Why are my betta fish fins turning white?

In this blog we will discuss why betta fish turn white and how we can improve betta’s color when they turn white.This blog will help new betta keepers on how to deal with such conditions in betta fish.


In this blog

  • Why is my betta fish fins turning white?
  • How to improve bettas’ color when they turn white?
  • Summary 
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference

Why are my betta fish fins turning white?

It is very common for a newly bought betta to lose its vibrant colors when it is first introduced to its new tank.Betta probably established a territory in his tank or fish store box.

When betta is taken away from his familiar environment to a new home, stress can cause it to turn white.But this is only temporary and can be restored by maintaining a proper tank environment and giving them time to adjust themselves in their new environment.

Already existing bettas may also turn white and here are the reasons which is mainly responsible for them to turn white:

Columnaris disease in bettas

A bacterial infection caused by Flavobacterium columnare, that can be external or internal and can have a chronic or acute course.This infection is often mistaken for a fungal infection because of their mold-like lesions, and it is also responsible for bettas to turn white.

It can be treated with antibiotics and prevented with basic aquarium maintenance practice. 

Anchor worms in bettas

  • These worms attach themselves to the skin under the scales of the fish and create the illusion of white spots on the body of a fighting fish.
  • Anchor worms occur when other fish or plants are brought into the aquarium without quarintining them in a separate quarantine tank.
  • When many fish share the same habitat in the store’s aquarium, they may quietly carry the disease. It’s time to use the concept of a quarantine tank.
  • When you bring new fish home, you should store it in this well-established quarantine tank and monitor for signs of illness.
  • Inadequate cleaning schedules and overfeeding of fish can lead to rapid breeding and loss of control of detritus worms.
  • Detritus worms demand more oxygen due to low dissolved oxygen or low pH levels (both symptoms of dirty water).

Ich infection in bettas

Ich infection is caused by ectoparasites that cause multiple white spots on the skin and gills of freshwater fish.It is a common parasite infection in freshwater fish and is one of the few fish parasites visible to the naked eye.

  • Remove any carbon in the filter before starting any treatment as it will render the drug useless. 
  • Increase the tank temperature by 2°C or 4°F.
  • Add aquarium salt to the water.
  • Add medicine to the water, by performing these steps you can get rid of those ectoparasites.

Stress induced condition in bettas

  • When betta fish are constantly exposed to stressors, they may lose their bright colors and develop stress streaks on their body. These are horizontal dark and light stripes.
  • If your fish is naturally pale and stressed, it can easily start to appear white.So be sure to keep your betta happy and stress-free.
  • Stress is a common cause of betta fish whiteness and can be easily resolved by making sure that no other fish in the tank is attacking the betta fish.
  • Bettas are very sensitive to temperature and do not respond well to temperature fluctuations,which are a common cause of stress.
  • If bettas are kept with bad tank mates or two male bettas kept together,the non-compatibility leads to enormous stress in bettas.So,always choose bettas tank mates wisely to avoid stress.

Fin rot disease in bettas

Poor water quality and inappropriate low water temperatures are the most common causes of fin rot.

Overcrowding of tanks, feeding of outdated food, overfeeding of fish, movement and handling can also cause stress and lead to fin rot.This turns betta white in color.

  • Change the water to 90%. 
  • Measure out half the prescribed dose of Maracyn and Maracyn Two, mix together and add to bettas tank. 
  • Repeat this process every 3 days.

Old age or aging in bettas

Bettas naturally lose their color as they age. A well-tended betta has a lifespan of about four years, so if your fish has been with you for a while and starts to change color, it may be part of the natural aging process.

In some betta fish, age-related fading can begin as early as age two, but reducing stress can help.As they near the end of their life, an old betta also loses its bright colors and turns white.

Consider the overall age of the fish. If the fish is over five years old, it may not be due to the condition of the aquarium.

Some bettas are also known as marble genes and they are famous for changing colors in their lifetime.

Serious illness in bettas

Although discoloration is not inherently dangerous, many illnesses and diseases cause a change in the color of your betta, and fortunately, many of these are easy to spot because you will most often see your betta turn white.

Certain diseases can cause other color changes and you should recognize these, but turning white fins or scales is almost always a sign that something is fishy.

How to improve bettas’ color when they turn white?

Improving water quality in bettas tank

  • Bettas love a warm and cozy home, so keeping the water temperature between 75° and 82° Fahrenheit is ideal.
  • Also, as a precaution, change about 20-25% of their aquarium water once a week to ensure their tank stays clean.
  • Keep the water temperature in the 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit range, avoid water temperature fluctuations,avoid places such as sunny windows and use small heaters.
  • Change the water at least once a week to keep your betta world free of contamination.
  • Monitor the water parameters regularly and change the water regularly.
  • Maintaining excellent water quality is important to the health and livelihood of your bettas.

Feeding bettas foods that promote vibrant colors

The happier and healthier your fish is, the brighter their colors will be. Poor quality foods may not contain all the nutrients needed for vibrant colors, which can cause colors to dull over time.

By giving  foods containing carotenoids, the betta color is emphasized. Natural pigments in brine shrimp and other crustaceans can be purchased at fish stores and appear as color-enhancing foods.

Not only does it help promote proper growth and vitality, but it also helps bring out their natural color.So, sprinkle the tank with the recommended amount and make your fish feel radiant from the inside out.

Krill-based foods contain a lot of it.The more krill in it, the better the color improvement.Northfin’s Krill Gold is an excellent example of such food.

Another well-known color enhancer for freshwater fish, like bettas, is small crustaceans, especially daphnia.

Avoid overstocking bettas tanks

  • An aquarium that is poorly maintained and overcrowded will almost certainly make the fish sick and lose their colors.
  • Overstocking in an aquarium has the same effect as overfeeding.
  • If the aquarium is crowded, some fish may become overly territorial.This can lead to a lot of aggression, which is always bad in a closed environment like your aquarium.
  • Fin clipping and injury lead to stress and infections that can lead to serious problems.
  • Make sure you also use a water conditioner for the entire volume of your aquarium, especially one that detoxifies ammonia and nitrites for a limited time to keep the tank environment clean from overstocking.


  • Betta fish have a lifespan of about 3 years, so you can expect their pets to gradually fade as they reach that age.
  • In fact, some betta fish can begin to fade as early as 2 years old, especially if they live in a stressful environment with aggressive and non-compatible tank companions.
  • If you notice that your betta is turning white, it is likely to have a fungal infection.
  • All ornamental fish are more susceptible to fungal infections, and bettas are no exception.
  • There are several reasons for your betta fish to change color, and many of them are related to the environment.
  • There are many reasons for a betta to turn white.Stressed or sick bettas often fade or even turn white,while older bettas also lose their vibrant colors as they approach the end of their lives.
  • Betta whitening can be a color change that can occur when it reaches adulthood.
  • A 5 gallon tank with a filter is the basic requirement to keep your bettas healthy and it prevents them from losing their natural color.
  • Maintain aquarium temperature to 78-82 degrees to prevent them from turning white.
  • Always monitor their rubbing behavior or any skin damage.
  • It is very important to treat diseases quickly and properly.
  • It is very important to quarantine any new fish to the bettas tank for at least 21 days to monitor if they are having any infections, especially anchor worms.
  • If you skip quarantining them surely your bettas will turn white and might die off soon if left unattended. 
  • Supplement bettas a carnivorous diet with natural foods rich in pigments. This will restore their colorful finnage.

Frequently asked questions

Do bettas turn white when they get injured?

When a betta fish recovers from an illness or injury, sometimes the affected body part may become darker or change color again. This is a natural part of healing and nothing to worry about. It simply means that your fish is on the mend.