7 Reasons Your Betta Fish Is Turning White & What To Do

Have you noticed that your Betta is starting to turn white? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many Betta fish owners have experienced this phenomenon. In this article, we will explore the reasons why Betta fish turn white and what you can do to help your fish regain its color. So, keep reading to find out everything you need to know! 

Why Is Your Betta Fish Turning White?

There are a number of reasons that your betta fish is turning white ranging from stress, disease, or environmental factors. Whatever, the cause without proper diagnosis you’ll never be able to get to the root cause and fix it.

Here are the most common causes:


Overcrowding in the aquarium can cause betta fish to feel stressed and territorial. So make sure you’re researching which fish can live comfortably with your betta in the tank you have before you add them.

Incompatible Tankmates

Introducing incompatible tankmates to your betta fish can also cause stress. Bettas are aggressive fish and may become stressed if they feel threatened by other fish in the tank.

And of course, make sure that your tank is big enough to accommodate all the fish you need.

It also goes without saying, you should never put two male bettas together in a tank either!

(Check out the best tank mates for your betta fish.)

Poor Water Quality

Poor water quality can also cause betta fish to become stressed. High levels of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates can cause irritation and harm to the fish’s gills, causing them to become weaker and weaker as their color fades.

(If you notice your bettas gill are turning brown, however, they could actually be suffering from nitrite poisoning.)

Temperature Fluctuations

Betta fish are tropical fish and require warm water temperatures to thrive. If the water temperature in the tank fluctuates too much, it can cause stress and lead to the fish turning white.

Inadequate Lighting

Inadequate lighting can also cause betta fish to become stressed and turn white. Bettas require a consistent light cycle to maintain their health and well-being. You should aim for roughly 10-12 hours of light per day and 12-14 hours of darkness to help your betta thrive.

Poor Diet

A poor diet can also lead to betta fish turning white. Bettas are carnivores so need to be fed high quality betta pellets as well as live food whenever possible. If you can’t get your hands on live food then frozen or freeze dried food can be a good substitute.

Old Age

Sometimes it may simply be old age that’s causing your betta to start turning white. As bettas age they begin to lose some of their color, and if they were already pale, this additional color change could cause them to look whiter.

What Illnesses Can Cause Your Betta To Turn White?

There are several illnesses that can cause your betta fish to turn white. A few of the most common ones are Ich, Columnaris, Ammonia Poisoning, and Stress. Let’s learn more about them.


Ich is a common parasitic infection in betta fish that can cause white spots to appear on the fish’s body, including the fins and gills. These white spots are actually cysts that contain the parasites, and they can cause the fish’s skin to become inflamed and irritated.


Columnaris is a bacterial infection that can cause white patches or fuzzy growths to appear on your betta’s body. The growths happen most around your bettas gills and mouth. But in more severe cases, it can even spread across their back.

Columnaris is often caused by poor water quality or stress, so it’s important to keep your betta fish’s environment clean and provide them with a stress-free living space.

Fin Rot

If you notice that your betta’s fins are starting to turn white, then they could be suffering from fin rot. Fin rot will start with the fins turning white, brown or black and looking frayed. If left, the fins will continue to rot until they’ve rotted right down to the body.

Anchor Worms

Though they’re rare, anchor worms can also cause your betta to look like they’re turning white. You’ll even be able to see them hanging off your betta!


If your fish is stressed, their body may produce more mucus than usual, which can make them appear white or cloudy. Stress can be caused by a number of factors, including poor water quality, overcrowding, and aggressive tank mates. It’s important to identify and address the source of your fish’s stress to help them return to their natural color.

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How To Help Revive Your Bettas Color

Taking proper care of your betta fish is essential for maintaining their vibrant colors. By providing a clean and healthy living environment, a balanced diet, and treating any underlying illnesses, you can help your betta fish recover from color loss and return to their natural beauty.

Maintain A Clean And Healthy Environment

Poor water quality can stress out your betta fish and cause them to lose their color. Regular water changes and a properly functioning filter can help keep the water clean and healthy for your fish. Make sure to remove any uneaten food or debris from the tank to prevent buildup of harmful substances.

Provide A Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is essential for keeping your betta fish healthy and vibrant. Offer a variety of foods, including pellets, frozen or live foods, and treats. It’s important not to overfeed your fish, as this can lead to obesity and other health problems.

Avoid Overcrowding

Overcrowding can cause stress and aggression among fish, which can lead to color loss. Make sure your betta fish has enough space in the tank and avoid keeping aggressive or incompatible tank mates with them.

Maintain A Consistent Temperature

Bettas thrive in warm water, with an ideal temperature range between 76-80°F. Fluctuations in temperature can cause stress and color loss, so it’s important to maintain a consistent temperature in the tank.

Use a heater and thermometer to ensure that the temperature in the tank is always ideal.

Treat Any Underlying Illnesses

If your betta fish is suffering from an illness, such as ich or velvet, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Follow the treatment instructions provided by a veterinarian who specializes in fish health to help your fish recover and regain their color.

Here’s how to treat the most common illnesses causing your betta to turn white (This is from the article betta fish losing it’s color, if your betta is not turning white, but just losing it’s color, I’d highly recommend checking it out):


One reason they may be turning white is due to columnaris. Columnaris is a bacterial infection that will cause white spots that sometimes look fluffy to appear on your betta.

As well as white spots you may also notice their fins are fraying, ulcers, and sores on their body.

How To Fix:

To treat columnaris you should do the following:

  • To treat a betta with columnaris, first move them to a quarantine tank with nothing they can hurt themselves on and fill it with conditioned tap water.
  • Lower the temperature to 75°F to make it harder for the bacteria to survive.
  • Use an antibiotic like Furan 2, following instructions or consulting a professional, and add aquarium salt to reduce stress and strengthen their immune system.

If you think your betta is suffering from columnaris then check out this article to learn everything you need to know to fix it!

Anchor Worms

Your betta may also be suffering from anchor worms. Anchor worms are small worms that can vary in color, but are often white.

Other signs that your betta is suffering from anchor worms are lethargic behavior, rubbing and scraping, ulcers, and sores, and breathing difficulties.

How To Fix

There are actually a number of different ways you can cure anchor worms in your betta, so try the following:

Remove Them By Hand

First of all, you can use a pair of tweezers and simply try to remove the anchor worms by hand.

Use Potassium Permanganate

  • Fill two containers with 10 litres of dechlorinated water and add an airstone to one.
  • Add 1 gram of potassium permanganate to the first container.
  • Place your betta in the first container for 5 minutes. If he struggles take him out immediately.
  • After 5 minutes place him in the second container for a few minutes so to rinse the permanganate off.
  • Place him back into his tank.

Try API General Cure

If the above sounds too stressful, consider API General Cure. Follow the instructions on the packet, and you should see improvement in your betta in no time.

Aquarium Salt

Aquarium salt is perfect for removing any larvae or anchor worms in the tank itself. Add 1 tablespoon of aquarium salt per 5 gallons of water.

Fortunately, though, anchor worms are extremely rare in aquarium fish. If you want to find out more about anchor worms, then check out this article!


If your betta is suffering from ich, you’ll notice white spots on them a well. These white spots are caused when the parasite “Ichthyopthirius multifiliis” infects your bettas skin

As well as white spots you’ll also notice that your betta has a lack of appetite, lethargy and their rubbing on things in the tank (in an attempt to remove the parasite).

How To Treat Ich

There are a couple of ways you can treat ich in your betta.

Salt & Heat

  • Place your betta into a quarantine tank.
  • Add aquarium salt, and incrementally increase the tanks temperature.
  • Do this for 10 days, and the ich should be cured.
  • (Remember, you also need to get rid of ich from the main tank as well)


And of course, you can also add medication to your tank as well. Methylene Blue or Malachite Green were the old go to’s, however, now I’d recommend API Liquid Super Ick Cure or Kordon Rid Ich Plus.

If you think your betta is suffering from ich you can find out more about it here.

Fin Rot

If you notice the change in color is only appearing on your betta’s fins then they may be suffering from fin rot.

This will be even more apparent if the fins look frayed or damaged. If you think it’s fin rot, you should act immediately to prevent further damage.

When fin rot is left untreated it turns into body rot. At this stage, it’s going to be extremely hard to save your betta’s fins!

How To Treat Fin Rot

How you treat fin rot depends entirely on how severe the fin rot is.

Mild Fin Rot

If your betta is suffering from mild fin rot, then it doesn’t tend to be that hard to treat.

  • Replace 50% of the tanks water with new chlorinated tank water.
  • Clean the tank thoroughly, including gravelling the vacuum.
  • Check the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels, and use an ammonia neutralizer if they’re too high.
  • Add API Stress Coat to help your betta’s slime coat recover.

Major Fin Rot

In cases of major fin rot, you’ll need to act faster to ensure your betta gets back to full health.

Learn more about fin rot.

  • Move your betta to a quarantine tank, using 25% of the water from your old tank.
  • Dissolve aquarium salt in conditioned water, and then add it to your quarantine tank.
  • Keep an eye on your betta over the week to see if their condition is improving.
  • During this time you can also add API Stress Coat again.
  • Do this for 10 days.

Body Rot

Lastly, if your betta is suffering from body rot, you’ll need to act extremely fast in order to save them.

  • Move your betta to a quarantine tank again.
  • Make sure the water in the tank is oxygenated to handle the antibiotics.
  • Add either API Pimafix (if fin rot is fungal) or API furan 2 (if it’s bacterial)
  • Follow the instructions on the packaging exactly as they are.

Add Live Plants Live plants not only enhance the aesthetic of the tank, but they also provide a natural and healthy environment for your betta fish. They can help improve water quality and reduce stress for your fish.

Why Is Your Marble Betta Losing Their Color

There are several reasons why your marble betta may be losing their color. Stress, genetics, aging, illness, and poor water quality are all potential factors that can impact the vibrancy and brightness of your fish’s colors. 


Stress is a common cause of color loss in fish, and marble bettas are no exception. Stressful factors such as overcrowding, aggressive tank mates, or poor water quality can cause your marble betta to become pale or lose their colors.


The unique color-changing properties of marble bettas are due to a genetic mutation, which can also result in color loss. It’s possible that your marble betta is simply going through a phase of color change or that the color change is a result of their genetic makeup.


As bettas age, they may lose some of their vibrancy and brightness in color. This is a natural process and may not necessarily be a cause for concern.


Certain illnesses, such as fin rot or velvet, can also cause color loss in bettas. Other symptoms such as lethargy or loss of appetite may also be present if your fish is sick.

Water Quality

Poor water quality can have a significant impact on the health and coloration of your betta fish. High levels of ammonia or nitrite in the water can be harmful and cause stress, which can result in color loss.

How To Prevent Your Betta From Turning White In The Future?

There are a few ways to stop your betta from turning white including maintaining proper water quality, providing a balanced diet, avoiding stressful situations, monitoring for signs of illness, and recognizing the natural color patterns of your fish.

Maintain Proper Water Quality

Betta fish are sensitive to changes in water quality, so it’s crucial to perform regular water changes and maintain proper filtration to keep the water clean and healthy. Test the water regularly and make adjustments as necessary to keep the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate within safe ranges.

Provide a Balanced Diet

A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for maintaining the health and coloration of your Betta fish. Feed your fish a variety of high-quality foods, such as pellets, flakes, and freeze-dried or live foods.

Avoid Stressful Situations

Stress can have a negative impact on the health and coloration of your Betta fish. Avoid overcrowding the tank, provide hiding spots, and choose tank mates carefully to prevent aggression and stress.

Monitor for Signs of Illness

Keep an eye out for any signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or abnormal behavior. If you suspect that your fish may be sick, take action quickly to prevent further complications.


Keep in mind that the color-changing properties of marble Bettas are due to a genetic mutation, and some degree of color change is normal. It’s important to recognize the natural color patterns of your fish and to be patient as their colors may change over time.

7 Reasons Your Betta Fish Is Turning White & What To Do

How Long Does It Take Bettas That Have Turned White To Recover?

How long it takes for Bettas that have turned white to recover can vary depending on the cause of the discoloration. If the discoloration is due to stress, a change in diet or water quality, or a minor illness, it may only take a few days to a week for your Betta’s color to return.

If your Betta’s color loss is due to poor water quality or stress, providing a clean and comfortable environment can help them recover faster. This includes maintaining a consistent water temperature, using a proper filtration system, and ensuring that the tank is not overcrowded.

However, if your Betta is experiencing a disease or infection, it may take longer for them to recover. In these cases, it’s important to identify the illness and treat it promptly with the appropriate medication.

It’s also worth noting that some Betta fish may never fully regain their original colors, especially if the color loss was due to genetics or age. However, as long as your fish is healthy and happy, they will continue to bring joy and beauty to your aquarium.


Here are some other frequently asked questions that people have about their betta fish turning white.

Why Is Your Betta Turning White And Laying On Its Side?

There are several reasons why your Betta fish may be turning white and laying on its side. One common cause is poor water quality, which can lead to stress and illnesses that affect their color and behavior. Another possible reason is swim bladder disease, a condition that affects the fish’s ability to maintain balance and causes them to float or sink to one side.

Why Did Your Betta Turn White After A Water Change?

A sudden change in water chemistry or temperature can cause stress and shock to your Betta fish, which may result in a loss of color. Additionally, if the new water introduced during the change contains chlorine or other harmful chemicals, it can cause discoloration and other health problems. 

Can Your Betta Fish Regain Their Color?

In most cases, Betta fish can regain their color with proper care and treatment. Providing a clean and comfortable environment, a balanced diet, and prompt treatment for any illnesses or infections can help your fish recover their natural beauty. However, if the color loss was due to genetics or age, it may be difficult for your fish to fully regain their original colors. 

Why Is Your Betta Turning White And Not Eating?

A Betta fish turning white and not eating is a sign of illness or stress. One possible reason for this is a bacterial or fungal infection, which can cause a loss of appetite and white patches on the fish’s body. Another possible reason is poor water quality, which can lead to stress and a weakened immune system. 

Why Is Your Betta Turning Black?

Bettas can turn black due to a genetic trait or as a response to environmental factors such as stress, poor water quality, or illness. In some cases, the color change may be temporary and the fish will revert back to their original color once the underlying issue is resolved. However, if it is a result of genetics, the Betta will likely maintain this color throughout their life. 


In conclusion, if your Betta fish is turning white, there could be several reasons behind it. It’s important to take action quickly to determine the underlying cause and provide the necessary treatment to prevent further discoloration. By maintaining a healthy environment, providing a balanced diet, and keeping up with regular water changes, you can help your Betta fish regain its vibrant color and live a long and healthy life.

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