Why Is My Betta Fish Turning White? Reasons For Betta Fish Color Change

Betta fish are a go-to choice for aquarists and seasoned hobbyists. They are incredibly beautiful with gorgeous flowing fins and brilliant colors. Fish enthusiasts of all kinds will fall in love with this charming species.

What if one day you find your bettas lose their colors or change to white or black? The question ‘why is my betta fish turning white’ is pretty common among beginners who don’t have knowledge about betta fish color change.

While in most cases, it’s just a normal part of the fish’s growth, this change can also be a result of many external factors, like environmental conditions, fungus, or stress.

We’ll walk you through all the potential reasons for your bettas’ fading color and the solutions to fix this problem. Keep reading to figure it out!

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Why Is Your Betta Fish Losing Color?

As mentioned, while the color loss or color fading is normal, it’s also a sign of a disease or unhealthy issue.

There are plenty of reasons causing betta fish to change colors during their prime life. It’s essential to understand why your creatures are experiencing this change to treat them with the best cure.


Bettas can be stressful for reasons like water parameters, sudden environment changes, or injuries. Usually, when their mental health is not in good condition, the fish will lose bright colors and turn black or fade to white.

Some individuals, particularly females, tend to grow stress stripes – the light or dark horizontal lines along the body sides. If these bands run vertically, your fish may be ready to propagate.

They’re Getting Old

Bettas will change their colors when getting older

Bettas will change their colors when getting older

An old saying is, ‘all good things must come to an end.’ No matter how well you take care of them, sooner or later, your fish will fall ill and die.

Bettas have a limited lifespan. The average duration of a betta fish is about five years with proper maintenance. In the final stage, you’ll see their color diminish, just as their mobility, energy, and overall health.

Unfortunately, you can’t do much about this. Over time, your fishy friends will manifest a loss of bright colors, and you have to take it easy despite the frustration.

You can, in part, procrastinate the aging process by providing rich nutrients and keeping a clean tank, yet it’s impossible to prevent this natural process forever.


One of the significant causes of betta fish fading to white is also an illness. Indeed, that’s not often the case, but the color change may indicate some afflictions or diseases in the aquarium field.

Like any other species, a betta is vulnerable to illness. If you’re a novice, you should seek veterinary advice from a qualified specialist to apply proper medical treatment.

They’ve Been Injured.

When betta fish heal from an injury or illness, the hurt body part will grow back differently colored.

Don’t worry, as this phenomenon is an intuitive process of healing and causes no concern. It just suggests that your animals are on the mend.

Fin rot also contributes to betta fin color change. If your fish suffer from fin rot, their fins’ edges would appear white, brown, or black. Drooping and tattered fins also imply a symptom of fin rot.

When they are recovering from this injury, the growth of new fins can appear brown or white, depending on your fish’s color. Particularly, you’ll notice this loss of color even if the fin rot is not a result of disease or infection.

What About Marble Betta Color Change?

Is marble betta color change a serious concern

Is marble betta color change a serious concern

You can expect the marble bettas to change colors because it’s an instinctive phenomenon of the fish’s genetic appeal, which aquatic keepers call ‘jumping genes.’

The scientific name of jumping genes is transposons. They’re part of bettas’ DNA makeup, which can move around in the genome.

If one of these genes changes positions, the fish will fade to white or even turn translucent or transparent. What’s fun about keeping marble bettas is that you can’t predict what color they would end up with.

However, some breeds remain the same patterns and barely change at all, while others might turn to a certain color, such as white or black.

Unlike stressed or sick bettas turning into pale white, marble bettas feature bright, gorgeous colors that will change rather than fade away.

Why Is Your Betta Turning Black?

Betta fish appearing black or darker colors is not uncommon, even if their original colors are pretty bright. Rather than a concerning problem, this natural-color change is nice nurture of your pets.

However, should they suddenly turn black or completely darker, observe them closely to inspect any sign of stress or disease that might account for this immediate change.

Why Is Your Betta Fish Turning White?

Aside from marble bettas, white betta fish are usually an indication of a health-related problem. So, if you notice the phenomenon, take it seriously. You’d better identify the cause and fix the issue as soon as possible.


Bettas are prone to columnaris

Bettas are prone to columnaris

Such potential illness that white bettas might be suffering from is columnaris, or cotton-mouth. The culprit of columnaris is a bacterial infection. This illness is a badly contagious disease afflicting many freshwater fish species.

Cotton-mouth is a common illness in the artificial aquarium world, such as tanks or breeding ponds. It causes fluffy white spots on the betta’s body and fin fraying or ulcers.

The disease will pose a significant attack throughout the entire body and overall health of your pet. The result could be painfully fatal.

Anchor Worms

Another typical illness leading to fading color in bettas is anchor worms. These tiny worms stick tightly to the skin’s surface, digging their heads into the skin and living as parasites inside the fish’s body.

Anchor worms can contribute greatly to reducing the immunity, strength, and general health condition of the bettas.

They are usually whitish and look just like white patches on the animal’s skin from afar. But you’d better recognize them as a severely dead assault than simply natural aging.


One more common type of parasite resulting in betta fish’s whiteness is ich. It spreads pretty quickly and lives for a relatively long period.

Therefore, once you identify the problem, you have to administer treatment for about one month because the newborn cysts can hide behind the substratum for an extended period.

But you can somehow feel relieved because nearly every fish store sells specific ich medication. This parasite is also easy to discover because it resembles whitish spots all over your bettas.


We discussed the stress factor above, yet it’s necessary to labor the point as you can’t imagine how bad it can impact your beloved creatures.

If the fish are naturally pale, they’ll easily fade to white once they become stressed. Thus, always make sure to amuse your pets and keep them happy.

Fin Rot

Fin rot not only causes bettas to turn white but also affects other body parts

Fin rot not only causes bettas to turn white but also affects other body parts

Fin rot or body rot is among the leading factors causing a color change in your swimmers. In some cases, fin rot occurs when the fins rot away completely, whereas the rot spreads to other body parts.

How Can You Improve Your Bettas Color?

You can consider the below methods to improve your betta fish colors. These rules apply to almost any betta breed.

Improve Water Quality

It’s advisable to clean the tank regularly and keep a balanced ecosystem or water chemistry. This way, you can reduce the stress level and enhance the overall health of the fish. Also, good-quality water will last their colors for longer.

Make Sure The Tank Is Big Enough

Bettas thrive best in an adequate-sized aquatic tank, not a tiny bowl or vase. A large aquarium provides more space and higher oxygen content to your swimmers, which is crucial for the betta’s breathing system.

Make Sure They Have A Heater And Filter

The tropical bettas grow well in a consistent water temperature of 78-82°F. So, even when your tank is already in a cozy room, it’s still better to set up a heater with a thermostat to retain a stable temperature.

Dirty water is a big ‘no-no’ regarding improving bettas’ color. You should install a functional filtration system in the aquascape to ensure a healthy living environment for your animals.

Perform Regular Water Changes

A clean living environment can improve bettas’ colors

A clean living environment can improve bettas’ colors

While a filtration system copes with nitrites and ammonia, you still need to perform a regular water change to completely remove all nitrates.

A tip is to change around 15-20% of the entire tank water once a week. Or, if your aquarium is large, you can carry out a 30% change twice a month.

Feed Them Color Enhancing Food

The best method to promote a betta’s pigmentation is to feed it food containing high fiber and insect protein.

Providing the fish with nutrients, like water fleas, midge larvae, or shrimp can considerably improve its fin colors and body’s brightness.


Salmon is the most nutritious food source for betta fish, which contributes significantly to bettering their colors.

Please note, salmon is somewhat rich in bettas, so you should avoid feeding it too much salmon. Instead, add in salmon a few times per week.


Salmon aside, daphnia is also a nice diet if you wish your fishy friends to be more colorful. Daphnia contains a large number of carotenoid pigments, which affect the betta’s makeup a lot.

Use High-Quality Food

We advise you to feed your swimmers high-quality food so that you can ensure adequate nutrients for the fish’s color improvement and growth as well.

Low-quality food contains little to no essential nutrients, so it can’t do anything for the development of your creatures.

Don’t Overstock Your Tank.

Bettas are territorial and don’t put up with an invasion into their territory. So, you’d better avoid overstocking and put them in a large, fully-planted tank.

This way, your fish won’t have to suffer from high stress or injuries from aggressive fights.

Tips For A Colorful Betta

  • 5-gallon tank filtration.
  • Water temperature of 78-82 degrees F.
  • Keep an eye on damaged skin or rubbing behavior.
  • Apply proper cure to illnesses quickly.
  • Supplement a protein-rich diet with pigment foods.


Fish lovers adore betta fish for their appealing, magnificent colors. That’s the reason betta fading to white is such a depression that we can’t help asking, ‘why is my betta fish turning white?

More importantly, loss of color can also be a noteworthy sign of a disease, illness, or other health-related problems.

A sick whitish betta is an unwanted experience; however, GA Pet Sitters will assist you in taking care of and acquiring brilliant, colorful bettas.

We’ll say bye for now with the hope that your aquarium is always full of happy and healthy friends.