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How Do I Identify Velvet On My Fish?

Updated on March 9, 2014

The Velvet disease is one of the illnesses that can appear in tropical fish aquariums. Early detection can be the difference between the recovery or the death of the fish of the aquarium, especially at the offspring stage.

The disease is highly contagious and deadly. The first symptom a sick fish shows is a change in its behavior, is therefore important to know which are the normal habits of the fish in the aquarium to be able to detect some abnormality, like aggressiveness, lost of the appetite or irregular swimming.

The first symptom which needs attention is the change in behavior. Like the white spot disease, the fish affected with the velvet disease, scratch or rub against the decorative objects or the rocks of the aquarium. Another of the early symptoms of this disease is that the fins of fish tremble quickly (fin twitching).

As the disease affects mainly the gills of fish, another characteristic symptom is the respiratory failure (rapid breathing).

Velvet Disease Symptoms
Velvet Disease Symptoms

As the disease progresses spots appear on the body of the fish, but unlike ich, the skin seems to be covered by a fine dust (sprinkled with talc).

The spots in the velvet disease range from 0.1 to 0.2 millimeters of diameter, while the spots in the white spot disease can exceed the millimeter of diameter (5 to 10 times larger).

The presence of this dust on the body of the fish, causes that the skin seems opaque.

Due to the excess of mucosity that the fish generates as a defense mechanism against the parasites, the skin presents a velvet appearance of reddish yellow or grayish white color. If the disease worsens, can also appear ulcers in the skin and necrosis with skin detachment.

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The eyes of the fish becomes opaque and may even cause Exophthalmia (one or both eyes protrude from the orbits).

It is also common that the fish stop eating and lose weight very quickly.

If the velvet disease is not treated quickly, can lead to death within a few weeks.

The fish die from asphyxia because the parasite attacks the gills. The disease is spread and it may become epidemic in the aquarium.

Severe attacks cause massive damages to the skin and the gills. The disease is highly infectious and can quickly eliminate the population of an aquarium, especially if it attacks young fish.


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