Do Angelfish Change Color? (7 Cool Fish Anatomy Facts)

One of the most frequently asked questions about angelfish is on whether they change color. Read on, to find out whether in fact these fish change color – and if yes, how and why they change their colors.

Do Angelfish change color? Yes, angelfish do change color. There are times when their colors may be bright and others when they may fade. Factors such as the environment they are in, water conditions, the food they are getting, mental states (such as stress and anxiety) and their age may affect their color.

Angelfish change their color through cells known as melanosomes, working in conjunction with others known as chromatophores and iridophores.

Do angelfish change color
Do Angelfish Change Color Frequently?


What Color Are Angelfish?

Before proceeding any further with the do angelfish change color discussion, it may be a good idea to pause, and try to understand what their basic colors are.

So, indeed, what color are angelfish? The common angelfish are typically either gold or silver in color. They also usually have some 3 black bands on their bodies.

But we also have albino angelfish, which are white in color, as well as black lace angelfish, whose entire body is black. Others are the blue angelfish as well as chocolate angelfish (that are mostly brown in color)…

With this understanding on the basic angelfish colors, we can proceed to explore the do angelfish change color question further.


Do Angelfish Change Color?

Yes, angelfish have the ability to change color. For instance, you may find your angelfish exhibiting a bright silver color one day. Then on another day, you find them exhibiting a dull silver color – almost gray.

Most angelfish have bands, which most people refer to as stripes (or angelfish striped patterns). These angelfish stripes are very conspicuous.

Most of the angelfish color changes occur within the stripes. When a striped angelfish loses color in its stripes, the rest of the fish also fades.

Conversely, when a striped angelfish reflects more light on its stripes, the rest of the fish also becomes brighter…

All in all, angelfish stripes fade or become brighter depending on various factors. And when angelfish change stripes colors, this normally affects the appearance of the whole fish.

The most important thing is to know that angelfish do change color. Therefore if you notice your angelfish changing color, you need to know that it is something all angelfish do.

This is the case even in freshwater angelfish. Therefore if you had been wondering, do freshwater angelfish change colors, now you know the true position.

All angelfish are prone to changing colors. All angelfish do change color.

That is in fact what leads to questions like: why is my white angelfish turning yellow? Or why is my black angel fish turning white?

Sometimes, you may even find someone asking: why is my angel fish turning red? Or why is my chocolate angelfish turning yellow?

Therefore the phenomenon of angelfish changing colors is a common one.


How Do Angelfish Change Color?

The mechanism for angelfish changing color is quite simple. On the angelfish’s bodies are cells known as chromatophores and others known as iridophores which are responsible for creating the fish’s bright colors and reflecting the same on their scales.

Besides the chromatophores and iridophores, there are other cells known as melanosomes, which are responsible for melanin distribution on the angelfish’s body.

Under certain conditions, the melanosomes distribute melanin more evenly among the melanophores. The end result is where the angelfish colors become brighter.

Under other conditions, the melanosomes distribute melanin less evenly among the melanophores. The end result is where the angelfish colors seem to fade.

Do angelfish change color
Do Angelfish Change Color Every Season?


Why Do Angelfish Change Color?

There are several factors that can make angelfish change color.

For instance, if they are in an environment that they are comfortable in, they will tend to exhibit brighter colors. And when they are in environments that they are uncomfortable in, they will tend to exhibit duller colors.

Uncomfortable environments may include those in which they are cramped. Or those in which there is less greenery. Also environments in which there is a lot of aggression from more dominant angelfish can cause the less dominant ones to lose color.

At yet another level, in aquariums with proper PH and temperature conditions, angelfish may exhibit brighter colors. They conversely become duller in aquariums with less ideal PH and temperature conditions.

Diet can also have a role here. Well-fed angelfish will tend to exhibit brighter colors. Ill-fed angelfish, on the other hand, will tend to exhibit duller colors.

Further, age can have an influence on angelfish color. Very young angelfish may not be very bright in color. But as they mature into adults, they become brighter. Then as they age, they start losing color again.

That is what leads to the question: do angelfish change color as they age? And as explained above, the answer is ‘yes’.

Light changes have also been seen to influence angelfish color. For instance, when you expose angelfish to very harsh light, you may notice that they tend to fade.


Why Do Angel Fish Lose Their Color?

There are several factors that can make angelfish lose their color.

One is being in an uncomfortable environment. For instance, if an angelfish is in a cramped aquarium, it may tend to lose color.

Another factor that may make angelfish lose their color is diet. If an angelfish is not getting adequate food on an ongoing basis, it may start losing its color.

Yet another factor that may make angelfish lose their color is age. As an angelfish becomes old, it may start losing color.

Further, when an angelfish is in the presence of a more dominant angelfish, it may lose color.

Even simply moving angelfish from one place to another may cause angelfish to lose color. This is in fact what leads to the question: do angelfish lose color when they are moved to new places?

And the answer is ‘yes’. They may temporarily lose color, until they get used to their new environments.

In most cases, as explained earlier, it is the fish’s stripes that may be fading. That leads to the question: why do angel fish lose their stripes brightness? And the key factors are the ones outlined above.


Final Verdict – Do Angelfish Change Color

Do Angelfish change color? Yes, Angelfish do change color. Factors like water conditions (PH and temperature), diet, states of mind (for instance stress and anxiety) and even age may have a role in angelfish changing color.

If your angelfish are changing color, you need to investigate the likely cause. Check whether water conditions are alright.

Ensure that the angelfish are getting adequate, nutritious food. And ensure that there is nothing stressing or scaring the angelfish.

Do angelfish change color
Do Angelfish Change Color Every Month?

Ultimately, it is worth remembering that some of the factors that make angelfish change color (such as age) are beyond your control.

However, if the factors causing your angelfish to change color are within your control, you need to take the necessary corrective action(s) urgently.

As a pet lover, make sure to learn about pet more and give your pet fish a good and comfortable life!

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