Generally, betta fish are known to be hard and easier to care for fish. However, that does not mean that they are free from diseases. Particularly, if you find your betta fish turning white, then there is a high chance of fungal infections. Meanwhile, all aquarium fish are more susceptible to fungal infections and the betta fish species is not an exception.

Thus, if your betta turns to white, it could be an indication of several diseases including some deadly ones. However, it could also be a normal part of your betta fish’s growth. Hence, it is important to closely examine and watch your betta in order to determine whether or not it is harmful.


  • why is my betta turning white?
  • marble gene
  • stress
  • body flukes
  • ich
  • body rot
  • columnaris
  • lymphocystis
  • slime coat shedding
  • costia

Why is my Betta Turning White?

Generally, betta fish are popular for their magnificent coloration. However, they sometimes lose their gorgeous blue or red or green or any other coloration and it gradually fades to white. What does this mean? Is it deadly?

Ordinarily, if your betta fish turns to white, it could be an indication of several diseases including some deadly ones. However, it could also be a normal part of your betta fish’s growth. Also, it is important to closely examine and watch your betta fish in order to determine whether or not it is harmful.

Marble Gene

Particularly, the marble gene is a specific gene that can control a betta’s coloration throughout its life. In other words, it can cause random color changes even after betta fish is several years old and the factors that trigger the gene are unknown.

Generally, this gene can turn gorgeous betta into a mottled mutt. However, it can turn very plain betta into a magnificent one. Also, color changes may stop after the first incident. However, a betta fish could also experience constant color changes throughout its life.

Ordinarily, most of the time a betta fish will marble into a darker color, but it is possible to marble into a lighter one. However, the change normally spreads scale to scale and takes anywhere from a few days to a month to complete a change.

Meanwhile, this is a non-harmful option for your betta fish’s color change. Thus, if just a few scales are turning white, it is possible that your betta fish has the marble gene.

Meanwhile, if the change continues to progress, especially if other colors become a part of the change, it is probably simple marbling.


Generally, this has a significant impact on the health of a fish. Thus, when severely stressed, betta fish lose their coloration. Hence, it starts to exhibit horizontal stripes often referred to as “stress stripes”. However, if your betta fish is already a lighter color, stress may turn it white.

In addition, if your betta fish is ready to breed, it may have verticals barred stripes. Particularly, these are much larger than the horizontal stress stripes. However, the stripes alternate light and dark, and in light-colored bettas, the lighter stripes could appear white.

Firstly, if your betta fish is experiencing paleness all over the body, the horizontal stripes are to reduce the stress that your betta is going through.

For instance, ensure that

  • its tank mates are not attacking it,
  • it can’t see its reflection,
  • the flow is not too strong,
  • the temperature is between 78-80 degrees,
  • there is not any ammonia or nitrite, and
  • lastly, nitrates are not over 20ppm.

Body Flukes

Particularly, a fluke is a type of parasite commonly found in aquarium water. Meanwhile, healthy fish have strong enough immune systems to fight off most of these. However, if they become stressed or the water quality plummets, fluke populations can rise and infect your fish.

Generally, body flukes are white in color and you can normally see them with the naked eye. Also, they are several millimeters in length and very thin. Thus, if there are too many of them, it may just look like your betta fish is turning white.

Ordinarily, these are normally very treatable with anti-parasitic medications. Particularly, Praziquantel is a great medication for this and you can find it in several medications, most notably Prazi-Pro and API General Cure.


In particular, Ich is an unfortunately common parasite found in fish. Usually, it spreads easily and has a relatively long life span. Particularly, meaning treatment needs to last for at least a month as the young cysts can hide in the substrate for long periods.

Meanwhile, the good thing about Ich being is that every pet store that sells fish will also sell Ich medication. Likewise, Ich is easy to identify as it looks like white dots all over the fish. Thus, if your betta fish looks like someone rolled in salt, it has Ich.

Body Rot

Generally, this is an unfortunate side effect of fin rot if it is either extremely aggressive or if it goes far too long without treatment. Meanwhile, in most cases, body rot happens after the fin rots away entirely and the rot moves to the body.

Also, fin rot is common in betta fish with long fins because their fins are so long that circulation to the edges is often poor. Hence, it can lead to flesh rotting and becoming infected with both bacteria and fungus.

Therefore, the best medication to treat fin rot is Methylene Blue. Likewise, it is helpful for body rot infections as it treats external bacterial and fungal infections. However, if fin rot went on long enough for it to reach the body, chances of survival are not encouraging.

On the other hand, the other way to get body rot is an extremely aggressive form of fin rot. Generally, most fin rot spreads as it progresses in a straight line and only progresses after rotting away some of the fin. However, aggressive forms of fin rot can actually jump from one part of the body to the other.

Particularly, it can jump from the edges of the fins to the middle to the body and can cause white lesions that resemble marbling. Initially, it does not really appear to cause any damage to the body, but over time, it eats away the skin.

Particularly, you can use Methylene blue dips and baths along with strong antibacterial medications such as Kanaplex.


In particular, Columnaris is an extremely aggressive bacterial infection that resembles a fungus. Thus, if you see a fluffy white patch on your betta, it’s probably columnaris. Usually, this infection kills fish in 12-96 hours, depending on the strain.

Moreover, some fish will show symptoms of this disease while others will die quickly and without symptoms. Meanwhile, the best way to treat it is a combination of Furan 2 and Kanaplex or with Maracyn.


This is an uncommon viral disease that presently has no cure. Ordinarily, it looks like lumps coming out of the fish and can occur anywhere on the fish. Thus, if one fish is exhibiting symptoms, you should isolate it from other fish as it is contagious.

Also, the lumps are normally either pink or white and the average person may confuse them with Ich. Although, they tend to be much larger, abnormally shaped, and there are fewer lumps on the body than with Ich.
Sometimes, a betta fish will go into remission on its own but is possible for the lump to reappear.

Slime Coat Shedding

Often times, if a fish begins to shed its slime coat, it will appear cloudy and white either in patches of the body or all over the body. Meanwhile, the production of excess slime coat will also have similar symptoms and causes.

Also, this is not something that you can treat with medication. However, it is normally caused by an irritant in the water. In particular, the most common one is the salt.

Thus, if you added salt to treat any abnormality, it can have adverse effects on the overall health of the fish.

Likewise, other toxins in the water can cause this effect, such as

  • certain aerosols,
  • soaps,
  • lotions, or
  • other chemical products that enter the water.

Normally, large water changes upwards of 50% will help this affliction.


In particular, Costia is a parasite that looks very similar to slime coat shedding. Generally, it is too small for the naked eye to see and can only be positively identified using a microscope. Likewise, Costia is a rare parasite that is not common in tropical fish, but it is good to be aware of all possibilities.

Meanwhile, there are not many medications specifically for Costia. However, most Ich medications will work on this parasite because the two parasites are similar.

In conclusion, there are lots of different diseases that can make a part, or all, of a betta fish white. Ordinarily, they are easy to treat and have several medications available for each of them. Also, the marbling gene is entirely harmless but can turn bettas white.

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