Why is My Betta Fish Turning White? 12 Causes and Effective Treatments

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Betta fish turning white or losing color is a concern for every betta fish owner. They’re lovely and graceful, with vibrant colors and flowing fins. So seeing them fade might be alarming. There are many reasons for changes to your betta fish’s color, and many of them are environmental.

There are various reasons why your Betta fish turning white, such as poor water quality, old age, stress, diseases like fin rot or columnaris, parasites like anchor worms, ich, etc. Here, we’ll discuss the reasons why betta fish turning white and how to fix them.

It’s good to know that sometimes color fading is a normal part of their development. This is a normal part of the growth of some species of betta fish. For example, marbled and albino bettas change color naturally, including turning white. But, if you see that it has been there for several days then you must understand that there is some problem.

Betta fish are well-known for their vibrant colors. You have to take care of them according to their exact needs and preferences. If there is a lack of care, they can lose color and become completely white.

Why Is My Betta Fish Turning White?

Betta fish, also famous as Siamese fighting fish, are loved for their bright colors and elegant fins. These small freshwater fish are available in different colors, from vibrant reds and blues to bright greens and purples, etc.

Bettas are small colorful tropical freshwater fish. They are well known for their personality, beauty, and good aquarium fish. Betta fish are native to Asia where they are found in warm waters with plenty of natural flora, algae, and bacteria.

There are many reasons why Betta fish may become discolored. It can be the result of natural phenomena or health or environmental problems. This may be due to stress caused by inadequate water parameters, injury, or displacement. On the other hand, it could just be a sign that your betta fish is getting older. Here we will discuss in detail the causes and remedies for your Betta fish losing color.

1. Fish under stress

Why is my betta fish turning white? The first answer to this question is stress. Your betta fish can be stressed for many reasons, including environmental changes, injury, tank mates, or water stress. Due to this stress, the fish usually lose color and turn white or black.

If your betta tank’s water gets dirty, they will be stressed. When stressed, betta fish become weak and lose their color.

In addition to losing color, stress can cause bettas to lose appetite, become lethargic, rub against tank walls, and gasp for breath near the surface.

So monitor your betta’s body daily, avoid too many fish in one tank, or use a bigger tank for one betta fish. At least 5 gallons is better. You should also be aware that stressed fish can develop certain illnesses and parasites. So always maintain a healthy environment in your betta fish tank.

Like humans, bettas become stressed when the environment outside their tank is not peaceful. Make sure your tank stand is not wobbly and is not located in a noisy area.

Bettas themselves are aggressive fish, but they can still fall prey to fast-swimming fin nippers. You should either give them more space or, if you have a 5-10 gallons tank, keep the betta with a few invertebrate companions.

When you are sure that stress is causing your betta fish to turn white, take immediate action.

How do you help your stressed betta fish?

Find out why your betta fish is stressed.

Maintain good water quality because stressed betta fish can develop other physical problems besides discoloration.

Check water pH, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels frequently to ensure they are within acceptable limits. If you see that the water quality is not good then change some water.

Provide a place to hide. Betta fish need hiding places to feel safe and comfortable. The absence of hiding places can cause stress and lead to aggressive behavior.

Natural coconut caves, submersible ceramic betta logs, floating log dens, marina caves, and pineapple houses are also many other items that are good hiding places for betta fish. Place them in the tank. You can get these from good aquarium stores or online stores.

Enough space to swim and move. Make sure the tank has enough room for the betta fish to swim and move around.

Avoid overcrowding in the tank
Betta fish prefer to be alone. Try keeping a betta fish in a tank. It will keep the betta fish stress-free.

Avoid Inappropriate Tank Mates. Betta fish are generally aggressive in nature. Don’t put betas with tankmates that the betas can fight with. If this happens, it can cause emotional stress as well as physical damage for both.

Keep the tank in a peaceful environment. Keep your betta fish tank in a calm and serene environment. Loud noises and sudden movements can stress the fish. Make sure your betta fish tank does not wobble.

Water Parameter For Betta Fish

2. Poor Water Quality

Maintaining good water quality in your aquarium is the most important task. Without it, it is not possible to keep the fish healthy. Some common problems that can contaminate your aquarium water are excess nutrients, high ammonia levels, and low dissolved oxygen content. Water appears cloudy white due to high levels of ammonia in the water.

This situation is often caused by keeping too many fish in the tank, overfeeding, or a general lack of biological filtration. To solve this problem, use an air pump to remove toxic gases from the water and add extra oxygen to the water.

pH Balance6.5 to 7.5
NitratesLess than 20 ppm
Nitrites<0.1 ppm
Ammonia<0.1 ppm
Temperature75° to 81°F (23.8° to 27.2°C)

Solving water quality problems requires some dedication and attention to detail.
Much of it is about finding a balance between your feeding, filtration, and cleaning.
Always be mindful of what you are removing and what you are adding to your aquarium

3. Betta fish turning white due to Injury

Many things inside the aquarium can injure betta fish, causing them to turn white. Aggressive tank mates, rough decor, untrimmed plants, other sharp objects, and jumping the tank, can tear their fins and scales.

If your betta fish is injured for any reason, first place it in a clean, safe, and healthy environment. Use medication as prescribed by a veterinarian. Keep the fish in a quarantine tank until they recover.

4. Betta fish turning white due to Inadequate Diet

Sometimes, bettas turn white due to insufficient food. This is one of the reasons why they lose their color and turn white. Check their diet regularly to ensure that it is rich in nutrients and change things from time to time. Feed them color-enhancing high-quality food.

Frozen or live black worms, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia, as well as betta fish pellets (or fish flakes designed for carnivorous fish), should be staples of your betta diet.

Be careful not to overfeed your betta – offer them food twice a day and eat as much as they can in 2 to 3 minutes. Remove leftover food with a strainer to avoid dirtying your aquarium water.

5. Betta fish turning white due to Ich

One of the most common fish diseases that will cause a betta to turn white is ich. It is caused by a protozoan parasite. If your betta is infected with ich, you will notice a well of white spots on them.
Ich is very similar to human chickenpox. It attacks the skin of the fish, causing severe irritation and white spots. Fish tend to scratch their body surface and this is accompanied by crusty fins, rash, lethargy, and lack of appetite.

How to Treat Ich

  • Keep your betta in a quarantine tank.
  • Add salt to the aquarium, and increase the temperature of the growing tank.
  • Do this for 10 days, and hopefully, the ich will be cured.
  • You should also disinfect the main tank to get rid of ich.

And of course, you can also add medicine to your tank. Methylene Blue or Malachite Green API Liquid Super Ich Cure or Cordon Read Itch Plus can be used.

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6. Betta fish turning white due to Old Age

Like other fish, bettas naturally lose their color as they age.

These fish can live for about three to five years, but some bettas can start to lose their color as early as two years. But if your beloved pet reaches its twilight years, it will begin to lose its color.

So, if you know your Betta is nearing the end of life, it’s time to accept that it will soon pass on. There is no real solution except to make their time as comfortable and happy as possible.

7. Betta fish turning white due to Columnaris

Columnaris is another serious disease that can cause your betta fish to turn white.

If your betta suddenly develops fluffy white patches around the gills and mouth, their scales fall off, and the light muscles underneath are exposed, they probably have columnaris. Because of these unique symptoms, columnaris is also called cottonmouth disease or cotton wool disease.

What’s more, bettas can also develop ulcers and wrinkled fins from this disease.

How to Treat Columnaris

columnaris is a serious disease, but luckily, you still have several effective methods to treat your beloved Betta fish.

As with other diseases, isolate your fish in an appropriately sized quarantine tank separate from the original tank

The first thing you should do is bathe the fish with one tablespoon of freshwater aquarium salt per 5 gallons or so of water they have.

Other medications you can try include acriflavine, furan, or terramycin. Make sure you are following the correct dosage. Too little may not be able to kill the bacteria, while too much may negatively affect your fish.

8. Betta fish turning white due to Fin Rot

Another cause of your betta turning white is fin rot. If you notice that only your betta fish’s fin color has changed, then they may be suffering from fin rot. The primary symptom of fin rot is the tearing of the fin. Fins can be torn due to stress, poor water quality, aggressive tank mates, or uneven tank decoration items. which can later lead to fin rot.

If fin rot is not treated on time, it can spread to other parts of the body. At this stage, it becomes difficult to save your betta fish.

How To Treat Fin Rot

  • Separate your betta from your main tank if they live with other fish.
  • Improve water quality in your main aquarium by doing daily water changes. Mild fin rot is usually cured with clean water.
  • If your betta fin rot is caused by aggressive tankmates, place your betta fish in a separate tank.
  • Phenoxyethanol, commercial fish rot preparations, freshwater aquarium salt, malachite green or methylene blue are all very effective fin rot treatments. You can try them.
Fin rot

9. Betta fish turning white due to Anchor Worms

Anchor worms are a type of parasite known as crustaceans or Lernaea. These parasites stick to the body of the betta fish. Due to these, ulcers, breathing problems, sores, and irritations occur in the body of the fish. Due to them, the color of betta fish turns white.

These look like white threads that can be seen hanging from the body of infected bettas. Anchor worms are usually caused when infected fish, other species, or plants are introduced into an aquarium without being quarantined.

Special precautions need to be taken to avoid anchor worms. The best approach is to buy fish and plants from reputable vendors.

How To Treat Anchor Worms

There are several ways to cure anchor worms in betta.

  • You can manually pull the anchor worm off your betta fish’s body with tweezers. But it can be stressful for your fish.
  • Use potassium permanganate. Add 1 gram of potassium permanganate to 10 liters of water. Place your betta in the water for 5 to 10 minutes. Then put him back in the previous tank. Be sure to clean and disinfect the tank before storing it
  • Aquarium salt is very effective for removing any larvae or anchor worms within the tank. Add 1 tablespoon of aquarium salt to every 5 gallons of water.

10. Water temperature

Uncomfortable temperatures are one of the causes of betta fish turning white.

In the wild, Betta fish live in tropical areas. So when you keep bettas in a home aquarium, they still need a warm water habitat. In fact, they have an ideal temperature range – the most optimal being 78-80º F (25.5-26.5º C).

Although betta fish can tolerate temperatures of 72-86ºF (22-30ºC), it is not suitable for normal living conditions.

For that reason, a heater can be used in the betta tank if required.

11. Betta fish turning white due to fungal infection

If you notice discoloration of your betta fish or white fuzzy spots on their body, it could be due to a fungal infection. Most fungal infections are caused by a pre-existing injury or infection.

Fish affected by fungal infection have cottony, white spots on their bodies. They may lose their appetite and have stuck fins.

Fungal Infection

How to Treat Fungal Infections

  • Fungal infections are contagious, so you will need to medicate your main tank if your betta lives with other fish.
  • Change the water regularly to improve your water quality and help your betta fish recover faster.
  • Use aquarium salt to kill fungus.
  • You can also use commercial antifungal medications that contain malachite green, methylene blue, and phenoxyethanol.

12. Genetics

The ultimate reason bettas are white is due to genetics. In some cases, certain types of betas will turn white, such as albinos or marbles, because that is what their DNA contains. At other times they will transition to a colorless or white state during their development or upon maturation.

But, many of the problems and health problems that cause betas to turn white are due to overbreeding and overproduction. This means that when you decide to keep these brilliant beauties, you must source them from a reputable supplier who is transparent about where they get their fish.

Final Words

Betta fish can turn white and lose color for various reasons, but the most common are illness, stress, and poor water quality.

But why betta fish is turning white should be investigated with patience. In addition to finding the cause, effective measures should be taken quickly to cure the disease.

Stress, illness, genetics, diet, and environmental conditions are the main causes of betta fish turning white.

By maintaining a healthy environment, providing proper nutrition, and paying attention to any danger signs, betta fish owners can ensure their colorful companions remain happy and vibrant.

Question:- How can I improve the water quality in my betta fish tank?

Ans:- Regular water changes, proper filtration, and monitoring of water parameters are effective ways to maintain water quality.

Question:- What should I feed my betta fish for vibrant colors?

Ans:- A varied diet of high-quality pellets, frozen or live foods, and occasional treats like bloodworms can enhance their coloration.

Question:- Can betta fish get their color back?

Ans:- Yes, Betta fish may not regain their color until you address the cause of your fish’s pallor. For example, if your betta loses their color due to dirty water conditions, improving the water quality in your tank will help increase its pigmentation.

Question:- Can betta fish change color naturally as they grow?

Ans:- Yes, betta fish might naturally change colors as they age and mature.

Question:- How do I know if my betta fish has a fungal infection?

Ans:– Look for signs of cotton-like growth on their body or fins, which could indicate a fungal infection.

Question:- How can I prevent diseases in my betta fish?

Ans:– Clean the tank regularly, provide a balanced diet, and separate new fish before introducing them to your better tank.

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