A betta fish that changing its color is a well-known occurrence and is common among bettas. However, some fish owners may be concerned about bettas that are turning black for no apparent cause. There are several reasons behind your betta fish turning black.
As a result, understanding the many reasons for color change can frequently lead to the proper remedy. Betta fish turn black as they get older. Their fins, which gradually darken as they develop. Environmental conditions, on the other hand, may cause your betta fish to turn black. Inappropriate water conditions, stress, and diseases such as black spot disease are among them.
4 Causes Behind Betta Fish Turning Black
As stated earlier, there may several reasons why your betta fish is turning black. Sometimes betta fish turning black is natural while in some cases it is due to other factors like tank conditions and stress. Identifying the true cause behind betta fish turning black is important.
The nature of the treatment for discoloration of your betta fish depends on the nature of the cause. Let us first discuss the various causes why your betta fish might be turning black. Here are some of the major causes behind betta fish turning black.
1. Natural Phenomenon
Bettas with the ‘marble’ gene have a slight alteration in skin pigmentation that has no influence on their health. The fins and tail of a fish carrying this gene have a dark bluish tint. It is possible that this gene is responsible for a betta fish changing its color to black.
The pigment of the betta’s skin changes as a result of this gene. If your betta carries this gene, it may begin to become almost completely black over time. Bettas with the marble gene usually darken at the age of two. If your betta is under a year old and becoming black, it is most likely not due to this gene. The fish will get darker and darker as it gets older.
2. Stressful Tank Conditions
Stress is one of the most common reasons your betta starts to lose color. Bettas are not as tough as they are made out to be. The water quality has a big impact on how healthy your betta is. One issue is that many bettas are kept in filthy tanks with low water quality.
Water quality is generally determined by two factors – water pH level and water temperature. Bettas are suited well in a water pH of 6.8 to 7.5, although it can be slightly lower. The health of your betta might be harmed if the pH is too high or the water is too acidic.
The temperature of the water is also important. Bettas thrive in temperatures between 76 and 82 degrees F. Your bettas may be stressed by constant water variations or water that is excessively cold or hot. As a result, black coloration may appear.
Too many bettas in one tank can also cause stress. As a general guideline, one betta should be kept for every twenty liters of water. If you keep your betta in a tank that is too tiny, it will be forced to engage in needless interactions and aggressiveness.
3. Aging Factor
It is far more likely that your betta’s color will fade as he approaches his later years. They do not even have to be close to 5 to be effective. The color of a betta can start to fade as early as two years old. If you are certain it is not due to stress, betta fish turning black might be a normal part of their aging process.
Aside from becoming old or becoming stressed, certain illnesses can also cause color changes. One of the most frequent parasites that affect bettas is the black spot disease, commonly known as the fluke sickness. It is a parasite that may be spread by contaminated water or overcrowding in tanks.
As the parasite burns through their skin, bettas develop black patches. Bettas with this disease will seem sluggish, thin, and may even lose their color. The accumulations of black spots at certain areas on the fish’s body, however, are the most visible indication.
Infections like fin rot can also cause betta fish turning black. Fin rot causes some parts of the fins to grow darker in color. Regrowth of fins following fin rot can also happen in a darker color. There is nothing you can do about the color of the betta in this situation.
Prevention For Betta Fish Turning Black
Once you have identified the cause behind betta turning black then it becomes easier to figure out the treatment for the discoloration. Based on the cause, here are some of the treatment options for betta fish turning black.
Conditioned Tank Environment
Parameters like water pH level and water temperature should be considered while adjusting the water for bettas. As previously stated, the ideal pH ranges from 6.8 to 7.5. Increase the frequency of water changes if the water is excessively acidic.
It is recommended that you should change 15 to 25% of the water once a week. Try to avoid making major changes all at once. Your fish may get even more stressed as a result of this. Similarly, make sure that the water temperature in the tank falls between 76 and 82 degrees F.
It is also important to remember to give your betta fish sufficient space to swim. Adding two or three bettas in one small tank can raise the stress levels in the fish. Male betta fish are particularly aggressive. So avoid putting two male bettas together in one tank.
Before you introduce a fish to your aquarium, be sure it has gone through the proper cycle procedure. This is required for the growth of helpful bacterial groups. They will eventually help balance nitrogen levels in the water.
If you believe your betta has the black spot disease, you should take him to a respected fish doctor and get him tested to make sure it is not anything else. The good news is that using medicine to cure black spots can be highly effective.
It might be beneficial if you quarantined the fish as well. That way, you can be confident it will not spread to the others fish in the tank. There are many parasites and bacterial growth controllers available over Amazon.
It is difficult to restore the color of your betta if it has changed color due to genetics. If the cause behind your betta fish turning black are environmental factors, you can restore them by changing the water pH, temperature, and ammonia levels.
It is also worth noting that, owing to stress, a recently acquired beta may lose color within a few days or weeks. Although it will ultimately return to its natural coloration, a calm setting will hasten the process. Thus, you can prevent betta fish from turning black by reducing the stress on the fish.
FAQs Related to Betta Fish Turning Black
Do bettas get darker with age?
YES. Bettas lose part of their vibrant color as they become older. A betta’s typical lifespan is two to five years, however healthy fish can live much longer with adequate care.
How to tell whether a betta is stressed or not?
Your betta fish may be stressed if he is swimming erratically without going anywhere, smashing at the bottom of his tank, rubbing himself on gravel or pebbles, or locking his fins at his side.
What are the signs of betta fish dying?
Bettas that are dying show indications such as lethargy, irregular swimming patterns, and a loss of pigment. They may even lose their appetite and weight in rare situations.
The most common cause behind betta fish turning black is stress. The good news is that if you treat it appropriately, the actual colors will most likely return. They might, however, have inherited certain genes and developed the color as a result.