Yes, betta fish certainly have the capability to change color, and it doesn't necessarily mean that they are unwell although that could be one reason. There are an abundance of reasons as to why your betta fish is changing color or has changed color. So, let's dive in and learn why!
Why Does My Betta Fish Change Colors?
There are a few reasons as to why your betta fish is changing colors. If your betta appears to be healthy but is still changing color, then they probably have the Jumping Marble gene. These betta fish genes are known as transposons and Marble betta fish and are easily identified by their spots of random coloration across their bodies. The marble gene is totally harmless to your fish too, so, do not worry about any harmful repercussions down the line.
The gene is called "jumping" as it seemingly causes coloration to "jump" to random spots on your betta fish over the course of their lifetime. Marble betta fish are intentionally bred like this as it adds more coloration and makes them look even more beautiful. It makes owning one of these bettas even more interesting as it is a total gamble as to what your betta fish's color pattern will look like.
Why Is Your Betta Fish Turning White/Pale?
There is a huge difference between your fish turning to the color of white and your betta staying the same color but a more faded version. If your betta is turning pale and does not have the marble gene, keeping the same original colors, but more faded, then they can be suffering from disease or an illness.
If their pale complexion is joined by slow, lethargic movements and behavior, then you should check your betta fish out more deeply to see whether they have an illness. Sudden changes in water parameters or a fish disease from betta fish tank mates are usually the suspects. Additionally, if your betta fish is behaving out of sorts, for example, not eating and lying at the bottom or the top of your tank for prolonged periods of time then they are likely ill. The first thing you need to do if you notice this is test the quality of your water by using a liquid test kit.
Betta Fish Skin Condition - How to Treat It
If your betta fish is covered in raised white spots or lesions, then they most likely have a skin condition or disease. Typically, the causes for this are water parasites, fungi, or bacteria. To prevent any of these from residing in your tank water is to spend more time ensuring the quality of your tank water is good enough for your betta fish.
Freshwater Ich or White Spot Disease are the most common conditions that are caused by freshwater parasites called Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. Treating your fish should start with water changes, ensuring that your tank is clean, and the water is healthy for your fish. You can also acquire white spot treatment liquid at your local fish store which will certainly help kill the infection. Something else that could be causing the illness is too much oxygen in their tank. Make sure to check this and reduce the amount if you notice your betta fish struggling with their breathing.
Betta fish most definitely do change color, and they do so a lot if they have the Marble Gene. So, if you notice bright and dramatic color changes and pattern changes with your betta fish but they are acting healthy and happy, do not worry, this is simply a by-product of the gene. You should be concerned, however, if your betta fish maintains the same colors but they are more faded and no longer bright. Equally, if they are starting to be covered in raised white dots, you must act immediately for the safety of your fish.