fish changing colors

catsmom6(z4 NE NY)August 27, 2009

I have some goldfish that were mostly orange last year except for a white pattern on their bellies. This year they are turning pure white. One has completely changed and the other 3 are well on their way. Is this normal?



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I have some black goldfish that turned gold! They looked calico until all the black scales fell off. I think I read somewhere that age causes this. The white ones are the oldest.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 9:28AM
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catsmom6(z4 NE NY)

Most of my dark baby fish are turning gold but the other ones are all feeder fish from last year and are really big this year so they aren't old- just big and turning white.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 9:37AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

I have seen both patterns, the orange turning white and the black turning orange in two and three year old goldfish. I see lots of this years juveniles turning from dark to orange.

These color changes fascinate me because I don't remember this happening in farm stock tanks sixty years ago. I suppose those could have been different strains but it is more likely my memory.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 10:19AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Yes, it is normal. Both koi and goldfish can change colors as they age.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 11:20AM
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clarke(7a, Northern VA)

Here are a couple of pictures of one of my koi that really changed.

Last summer he lost all of his red.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 5:27PM
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I have an male orange and white comet (Ito)and a black volunteer female (Molly)(she arrived as an egg on a plant).

Their babies are so fascinating. Most are born black. It is so funny when they start to turn orange in the "eyebrows" first. The first one we named Groucho!! Some stay black. Some are other colors. One we named Bones because he was whitish pink and it looked like you could see his back bone and ribs.

Bones is the white looking baby just below Ito.

Groucho is circled. Unfortunately you can't get the full impact of the orange eyebrows! We got him in an aquarium and still couldn't get a good shot. He eventually turned all orange as did many of the babies.

The white spot on Ito is different every spring when the snow melts.

So, yes, the colors can change. I suppose it is possible that a color change can mean something "bad" but for me it is a fun part of ponding.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 5:40PM
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catsmom6(z4 NE NY)

Aaawww that's so cute that Molly was a little egg on a plant. I can see Groucho's eyebrows good. What's amazing is how your Koi changed to white like that. Just like my goldfish but somehow It's more of a big thing to see a Koi do it.
I have about 30 babies and they are in all stages of change. I love it when a "black" one flashes and shows it's light gold sides.

How do you keep your pond so clear?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 7:25PM
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Originally the pond was in partial shade and I had lots of floating plants so it stayed clear for the most part.

Last year I moved the pond to a sunny location and it has been green ever since. I had lots of floating plants (and even made some fake lily leaves from green foam til the lily plant sent up its own leaves) and used MicrobeLift (which keeps the bottom free of sludge), but it was still green. This picture of the head of the stream shows how green:

I am now trying a new product from PondCare called Microbial Algae Care (on 3rd week) and I can see a difference the past 3 days. This product says it is safe for fish, plants, insects, bees, birds and animals so I thought it would be worth the expense to see if I can get my pond back in balance.

Hopefully next week I will see a big difference.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 10:02AM
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I followed some postings a few years about pond goldfish turning white because many of our 45 fish did so, the follow up was "it's nothing to worry about". Now this year they are dying at a rate of 1/day? Actually I've had 10 die since June 8th. There are no markings, sores or lesions, just belly up in the AM. The other fish, gold & a few reamining white, are showing signs of stress; laying on the bottom and no appetite BUT only the white ones are dying!!!!! Any answers? (all pond tests WNL)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 12:47PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

noni gardener, are the dying fish the biggest/oldest?

lack of oxygen kills the biggest/oldest first and often suddenly in summer, at night....

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 1:16PM
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