Why Is My Fish Turning White? What do I do?

If you are a person who has bought home a fish as a pet for the very first time and it starts changing its color, then you’re bound to be worried about it.

Nevertheless, many people don’t know this, but your pet fish losing its color or turning white is not unheard of. There are many reasons why your pet fish is turning white.

Mostly, it can be due to the stress of the changing environment that changes a fish’s color to white. And what you can do about it?

You can take preventive measures when you first bring home your pet fish, which will make sure that your fish was not mishandled from the very beginning.

Reasons Why Your Fish is Turning White

If your fish is turning white, then there is a very high chance that it is ill. While there is no need to panic, you need to identify the reason behind this.

First of all, your fish may be having any of the following problems:

  • Fungal Infection: If your fish has some white fuzz on it. it’s called an “itch“. It is a very common disease in fish, but it is also treatable and preventable.
    What happens is that small white fuzz starts appearing on your pet fish’s fin. Freshwater fish are more prone to this disease.
  • Stress: You bring home your pet fish and place them in a very small bowl. If that fish is from freshwater, then it is usually accustomed to very large spaces. Placing it in a small bowl will stress it out, which in turn will affect its health.
  • Diet: It is important to know that feeding your fish can have adverse effects on its health, which can force them to change color. Make sure to research what species of fish you have and what are its dietary requirements. Whether it eats small plants or large chunks, a healthy diet is an answer.
  • Sunlight: Just like all human beings need sunlight to stay productive, so does fish. Placing your fish at a corner that has no sunlight may be the reason why your fish is changing colors. In fact, according to a study, the itch is usually caused by a closed-off environment.

Common Fish Diseases (Videos)

What Can You Do About It?

Now that you know what the problem with your fish is, you can take measures to solve it.

  • If you think that your fish is suffering from an itch then consulting a vet would be the most appropriate thing to do
  • You should try to get a bigger bowl or water tank for your fish to give it the feeling that it is safe
  • An aquarium with other fish in it can also help combat your fish’s anxiety and stress
  • Change your fish’s water twice a week and not every day because that will spike its anxiety
  • Fish are cold-blooded, it’s best to adjust the water temperature according to their needs
  • Change your fish’s food routine
  • Keep it in sunlight
  • Keep the water tank free of chemicals such as ammonia or chlorine
  • Place water ornaments inside the fish tank that are clean and not painted

Remember that these are some steps that you can take if your fish is changing color.

If your fish is showing no signs of improvement even after this, then it’s time to consult a vet. Moreover, some species of fish change their color, so make sure you research all about your fish species.

For example, the rockpool goby is a fish that changes color in an instant. Other fish can lighten or darken up their color due to the threats they face in seawater.

It may be uncommon for fish to change color, but it is not unheard of.

Why Is My Goldfish Changing Color?

Goldfish is the most common house pet.

Goldfish lives in freshwater, and people who have had them at a very young age noticed something very peculiar about it. They observed that their goldfish changes color.

It is very natural and common for goldfish to change their color. So, don’t get upset or scared if you see your goldfish changing colors.

For example:

  • Your goldfish is just growing up and will eventually settle down on one color after the transition period. So, no need to get worried if your goldfish is getting lighter or darker over some time.


  • Feeding your goldfish certain foods can either enhance or deepen/darken your goldfish’s color, which is fine. These foods contain supplements that can cause such changes, and if that is something you are not looking for, then just check the ingredients before buying fish food.

Together with the fact:

  • Your goldfish is having problems that all normal fish do, such as lack of space and lack of sunlight. Changing its environment can help with this problem, and if it doesn’t, then try changing its water tank.

In the end, it is normal for a goldfish to change its color, and there is no need to panic. Just try to recognize the cause before jumping to conclusions.

In short, you already know the problem, and how to deal with and all you have to do is understand the problem that your goldfish or any other species of fish is facing.

Lastly, just to have your peace of mind if you think that your goldfish that has been changing color is ill, then just have a trip to the vet’s office as that will sort things out for you.

How To Take Care of Your New Fish

As this website tells, fish do live long, but only if they are treated with proper care and affection. When you bring home a new fish, it might just be another day to you, but that fish needs comfort.

And how do you make sure that a fish is comfortable in your house?

In this case, you can adopt a few habits that will help both you and your new pet fish to adjust.

  • Buy all the stuff that counts as a necessity for your fish. Water tank, food, and filtration, etc. are the most common needs of a fish
  • Decorating your fish tank with ornaments can make your pet fish comfortable
  • Read up on the nitrogen cycle very thoroughly as that is the key to keep your fish safe
  • Get the right breed for yourself, one that you can look after easily
  • Keep your tank clean and buy a big tank
  • Overfeeding your fish is a total no
  • Check your fish and observe for any issues and whether they are having difficulty in swimming or not
  • Maintain the tank by checking pH levels, cleaning it occasionally and change the water when needed

Signs That Your Pet Fish Is Sick

To begin with, even after taking care of your fish, it can fall ill. It is very easy to spot a fish that is sick and needs treatment.

You may want to look out for the following signs that can indicate your fish is sick.

  • Bulging eyes: If you see your fish having bulging eyes that is not a normal occurrence for your fish, then take it to the vet.
  • White Pimples on Skin: White pimples on your fish’s body are a sign of viral infection which could easily be avoided by using non-contaminated food products and water tank for your fish.
  • Fish keeps scratching itself: If your fish keeps scratching itself against a rock or any hard surface in the tank, then it has a worm inside it that is most probably reproducing inside it.
  • Gasping For Air: Fish gasping for air means that the water is contaminated, and it was having trouble breathing. Transfer your fish to clean water immediately.
  • Hole in Head: This disease is more commonly known as “Hexamita disease”, which causes a hole to form at the front of your fish’s head.

Other signs include your fish not eating enough food or not swimming as much as it used to before.

Fish That Can Change Color and Shape

Apart from goldfish, many fish are famous for their changing colors and amaze people at its beauty.

These include:

  • Flatfish: A flatfish is also known as the master of “camouflage”. According to Wikipedia, this fish is famous for its symmetric eyes.
  • Goby Tidepool: A highly intelligent fish that can change its color in a flash.
  • Hogfish:  Usually white, a hogfish can change its color to brown or red after sensing dangers from its surroundings.

Other Related Questions

How many times a day should I feed my fish?

You can feed your fish twice a day as long as you are feeding it lightly. Feeding it once can also work if the quantity is more.

What is the difference between freshwater and saltwater fish?

Saltwater fish usually live in the sea and have high salt deposits, whereas a freshwater fish usually lives in streams, lakes, and river.

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