Why Is My Betta Fish Changing Color?

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Betta fish do change color over their life spans. Sometimes, it can be a symptom of various things such as diseases or stress, other times it is just a natural thing.

Males tend to have more coloration than females, so it is easier to spot color changes in males.

But it can be quite important to recognize changes in color in your bettas. That is because it can help you recognize that there might be an issue with your betta, and that you should address the issue as soon as possible.

At other times, you can see changes in color as a natural response to something; for example, males get more coloration as they mate, or they can change color due to age.

In any case, we will look at why bettas can change color, and what it can mean. Hopefully, you will be able to understand the changes of color in your bettas.

Reasons Why Betta Fish Change Color

There are multiple reasons for the change of color with a betta, and it is important to recognize the change in color and recognize why it is happening. Here are the most common reasons why betta fish change color.

Stress is the most common and the biggest factor when it comes to color changes in betta fish. Then again, stress on its own would warrant a whole article on how to reduce it and manage it, but the main point stays: stress can cause changes of color in bettas.

If you see that it is happening due to stress, then you must ensure that it is minimized. That includes a whole plethora of changes that can bring the standard of living up.

Age can also be a factor in the changes. It is a natural course of action for the bettas, as the older fish might lose color. Just like elderly humans turn grey or white, bettas start to lose color. Mainly, there is not much you can do for this but to accept it and acknowledge that it is happening. When the bettas are coming closer to the 5-year mark, which is their estimated life span, you can expect a loss of color.

Illness is a big thing in discoloration, and it requires immediate action from your part. The most common colors that indicate diseases are white and gold, and even velvet. If you notice the change in the color and also in the change of the behavior, then you should consult your vet as soon as possible.

An injury might also be the reason why the bettas are losing color. It is a natural occurrence that fish lose color when they are injured; once the injury heals, you can expect the colors to come back again.

Marble Betta Color Change is also a possible reason for your bettas to change colors. These fish have a mutation in their genes which causes them to change colors often, but they are just as healthy as other fish. It is not an indication of disease, but rather an interesting work of nature. They are known as water chameleons due to constant color changes.

Sometimes, the color changes can happen naturally, and there is no real cause behind it. Usually, it can be alarming if the fish start to lose color, and changes in color can also happen on their own.

Why is Betta Fish Color Fading?

When the color is fading on your betta fish, it can be a sign of a disease or stress, or simply age. So when the color fades, it is generally a sign of a worrying thing that you need to address.

When the fish are sick or stressed, then you can expect a pale appearance, and they almost turn white. But don’t rely on the color change as the definitive reason for a disease, look for other symptoms as well. The discoloration is never found on its own when it comes to diseases.

However, when the bettas are getting old, their color turns more to grey than white. It is a natural process that you can do a little about, other than providing perfect care and good living conditions for your old fish.

Why is Betta Fish Turning White?

Turning white can be a sign of something more serious, like an infection or a disease. If the fish turns white but is not displaying other signs of illnesses, then it can be a natural process. More possible is that they turn white due to a possible disease.

Fish often turn white due to a bacterial infection called columnaris. This infection causes white spots all over the betta’s body, and it can cause death if not treated quickly enough. Make sure to spot it as soon as possible.

Anchor worms can also cause your fish to turn white; fortunately, they are quite rare, and they can be treated as well.

Stress can be a reason, as we have already discussed above. Other reasons include rotting fins, ich (which also causes white spots on the betta’s body, and also lethargy and lack of appetite), and these should be treated as soon as possible.

Can Betta Fish Turn From White to Blue?

It can happen with the marble betta fish that change their colors often. In other cases, it might be a good sign, as fish might be recovering from a disease or stress and they are getting their natural colors back.

Making Your Betta Fish Color Vibrant

Luckily, there is a long list of preventive measures that you can take to discourage changes in color and discolorations. As they can be caused by diseases and stress, it is very important to keep good care of bettas.

This includes feeding high-quality foods, keeping the water as clean as possible by performing water changes, and keeping water parameters right. Proper care can make your bettas happy, which results in vibrant colors.


If you notice a change of color pattern in your betta fish, then you should observe the fish for some days.

Sometimes it can be a symptom of disease or stress, other times it can be a natural occurrence. Hopefully, it is the latter.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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