Betta Fish Losing Color? Here's What You Need to Know

Published January 11, 2021
Betta fish in aquarium

If your betta fish is losing color, there may be a health issue or fish disease. Deep, rich body colors are always present in a healthy betta fish. A new hobbyist may ignore pale fins, but if a condition is left untreated, it only gets worse!

Betta Fish Losing Color

Savvy fish keepers know to watch out for any betta fish losing its color. For example, betta splendens or Siamese Fighting Fish are known for a wide range of colors from white to yellow. If the yellow is pale or dull, it is a clear sign of an illness or stress. Betta fish are always colorful!

Betta Fish Color Fading

Color fading is a symptom of one or more health conditions. A fish keeper needs to consider various diseases if the betta is pale and fins lose color. Any type of color issue is serious.

  • Reddish areas on various parts of the body
  • Yellowish-gray cast on the body, which extends to the fins
  • Body-color changes to any degree
  • Pale areas on the head
  • Markings appear on the body

Common Causes Range From Bacterial to Fungal Diseases

Color fading is a common symptom and a red flag of a range of fish diseases. A betta or any sick fish with a poor appetite and a pale body means there is a serious health issue.

Chlorine Poisoning

Any pale betta covered in mucus suffers from chlorine poisoning and needs to be moved to a hospital tank. There are appropriate chemicals available to remove the chlorine.


Velvet is common in anabantoids (bettas), and your betta may appear to be wearing gold dust. Betta fish may also look gray. Unfortunately, this is the cause of a parasite. There is a commercial malachite green remedy available.

Swim Bladder Disease

This is a common fish disease, and new hobbyists need this illness on their radar. Swim bladder diease a bacterial infection, and it is important to add an antibiotic.


If you notice small white spots on the body, your betta is sick with ich. A parasite is a cause, and there is a commercial ich remedy available.


Any white growth on the body is a fungus. The fungus may resolve with a spot treatment of gentian violet.

Slime Disease

If you see a gray color on the body or fins, the parasite Costia may be the cause. There is a commercial remedy of malachite green available, and a water change is important.


Never allow any materials of metal to come into contact with the fish tank water. This is a potential source of poisoning.


Poor environmental conditions may cause stress and illness. Always check the water conditions and equipment to determine if there is an issue with your filter. Stress is a common cause of pale fins.

General Treatment

New hobbyists may decide to get the assistance of a professional if a commercial remedy is not available. Fish are easy to manage until an illness happens and a home remedy is also effective.

Old-Fashioned Salt Bath

Ich and fungus may resolve with a salt water bath. Add one teaspoon of table salt for each gallon of water in a hospital tank. Repeat this twice a day for five days. After this time period, the bath typically resolves both conditions.

Healthy Betta Fish

Fish keepers need a baseline for what a healthy fish looks like on a good day. When you look for a healthy betta to add to the tank, there are specific traits to keep in mind. The general characteristics of a healthy betta may serve as a guideline for new hobbyists.

Halfmoon betta fish swimming
  • Rich body colors
  • No visible ulcers or skin problems
  • Clear eyes, neither clouded
  • Long and flowing, or short and erect, fins
  • Flat, smooth scales

Betta Fish Habits

Regularly examine your betta fish. Do you know your betta's habits? Everyday habits look much different than abnormal tank behaviors. If your betta fish is losing its color and acting a little off, then take notes and start your research.

  • Bloated behavior
  • Moving slowly
  • Floating upside down
  • Swimming sideways
  • New patches anywhere on its body

Betta Fish Changing Color

A pale betta fish is a clear sign your pet needs medical attention. The healthy betta fish is always colorful. Fish keepers need to be vigilant and refer to common fish diseases' typical symptoms to narrow down the health condition. Treatment is typically straightforward. Always watch the aquarium or fish tank conditions first, as the cause may be as easy as a water change. New hobbyists need to pay careful attention to their colorful betta fish.

Betta Fish Losing Color? Here's What You Need to Know