9 Causes Of A Goldfish Turning White (& What To Do)

If your goldfish is turning white, then you’ve found the right article. In this article, not only will you find out all the things that could be causing your goldfish to turn white, but you’ll also learn how to treat them, as well as prevent them from going white again in the future! 

So keep reading to find out everything there is to know about why your goldfish is turning white.

What Can Cause Your Goldfish To Become White?

There is a whole range of things that can cause your goldfish to turn white. So if you notice that your goldfish has started to turn right, it could be from any of the causes listed below.

Poor Water Quality

Before anything else, if you notice that your goldfish is starting to turn white, then you should check the water quality of the tank. This includes the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels as well as the pH and temperature of the tank too. 

When the quality of the tank is subpar, then your goldfish is likely going to become a lot more stressed, causing their color to fade and oftentimes stopping them from eating too. 

When this happens, it’s not uncommon for them to become pale and even begin to turn white.

There Have Been Environmental Changes in The Tank

As well as poor quality water, even environmental changes can cause a goldfish to start turning white, especially when the changes are sudden and dramatic. 

Because of this, you should always aspire to keep the ammonia and nitrite levels in your tank at 0ppm, the nitrate levels below 20ppm, the temperature between 68-74 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pH as close to neutral as possible.

When the parameters begin to swing to wildly, it can result in your goldfish turning white and other problems that can even become fatal.


Another reason that your goldfish may be beginning to turn white is due to a poor diet. When your goldfish isn’t getting all the nutrients they need from their diet; then their appearance will take a hit. 

Remember, goldfish are omnivores, so they’re going to need a mix of meat and plant matter in their diet.

Poor Lighting

You also need to make sure that your goldfish is getting the right amount of light. If your goldfish isn’t getting enough light, then it’s going to result in their color fading, and eventually, they’ll start to turn white.

Not Enough Oxygen

If the oxygen levels in the tank aren’t high enough, it can also cause your goldfish to become white, and their skin may even begin to appear translucent in color.  

As well as becoming pale and white, you’ll also notice that goldfish become a lot more lethargic, and their gills may be moving rapidly or extremely slowly as they struggle to breathe.

Studio Shot of Golden koi fish scared isolated on white background.

They’re Getting Old

If you’ve had your goldfish for a few years, then it may simply be the case that they’re just getting old. While this can happen to any goldfish, it is a lot more common with designer breeds. 

One of the best ways you can tell if it’s due to age is the rate at which the change happens. If you notice that they’ve gradually gotten more and more white over a couple of years, then their age is definitely going to be the culprit behind it.


As well as getting old, genetics also plays an important role in deciding whether your goldfish is going to start turning white. Once again, if genetics is the cause behind it, then this will most likely happen over a longer period of time rather than suddenly.

Illness & Disease

If your goldfish has a sickness or disease, this could also be one of the reasons they’ve started to turn white as well. While ich is the most common illness that can cause your fish to get white spots, oftentimes, a goldfish turning white can simply be a sign that your fish is struggling with an illness.

Toxic Medication

And lastly, sometimes certain medications can cause your goldfish to turn extremely pale, almost to the point of looking white. If you think this is happening to your goldfish, then you should make sure you’re prescribing the right dose!

Should You Be Concerned If Your Goldfish Is Turning White?

Your goldfish turning white is a serious cause for concern in most cases, especially when it’s not due to age or genetic-related reasons. So if you do notice your goldfish turning white, it’s time to begin treating them!

If your goldfish starts having black spots, however, here are the reasons why!

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How To Treat A Goldfish That Is Turning White

If you have a goldfish that is turning white, there are a number of treatments that can fix the issue! So you should try the following to get your goldfish back to full health!

Keep The Tank Clean

Before anything else, the most important thing you can do is keep your tank clean. Water quality is one of the biggest things that will affect your fish’s health and color.

So make sure you’re performing an adequate amount of water changes, that you’re vacuuming the gravel, you’re removing uneaten food and fish waste, and that your filter is working properly.

Doing all of the following will ensure your goldfish is going to be in the best health possible.

Keep The Temperature Consistent

Making sure the temperature is correct, and it’s also staying consistent is another way to help your goldfish stay healthy. Temperature fluctuations are extremely stressful to goldfish, and temperatures that are too hot or too cold are also going to stress your goldfish out and affect their metabolism.

The best temperature to keep goldfish at is between 68-74 degrees Fahrenheit.

Treat Any Illnesses

If you know that your goldfish is suffering from an illness such as ich, or another illness that is causing them to turn white, then you should do everything you can to treat the illness and make sure it doesn’t get worse.

Improve Their Diet

Another way to ensure that you’re keeping your goldfish as healthy as possible is to make sure you’re feeding them a well-balanced diet. Remember, goldfish are omnivores, so you should make sure you’re feeding them a good mix of meat and plant matter.

The easiest way to improve their diet is to buy fish food made specifically for goldfish.

Make Sure They’re Getting Enough Light

As you know, if goldfish don’t get enough light, then they’ll get paler. So one way to bring a goldfish’s color back is to make sure they’re getting enough light every day. 

If you’ve been finding it hard to keep the light on long enough, you can buy a timer to switch the tank light on and off automatically, so you don’t have to think about it anymore.

Stop Using Color Enhancers

Sometimes color enhancers are going to have a harmful effect on your fish, especially when your fish is losing their color due to getting old. If you notice that this is the case, then you should disuse color enhancers, as they’re only going to end up doing more harm than good. 

Add Live Plants

Live plants are a great way to keep your tank clean and also keep your fish healthy as well! They’re going to keep your water clean, help oxygenate the water, and also reduce stress in your fish by making them feel safer. So if you haven’t already, you should definitely consider adding some to your tank!

Try Fish Vitamins

If you think that your goldfish needs more supplementation, then you can also try adding some fish vitamins to the tank as well. Just make sure you’re checking the vitamins beforehand to make sure there aren’t any color enhancers in them.


Here are some more frequently asked questions people have about why their goldfish is turning white.

Why Is Your Goldfish Losing Scales And Turning White?

The main reason that your goldfish will lose scales is due to injury, so if there are aggressive fish in your tank or decorations, then this could have caused scale loss. The white you notice is probably an infection of some sort caused by the injury.

What Diseases Turn A Goldfish White?

The most common disease that can cause a goldfish to be white is ich; however, columnaris and fin rot can also cause white patches to appear on your goldfish as well.

Why Are Your Goldfish’s Eyes Turning White?

If your goldfish’s eyes are turning white, then a cloudy eye is most likely the infection causing this. This often occurs when your goldfish injures its eye and an illness set in. Unfortunately, there is no real treatment for cloudy eyes, just keep the water quality good, and add API Stress Coat to help reduce stress and soothe them.

Why Do Pond Goldfish Turn White?

If your pond goldfish is turning white, it could be because there’s not enough oxygen in the water, they’re getting old, genetics, diet, and illness.

Why Is Your Goldfish’s Tail Turning White?

If your goldfish’s tail has started to turn white, then it could be due to fin rot. As well as the tail turning white, you’ll also notice fraying as well. Otherwise, it could be genetic, old age, or stress.

Why Is Your Goldfish’s Head Turning White?

If your goldfish’s head is turning white, then it’s most likely due to poor lighting, stress, sickness, genetics, or old age.

Why Are Goldfish Eggs Turning White?

When goldfish eggs turn white, it’s a sign that they are not fertile. If goldfish eggs go transparent, however, it means they are fertile.

Why Is Your Goldfish Turning White And Fuzzy?

If your goldfish is turning white and fuzzy, then the chances are they’re suffering from an illness such as ich or columnaris.

Is It Possible For A Goldfish’s Color To Come Back?

If you treat your goldfish, and it’s not due to genetics or age, it’s entirely possible for your goldfish’s color to come back with time. However, it can be a slow process.


As you can see, there are a whole bunch of reasons that your goldfish is turning white, but with the right care, you can get them healthy again in no time! Of course, if the turning white is being caused by old age and genetics, then they’ll most likely stay that way forever.

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