Over the lifetime of your betta fish you may notice a change in color. This isn’t necessarily anything to worry about.
Female betta fish especially change color as they mature. Color changes can also be a good sign. It’s important to be able to recognise the difference between positive color changes and those that can mean a fish is unwell.
One time when you may see subtle changes in the color of a betta fish is when the shade of color deepens. This can happen when a male betta fish is being territorial.
We’re going to look at times when more noticeable changes in color take place.
Should betta fish change color when you bring them home?
Often living in a pet store does not provide the betta fish with the best home. The water may not be at the right temperature for instance. Once you bring your betta fish home you will be giving it a better environment to live in.
It’s not unusual for betta fish to be paler in the pet store and for their colors to noticeably change and deepen when you bring them home. This is a good sign; it means they are happy in their new tank!
Should my beta fish go paler in color?
While becoming deeper in color is often a good sign for a betta fish, the opposite is usually true. Losing color can be a sign that something is wrong.
Losing color often happens naturally as your betta fish ages; once it gets to 4 or 5 years of age.
If you have a young betta fish whose color begins to fade then you need to try and find out why. Factors such as water temperature, stress and dietary issues can be to blame. If you can’t find an answer to the problem yourself, it’s worth speaking to a betta specialist.
Should a female betta fish change color?
Female betta fish are paler in color than males. Having said this, the color of female bettas does deepen during their first year. They often start out being very pale, only to attain a deeper, more vibrant, shade when they reach sexual maturity. This happens when they are around 7 – 8 months old.
The jumping genes of a marble betta
Marble bettas are noticeable for their patches of color which give their body a blotchy appearance. These fish have what is commonly referred to as a jumping gene. Put simply this means that genes can jump into another gene and stop it from performing its function.
For example, if there is a blue patch of color on a marble fish, a jumping gene can prevent the original gene from producing the blue color. That part of the fish then loses its pigment.
By their nature, jumping genes move. Once that jumping gene leaves the area, the blue pigment returns. Of course, this means that marble betta fish can change color quite often!
So, betta fish can change color. Sometimes this is a good thing – as deeper colors are a sign that they are happy in their environment – and sometimes it’s bad sign or a natural effect of age. And in the case of marble betta fish, it’s just a regular part of life.