Why is my betta fish losing its color?

In this blog we will discuss betta fish body color,their discoloration and food that enhances their body colouration.This comprehensive blog will give betta enthusiasts an idea about everything related to their body color and all the reasons why bettas lose their color.


In this blog

  • Why is my betta fish losing its color?
  • Why is the color of the betta fish fading?
  • What is marbling?
  • How to improve betta fish color?
  • What are the best color-enhancing foods for betta fish?
  • Does the color of the white betta change? 
  • Do koi bettas lose their color?
  • Why do bettas turn white?
  • What could be the reasons for a betta fish to turn green?
  • What could be the reasons for a betta fish to turn brown?
  • Can betta fish regain their color? 
  • Summary
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference 

Why is my betta fish losing its color?

For decades, bettas have been adorned for their brilliant and vibrant colors. However, if you start noticing that your fish doesn’t look as bright as before and turns a different color, then you have reason to worry. Often, loss of color is the result of stress or old age, although genetics can also play a vital  role. 

Why is the color of the betta fish fading? 

One ​​of the most common causes of betta fish color fading is poor nutrition and another possible reason is insufficient lighting in the tank. 

If you are an experienced aquarist, you should know the relationship between tank lighting and tank plant growth.

There are many reasons why a fighting fish changes color, many of which are related to the environment.

If you happen to notice unexpected changes in your pet color, consider the following factors that affect his appearance and internal health.

Poor nutrition and poor water quality for bettas

Bettas are carnivorous and voracious eaters and accept a wide range of food in their diet.

Bettas need to be fed on a regular basis, live food, and carotenoid based food for maintaining their finnage color and they need pristine water conditions along with proper water changes.

Bettas cannot live in dirty and unclean water and If you do not do this, your bettas will be stressed and the color may fade.

Sometimes betta fish or fighting fish can turn pale and lethargic after changing more than 30% of the water in the aquarium.This happens because the fish are somewhat adapted to the composition of the water in the aquarium.

A sudden change in water content can result in severe shock or even death for a fighting betta fish.

Insufficient lighting in bettas tank

Too much sunlight can overstimulate bettas, leading to stress and agitation, and cause eating disorders. If bettas spend too much time in the dark environment, it may lose its color.

So,it is advised to avoid direct sunlight in their aquarium and try to choose artificial light instead.

LED lights are economical, provide sufficient light at low wattage and do not heat the water in the aquarium and you can also go ahead with fluorescent lights as a good second choice for bettas aquarium.

It’s better to always avoid incandescent light bulbs in their aquarium.

Stress in bettas

Bettas get stressed due to poor water quality and unhealthy levels of ammonia,nitrate,or nitrite in their tanks.They even get stressed if the water temperature is not ideal and temperature fluctuations could badly stress them out.

It’s very important to keep bettas in spacious and bigger tanks because small and overcrowded tanks are one of the important reasons for their stress and this will also restrict their overall growth and development.

If all the above mentioned reasons are left unattended then your bettas will lose their beautiful finnage colors and will have muted colors.

Bettas require stable water parameters in their tank and require 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite and minimum levels of nitrate.

No matter how much ammonia or nitrite level is,it is always concerning and can cause ammonia or nitrite poisoning,which quickly damages the inner and outer surfaces,which eventually stresses them and fades their color. 

Age factor in bettas

As bettas mature,they naturally age and lose color.Well-groomed bettas have a life expectancy of about 5 years.

So if the fish have been together for a while and start to fade, they may be part of the natural aging process.

For some bettas, age-related issues can start as early as two years of age, but this can help by reducing stress.

Disease and injury in bettas

When a betta fish recovers from an illness or injury, the affected area of ​​the body may darken or change color again. This is a normal part of the healing and you don’t have to worry.That means your fish has been repaired.

Not all color changes are dangerous, and various diseases can cause color changes in betta fish. Luckily, many of these are easy to find, as you’ll often see betta fish whitening.

Some sickness can cause other color changes that you need to become familiar with, but whitening of fins and scales almost always indicates a problem.

What is marbling?

Marbling occurs when bettas change color and can turn red, blue, purple, white, or a combination of all. Marble is also the name for a jumping gene or transposon,a DNA sequence that can change its location in the fish genome.

The marble coloration in betta fish results from a mutation known as jumping gene & this gene is able to move between fish chromosomes, resulting in constantly changing color pattern.But they may experience a variety of color changes throughout their lives.

Marble bettas can be partially dominant, but some consider the trait to be partially recessive or codominant. So when marbles are mated with common bettas, they usually spawn almost normal fish with some betta marble patterns mixed in.

How to improve betta fish color?

  • Placing bettas in the ideal environment doesn’t brighten their color,use natural products that contain carotenoids to improve it. 
  • The pigments that are naturally present in brine shrimp and other crustaceans can be purchased at fish stores labeled color enhancement products.
  • You can improve the color of your betta by improving the water quality & feeding it color-enhancing foods without overcrowding the tank.
  • Place the betta fish next to the lamp because light makes their colors stronger and darker.
  • The ideal temperature for betta fish to live in is quite warm, because they don’t do well at room temperature. If you find that the betta color is fading,Then kindly use a heated aquarium and keep the aquarium temperature at 78-82 degrees ,this keeps them happy and healthy.

What are the best color-enhancing foods for betta fish?

  • Spirulina,a microalgae that enhances the health and coloration of betta fish.
  • Brine shrimp,feeding brine shrimp and other crustaceans such as copepods and daphnia can improve their colors. 
  • Salmon and herring.

Does the color of the white betta change? 

Betta fish respond to stress by changing color.This change usually comes in the form of color loss or fading.Some will temporarily lose color if the tension is increased too much. Stress streaks are usually black, red, white, or a mixture of colors. 

Do koi bettas lose their color? 

Koi  bettas  change color naturally, but very slowly compared to other  bettas.3-month-old and 1-year-old look almost the same, but a sudden change in color could be a sign of an underlying medical condition or a sudden change in water parameters.

Why do bettas turn white?

If the bettas tank is not properly circulated or cycled, the water in the tank can poison them.Affected betta fish can completely become white and may refuse to eat or swim.

If you notice that only bettas’ fins turn white,it may be a sign of fin rot. If you suspect this illness,look for damaged/frayed appearance.Bettas fin rot can be treated with fast action, but it can also spread to the body and cause permanent damage to their fins.

A betta fish may have ich and turn white.This parasitic disease attacks the skin of betta fish and often results in white spots.

Columnaris disease is a bacterial infection that can cause white spots, ulcers, frayed fins, and other annoying symptoms in betta fish.

If  a betta fish which turned white also begins to look slightly fluffy, it may be an indication of this infection. 

What could be the reasons for a betta fish to turn green? 

The green water outbreak is caused by a sudden population explosion of floating algae called phytoplankton.

Unlike other algae that grow on glass and aquarium items, green algae swim around the aquarium and multiply by the billions in a short time called a bloom and turning bettas green in color.

What could be the reasons for a betta fish to turn brown? 

Dark fish lose their vitality, become softer than normal, and begin to turn muddy brown or gray. This can mean anything from poor water quality to internal bacterial and parasite infections.It is advisable to test the water in a bettas tank.

Can betta fish regain their color?

If the color changes when a new betta fish is added in the tank,you usually don’t have to worry and the color will start to come back in a few days and as long as the fish are given time to relax later, the bettas will regain its color in a few days. 


  • Betta fish or  fighting fish  may lose their color due to stress, aging, injury and disease.Stress is the most common reason for aquarium owners to see betta fish discoloration.
  • Bettas can lose their color naturally, especially if they have the marble gene.
  • Betta fish turning white may be due to spines, pinworms, white spots, stress, and fin rot.
  • Other signs that can indicate when a betta is dying include discoloration, such as white or brown spots.
  • Transposons,a type of gene characterized by random body colored spots in the marbled betta fish that carry them.
  • These genes jump from one place on the chromosome to another,and betta fish can change their color pattern dramatically throughout their lives.
  • Gives foods that enhance the color of betta fish found in most pet stores. This food can also be found at Wal-Mart, which has a pet department.

Frequently asked questions

Why do blue betta turn red?

When the betta tank is too small for them, the water isn’t kept clean enough and the ammonia they produce is very concentrated which literally burns their fin holes.

Why does betta fish turn black?

Bettas enthusiasts will notice that the color of the fish darkens or the bright color naturally turns black. This often indicates that the fish is mature and usually you don’t have to worry about it.

Why do the white betta fish turn pink? 

Yes, stress is one of the main reasons for a betta fish’s discoloration. Just as people change colors in stressful situations.