Why Does My Angelfish Change Colors

10 Reasons Why Angelfish Change Colors

Have you ever come to your tank to find your angelfish has changed color?

Don’t worry; there’s always nothing to panic about. In fact, there are a variety of reasons why this might happen.

Angelfish might change their colors to camouflage themselves or to show that they are ready to mate. Sometimes they also react to tank and water changes.

Whatever the reason, it’s always interesting to watch and see how your angelfish change colors. However, you must also be cautious since these changes can sometimes be a sign of stress.

This article will explore some of the reasons behind this behavior so that you can better understand your fish.

The Science Behind Their Transformation

The mechanism for angelfish changing color is quite simple.

On the angelfish’s bodies, there are cells known as chromatophores and others known as iridophores responsible for creating the fish’s bright colors and reflecting them on their scales.

Aside from chromatophores and iridophores, there are other cells known as melanosomes that distribute melanin on the angelfish’s body.

Due to the presence of melanosomes and melanin production, angelfish can modify their colors.

The melanosomes distribute melanin more evenly under specific circumstances so that the fish appears to become more colorful.

Under other circumstances, the melanosomes distribute melanin unevenly among the melanophores, which in turn makes the fish look darker. 

Here is a youtube guide for why angelfish change colors.

The Cause of Color Change

Angelfish may alter their hue for a variety of reasons. These are some examples:

1. Camouflage 

The angelfish stripes exist for a purpose, and it isn’t just to look good. They may camouflage themselves if there is an adversary nearby.

Angelfish use this type of color change as a way to protect themselves. They will attempt to blend in with their surroundings to hide and avoid being seen.

2. Territorial Disputes 

When two fish fight for the same territory, they may show their aggression by changing color. The colors will usually be brighter and more intense during these disputes.

3. Mating 

The mating season is another time when angelfish may change color. The males will become more brightly colored to attract females, while the females may become darker to indicate that they are ready to mate.

4. Poor Water Quality

One of the first signs that something is wrong with the water quality is when the fish start to change color.

I know that angelfish are hardy species, but they are still sensitive to changes in water quality. So any change in water quality, whether the temperaturepH, or hardness, can cause them stress.

Also, this poor water helps diseases and parasites spread more easily, which will make the fish sick, causing it to change color.

Image titled Breed Angelfish Step 2
Checking aquarium water by WikiHow

5. Improper Diet

diet lacking in nutrition can also lead to color changes. This is because the lack of vitamins and minerals will affect the fish’s health, leading to a weakened immune system and increased susceptibility to disease.

So, it is very important to feed your angelfish a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals.

6. Old Age 

As the fish gets older, its colors will start to fade. This is due to the cells not being able to produce as much pigment as they used to. So, if you know that your fish is living its last days, don’t be surprised if its colors are not as vibrant as they used to be.

7. Bad Lighting

Light affects the cells that produce pigment, so its colors will start to fade when the fish is not getting enough light. On the other hand, if the fish is getting too much light, the colors will become bleached.

So, it is essential to maintain proper lighting to prevent your fish from changing color.

Can LED Lights Grow Aquarium Plants? The Definite Answer
Tank lighting by plantophiles

8. Sleeping

Angelfish usually have a set sleep schedule, and they may change color when they are preparing to sleep. When the fish sleeps, the chromatophores will relax, and the colors will become duller. This will affect the fish’s overall appearance, making its colors appear muted.

9. Injury

The physical injury will cause angelfish color to fade as it takes a lot of energy for cells to regenerate.

Since the body will choose to focus on regenerating tissue rather than the cellular processes that ensure color and vitality.

10. Showing Respect!

Believe it or not, angelfish may change color to show respect. If they see a fish that is more dominant than them, they may change color to indicate that they are submissive.

This is usually done by making themselves darker to appear less noticeable.

Why Do the Stripes on Angelfish Fade?

Angelfish lose their stripes to conceal themselves from predators. They’ll try to mimic the colors of the rocks and sand, staying put until they’re certain that danger is over.

Scales will lessen as the angelfish become more scared, even sometimes eliminating the stripes.

Also, an angelfish’s stripes will fade in an aquarium setting without any vegetation. Since the fish will become paler to try to match its surroundings.

What Are Angelfish Color Meanings?

Angelfish Turning Yellow

The reason for angelfish turning yellow depends on their breed. For example, the zebra angelfish or the silver angelfish can take on a yellow hue when they are mating, stressed, or even randomly.

However, other kinds of angelfish turn yellow due to poor water quality or overcrowding in the tank.

Angelfish Turning Red

Ammonia poisoning can cause redness in your angelfish. This isn’t just a color change, but your fish are actually burning.

The chemical imbalance will damage the fish’s organs and if you don’t treat it, the fish will continue to experience more damage and will eventually die.

Angelfish Turning Green

A green hue appearing in your angelfish is a sign of illness. It could be a symptom of Velvet Disease or other ailments.

When this green color is combined with abnormal swimming habits and heavy breathing, the situation will be even more critical.

Therefore, you should take your fish to the vet as soon as possible for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Angelfish Turning White

Angelfish will turn white due to oxygen insufficiency in their aquarium. This causes their stripes to fade and bright colors to dim, making them look grey and washed out.

If you don’t take action to increase the oxygen levels in their tank, the fish will eventually suffocate and die.

Angelfish Turning Brown

If your angelfish’s color changes to a light brown, this is probably a part of its color-changing phases.

Also, the black stripes can get dim as the fish sleeps and appear brown as a result of changing lights.

However, if your angelfish’s color becomes dark brown and remains that way, this is a bad sign.

It’s possible that it is infected by Velvet Disease. As well, because of this, they will be golden, brown, or green in hue.


Why Is My Black Angel Fish Turning White?

Angelfish Ich, or White Spot Disease, is a common disease that affects fish. It shows as tiny areas of white spots on the fish’s body.

So, keep in mind that angelfish are highly vulnerable to ich because of temperature variances and anxiety.

Why Is My Koi Angelfish Turning Orange?

The coloration of the koi angelfish has been bred to resemble that of Japanese koi.

When young, the fish may have a crimson tinge below its eyes that fades as they mature.

The amount of orange visible will vary depending on the fish’s stress level; as a result, the color will get darker as the fish’s tension rises.

Why Are My Angelfish Eggs Turning White?

Angelfish eggs become discolored due to fungus growth; this happens when the female angelfish deposits unfertilized eggs in the aquarium.

That’s because the shells of the eggs in the tank get ruined by bacteria over time, allowing fungal spores to form on them.

Why Does My Angelfish Have Black Spots?

Black spot “disease” is caused by a parasite that attacks the skin and scales of the fish. The parasite burrows into the skin and starts to feed on the tissue. As the parasite grows, it causes the skin to break open and the scales to fall off.

Last Words

No matter what the cause, it’s always a good idea to monitor your angelfish closely and keep an eye out for any changes in their appearance.

If you notice any unusual symptoms or behaviors, consult a qualified fish-keeping expert as soon as possible.

They will be able to help you determine the best course of action for restoring your fish to good health.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.