Betta Fish Turning White: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Many betta fishes are swimming in a beautiful tank with vibrant colors. Text on the image: 'Betta Fish Turning White: Causes, Treatment & Prevention'

The potential causes of betta fish turning white are various health issues, including fungal infections, bacterial infections, or parasites.

Betta fish are popular aquarium pets for their vibrant colors, elaborate fins, and unique personalities.

It is alarming for betta owners that the color of vibrant betta fish turned white.

Several factors, ranging from stress and aging to specific illnesses, can change a Betta fish’s color.

Betta owners need to understand the potential causes and take timely corrective measures. 

Some Betta varieties, like Marbles, naturally showcase white patterns as part of their unique coloring.

Observe the distribution and progression of the white to differentiate between natural and concerning changes.

Let’s explore why my Betta fish is turning white and why prompt action is crucial.

Why Is My Betta Fish Turning White?

Through first-hand experience, I have realized that possible causes of betta fish turning white can signify various health issues, including fungal infections, bacterial infections, or parasites.

Moreover, stress and poor water conditions can also lead to a loss of color and a pale appearance.

Although betta fish can turn white for several reasons, most instances indicate a problem, such as a fungal or bacterial illness.

Based on my journey, I have noticed the following health issues that cause betta fish to turn white.  


Columnaris is a highly infectious bacterial disease caused by Flavobacterium Columnare.

It is commonly called “Cotton Wool Disease” due to its appearance. The bacterium affects the fish’s skin, gills, and fins.

Symptoms: Initial signs include lethargy, loss of appetite, and frayed fins.

As the disease progresses, white or grayish patches resembling cotton wool develop on the skin, fins, and gills.

Two strains of Columnaris could harm aquarium fish.

Since the first kind frequently kills fish in 24 to 48 hours, treatment for it is usually too little, too late.

If your betta fish turned white and finally died, they most certainly caught the initial strain.

The second strain takes longer to mature, so you have more time to give your betta the attention it needs.

If your fish is still alive after a day or so of exhibiting symptoms, it is most certainly infected with the second strain of Columnaris.

Treatment: Isolate the infected fish to prevent spreading.

Treat with antibiotics like tetracycline. Improve water quality by maintaining optimal parameters.

Anchor Worms:

Anchor worms (Lernaea) are parasitic crustaceans that burrow into a fish’s skin, causing localized tissue damage.

The visible part, the anchor, sticks out from the fish’s body.

Symptoms: White discoloration and swelling at the site of attachment, visible anchor-shaped worms, inflammation, and irritation.

Treatment: Remove anchor worms manually using tweezers.

Treat the tank with anti-parasitic medications like praziquantel. Improve water quality and hygiene.

Ich (Ichthyophthirius Multifiliis):

Ich is a protozoan parasite causing betta fish white spots on the skin, gills, and fins.

It has a life cycle includes a free-swimming stage and an encysted stage.

Symptoms: White spots resembling salt grains, rapid gill movement, clamped fins, rubbing against objects, lethargy, loss of appetite, and behavioral changes.

Treatment: Increase water temperature gradually to speed up the life cycle. Add aquarium salt (sodium chloride).

Use anti-parasitic medications like formalin or copper-based treatments. 

Luckily, ich is one of the most easily treated illnesses, and fish will usually not perish from it right away unless they already have weakened immune systems.

Fin Rot:

Fin rot is a bacterial infection commonly caused by Flavobacterium or Aeromonas species.

It starts by attacking the fin’s edges and betta fish fins turning white. Moreover, if untreated, it can progress to the betta fish body turning white.

Symptoms: Tattered or frayed fins, discoloration (white or red edges), lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Treatment: Improve water quality through regular water changes. Treat with antibiotics like kanamycin or nitrofurazone. Address the underlying causes, such as poor water conditions or stress.

Fungal Infection:

Fungal infections in betta fish are often secondary to wounds or injuries, providing an entry point for opportunistic fungi like Saprolegnia or Achlya.

Symptoms: White or grayish patches resembling cotton or tufts, lethargy, changes in behavior, and potential ulceration.

Treatment: Use antifungal medications such as malachite green or copper sulfate. Improve water quality and address any underlying causes, such as wounds or stressors.


Stress is most likely the reason behind your betta’s paleness.

Numerous things, including an inadequate aquarium, hostile tankmates, low water quality, and an imbalanced diet, can lead to stress in betta fish.

Abrupt changes in temperature, pH, or tank decor can trigger stress.

Aggressive tank mates or cramped quarters can be like constant arguments.

Bettas, despite their fighting spirit, prefer peaceful solitude or gentle companions.

Constant conflict steals their energy and fades their colors.

Sudden changes in water flow or exposure to loud noises can trigger the “fight or flight” response, releasing stress hormones that dampen pigment production.

Based on the above, I recommend investigating every betta fish’s white spots.

Early diagnosis and targeted intervention are crucial for your Betta’s health and vibrant comeback.

Environmental Factors 

As per my analysis, here are some essential factors in Betta Fish’s turning white if these are not adequately provided.

Water Quality Warriors:

Betta fish are stressed by bad water conditions, which causes them to lose color. Betta fish are susceptible to water conditions.

Temperature Tune-up: 

Bettas prefer tropical warmth. Imagine shivering in a cold pool! Too low temperatures stress them and dull their colors.

pH Perfect: 

Too high or low pH is uncomfortable and can irritate your Betta’s skin, leading to color loss.

Ammonia Assassin: 

A good filter and water changes are crucial to combat ammonia build-up, a toxic villain that steals your Betta’s oxygen and fades its beauty. 

Nitrite Nemesis:

Nitrite, another toxin from fish waste, can cause fin rot and discoloration.

It is like a lousy neighbor polluting your Betta’s underwater paradise – frequent water changes are the solution. 

Invest in a reliable water testing kit to constantly monitor these parameters and ensure your Betta’s spa stays pristine.

Remember, even minor fluctuations can impact its health and coloration.

Age, Diet, and Nutrition:

While illness and environmental factors often get the blame, age and diet play a more subtle role in a Betta’s color fading.

Like people, Betta fish naturally lose some vibrancy as they age. Think silver hair instead of a full head of black!

This gradual fading is caused by slowing pigment production and is perfectly normal.

However, a sudden or dramatic loss of color in an older Betta is still worth investigating. It could be a sign of underlying health issues or stress.

Identifying and Addressing the White Menace


Scrutinize your Betta’s behavior. Is he lethargic, hiding, or refusing food? Any unusual activity could be a clue.

Is Betta’s face turning white? It could signify stress, parasites, or even bacterial infections. Keep a close eye!

Inspect fins for fraying, the belly for bloating, and the body for unusual growths or white patches.

Don’t forget the eyes and under the chin – every detail matters.

Take pictures or videos of your Betta’s appearance and behavior changes. It helps to track progress and aids professionals in diagnosis.

Be Careful about Genetic Gems:

These Bettas carry the “marble” gene, creating stunning patterns of white patches alongside other vibrant colors.

Just like a mosaic masterpiece, their coloration is natural and beautiful.

Certain Bettas, like Platinum Veiltails, naturally showcase white fins as part of their breed standard.

Like shimmering silver wings – their white fins are not a concern but a prized feature.

Water Parameter Adjustment:

Poor water quality can trigger white scales or skin issues. So, test your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels – they should be minimal.

Regular water changes are crucial! Aim for 25% weekly changes to keep the water fresh and healthy.

Ensure your filter is functioning properly and cleaning it regularly. A clean filter means happy gills and vibrant Bettas!

Isolation and Medication:

If your Betta has turned white and died or appears severely ill, isolate him immediately.

It prevents the spread of any potential diseases. Consult a fish vet or experienced aquarist for diagnosis and treatment. They can prescribe medication if necessary.

Early detection and swift action are crucial to conquering the white mystery.

By becoming a keen observer, water quality warrior, and medical partner, you can help your Betta regain his radiant colors and live a healthy, vibrant life!

Preventive Measures 

Besides the cure for Betta fish turning white, I recommend that every Betta owner focus on preventive measures.

There are many causes of betta fish turning white and losing color, but the most frequent ones are disease, stress, and low water quality.

Your betta should quickly restore its color if you take the necessary steps to address these problems.

As an Ichthyologist, I suggest preventive measures to keep your Betta Fish safe.

Tank Haven:

Provide a spacious, well-decorated tank (5 gallons minimum) with hiding places and live and floating plants. It reduces stress and mimics their natural habitat.

Water Wisdom:

Maintain optimal water parameters such as pH 6.5-8 and temperature 75-82°F.

Regular water changes, maintaining oxygenation, and filter cleaning are your best weapons against water quality issues.

Recommended Diet and Nutrition to Prevent Betta Whiteness:

It is well known that when you feed your betta food high in protein, they will regain their gorgeous, vibrant colors. High-quality pellets or flakes keep your betta glowing. 

Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that natural meals high in carotenoids can return Betta’s color.

Your betta will lose color and become constipated if you only feed them fish.

A healthy diet is crucial for maintaining your Betta’s dazzling colors. Feed them a varied menu of high-quality foods:


Choose pellets formulated explicitly for Bettas, offering them as the staple food. Look for brands rich in protein and essential vitamins.

Frozen Brine Shrimp and Bloodworms: 

These are delicious treats your Betta will love! Offer them a few times a week as a fun and nutritious supplement.

Live food: 

Occasional treats of live daphnia or mosquito larvae can significantly enrich, but ensure they’re parasite-free before feeding.

Avoid more fatty foods like goldfish flakes or freeze-dried worms, as they can cause digestive problems and contribute to color loss.

Even the best diet won’t completely prevent fading in an older Betta. 

However, proper nutrition keeps them healthy and helps slow the color change.

By understanding the link between age, diet, and Betta coloration, you can ensure your little fishy friend stays vibrant and healthy throughout their life.

Remember, a gradual fade is just nature’s saying, “This Betta has lived a good life!”

Stress Busters:

Minimize stress triggers like overcrowding, aggressive tank mates, and loud noises. Provide hiding spots, good tank mates, and visual barriers.

Regular Checkups:

Observe your Betta daily for any changes in behavior or appearance. Early detection of potential problems is crucial!

Stress-Free Zone: 

Reduce stress factors in the tank. A peaceful environment encourages healthy eating.


Every Betta fish owner who notices this disconcerting change wonders, “Why is my Betta fish turning white?”

The answer can be complex.  Unraveling the mystery requires a keen eye, dedicated detective work, and a proactive approach to care.

Firstly, remember that betta fish white spots, whether scattered on fins or etched across the body, are not mere cosmetic concerns.

They are the alarm bells, calling attention to a more profound imbalance within your Betta’s world.

Bacterial invasions, parasite infestations, stress, and poor water quality can cause this alarming whiteness.

Don’t dismiss these white flags – they demand your immediate attention.

However, the answer doesn’t lie solely in reactive measures. Building a fortress against the whites requires proactive investment in your Betta’s well-being.

Remember that a happy Betta is a colorful Betta. By prioritizing their well-being, you’re not just combating the white; you’re painting a vibrant future for your finned friend.

So, embrace your role as protector of the vibrant. Be your Betta’s champion, their attentive guardian, and watch their colors return with renewed brilliance.

Keep a journal to track your Betta’s health and water parameters. It helps you see issues early on and take action.

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