small container by feeding him a small part of a cooked pea when he was in there.  I haven't done that with this one yet.) <<A well developed method, Mercedes, and I commend you. The problem is as I've mentioned. You can't kill the little buggers while they're attached to the fish or before they propagate and move about looking for a host to infest. Luckily, at that stage, salt, high heat, you-name-it, will do them in inclusive of not finding a host within a short time.>>> Thanks, Mercedes <<You're welcome, as always. Keep up the good work! Tom>>
Re: New Betta in 2.5 gal cycled tank breathing rapidly
 1/9/07 <<Greetings, Mercedes.>> Thanks for the advice, Tom.   <<You're welcome.>> Here's the new problem: he's starting to flash and rub against things again, so I know the Velvet is still really bothering him.   <<Sounds like it.>> His tail is half covered, almost everything except for the tendrils (he's a CT) but they are decaying.  He still has Velvet on his body at the base of his fins and on his lower fins as well, though his tail seems most affected.  When I treated the other fish I had with formalin/malachite green (Quick Cure), the Velvet was gone from his body after 24 hours.  Was this a lucky coincidence, or evidence of an effective treatment? I suspect you'll say it was a coincidence. <<No. Actually, I would call it effective treatment. On the flip side of the coin, we don't know how resistant this strain of parasite might be. Could be that it's more resistant than the last. Not all 'black and white' I'm afraid.>> Tomorrow night is day 10 of treatment.  I would think I need to continue treatment until those on his body dislodge at the very least, and then for 7 days or more after that.  Could this be with salt alone rather than meds?   <<Yes.>> I have read that Velvet's lifecycle is even longer than Ick's, so would 14 days with Velvet Guard, followed by 1/2 tsp of salt per gallon of water be appropriate? <<Therapeutic levels of salt would be on the order of 2-3 tablespoons of salt per five gallons. I'd be looking at more like 3/4 tsps. per gallon.>> I can move the live plants to another tank so I can treat with Quick Cure or an even higher concentration of salt.   I also have AquariSol. <<Add the Aquarisol, with the higher salt concentration, at a daily dosage, per the recommendation, of 12 drops per 10 gallons. If possible, slowly raise the heat by a few degrees as well.>> Should I just be patient, despite the nitrites, which are holding steady at 0.3 ppm apparently because of the meds?  In light of what you've said below, I'm tempted to switch to salt alone and restore the carbon filter to eliminate the med and nitrite stress. <<I would be tempted, also, Mercedes, but this fish has been infected for a week and a half. Let's do this, add the carbon to get rid of the current medication, increase the temperature and salt level for a couple of days. Keep and eye on him and begin treating with the Aquarisol if there hasn't been a noticeable difference. We can't leave him infested much longer. I'm getting a bit concerned about secondary infection which is something we definitely don't need right now'¦or ever.>> Frustration is an understatement. <<I'm with you on that! With acknowledgement to Mr. Einstein, we can't keep doing the same thing and expect different results. We've got to break out of this 'holding pattern' we're in.>> Cheers, Mercedes <<I needn't tell you to keep me posted. My best. Tom>>
Re: New Betta in 2.5 gal cycled tank breathing rapidly
 1/10/07 <<Greetings, Mercedes.>> I have the following meds in my arsenal: MarOxy (not useful with this) Melafix, PimaFix, tetracycline, a Neutroflavine and Povidone/colloid mixture (which is packaged as a fungus cure but actually treats bacterial infections rather than true fungus), and Maracyn one and two. <<If this fish doesn't make it, it sure won't be your fault! :) >> The carbon filter is in place, and the 25 watt Elite mini-heater is now at the max, changed from just ever so slightly below the max which gave a temperature of 82-83F.  I'm hopeful it will rise to 85F overnight.   <<In either case, this should do well.>> The tank is covered with brown paper on three sides (the only sides with natural light access).  I will cover the 4th side tomorrow morning.  I would do it tonight but the temperature might rise too quickly.   <<I agree. Temperature 'rises' aren't nearly the problem that 'drops' are but you're reasoning is very sound.>> I could also wrap the tank in a towel to get the temperature even higher if necessary.   <<Shouldn't be necessary here.>> I have added 3/4 tsp of salt (raising the per gallon amount to 3/4 tsp).   <<Excellent.>> Also added some Cycle to help with the bio-filter (haven't managed to find the other product at any local FS as yet).  I will check for nitrites and nitrates tomorrow morning.     <<Sounds good.>> His appetite is still fine, and I'm feeding very lightly on a daily basis (e.g. one dried blood worm, one bio-gold pellet or a small serving of frozen krill -- he doesn't like the daphnia any more). <<Daphnia isn't bad with hot fudge and crushed walnuts but then we've got the 'love handle' issue to contend with. Seriously, the regimen he's on sounds fine and I'm glad he's eating. A very good sign, actually.>> Is this still too much?   <<No. Right now, it's a good 'indicator' for you. Bettas tend to eat like they haven't been fed in a week. If he goes off his food, it'll be a potential signal that what we're doing isn't working.>> I switched back to daily feeding when he got over the constipation.  Have I missed anything? <<Every 'i' and 't' is accounted for as far as I can tell, Mercedes. The rest, now, is going to depend on him. His own immune system, hopefully strong, will determine how this turns out. You've done everything, and more, that I can think of to give him the best possible chance.>> Mercedes <<Should go without saying but, please, keep me posted. Tom>>
Re: New Betta in 2.5 gal cycled tank breathing rapidly  1/11/07
Hi Tom, <<Hello, Mercedes.>> Nitrites are at 0.15 ppm and Nitrates are just above 5 ppm.  Temperature is 86F.  He's still hungry, eating well, and now in a totally black tank enveloped in fleece.   <<Sounds cozy! :) >> 9:30 EST will be 24 hours since the carbon filter went back in and the salt was elevated.  Can I use the nitrites as a measure of residual Velvet Guard?   <<Presupposing all else is as it should be, yes.>> I assume your two day salt therapy suggestion had two purposes: see how he does and let the old meds clear.   <<Actually, the elevated salt levels can be maintained for a while, Mercedes. I'd like to go after this with a combination of the Aquarisol plus salt.>> I strongly suspect I'm going to need the Aquarisol as he's still flashing like mad. <<The elevated temperatures are going to start speeding things up. Lord willing, we're going to start getting some positive results from your efforts.>>    Would tomorrow morning (around 34 hours after carbon) be sufficient if nitrites have dropped yet again?   <<This would be an appropriate amount of time. My approach here is to give him a bit of a break from being medicated with the Velvet Guard. Hard to qualify degrees of stress, though. I've got to think that the infestation is harder on him than the medication is at this point.>> BTW, my Aquarisol is about 4 years old and the active ingredient is listed as Zycosin (soluble copper salts), and the package says it is safe for plants, and says nothing about removing the carbon filter.  This seems odd.  Any thoughts? <<The adsorption of copper by activated carbon is poor (at best) to nil. It needs to be removed by the use of a Poly-Filter, CupriSorb by Seachem or by neutralizing the copper with an appropriate water conditioner which can, then, be mechanically filtered out. Water changes prior to removal will facilitate the process for obvious reasons.>> Cheers, Mercedes <<Stay the course, Mercedes. Be talking. Tom>>
Re: New Betta in 2.5 gal cycled tank breathing rapidly
Hi Tom, <<Good afternoon, Mercedes.>> Update: he's stopped flashing and rubbing, the velvet seems to be retreating slowly, and his appetite has improved!  (He's now eating daphnia again.) He is swimming around like a curious Betta again.  No bubble nests, but I think they're in his future.  There are a few new holes in his fins, but I'm confident they will heal.  I'll watch for a few days and add some Melafix if they don't start to heal. <<Nothing I like more than hearing good news! The holes in the fins will heal with a bit of time and the good water conditions you provide. When things settle out a bit, I'd still like to see you keep a 'maintenance' level of the salt going for him. He'll be happier for it and we might just stop something before it ever gets started.>> I diverged from plan A by using Quick Cure (2 drops plus a very little bit more as the water volume is just over 2 gallons).  It almost immediately stopped the rubbing and flashing.   <<Very glad to hear this.>> I will switch to Aquarisol in a few days, restoring the carbon and waiting 36 hours to clear the Quick Cure if the remainder of the velvet has not dropped off his body.   <<The Aquarisol is another item that you might consider keeping at a 'maintenance' level if even for a short while. The weekly dosage can be a great preventative measure.>> Save the holes in his fins, he's acting like a healthy fish with some annoying (to me, anyway) velvet on his body.  Huge improvement! <<Wonderful news, Mercedes. It should go without saying that I'm very happy for both of you!>> As usual, I'll keep you posted. <<I'd like that.>> Cheers, Mercedes <<My best to you. Tom>>
Re: New Betta in 2.5 gal cycled tank breathing rapidly
  1/25/07 Hi Tom, <<Hi, Mercedes. Running a little behind. Sorry.>> Finally, I can report almost 100% success: almost all the velvet is gone, nitrites are back to zero (this happened about 5 days ago after hovering at 0.1 for a few days, having dropped from much higher with water changes and removal of Jungle Velvet Guard using charcoal).   <<Wonderful!>> Nitrates are hovering between 5 and 10, and ammonia is 0, of course.  As soon as the nitrites dropped to zero, his fins started to heal and his behaviour normalized.   <<Also, good!>> I will continue to use Aquarisol daily until all the velvet is gone, and then for 7 days after that.  From there on, as you suggested, I will treat weekly, and use salt.  His fins are almost totally healed, his appetite is great, and he's behaving like a normal curious Betta again. <<If he weren't a fish I'd kiss him on the lips! :) >> This has been a struggle. <<Give yourself a huge pat on the back, Mercedes!>> Should there be a next time, it will be Quick Cure and Aquarisol to the rescue, I hope.   <<Once is enough. ;) >> Anyone interested in some Velvet Guard?  Going cheap!   <<Hmmm... No takers, I'm afraid.>> While the Acriflavine may be helpful, the nitrifiers were really unhelpful. <<So much going on with med's, Mercedes. Resistance, et. al. Almost scary...>> Thanks again, Tom.  It's comforting to know there's somewhere to turn in situations like these. Mercedes <<You did all the work! I was just here for moral support...mostly. Glad to hear everything's going well. Tom>>

Velvet   1/21/06 Hey there! It's me again!      The blue crown tail that I previously asked about has an update!      Remember I said he was listless? well... a few days ago, I noticed he had this fine golden dust-y looking stuff on him. Now, growing up with fish, I knew EXACTLY what my Betta (and the Betta next to it, unfortunately) had. VELVET!!!    <Mmmm>   so, i put some Meth Blue in the water... (don't worry, i followed directions!) and gave them a PROMPT water change.      my questions are this:   1) How long does/will Velvet last? <Days to a couple weeks... if treated properly> 2) Is Meth Blue okay to use on my fish? <Yes> 3) My red Betta that has Velvet is peeling. It looks like he is shedding a few scales. Is this normal? What is this?    <Mucus, body slime>   THANKS ALOT!!!    <No such word as alot. Bob Fenner>   Renee

Question about Betta behavior and velvet Hi, I just bought my Betta about two weeks ago. He is very colorful and active. Lately, however, I've spotted several small areas on him that look a little discolored. There wouldn't be a whole spot, just like two scales. I did shine a flashlight on him and thought that perhaps he had velvet, so I treated him with Maracyn-Two (given to me by the pet store). <Mmm, Minocycline? Antibiotics are useful here only for secondary effects http://groups.msn.com/TheBettaObsession/bettaillnessandtreatment.msnw > I followed the instructions as well as given him a salt bath. The spots disappeared, but he sometimes starts swimming up and down in the corner of the tank and kind of jerks about and I don't see him scratching against the decorations. I change the water very often, so I don't think it's the water or poisoning. He doesn't stay on the bottom neither nor is there a lack of appetite and he acts pretty normal. Sometimes he does open his mouth wide, but that is rare. Is this behavior normal? or is he sick? Thanks for the help! LST <Hard to say... is the fish's tank/container heated? Lethargy is pretty much a normal state with Bettas... more so at lower temperatures. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question about Betta behavior and velvet
The tank's temp is usually between 70-80, pretty warm. <This is too much of a range, change... should be toward the 80 degree F. point and not changing> He acts pretty normal, but I have noticed that there may be some gold dusting on his belly, but I've already treated him, so why would it still be there? <Might be "just coloring"> Could the parasites still be there? I've washed the tank several times with very hot water. Now I'm almost sure it's velvet except the one symptom he doesn't have is the lethargy and the gasping for air. Still been giving him salt baths though. Any suggestions? Thank you! LST <I assure you that this fish does NOT have Velvet... this Dinoflagellate disease/parasite is very distinctive in its effects on its hapless hosts... and you've mentioned that you don't observe this... I would not worry, or treat the fish further than the salt use. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question about Betta behavior and velvet
Thank you so much for your help! I just have one last question, there are no visible signs of sickness and I change the water quite often, so then why has he been swimming up and down in the corner of the tank (he kind of thrashes). Coloring is fine, fins aren't clamped. It's as if he's having spasms.                       LST <Most likely your Betta is simply "challenging" the "Betta in the window"...

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