The Goldfish Is Turning White? Possible Reasons And Care Tips

The roaming around of a goldfish inside a beautiful aquarium is a sight to the sore eyes. It is stunning! However, when this sparkling orange-ish gold color of a goldfish starts turning white, it not only looks unattractive but is also something to worry about. As the pale white color isn’t normal, you must take immediate action to revive your aquarium pet.

Then again, besides taking care of the fish, it is also important to find out why the goldfish is turning white in the first place. As there are more than a few reasons behind this phenomenon, knowing them would help.

7 Reasons Your Goldfish Is Turning White

If you are wondering why your beautiful goldfish turned white and pale, read the reasons below. There are high chances that the fish might be suffering any of these and hence, experiencing a color change.

1. Environmental Changes In The Aquarium

The environment of your aquarium plays an important role in keeping your goldfish healthy and beautiful. The right water temperature, perfect pH level, type of décor, and addition of new species affect the interior of the tank greatly. If there is even a slight change in any of these factors, your goldfish might start losing color and look as dull as ever.

But then again, remember that not all type of goldfish gets affected by the environmental changes in the water tank. The fancy ones are the most delicate type and hence, tend to turn pale in no time. To keep the color and shine of your exquisite goldfish intact, try to keep the acidity level of the water between 6.8 and 7.6 pH, water hardness less than 12dGH, water temperature between 68 – 75°F [20 – 25°C], and the carbonates and bi-carbonates level 80 to 180 parts per million. These parameters are the optimal range and will keep your fish from losing colors.

Every time you change the water, try to maintain these levels so that your pretty goldfish never looks white and lifeless.

2. Insufficient Lighting In The Tank

The wrong lighting setting is another reason your glistening goldfish is turning pale and white. If the lighting in the aquarium is too little and insufficient for your pet, it will decrease or stop the production of melanin and chromatophore [cells responsible for producing yellow, red, and orange color pigments] altogether and make the fish to lose its bright orange-gold colors over time.

To maintain the glowing color of your goldfish, ensure sufficient lightening in the water tank. It’s a MUST. You can either keep it under direct sunlight for 12 hours or use bright artificial lights to promote the production of melanin and chromatophore and see your goldfish never lose its sparkle, at least for lack of perfect lighting!

However, don’t expose the water tank to bright light for more than 12 hrs. It has the potential to over-heat the water and reduce the dissolved oxygen level. Lack of oxygen will turn the goldfish white and in extreme cases, might also suffocate it to death.

3. Ammonia In The Water

The ammonia content in your aquarium water is dangerous for your fish. The presence of this compound means that there are no bio-media in the water, and therefore, is deadly for your goldfish. It would not only make the fish sick but also influence it to turn white in no time.

If you start noticing white spots on your pet, get the water tested ASAP. There shouldn’t be any ammonia or ammonia spikes present in the water. If the level is anything above 0, increase the filtration cycle and remove the ammonia completely from the water. It will help to preserve the health and good looks of your beautiful goldfish perfectly. 

4. Low Level Of Oxygen

Another reason your goldfish might be turning white is because of the low level of dissolved oxygen in the tank. When it doesn’t have enough oxygen to breathe in, it slowly becomes sick and its body gives up on wasting any energy to maintain the sparkling color. Its body starts looking white and pale and, if it continues, your fish might die sooner than later.

For your fish to be healthy and as colorful as ever, maintain the dissolved oxygen level in the aquarium. The water must contain 5-6 ppm of oxygen to keep your pet healthy and thriving. Anything less or more than this given level will stress the goldfish and make it sick quickly. Try to test the water every now and then to observe the oxygen level. 

If there is a change in the dissolved oxygen level, increase the water flow in the tank for a quick fix. You can also add some air stones in the aquarium to keep the oxygen level to optimal.

5. Nutrition And Diet

Just like other pets, food and nutrition matter for your goldfish too. An improper, imbalanced diet can turn your pretty fish white and make it look hideous. If the diet isn’t rich in nutrients needed to maintain the brilliant color, it is only a matter of time your fish become as white as a polar bear.

While selecting a diet for your goldfish, make sure that it is rich in color-enhancing nutrients like carotenoids. Even though many fruits and vegetables have these nutrients, it’s better to give your water pet a high-grade commercial food. Commercial foods are perfectly balanced and hence, ensure great color as well as better health.

6. Illness And Diseases

Your goldfish may start losing its alluring gold color because of illness too. Even though there is no specific disease or illness that causes your fish to turn white, this phenomenon is an effect of other diseases, and therefore, something to worry about. If the pet is suffering from lack of appetite, lethargy, difficulty swimming, fungal infection, growth on the scales, restlessness, or white spots, its skin turns pale. In such cases, don’t delay consulting a vet. He will identify the disease quickly and treat it right.

Also, even if you get the best treatment for your fish, don’t forget to check the water before putting it back in the tank. It should be of the right temperature and right pH level, and the ammonia and nitrate content should be 0. You must ensure perfect lighting and nutritious diet too. The combination of all these will improve the goldfish’s health and diminish the white skin slowly. 

7. Aging

Even when all other things in the tank are right your goldfish can still suffer from losing color simply because of aging. As the average lifespan of this fish is about 15 years, over time it slowly starts to fade and look white. Its color-producing cells also give up because of age making the fish look pale and tired. 

If again is the main cause your favorite goldfish is turning white, there’s actually nothing you can do for it. 

Will The Goldfish Get Its Original Color Back From White?

Whether your goldfish will regain its original bright colors or not entirely depends on the cause of it turning white. If it turned white or started to turn white because of improper diet, insufficient lighting, environmental issues in the water tank, or the water condition, there are high chances that it might regain its original bright color over time when the issues are fixed properly. 

However, if your goldfish starts losing color because of old age, genetics, or illness, there’s nothing much that you can do about it. You have to accept it as it is and continue with life.

Wrapping Up

Even though a goldfish is one of the easiest pets to take care of, maintaining it properly is a must to retain its beautiful, vibrant color. Cleaning the tank and changing the water regularly, testing it for correct compound levels and proper diet would ensure the health and beauty of the pet. Make it a regular routine and enjoy the shine of your favorite pet. 

Sophia Rosa
Sophia Rosa

Sophia is a professional marine author having expert knowledge and practical experience in fish, fishing in aquariums, aquarium plants, etc. She is passionate about helping other people by sharing her expert knowledge on fish & fish keeping.

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