Why Is My Goldfish Turning White | 07 Reasons & Solutions

Are you wondering, “why is my goldfish turning white?” If so, don’t worry – you’re not alone. This is a common problem faced by many fishkeepers, and there are several possible explanations. 

While it isn’t always a reason for concern, it is good to be aware of the possible causes and cures just in case.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at why your goldfish might be turning white and how you can help to restore their color. So if your fish have lost their luster, stay tuned – we’ve got you covered!

Why Is My Goldfish Turning White? [Is It A Reason To Be Worried]

Goldfish turning into white can be alarming. This may indicate serious underlying health issues. However, there are some innocent reasons too. 

Whether you should be concerned or not depends on what factors are predominant in turning your goldfish white. 

If your fish suddenly becomes pale, you should be concerned. But, on the other hand, if the shift is gradual, it might be a natural occurrence, and probably you have nothing to do about it. 

As a result, it’s critical to weigh all of your alternatives before assuming that the transition is normal and healthy. 

What Causes A Goldfish To Turn White? [All Possible Reasons]

If you’ve ever had a goldfish turns white, you’re probably thinking about what causes that and if there’s anything you can do about it. Unfortunately, in most cases, there isn’t much you can do – but here are all the possible reasons why it might happen. Keep reading to find out more!

1. Genetics

Genetics Play Vital role in turning goldfish to white

Genetics! At the end of the day, it comes into play when a goldfish grows, and it plays a significant role in goldfish colors. The sad part is that you won’t be able to do anything about it because it is beyond our control.

The realm of goldfish genetics is quite complicated when it comes to coloration. Keep in mind that goldfish are domesticated creatures that have been selectively bred for centuries.

Its natural color is generally closer to olive green than gold in the wild! Most prominent colors, including gold, were developed through selective breeding. Those colors are infamously unstable, and they vary over time as the fish grows. When it comes to this, the black color is the worst.

Therefore, if your fish is progressively turning white, its DNA may be surfacing to the forefront. This isn’t something you should be worried about in terms of health. However, your goldfish may not appear to be the same as when you initially brought them home.

2. Poor Water Quality And Lack Of Oxygen In The Water

Goldfish turn white - Poor Water Quality

One of the most critical elements to keeping your goldfish healthy is good water quality. It can protect them from losing color, as poor water quality is one of the biggest causes of color loss in goldfish! And, clearly, it’s avoidable, so you must act quickly to resolve the problem.

You must pay attention to keeping nitrate and ammonia levels in a tolerable range in your fish tank. Nitrate level shouldn’t exceed nitrate more than 20 ppm, and the benchmark for ammonia is nothing but zero(0). 

In poor water, self-protecting mechanism triggers, and a substance called “otoliths” releases into your fish bloodstream. This works as a backup food supply when there is no food around to prevent starvation. Unfortunately, although it helps protect your fish, it sometimes can cause irreversible damage, such as discoloration to its body. 

A lack of oxygen also contributes to goldfish turning white. Fish like goldfish requires at least 5 PPM of oxygen to stay healthy; however, more than 8 PPM is ideal. Therefore, try to maintain at least 8 PPM in your goldfish tank. 

Generally, low oxygen levels are associated with strange fish behaviors. In most cases, fishkeepers anticipate by closely studying the behavior of the fish. Fish will display specific symptoms when the oxygen level in the tank is low. Such as gasping on the surface, difficulties breathing, sluggish movement, lack of appetite, etc.

Regular testing of your tank water parameters using a reliable water test kit will keep you ahead. A weekly water testing, including nitrates, ammonia, dissolved oxygen levels, can go a long way towards ensuring a healthy tank environment for your goldfish. 

3. Diet

Goldfish turn white - Poor Diet

A poor diet is another element that contributes to this condition. Is your goldfish getting enough nourishment to maintain its beautiful color? Like all other fish, goldfish require a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins to keep healthy. Their nutrition has a significant impact on their entire look.

Fish require a diet high in carotenoids, which are the pigments that give them their brilliant colors. Picking up some high-quality commercial dry food is the simplest way to ensure that your fish get the nutrition they require. Nowadays, many products are available specifically to enhance color.

If you prepare your fish food’s from scratch, you may also add some items that are proven to boost coloration. For example, some goldfish owners use Spirulina algae and bentonite clay; however, there’s no guarantee. Moreover, those are sometimes come with downsides; whites of the fish’s marking may turn on a pinkish hue. 

If the diet is to blame, make some good adjustments to your fish diet. Add some diversity to their diet and stick to nutrient-rich meals like plant matter, meaty foods, and vitamins. 

[amazon box=”B00176IK5S”]

4. Lighting

Goldfish turn white - Poor Lighting

Goldfish require UV radiation for their chromatophores to produce pigment. Therefore, they need UV light exposure otherwise; their colors will lose their luster over time, becoming dull and paler.

 As a result, they require some UV light exposure; otherwise, their hues would fade with time, becoming dull and paler. That’sThat’s why a lamp or hood is necessary to deliver it.

Breeders and pond owners are well aware that goldfish raised outside has the most brilliant color. But, on the other hand, our goldfish are deprived of the sun’s advantages in the tank.

Artificial lighting can help compensate; however, even full spectrum LED lighting does not have the same impact. The absence of UV light in these artificial lights is to blame.

Many experienced goldfish owners deal with this by allowing their fish to “sunbathe” in the sun. It’sIt’s been reported that exposing a goldfish to sunlight every now and then will brighten its color. This may also work with multicolored or black goldfish!

On the other hand, make sure that your goldfish isn’t receiving too much extra light. Whether natural or artificial, overexposure to UV light prevents chromatophores from functioning correctly. Therefore, restrict the tank lighting by turning it off at night or putting it on a timer.

Also Read: 11 Best Aquarium Lighting For Fish Color – A Comprehensive Review

5. Illness

Goldfish turn white - Illness

That’s the last thing an aquarist wants to think about, but goldfish can turn white due to diseases and parasite infections. Color changes are not caused directly by any specific illness. It’s just a symptom that can accompany any illness.

On the other hand, goldfish are particularly susceptible to ich, which forms white patches on their bodies. Malawi bloat is another prevalent illness that affects them and causes similar symptoms. In addition, your fish may suffer from internal bacterial infection. 


Suppose color changes occur as a result of a disease. In that case, your goldfish will exhibit additional symptoms like difficulties swimming, lethargy, or weakness. Whatever the cause is, you should first check the water in the tank.

Poor water is the most common cause of disease outbreaks, making your goldfish sick. Ensure is aquarium is properly cycled, and toxic substances such as ammonia, nitrates are within acceptable limits.

If water factors are ruled out, and if your fish is constantly turning white, you should consult a specialist as soon as possible.

6. Environmental Changes & Stress

Goldfish turn white - Environmental Changes & Stress

Goldfish are fantastic fish that are noted for being resilient and versatile. However, they are highly susceptible to changes in their environment, and even minor tweaks can significantly influence them over time!

They can be affected by slight changes in pH balance, temperature, and even hardness. A change in pH, in particular, causes goldfish to lose some of their shine. To determine the conditions, check the pH of your water.

Another critical parameter is temperature. Goldfish enjoy water temperatures of 68 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature outside of this range may cause them to become white a bit.

When the water temperature drops, your goldfish’s color fades, and their blood cell type changes. This is because the temperature of the surrounding water influences the amount of oxygen that passes through their bloodstream, which decides whether they are healthy or not!

Keep your goldfish tank at a constant temperature of roughly 70 degrees Fahrenheit for optimum fish health. As a result, the thermostat should be adjusted to stay within this range at all times. You should also inspect the aquarium heater for any leaks or problems.

Stress is a common cause of color changes. Goldfish, strangely enough, may respond to even minor changes. Even just moving from one tank with different plants or rock layers will make them feel stressed and unwell. The reason is, these fish are highly perceptive and can detect when things aren’t quite right.

Introducing new fish to the aquarium might make your goldfish feel stressed and become white over time. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do anything about the situation. However, your fish should acclimate to the changes and light up again after a few months.

7. Getting White With Age 

Goldfish turn white - With age

The most straightforward explanation is that your fish is just getting older. If you bought your fish as a juvenile, likely, their color might gradually change as they grow into adults.

Goldfish can commonly lose all of their pigment over time, turning white. So when you look at the world’s nine oldest goldfish, you’ll see that they’re mostly no longer orange.

During their first few years, many multicolored goldfish, as well as some solid-colored fish, evolve. It is entirely dependent on their parents. As long as your goldfish gradually turns white, it’s most likely an indication of maturing. And there is nothing you can do to stop time from going onward.

Is It Possible To Reclaim Their Original Color?

It’s a tricky question to answer. I’ll say that sometimes it’s possible, especially if the underlying cause for turning goldfish white was due to diet or lighting. 

However, alterations become permanent in other circumstances, such as old age, genetic transformation, or even some diseases. So there isn’t normally much you can do about this color shift.

You may already be aware that your fish may have a healthy life despite their lack of color, as long as there are no health or comfort issues. Adjust yourself to your pet’s hue and strive to offer them a good life.


There are many reasons why goldfish may turn white or lose their color. One of the most common is because they have been living in an environment where there isn’t enough light or having issues with diet. 

They may have got a disease or parasite that has caused their color to change. You may also have an issue with too little oxygen in your tank, which could cause this problem as well. 

Now that you know the various causes of your goldfish’s whiteness, it’s time to make a diagnosis! Follow our instructions and complete all of the required tests. 

When I look at these issues, I often find that there isn’t much to be concerned about because most remedies are actually rather straightforward. However, if you’re at a crossroads for what to do, talk to your veterinarian.

Sujit Modak

Leave a Comment