Why Betta Fish Turn White: Common Reasons & Solutions

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are popular pets due to their vibrant colors and easy care. However, sometimes owners may notice their betta fish turning white, which can indicate a problem.

Betta fish can turn white due to several reasons, including stress, old age, fungal or bacterial infection, and genetics. Treatments vary depending on the cause, including water quality adjustments, medication, and quarantine.

In this article, I will explore common reasons why betta fish turn white, including stress, age, and disease. I will also cover solutions to each cause, ranging from adjusting water quality to administering medication.

Reasons for Betta Fish Turning White

Betta fish turning white can be a cause for concern as it indicates a change in their pigmentation. Several reasons can contribute to betta fish changing color to white or becoming pale. Here are some possible causes:


Stress is a common factor that can lead to color changes in betta fish. Environmental stressors such as poor water quality, abrupt changes in temperature or lighting, overcrowding, or aggressive tankmates can cause betta fish to become stressed. In response to stress, betta fish may display pale or white patches on their body.

Disease or Infection

Various diseases and infections can cause betta fish to turn white. Fungal infections, bacterial infections, and parasites (Ich) can lead to discoloration and loss of pigmentation in betta fish.

If the white patches or paleness are accompanied by other symptoms like loss of appetite, lethargy, or abnormal behavior, it is important to seek veterinary assistance for diagnosis and treatment.


As betta fish age, their color intensity may fade, and they may develop white or lighter patches. This is a natural process and can be considered a part of the normal aging process in bettas. However, if there are other accompanying symptoms or rapid color changes, it is advisable to rule out any underlying health issues.

Genetic Factors

Some betta fish may possess genes that cause them to exhibit white or lighter colors naturally. These fish are often referred to as “white bettas” or “pale bettas.” In these cases, the white coloration is not necessarily a cause for concern unless accompanied by other signs of illness.

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Poor Diet or Nutritional Deficiencies

Inadequate nutrition or deficiencies in essential nutrients can impact a betta fish’s overall health and coloration. A diet lacking in necessary vitamins, minerals, or pigments can lead to paleness or color loss.

Ensure that you are providing your betta fish with a balanced and varied diet that includes high-quality betta fish pellets or flakes and occasional live or frozen foods.

Environmental Factors

Water conditions, such as poor water quality or improper tank maintenance, can affect the health and coloration of betta fish. Ammonia spikes, high nitrate levels, or the presence of toxins can stress the fish and cause them to appear pale or turn white.

Regular water testing and proper tank maintenance are essential to maintaining a healthy environment for your betta fish.

Can a Betta Fish Turning White Cause It to Stop Moving?

If your betta fish is turning white, it is important to understand the common reasons and solutions for betta fish not moving. White discoloration can be a sign of stress or illness, which can cause decreased activity. It is crucial to assess water quality, temperature, and potential diseases to ensure a healthy and active betta fish. Prompt action and appropriate treatment can help restore your fish’s vitality.

What Should You Do When Your Betta Fish is Turning White?

If your betta fish is turning white, it’s important to take action to identify the cause and address any potential issues. Here are some steps you can take when you notice your betta fish turning white:

Assess Water Parameters

Check the water parameters of your betta fish’s tank, including temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Poor water quality can cause stress and affect the overall health of the fish, leading to color changes.

Ensure that the water conditions are within the appropriate range for betta fish and take corrective measures if needed.

Examine Tank Conditions

Evaluate the tank setup and conditions. Ensure that the tank size is appropriate for your betta fish and that it has proper filtration, adequate hiding places, and suitable lighting. Verify that no sharp or abrasive objects in the tank could potentially injure the fish.

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Review Diet and Nutrition

Assess the diet you are providing to your betta fish. Make sure you are offering high-quality betta fish pellets or flakes that are nutritionally balanced. Consider adding variety to their diet by incorporating live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms.

Ensure that the food is not expired and that you are feeding appropriate portions to prevent overfeeding or undernourishment.

Observe Behavior and Symptoms

Pay attention to any accompanying symptoms or changes in behavior. If the fish is displaying other signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, fin clamping, or abnormal swimming patterns, it may indicate an underlying health issue. Consider consulting a veterinarian or a fish health specialist for a proper diagnosis and guidance on treatment.

Quarantine if Necessary

If you suspect a contagious disease or infection, it is advisable to quarantine the affected betta fish to prevent the spread of illness to other tankmates. Provide a separate, properly set up quarantine tank with appropriate water conditions and treatment if required.

Seek Professional Help

If the color change persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is recommended to seek professional help.

A veterinarian or an experienced fish health specialist can provide a proper diagnosis, recommend appropriate treatment options, and offer guidance specific to your betta fish’s situation.


Betta fish turning white can be alarming for fish owners. You need to understand that various factors can cause this color change, from stress to genetics. By maintaining a clean and organized aquarium, feeding the right food, providing suitable water conditions, and ensuring your fish’s general well-being, you can help prevent betta fish from turning white.

If you notice your betta fish turning white, it’s crucial to identify and address the cause as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your fish’s health. With the proper care and attention, your betta fish can live a healthy and happy life in their aquarium.

Remember, the most important thing is to be vigilant and proactive in caring for your fish to prevent potential health hazards and keep them looking vibrant and colorful.

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