Tropical Aquarium Expert

Why Do Tropical Fish Lose Their Color When I Put Them in My Small Aquarium?

Question form readers:

I have an african cichlid in my tank and recently added an oscar, they both have lost their pretty colors, I’m not sure why this is? The temp of the water sits at 27-29 degrees celsius. Their diet consists of bloodworms, small cichlid pellets and tropical fish flakes. The tank is well airated and filtered.

I don’t know if the size of the tank makes them stress. Maybe it is the light color of the aquarium gravel and this is the way they’re trying to camouflage. I’ve seen this with small fish but these are bigger ones.

The diet is supposed to enhance their colors, it says that on tropical fish food.

Please help

TAE Answers:

There may be many different reasons that affect the color of the fish:
– more light in smaller aquarium or a stronger source of light or longer light cycle,
– light colored gravel or background,
– a change in a diet,
– decreased number of plants,
– change in water chemistry,
– the time of the year or mating season affect the colors as well,
– new and unknown territory or a change in a aquarium layout.

Quite often the changes are temporary and tropical fish get their colors back
when they get used to new conditions.

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4 Comments for “Why Do Tropical Fish Lose Their Color When I Put Them in My Small Aquarium?”


    You haven’t said what size tank that they’re in but actually that temperature is far too low and it needs to be 75 f. All tropical fish will lose their colours if the water is not warm enough.

  2. Philip R

    Because its probably slowly dying…

  3. Mr. Purple Pants

    It’s because your enslavement of these creatures has caused them to sink into depression, which has caused a chemical reaction in their bodies which makes them loose their colorful pigments. And it’s all your fault!

    …or maybe not…

  4. peetr

    well this is pretty easy
    1. small tank
    2. african or any cichlid in a small tank
    3. oscar with other cichlids
    4. especially africans
    5. especially in a small tank
    6. if you have a new tank- ammonia poisoning

    so 6 things possibly wrong all at the same time. yea stressed sick fish lose their color.

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