If you’ve noticed your betta fish losing color, there could be several reasons. Betta fish are known for their bright colors, so it can be alarming to see them fading.
The stunning color of betta fish is well recognized. But occasionally, they turn black or white instead of their lovely blue, red, and other vibrant colors that made you get them. But why does this matter? Is it a big issue for your fish? What can you do about it?
This article will discuss the main reasons betta fish lose color. We’ll also provide some tips on how to prevent it from happening. So keep reading to learn more about betta fish and why they may be turning white.
Why Is My Betta Fish Turning White?
Bettas are small tropical fish, vibrant freshwater, colorful fish, well-known for their personalities, beauty, and being good aquarium fish. Betta fish are native to Asia and where they can be found in warm waters with abundant natural flora, algae, and bacteria.
The skin tone of betta fish might differ from fish to fish. Numerous factors can alter the skin tone of betta fish. Therefore, the health or behavior of the fish is not necessarily determined by the betta’s color.
Likely, a fading color won’t be apparent right away. Therefore, it is necessary to examine earlier looks to verify that your fish has undergone a body color change. This small alteration, however, is usually a sign of a far more significant issue.
The issues can be stress brought on by inadequate water parameters, injury, or shifting settings. On the other hand, it might simply be a sign that your betta fish is becoming older or that a specific variety of betta fish has a particular genetic composition.
Several factors might cause betta fish to lose their color. It might be a fish’s natural phenomenon or the result of health or ecological issues. Here are a few causes for your betta fish losing color.
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1. Stressful Environment
Here is the first answer to the question, why is my betta fish turning white? Stress is the most frequent and essential cause of betta fish losing color.
If you see that it is stress-related, you must take steps to reduce it. That involves a wide range of adjustments that could raise the standard of living.
Your betta fish may be stressed for many reasons, including changes in surroundings, injuries, or water factors. The fish will typically lose color and turn white or black when stressed for one or more of these causes.
Stress stripes, which appear as light and dark horizontal stripes down the sides of the body, are another condition that some betta fish, particularly females, are likely to develop.
In addition to losing color, stress causes bettas to lose appetite, lethargy, rub against tank walls, and gasp for breath near the surface. So make sure to observe your betta’s body daily, avoid too many fish in one tank, or get a big tank to raise this happy fish.
Keeping your bettas in a dirty tank will also stress them out. When stressed, betta fish begin to weaken and lose their color.
You should also be aware that fish under stress might develop some illnesses and parasites. So always maintain a healthy tank for your colorful betta!
2. Water Quality
Water quality is another factor that affects the betta fish color leading to betta fish turning white. Incorrect water changes might also lead to betta fish turning black.
Your betta fish’s color may pale if there are high amounts of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in the water. Make weekly water changes and routinely clean your tank supplies because poor tank upkeep is often linked to poor water quality.
Temperature is one of the criteria that should always match the water already in the tank when changing it. Otherwise, the water in the tank may change too quickly for your fishy friend to adjust.
The new water parameters should be the same as the aquarium’s to prevent water temperature swings. However, even if all the variables are ideal, your betta fish may lose color if you perform an exceptionally substantial water change.
As you add fish to the tank, keep in mind the one gallon of water to one inch of fish rule. Study the health of different fish with the Betta fish species.
3. Old Age
A decrease in color could just be the result of your betta getting older since it’s usual for betta fish to become less colorful as they mature.
Unfortunately, betta fish may only live for two to three years. A minor loss in color is typical if your healthy betta is around this age. So betta turning white, in this case, is perfectly normal.
Age-related color loss in bettas is a normal process. Generally speaking, your only real options are to accept it and realize that it is happening. You can anticipate a loss of color as the bettas get closer to the end of their predicted lifespan.
4. Poor Diet
Your betta fish may need to receive the proper nutrition if their color has faded. Given that they are carnivorous, bettas require high quality food with a lot of protein to survive.
You should provide various nutrients to keep your fish healthy and aid in their color recovery. Along with brine shrimp and daphnia (which contain carotenoid pigments), a carnivorous diet should be the mainstay of your betta’s diet.
A carnivorous diet is an excellent way to improve Bettas’ color by offering them betta color enhancing food.
However, be careful not to overfeed your betta. Give them only the quantity of food they can take in a few minutes and feed them about twice a day. Remove any leftover food with a net to keep the water in your aquarium clean.
5. Illness or Injury
Betta fish turning white is greatly affected by illness, and you must take urgent action. The most typical colors associated with the sickness are white and gold. Consult your veterinarian as soon as possible if you detect a change in color or how your pet behaves.
An injury may also cause the bettas to fade in color. Bettas naturally lose their color when hurt; once the injury heals, you may anticipate the colors returning in a few days.
Usually, while they are healing after an injury, they will observe your betta turning black on the affected body part; this is one of the natural factors and causes no concern.
Some of the diseases that can lead to betta fish losing color include:
This is another potential explanation for your betta fish turning white. Due to the long betta’s fins and tails, betta fish’s fins often get fin rot, but as long as it is treated promptly, it is pretty simple to manage. However, if not treated, it may degenerate into body rot.
The main sign of fin rot is ragged or shredded fins, generally with white or black margins. Betta’s color change due to Fin rot can be exacerbated by stress, bad water, and torn fins by aggressive tank mates or plastic plants.
If your betta is kept in a community tank with other fish species. To reduce stress, you may have to provide a quarantine tank for the infected fish from the main tank.
You may raise the water quality in your aquarium by making frequent water changes to avoid dirty water in the betta’s tank. For example, add aquarium salt or methylene blue and commercial fin rot treatments.
It may be preferable to get the betta healthy with new tank mates and aggressive tankmates or relocate it to a different tank if they are the source of the disease.
This may result from contaminated water sources. It also can be challenging to treat. Scale loss, frayed fins, and ulcerations might develop as the illness worsens in your betta’s skin. All these can go on to spoil the fish’s vibrant coloration.
One prominent example of a bacterial Infection is columnaris which comes in two strains. The two strains can harm aquarium fish tank species.
In most cases, the first type will kill your fish in 24 to 48 hours, making treatment ineffective. However, your betta probably contracted the infection’s initial strain, which may be why your betta fish turned white or eventually died.
Aside from taking the steps outlined in fin rot treatment, you can also visit a reputable pet store to get chemicals to kill the bacteria and not harm your betta. Also, do regular cleaning to improve the tank conditions.
The parasitic illness harms the fins and tail of the betta fish. These worms stand out in the injured area because they’re commonly white, making them visible. The regions above will also swell and turn red. Although it may seem uncomfortable to the betta, it is entirely treatable.
When diseased fish are added to the aquarium without being confined, anchor worms begin ravaging. But with a pair of tweezers, you can physically remove the anchor worms from your betta’s body. Although this is a successful treatment, your fish can find it stressful.
There is almost no likelihood of this happening if the water in your bettas is clean. However, your betta needs quick treatment if you discover Anchor Worms. Fortunately, you can quickly get medications that will treat the illness.
Marble Betta Fish Losing color
One of the rare species of betta fish that frequently change color without apparent cause is the marble bettas. Rarely do marble betta fish maintain the same color throughout their lives.
Before assuming this is a typical shift in your Marble Betta’s life, rule out any other potential explanations.
However, it should be very simple to distinguish between a stressed-out or dying betta and one with the marble gene. In other words, the colors won’t fade; they will completely change!
It is impossible to anticipate what color these fish will eventually be; they could stay very similar, maintain their patterning, or change to a solid shade like white or black.
Don’t worry too much, though, if your marble betta experiences washed-out phases as the colors change, as this can also occur occasionally.
When color changes occur, there shouldn’t be any cause for concern as long as the water and tank conditions are ideal and you know that you have a marble betta!
How to Improve Betta Fish Colors
However, you can do a few things to enhance your betta’s color. But be aware that you are powerless to stop a natural shift in their color.
First, maintain a clean aquatic environment for your scaly friend. The water inside the aquarium will be kept good by routine water changes. Remember that using contaminated tank water might result in bacterial infections or worse.
Your betta won’t get ill or become dehydrated if you keep them in a fresh, healthier habitat which will help improve its color.
Also, their colors may deteriorate or wash out if they do not receive enough nutrients.
A combination of prepared meals (such as flakes or pellets) and frozen/freeze-dried foods are ideal for your fish’s diet. Food that has been frozen rather than dried out is more nutrient-dense.
The most nutritious, probiotic-rich prepared foods are strong in vitamins. So, for example, avoid giving bread and the like.
Make sure the items you buy are manufactured with natural ingredients and stay away from those with many artificial additives.
You may give them a variety of aquatic life as frozen or freeze-dried food, as long as it will fit in their mouth. Additionally, frozen fish food is guaranteed to be free of harmful germs and parasites.
If you notice your colorful betta fish turning white, you should not panic. Instead, you should observe the cause; it Could be stress, illness, bad diet, dirty water, or even a natural occurrence like marble betta.
You are now aware of the various causes of betta fish losing color. You must keep them healthy, radiant, and colorful as an aquarist and not panic. To encourage good health and prevent illness and disease, keep up with tank care, quarantine new fish, and offer your betta a well-balanced diet.
It may be alarming to observe your betta fish losing color, but there’s a strong chance you can save your fish, especially when you are fast enough. Of course, regularly checking for health problems is also a fantastic idea.
Ian Sterling, founder of Fishlab.com, began his aquarium journey over 30 years ago, driven by a deep fascination for fish and their diverse personalities. His website, Fishlab.com, is dedicated to making fishkeeping accessible and enjoyable, offering beginner-friendly guidance, expert insights, and a community for aquarists to connect and share experiences.