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Have you ever experienced a fish changing colors? This reader has ...

"I thought this was an interesting observation. I'm hoping someone will confirm that they've seen a similar color change, and maybe explain why. I noticed it again this morning. When I turn on the light, the Serpae's are all close to the bottom of the tank, moving very little, and their color is pale. I come back 5 minutes later and their color is restored and they're swimming around at mid-level as usual. Neither my hatchet fish, nor my cory-cats show this dramatic a change when I wake them"


May 8, 2006 at 8:52 am
(1) Chia says:

My gastromyzons do this (these fish have no agreed-upon common name – they hillstream loaches, butterfly plecs, borneo suckers, etc.). They are a very dark brown when sticking to the black filter box but become sandy-colored when spending time on the sand substrate.

June 6, 2006 at 6:15 pm
(2) keafette says:

my betta fish has been doing the same thing it’s been getting pale since two days ago but it was still swimming around a lot now it just started to si at he bottom of the tank and do nothing but sit there please email me if you have any ideas why

June 6, 2006 at 6:20 pm
(3) keafette says:

i also noticed the change of the fish when i clean the tank. I clean it every tuesday as i’m suposed to every week but i have to let the water set for about a day or two because the water for my betta fish can’t be strait from tap.

June 16, 2007 at 7:36 pm
(4) Vicky says:

I recently, purchased Tiger Barbs, and one of them displays a dissappearance of the black stripes; it almost looks all gold/transparent! What is happening? I have been searching the web & no info yet!! Answers?

August 10, 2007 at 11:12 am
(5) Martin Müller says:

I have 2 female Siamese Fighters. I’ve moved them to a new, bigger tank today. Within an hour both lost their dark red colour and are now a pale yellow/brown with black stripes on the side. Both are swimming and eating like normal. Does anyone have any idea why they change colour?

September 30, 2007 at 5:37 pm
(6) Laurence says:

Yea, I noticed this morning when i came home, I turned on the light and my Jack Dehmpsy was white with black stripes, normally he is black

November 17, 2008 at 4:14 pm
(7) Miao says:

I don’t know much about fish but my uncle is a hobbyist. He says that his fish change colors depending on their mood. When he gave some of his fish, they turned almost white during our trip home. They were probably frightened to death. But when they adjusted to their new tank, they turn red again.

December 19, 2008 at 4:13 am
(8) Zahid says:

Hmmm … how do you know the mood of a fish?!!! Actually there are some people that claim fish are incapable of moods, feeling pain, etc. Those are people that like to catch fish and hurt them. I happen to disagree. OK, so on to the actual question. From what I understand, the changing colors of fish are similar to the changing colors in other animals like chameleons. Various stimuli cause the color changes, but usually they happen for some fairly obvious reason like to hide from predators, scare them away, fool them, or attract a mate (or food). I don’t think it is so much mood as the surroundings that cause the change. (However, I am not a fish expert, so I could be wrong!). As far as colors and emotions … color is a very personal experience and can evoke strong emotional responses. However, these are personal and not necessarily the same response (or same strength of response) for each person. There are no consistent emotion-color relations that apply to everyone.

February 9, 2009 at 10:31 pm
(9) Binx says:

You should check your water, especially if your fish isn’t acting like it usually does. In betas, if they turn that pale, sickly color, change the water! it’s probably due to a build up of toxins and can be deadly! I have no experience with other fish however…

July 9, 2009 at 10:57 am
(10) mardinie says:

I had a 7″ frontosa that started swimming and breathing funny, it would stop breathing and turn completely white and sink like a rock then I reached in and grabbed it and moved it forward and backwards a few times then it got its color back real quick started breathing and swam away and was fine for a few minuets then did it again. the third time I tried to “revive it” is when big mama died.

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