If you own Oscar fish, you already know how neat they are to have in your aquarium. They’re good options for many people because of their amazing personalities.
You do your best to care for these fish and keep them healthy. It’s good that they’re robust fish because they aren’t overly hard to care for.
If the fish change colors, you might get worried. Could this be a sign that something is wrong with the fish?
Keep reading to learn about Oscar fish and whether they can change colors. You’ll also learn more about what this means so you can understand what needs to be done.
Oscar Fish Can Change Colors
It is indeed possible for Oscar fish to change colors. This can happen for a number of different reasons.
This is a pretty normal thing for many different types of fish to do. Oscar fish are known for being a bit paler when they’re young.
A baby Oscar fish is going to look a lot different than an adult Oscar fish. This isn’t just because the adult will be larger.
As Oscar fish age, they will start to develop more vibrant colors. Sometime in the middle of the Oscar’s lifespan, it’ll reach a peak.
The fish will get very colorful and then those colors will start to fade as the fish reaches an advanced age. So you could say that while Oscars are in their prime they’re going to be at their most colorful.
So an Oscar fish will naturally become brighter and duller as the years go by. This shouldn’t make you feel as if you don’t need to pay attention to color change, though.
Color change does have the potential to indicate that something negative is happening. Keep reading to dig into the details.
Why Does My Oscar Fish Change Colors?
You’ve already learned that Oscars can change colors just by aging. As an Oscar fish grows out of its juvenile stage, it’ll become more vibrantly colored.
Then when the fish gets much older, it’ll start to fade. The Oscar fish will look much duller in appearance compared to how it did in its younger days.
This is natural, but there are also unnatural things that will cause Oscars to change colors. It’s important to know about this so you can take the right actions to protect your fish.
Below, you’ll see some of the most common issues that will cause Oscars to change color. Once you know why this occurs, you’ll be able to act accordingly.
1 – Malnutrition
One common reason for color changing in Oscar fish involves not feeding them enough food. The fish might not be getting the nutrients that they need to stay healthy.
Oscars are big fish and they need to eat certain types of food to stay in good health. If you’re not feeding them the right things, it could lead to malnutrition.
For instance, you might be feeding fish foods that aren’t meant for Oscars. Oscars need food that is formulated to provide them with the nutrients that they need.
You should check to ensure that you’re feeding the Oscars the right foods first. Make sure that you’re giving them appropriate nutritional pellets as well as meaty foods.
Oscars love eating meaty foods such as freeze-dried shrimp, bloodworms, and other such options. If you’re feeding the fish high-quality food, it’s unlikely that they will encounter issues with color changing.
You also need to feed the fish often enough. To get the best results, feed the Oscar fish two or three times per day.
Feeding the fish three smaller meals is the safest way to do things. This ensures that you won’t let the Oscars become constipated by feeding them too much at once.
2 – Mood
Did you know that Oscar fish can change coloration based on mood? When fish are peaceful and calm in the tank, they’re more likely to be moderately bright.
This means that fish that are in a great mood and don’t feel threatened will be moderately bright and look pretty normal. If the fish appears to be way brighter than usual, it’s a sign that it might be angry about something.
Oscar fish seem to become far brighter than usual when they’re angry. You might see the fish get brighter if it’s fighting another fish or something like that.
The brightness is tied to the temper of the fish. In some ways, it’s similar to when a human’s face gets red when they get really mad or embarrassed.
Of course, there could be other reasons for the color change. You’ll need to keep reading so you can make the right choice to help your fish.
Don’t automatically assume the color change is related to the mood of the fish. If you notice a very prominent color change, it could be a sign of something bad.
3 – Disease
Very prominent color changes are usually related to some type of disease. You should take note of the symptoms and see what’s going on with the fish.
Depending on how the fish is acting and what symptoms you’re able to notice, you might be able to diagnose the condition. This might not always be easy, though.
If you want to get things right, it’s wise to contact an exotic veterinarian that works with fish. Such an expert will be able to help you figure out what’s wrong with the fish fast.
This gives you the best chance of turning things around. Generally, when fish are sick, they’re going to become darker or look faded.
This might differ depending on what’s wrong, though. You’ll have to try to determine what is wrong and then seek out the appropriate treatment so the fish can get back to normal.
4 – Significant Stress
Significant stress has been known to cause fish to fade in color. It might even cause fish to become very dark in appearance.
Oscars can become stressed by many different things in captivity. One of the most common problems involves a lack of space.
These fish grow to be rather large. They commonly grow to be between ten and twelve inches in captivity.
Since they’re so big, they require fish tanks that are big enough to let them live comfortably. One Oscar fish might do fine in a 75-gallon fish tank, but it’d be better to get something larger.
You want to ensure that the fish have more than enough room to thrive. Thus, going with a 100-gallon fish tank or something bigger is a good idea.
Poor water quality can cause significant stress, too. If the water conditions in the tank are poor, it’ll be tough for the fish to thrive.
They’ll wind up experiencing various health issues and this might also lead to coloration changes. It’s imperative to monitor the condition of the fish tank so you can make good choices.
Be careful not to put Oscar fish in a community tank with bully fish. Even though Oscars are large, they can still be bullied by more aggressive fish.
Bullying might get so bad that the Oscars will become severely stressed. This level of stress can easily cause fish to change color.
Look out for sources of stress in the fish tank. Take action fast so you can turn things around and help the fish to feel normal again.
What Colors Can Oscar Fish Be?
You can buy Oscar fish that come in many different colors. These fish are rather popular pets and people love being the most colorful ones that they can find.
It’s easy to find various colors being sold in pet stores across North America. There are some Oscars that lack much color at all and those are known as albino Oscar fish.
Aside from the albino options, you can also buy Oscar fish that are black and orange, black, red, yellow, blue, green, and orange. There are many options to choose from so finding a fish that appeals to your aesthetic sensibilities should be easy.
Some of the more colorful fish might be more expensive than average. It just depends on the specific fish and what you’re looking for.
Why is My Oscar Turning White?
If you notice that your Oscar fish is turning white it’s easy to get worried about it. Sometimes this can occur when the fish is extremely stressed.
It’s just somewhat rare for this to happen. Normally the fish wouldn’t turn white when it’s stressed or a little sick, but it is a possibility.
The most likely scenario involves the fish being very ill. Sadly, your fish is likely quite sick and is in need of immediate treatment.
Fish might turn white when they have certain types of diseases. Ich is a disease that causes white spots to appear all over the body of the fish.
It’s also possible that hole in the head disease could have turned your fish white. No matter what, you need to figure out what’s wrong and treat the fish.
Oscars can recover from such conditions and regain normal coloration. It just requires treatment.
If you don’t treat the fish fast enough, it might not survive. Both hole in the head disease and ich have the potential to kill Oscars.
Why is My Oscar Fish Turning Gray?
Seeing an Oscar fish turn gray is usually an indication that something is wrong in the fish tank. Typically, it’s going to be a sign that the water parameters are off.
You might need to fix the pH balance of the fish tank. It could also be that the water is too dirty and you need to do a better job of maintaining the tank.
Turning gray can be related to the mood of the fish as well. So it could be an indication of a source of stress.
Try to figure out what is making the fish feel this way. If you can remedy the issue, it’ll be possible for the fish to start feeling better.
Oscar Fish Color Enhancer
You can actually enhance the colors of these fish if you want to. Do you want your Oscar fish to be as colorful and bold as possible?
Try feeding the fish color-enhancing food so that it will be more colorful. It’s a good way to make fish stand out a bit more in the fish tank.
You can easily buy these color enhancers from pet stores that sell fish food. Simply buy some recommended foods and your fish will be more colorful than ever before.
Of course, it isn’t necessary to do this. Many Oscar fish are quite colorful and fun to look at even without these special foods.
It might get expensive trying to feed your fish these types of food all the time. You’ll simply have to decide whether it’s a worthwhile thing to pursue or not based on your own feelings.
After learning about Oscar fish and how they can change color, it’s going to be easier to figure out what to do. Your fish might be changing color simply because it’s getting older.
As fish age, they will become brighter until they reach their prime. Then as the fish age further and become old they will start to fade.
This is totally normal, but fish can also change color based on their moods. Oscar fish that feel angry will suddenly become much brighter than usual.
Coloration changes can also occur when fish become stressed. A stressed fish is going to become very dull and might even turn black.
In rare cases, a fish might turn white when it gets really stressed. This is more likely a sign that the fish is sick, though.
Many types of diseases and infections will cause fish to change colors. It’s a good reason to pay attention to the fish and take action fast if you suspect something is wrong.
You can even enhance the colors of the Oscars if you buy the right types of food. There are good food options on the market that are known to make Oscars more vibrant.
This can be expensive, but it might be worthwhile to some people. If this doesn’t appeal to you, it might be better to look into buying Oscars that come in different colors such as yellow, blue, and orange.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.