Why is My Goldfish Turning White? 5 Reasons Why | Aquascape Addiction

Why is My Goldfish Turning White? 5 Reasons Why

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Here are the 5 common reasons why your goldfish are changing color or turning white, solutions and whether or not you need to be concerned.

Why is My Goldfish Turning White? 5 Reasons Why

So, your goldfish is turning white and losing color. This may be a cause for concern and it might not. It really depends on the situation.

Why is my goldfish turning white? Well, color loss in goldfish can be due to a plethora of reasons, some in your control and some out of your control.

Goldfish may experienced color change due to;

  • Old age.
  • Genetic factors.
  • Sickness.
  • Stress.
  • Diet.
  • Lack of sunlight.

Why Do Goldfish Turn White?

Goldfish changing color

Alright, so there are a few common reasons why your goldfish may change color or lose it.

Let’s look the most common reasons for goldfish losing color and going pale, plus the best solutions for each problem.

1. A Lack of UV Light/Sunlight

One of the biggest reasons why your goldfish might have changed color is due to a lack of sunlight.

The UV rays which come with sunlight help to maintain the vivid coloration seen on goldfish.

Something about sunlight really helps to supercharge those color pigments.

This is why goldfish in the wild, and ones kept outdoors in bright areas, tend to be the most colorful and the brightest.

The artificial lights you have in your aquarium probably don’t emit UV light, and even full spectrum LED lights don’t produce all that much UV.

This lack of sunlight and UV will cause goldfish to lose coloration over time.

Therefore, the simple solution here is to get a good UV light for your goldfish tank.

Just make sure not to overheat the water, as UV lights can get quite hot. Another solution is to place your tank in an area of your home that sees a lot of sunlight.

However, do keep in mind that lots of sunlight and UV rays can lead to algae growth. It’s a bit of a balancing act.

2. Genetics

Another reason why your goldfish may be changing color is simply due to genetics. In many cases, the coloration of goldfish depends on genetics.

Therefore, if your goldfish has changed color or losing pigmentation due to genetics, there is really nothing that you can do to change this.

3. Diet

The next reason why your goldfish may have turned white is due to an improper diet.

Goldfish require the right diet with the right ingredients in order to maintain that bright coloration.

If you are not feeding your goldfish an adequate diet, it may very well be the cause of said color loss.

There are some ingredients to look out for in goldfish food which can help increase and maintain proper coloration (we have covered the ideal foods here).

These ingredients include spirulina, bentonite clay, and carotene, that compound in carrots which makes them so orange.

A proper diet, along with these ingredients can help maintain and increase goldfish coloration.

On a side note, something which may occur with heavy amounts of color enhancing foods is that the white markings on your goldfish may start to turn slightly pink, although if you ask us, this is actually pretty cool.

Bottom line is, make sure you feed them the correct food so they have a well balanced, and healthy diet.

4. Sickness & Stress

Another reason why your goldfish may be turning white is due to sickness.

There are a few different goldfish diseases which can cause this color loss to occur.

There are plenty of diseases which cause color loss. An unhealthy fish will often lose color.

Therefore, what you need to do if you suspect that your goldfish is sick is to find out exactly what the sickness.

So, look for other symptoms which can tell you the exact nature and type of the illness.

Once you figure out exactly what the disease or issue in question is, you can then take the proper steps to remedy the situation.

Yes, stress is considered a sickness, and this is something else which can lead to color loss in goldfish.

Not being moved the proper way, introducing new fish to your goldfish tank, dirty water (water quality), a very small tank, the wrong water temperature, the wrong pH level, and other such issues can all cause stress and health issues in goldfish which lead to it turning white.

Therefore, you need to figure out what is causing the stress or illness, and then go from there.

5. Old Age

A simple and common reason why your goldfish may have turned white or just losing color in general is due to old age.

If your goldfish is getting older, chances are pretty big that it will start losing color.

Of course, unfortunately, this is nothing but the circle of life which all living creatures go through.

Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to stop a goldfish from ageing.

Is it Normal for Goldfish to Change Color?

white goldfish

The good news here is that in many cases, yes, it is normal for goldfish to color change.

Goldfish often lose color when they reach sexual maturity, they can change color with old age, and they can lose color due to genetic reasons too.

Of course, the amount of light they get as well as their diet can also have an impact on this.

Yes, it’s normal for goldfish to experienced color changes, and in many cases, it really is not a cause for concern.

Unless your goldfish is stressed out or sick, there is probably nothing to worry about.

Can Goldfish Get Their Color Back?

Whether or not a goldfish gets its color back really depends on why it lost its color in the first place, as there are various causes.

  • If a goldfish faded in color due to simple genetics, which often happens in the first year of life, then no, it probably won’t get its color back.

  • Goldfish can develop dark spots during transportation, similar to bruising in humans. This will usually heal up and the color will return.

  • If the discoloration is due to an improper diet, if you start feeding it right, then the color should return.

  • If the cause of color loss is something like a bacterial infection or other illness, when the goldfish returns back to good health, the color should also return.

Why Do Goldfish Turn White When They Die?

Goldfish turn white after they die because, well, they are dead. This is not different than with humans.

The blood stops flowing and this causes that bleach white appearance.

In terms of a goldfish turning white before death, as noted above, this can be due to a variety of reasons, usually nothing good.

Do Goldfish Need Sunlight To Live?

Goldfish do need a moderate amount of sunlight to live, just like all or most other fish.

Goldfish aquariums do need light, because for one, this will mimic the goldfish’s natural environment in the wild.

Goldfish are active during the day, so if you never provide them with light, it’s going to mess with their internal clock and daily lives.


The bottom line is that in most cases, a white goldfish is perfectly normal, although not always.

What you need to do is to figure out why your goldfish is changing color, and then go from there.

Generally speaking, it should not be a big cause for concern and don't forget, a healthy white goldfish is still very cool!