Betta Fish Care

Betta Fish Losing Color

Betta fish are wonderful, colorful creatures with exotic fins. They look classy and expensive, and if you know anything about Betta fish – you know they often behave like “the big bosses”.

They are headstrong and a bit posh. When you look at all these amazing color combinations and the splendor of their fins – you have to fall in love with them.

However, like all valuables – Betta fish are very sensitive. They react violently and stressfully to almost every change and they need time to get used to anything new.

Many Betta fish lovers buy them primarily because of their color and gorgeous fins, but due to improper care the body of Betta fish quickly loses intensity and the colors fade.  Sometimes, they become completely white or gray. However, you need to know that color change or color fading is part of Betta fish biology. They lose color in the wild, due to their primal instinct and to easily hide from predators.

When Betta fish are in the aquarium, losing color can be for a short period, as part of the adjustment process or it can be a sign of Betta’s old age or disease.

Here are the most common reasons why Betta fish lose color.

You Are Irresponsible Towards Your Betta Fish

This primarily means that you do not take care of the aquarium, the temperature, and the water purity. These are the basics of caring for every pet fish, and especially for the Betta fish.

The water temperature in the aquarium where the Betta fish is kept must always be between 78 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise, Betta could feel threatened and the fish’s immune system would “turn on” the maintenance mode, which, among other things, means reduced color intensities.

Betta Fish Losing Color

Polluted water, increased levels of nitrates and ammonia, as well as algae – harm Betta fish.  They will probably reduce swimming, begin to hide and breathe on the water surface in search of clean air. The color will fade and the Betta fish will look sick.

If you do not improve the conditions in the aquarium, it is quite certain Betta will really get sick.

Change 20% of the water weekly and check the nitrate level, as well as whether the heater, thermostat, and filters are working properly.

 So, the basics are very simple:

  • Water temperature of 78-81 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Big enough aquarium.
  • Regular aquarium cleaning and water quality control.

If you don’t take care of the basics, your Betta could develop much more serious symptoms than losing color intensity.

Betta Fish Is Getting Old

The maximum lifespan of Betta fish is 5 years. If Betta has lived in good conditions since the beginning of life and was fed a variety of quality food – chances are he or she will live up five years.

The average lifespan of Betta fish is up to 1.5 to 2 years. As Betta fish life come to the end, all vital functions will slowly fade away.  The color will become paler and paler, so you will have the impression that Betta is gradually disappearing.

Loss of color due to age is a natural process and there is nothing you can do about it, except taking care that Betta has a pleasant environment until the end.

Injuries and Diseases

Betta fish are prone to aggression and when they are tense and willing to fight – body color becomes even more intense. However, fights are dangerous because they create injuries and can lead to death.

Sometimes it is difficult to notice your Betta is hurt because of their size or behavior. Betta fish are often injured while swimming, when their fins are accidentally get attached to plants, pebbles, or some other decoration. If you have a very aggressive Betta fish, they can even hit the wall of the aquarium. Any untreated injury over time can turn into a serious infection that will manifest itself, among other things, with loss of color. That way it’s important to check your Betta fish body regularly.

Almost every disease that can attack a Betta fish has a loss of color as a symptom. It is also a way of Betta fish communicating.

If Betta gets a disease called “velvet”, their body can take on a golden hue.  When it is infected with “Ich”- white spots will appear all over Bettas body.

If Betta gets sick from “fin rot”, you will notice color changes on the fins first.

It is important to notice all these diseases in time; otherwise, you will hardly cure your Betta fish.

Betta Turning White Or Black

When the Betta fish body becomes almost absolutely white, it is probably a sign of a vicious infection. The most common are Anchor Worms and Ich.

Anchor Worms settle on the surface of Betta fish skin and create ulcers and wounds. These worms can be of other colors, but they are mostly white. In addition to the fact that Beta’s skin will be white and full of sores, you will notice that the fish has problems with breathing and swimming. The sooner you consult a veterinarian the better.

Ich is a disease caused by “Ichthyophthirius multifiliis” – a dangerous parasite that is very difficult to get rid of. Betta will turn white due to this infection and in addition and will constantly scratch body from objects in the aquarium to try to get rid of parasites.

If you notice that your Betta’s body is turning black, in most cases you don’t have to worry. Sometimes it’s a normal process of color change, and sometimes a sign of recovery, if Betta was suffering from some disease, so you treated Betta with antibiotics.

If the fish is relaxed, eats, and swims normally, and its body turns black – in most cases, you have no reason to worry.

Marble Betta Fish

In case you have a “marble” Betta fish – color changing is a matter of genetics. This species of Betta fish has so-called “jumping“ or a transposable gene that allows the gene to move randomly throughout the life of the Betta fish.

Whenever the gene moves – Betta changes color. This gene can also cause certain patterns on Betta’s body, as well as Betta suddenly changing color.

There are no rules as to what colors these could be. It is known that in the process of color change, a short period of marble Betta loses color, but this usually lasts a short time.

How to Increase Betta Fish Color Intensity?

You can do this by creating a special light in the aquarium that will darken the background, and illuminate only the part where the Betta fish is moving. You can do this with LED bulbs and with a lighting expert.

You can even get an aquarium with a dark background, but be sure to do so before you adopt a Betta fish. Whichever option you choose, be careful not to harm the Betta fish. Keep in mind that they need 5-8 hours of darkness to rest and sleep.

However, the simplest and cheapest way to enhance the colors of Betta fish is a varied and rich diet. Always choose better and more natural pellets with a high content of nutrients and proteins. Introduce meals of live and frozen foods such as mosquito larvae, earthworms, and bloodworms.

Don’t overdo it. If you feed Betta fish more than necessary, they will get sick and lose color sooner than vice versa. Always be responsible.


Sometimes Betta fish get sick, lose color, heal and stay pale. This should not worry you, because the metabolism, as well as the speed of recovery, is not the same process for every Betta fish.

Most of the problems with losing the color of Betta fish come from an unhealthy environment. So always make sure the aquarium is tidy and properly maintained.