Why is my goldfish turning white?

Having a pet goldfish is almost a right of passage. Most people have had a goldfish at some point during their lives. They are easy to care for, need minimal attention and are hypoallergenic. This makes them the perfect addition to the homes of people with allergies or busy lifestyles. 

Goldfish may be small, but they are mighty, and we can grow quite attached to our fishy friends. We give them names, check in on them every day, and enjoy having them around. In this way, it can be distressing when you notice small changes in their appearance and wellbeing.

You may notice that goldfish are not always ‘gold’. Some goldfish can change color at any point during their lifespan, and this can be distressing for some owners. But, once you know why this happens it is not always life-threatening. 

Goldfish are a staple of the pet industry. Their beautiful golden orange tone makes them easily identifiable and recognizable. However, it may surprise you that goldfish were never actually ‘gold’. 

Goldfish are actually a type of carp fish. Therefore, before domestication, in the wild, goldfish would have a typical olivey-green color. The gold tone that we have come to know today is a result of selective breeding. Now we can have red, orange, yellow, white and black goldfish. 

Goldfish have been bred so much for their attractive tone, that they can reflect many shades on the color spectrum. 

With all of these bright colors mixing the gene pool, it is not uncommon for a goldfish to sometimes change color, or reflect a different shade. Goldfish can often have spots of color or suffer from discoloration due to their living environment.

Typically, if you notice a slight change to the color of your goldfish, it may be no reason for concern. However, goldfish can change color due to many other factors in their lives. 

The color of your goldfish can vary depending on the environment in which it is kept. A change in water cleanliness, temperature, or amount of light in their tank can make their scales change. 

Another reason for color differentiation could be a young fish transitioning from baby to adult, or the introduction of new fish into the aquarium. 

Why is my goldfish turning white?

If you goldfish seem to be turning white, there are a few reasons as to why this may be happening. 

One of the main reasons could be that goldfish have a pigment in their scales that reacts to sunlight. This pigment is what gives goldfish their shiny and glossy appearance. If there is a lot of sunlight or light sources on your goldfish, this may react with their skin and cause them to go whiter. 

It works in a similar way to how the sun gives us a tan, except goldfish will go a brighter or whiter shade. This can happen if there is not a lot of shade within your tank or pond, or if there is a direct line of sunlight within your home. 

Goldfish are sensitive little souls. The smallest of changes within their living environment can cause them to change color. Your goldfish may be turning white because you have introduced some changes into its living conditions. 

For instance, changing the water temperature or having a different filtration system can affect the balance of your tank. This in turn will affect how your goldfish behaves and looks. Just by adding more decorations or accessories within the aquarium can often cause a change in the tone of your goldfish. 

Even adding other fish to your fishy family can cause a difference in your goldfish’s scale color. Fish are very sensitive to change and take some time to adjust to various modifications to their living situation. Adding more fish to the tank, no matter how small affects how big your tank should be. 

Although goldfish can be tiny little creatures, they produce a lot of waste. If you are adding more goldfish to your aquarium, then expect more waste and they will need more space in their living quarters. The waste that goldfish excrete can break down and leave toxins or ammonia in the water, this can then poison the fish and cause their scales to discolor. 

Another reason why your goldfish may be turning white or has changed color, is if the pH levels in your aquarium are different. If this concerns you, and you believe that this may be why your goldfish is changing color, you shoud test the water with a pH stick. 

From this experiment, you will be able to determine whether the pH levels in your goldfish tank is irregular or different from normal, and you can adjust to rectify the issue. 

As with many animals, a change in the way they behave or their appearance on the outside, may reflect some changes on the inside too. Goldfish scales may turn a different color due to sickness.

You should always check up on your goldfish and look for any signs of changes in eating habits, swimming habits or general differences in behaviour. If there are signs of illhealth or sickness along with discoloration, then seek help from an animal medical professional. 

In many cases, a goldfish turning white is nothing to worry about. Sometimes as they age, goldfish will turn a brighter or whiter shade and it is completely normal. This can happen as a goldfish changes from a newborn fish to a fully grown goldfish. They can sometimes go whiter and greyer as they reach old age, just like the rest of us. 

If at any time during your goldfish’s life span you are worried about its health or wellbeing, or if a color change happens drastically, you should always consult a marine veterinarian or professional. They can then develop the best course of action or advise different medication or diet that may aid your fishy companion.