Why Do Female Betta Fish Change Colors

Estimated read time 7 min read

You may want to know why female Betta fish change colors if it’s your first time keeping a Betta fish as a pet. You may freak out when your female Betta fish changes its color. People keep Betta fishes in their aquariums because of their vivid colors, but when these colors start to fade, or the fish develops an entirely different color, it can worry the fish owner.

You may not know this, but female Betta fish changes colors, and it’s normal. So you shouldn’t ask if a female Betta fish changes colors. Instead, the right question will be; why do female Betta fish change colors?

There could be numerous reasons why a Betta fish changes its colors. For example, bettas may change color due to stress, illness, age, injury, changes in their environment, or when it’s ready for reproduction. 

The color changes can vary from the color becoming darker or lighter or the fish changing its color to an entirely new one. 

This blog post sheds light on 5 of the most common reasons female Betta fish change colors. 


5 Main Reasons Why Betta Fish Change Color (or Lose color)

As we said earlier, female Betta fish may change color for several reasons. While female Bettas don’t change colors too often, it’s not rare, either.

Below are five main reasons why a female Betta fish changes or loses its natural color.


Stress is the most common cause of color change in female Betta fish. These fishes are susceptible to stress and can detect even the slightest stress in their surroundings. Stress can not only affect the color but also affect the fish’s health in many ways.

Some common stress-causing factors in Betta fish include a tank that’s too small, the fish tank not having enough hiding spots, or constant harassment from other fishes. If you suspect your Betta fish is stressed, you should immediately try to identify the cause and mitigate it.

Stress Stripes

Betta fishes can develop stress stripes under stress. These are dark-colored, horizontal stripes that appear on a Betta fish’s body when stressed. Stress stripes run from the gills to the tail. Stress stripes can be white, black, or red. Female Betta fishes are more sensitive and tend to stress out more than males, meaning female Bettas develop stress stripes more often.


A female Betta fish may also change color if it’s ill. For example, the color may dull or fade due to an infection or a more serious underlying health condition. If the change (or dullness) of color is accompanied by other symptoms like frayed dins, lack of appetite, or lethargy (or all), you must take your Betta to a vet immediately because your fish is ill! The vet will then look into the actual reason for the change of color and devise an appropriate treatment plan.


If velvet parasites infest a Betta fish, it can cause the skin of the Betta to turn rusty or brown. The fins and gills may also get affected and become discolored. Diseases like columnaris, body rot, fin rot, and ich can also lead to color changes in Betta fish.


Bacterial infections in Betta fish can also lead to color changes. Therefore, it’s essential to get your Betta fish checked by a vet because if bacterial infections aren’t treated on time, the fish may die.

Why is my betta fish turning black?

Betta fishes usually turn black as they mature. The color changes start from the fins, and the fins slowly become darker. However, age isn’t the only reason your Betta fish may turn black. Other reasons your Betta fish may turn black include stress, infections, and poor water conditions.

Why Should You Examine Further if Your Betta is Turning White?

Just like you should get your Betta fish examined further if it’s turning black, you should also do the same if it’s turning white. If the fins of your Betta fish are turning white, it could be a sign of fin rot. Fin rot can be treated if you act fast, but if you let the condition worsen, it can cause permanent damage to your Betta’s fins. The Betta could also be turning white due to stress. Again, it’s best to have the vet examine your Betta for an accurate diagnosis.

Changes To The Environment

Betta fishes can detect even the slightest changes in their environment and change color because of it. The environment encompasses the water, the aquarium, and the temperature.


Inappropriate water conditions can stress Betta fish and lead to them changing their color. Poor water quality (dirty tank water) increases the chances of bacterial and fungal infections in Betta fish, and diseases, as you know by now, can result in the Betta fish changing or losing color.


If the aquarium that you’ve kept your Betta fish in is too small, it can cause stress in the fish. So you should ensure that the aquarium is the appropriate size, especially if you’ve got a group of Bettas in your aquarium and there are plenty of hiding spots for the fish to hide if it feels threatened.


Bettas thrive at a temperature between 75- and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The colors of Betta fish can become dull if the water is too cold. On the other hand, the color can become brighter if the water temperature is high.


Most Betta fish change color simply because they’re turning older. Older Betta fishes are usually duller in color than their younger counterparts. The fish may produce less color pigment as they age, which is also why your Betta fish may not appear as brightly colored as it once looked. However, remember that regular color changes occur gradually. If the color change is too drastic, you should get your fish examined by a vet.


Sometimes, injuries can also cause color changes in Betta fish. This is because the blood flow to the injured area is increased, and this causes the wounded area on the fish’s body to become darker.

How to Maintain or Boost Betta Fish Color?

Mitigating the factors causing the color changes should restore your Betta’s colors, but if doing so doesn’t make any difference, you should start giving your Betta a color-enhancing diet.

Color-Enhancing Diet

Color-enhancing diets include natural foods like shrimp and crustaceans. These food varieties are rich in carotenoids. Carotenoids are natural pigments that can enhance Betta fish color and make them look as vivid as ever!

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most commonly asked questions about color changes in Bettas have been answered below:

Do Male Betta Fish Change Color?

Yes. Male Betta fish can change color. The color change in male Bettas is expected when they’re ready to mate. Therefore, their colors become brighter to attract mates. 

Do Female Betta Fish Change Colors More Than Males?

Female Bettas change color more frequently than males because they’re more sensitive and can detect and respond to changes in their environment quicker. Most female Bettas are born white and change colors throughout their life. 

What About Marble Betta Color Change?

Marble Bettas change color because of the jumping gene that they’re born with. As the name implies, the jumping gene jumps from one gene to the other and changes the colors of these genes. When the jumping gene jumps off one gene, the color of the part of the DNA it leaves is deprived of the color. 


Female Bettas change colors for numerous reasons, including stress, illness, age, injury, and environmental changes. Female Bettas are pretty sensitive, which is why they’re more likely to change colors than males. Although males can change color under stress and due to injury as well, color changing is more common in female Bettas. 

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