Do Betta Fish Change Color?

With their vibrant colors and striking prints, you might ask yourself if Bettas are born with it. There is also a possibility that they develop these colors as they grow. You may even asked, do Betta fish change color?

In this article, we will answer these questions and discuss what are the factors that affect the Bettas’ colors.


This is the most common reason Betta fish lose their pigmentation or suffer from “stress stripes” or “racing” stripes. If you think they are born with it, you are mistaken. These stress stripes are moving from gill to tail and are red, black, white, or mixed.

Remember when you see them, know that it indicates stress and you need to do something on the environment he is currently in. Stress stripes are caused by incorrect water parameters and improper water temperature.

Sickness or Disease

Another reason that your Betta fish change color is when they are sick or suffering from a disease. White is a particular color to identify what is happening to your Betta.


This also refers to white spot disease where the parasite sticks onto the body of your Betta fish. It covers the body, making your Betta covered in white dust. This will cause irritation, itchiness, and discomfort.

Your Betta may rub itself against objects in the tank to remove the parasite. They might also experience loss of appetite and clamped fins.

For treatment, remove the Betta from the container and place it in a hospital tank. Increase the temperature slowly from 81-86F each day. Administer a teaspoon of salt per gallon of water and perform 25-50% water change every day.

While Ich is easy to treat, remember that this could lead to your Betta’s death if left untreated.

Related: How To Cure Betta Fish Ick The Right Way


This parasitic disease covers your Betta in yellow or gold-like dust. In its struggle to fight the infection, your Betta fish is producing extra mucus that resulted in this gold coating. Like Ick, your Betta will also suffer from loss of appetite, lethargy, and clamped fins aside from losing its color.

Once you noticed the Velvet, remove the Betta from the container. Remember that you must treat the display aquarium. A hotter, saltier, and dark environment weakens the parasite until it dies.

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Treating Velvet is similar to healing your Betta from the white spot disease. The only additional step is that you should dim your container during the whole treatment. The parasite has chlorophyll in its cells, making them capable of photosynthesis.

Related: Betta Fish with Velvet: How to Treat and Prevent it

Fin Rot

If you noticed the change in color on your Betta’s fins, they may suffer from fin rot. Fins are darker and the tips are changing to brown, grey, or white. The edges also appear ragged and frayed.

The earlier you detect, the easier you can treat fin rot. If your Betta is in a container over 2 gallons with any living organisms, transfer it to a hospital tank. Setup the tank that should not be over 2 gallons and start the medication.

Related: A Helpful Guide to Betta Fin Rot Treatment


This is a bacterial infection also known as the cotton wool disease. Your betta will have white spots like Ich, and they can have frayed and ragged fins like fin rot. Other symptoms would be sores or ulcerations on the skin of your Betta fish.

Unlike the others, treatment for Columnaris is quite different.

Bacterias flourish in a warm environment, so adjust the temperature to about 75F. Add a teaspoon of aquarium salt for every five gallons and use medication from the pet store. Remember to also to do 25% water changes daily.

Anchor Worms

These worms can cause your Betta to turn white and are easily identified. They are around ¾ inches long and look as if split at the end. As a response, your betta may brush itself against things to remove the worms.

This can cause red spots and sores, so you need to work on the treatment immediately.

Treatment for this is very hands-on as you need to remove the worms with tweezers.

Work on it quickly and transfer your Betta to a hospital tank to rest and recover. Add salt and medication from the pet store.

While this is rare, it does not mean that your Betta fish will not have it.

Marble Coloration

There are Bettas who are called “Marble Betta Fish”. These marbled bettas have a gene mutation known as the “jumping gene”. This gene can move between the Bettas’ chromosomes, making them change colors throughout their life span.

As exciting as this can get for fish caretakers, some marbled bettas can turn completely solid or completely lose their color.

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Similar to humans with graying hair as they get old, Bettas lose their colors. When they are born, they are translucent gaining color as they grow. The color usually reaches its most vibrant stage when they are approximately 2 years old.

As they grow old, the colors will fade and become duller, particularly around the mouth and gills.

How to make your Bettas full of color?

Other than its natural cycle, you can improve the color of your Betta fish. If you just bought a Betta or recently observed it is losing its color, check on these steps:

  • Temperature – Make sure that the container temperature is between 78 and 80°F.
  • Tank SizePut it in a tank that holds at least 2.5 gallons of water, smaller tanks require heavier maintenance. A small container means you need to change the water and that can be very stressful for your Betta.
  • Water Condition – Change the water regularly and make sure it is free of chlorine and other contaminants. Betta fish requires a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5 (7 being neutral). You can purchase a pH kit to ensure your water works perfectly for your Betta. Check out water conditioners you can use for your betta fish tanks.
  • Betta Food – Keep a strict schedule for your Betta’s feeding time. Provide it with protein-rich food – you can never go wrong with live food. Bettas are picky eaters, be observant on what they want to eat and the foods they dislike.
  • Filters and Plants – These also help remove toxins from the water and prevent your Betta from being ill. Learn which live plants you must place inside the tanks of your fishes.
  • Tankmates – Separate female and male bettas to prevent fighting unless you are breeding. Find out other fishes you can put with your betta.


So when someone asked to do betta fish change color, you know what to say. While Betta fish naturally improves its color as it grows, there are factors that can cause it to lose its vibrance. Being observant is the best way to determine its needs or to know if something is wrong.

Remember that the earlier you find it, the better it will be for your Betta fish.

The solution is not even that hard. Sometimes, you just got to make minor adjustments to their environment or check on their regular needs.

Related: Can Betta Fish See Color?