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Velvet Disease

fish show golden dusting on body

Velvet disease, caused by the parasitic dinoflagellate Piscinoodinium, is characterized by a fine, yellow or grayish film resembling velvet on the fish's skin and gills. Infected fish may exhibit symptoms like rapid or labored breathing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and scratching against objects. Velvet thrives in warm, poorly maintained aquariums, particularly those with high organic loads. Stressors such as overcrowding, poor water quality, and sudden changes in temperature can exacerbate velvet infections. Treatment involves raising the water temperature to around 80-85°F (26-29°C) to accelerate the life cycle of the parasite and administering medications such as copper-based treatments or formalin.