Why Is My Goldfish Losing Scales And Turning White

Losing fish scales is not typical for Goldfish, If your fish is losing scales you need to find out why. So why is my goldfish losing scales?

Do they have a disease? Are they injured?

Why Is My Goldfish Losing Scales

Goldfish losing scales can be a result from a physical injury when they hit their body against hard materials. It can also be a result of skin infections, parasites, and low water quality. Likewise, Goldfish can lose scales as a result of nipping from other fish.

Here are some common reasons why goldfish may lose scales:

Physical injury

Goldfish can lose scales due to physical trauma or injury. Rough handling, collisions with sharp objects, or aggressive behavior from tank mates can cause scales to be scraped or knocked off. Inspect your goldfish for any signs of external injuries, such as redness, inflammation, or open wounds.

Fungal or bacterial infections

Infections caused by fungi or bacteria can lead to scale loss in goldfish. Fungal infections, such as saprolegniasis, can cause cotton-like growth on the fish’s body, which can lead to scale loss. Bacterial infections like columnaris can also cause scale erosion or ulceration. These infections are often accompanied by other symptoms like fin rot, redness, or behavioral changes.

Parasitic infestations

Certain parasites, such as anchor worms or fish lice, can attach themselves to the body of a goldfish and cause scale loss. These parasites may also cause itching, inflammation, or redness. If you observe small, worm-like structures or visible parasites on your goldfish’s body, it’s important to address the infestation promptly.

Poor water quality

Maintaining proper water quality is crucial for the health of goldfish. Ammonia and nitrite spikes, high levels of nitrate, or poor water conditions can stress the fish and lead to scale loss. Test the water parameters, including ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and general hardness, to ensure they are within acceptable ranges for goldfish. Regular water changes and proper filtration can help maintain good water quality.

Nutritional deficiencies

Inadequate nutrition or imbalanced diets can weaken a goldfish’s immune system, making them more susceptible to health issues. A poor diet lacking in essential vitamins and minerals can contribute to scale loss. Ensure that your goldfish is being fed a varied and balanced diet, including high-quality commercial fish food supplemented with occasional fresh or frozen foods.

Other diseases or health conditions

Scale loss can be a symptom of underlying health issues, such as parasites affecting the gills, internal infections, or organ dysfunction. It’s important to observe your goldfish for any additional symptoms, such as changes in behavior, appetite, or breathing difficulties, which may help determine the cause of scale loss.

Below is a video I found on youtube which shows you a goldfish that has lost some scales.

YouTube video

Why Goldfish Losing Scales Turning White

If your goldfish is losing scales and turning white, it could be due to a condition called “Scale Loss and Color Change.” There are a few possible reasons for this:

Fungal infection

Fungal infections, such as Saprolegnia, can cause white cotton-like growth on the goldfish’s body. This growth can lead to scale loss and a change in color. Fungal infections often occur in fish that have weakened immune systems or have experienced physical damage.

Parasitic infestation

Some parasites, such as Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (Ich), can cause white spots or patches on the goldfish’s body. These parasites attach to the skin and gills, leading to irritation, scale loss, and color changes. Other parasites like flukes can also cause similar symptoms.

Poor water quality

Unhealthy water conditions, such as high ammonia or nitrite levels, can stress goldfish and make them more susceptible to diseases and infections. Chronic exposure to poor water quality can lead to scale loss and a change in color.

Genetic factors

In some cases, goldfish may naturally develop white or pale scales due to their genetic makeup. This is more commonly seen in certain varieties, such as white or metallic goldfish. Genetic factors alone usually do not cause scale loss unless there are other underlying health issues.

How to Treat a Goldfish That Has Lost Its Scales

If your goldfish has lost its scales, it’s crucial to provide appropriate care to help promote healing and prevent further complications. Here are some steps you can take to treat a goldfish that has lost its scales:

Assess the water quality

Ensure that the water parameters in your goldfish’s tank are within the appropriate ranges. Test the water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and general hardness. Perform partial water changes as needed to maintain good water quality.

Isolate the fish (if necessary)

If the scale loss is due to an infection or infestation, it may be beneficial to isolate the affected fish in a quarantine tank. This prevents the potential spread of diseases to other tankmates and allows for more targeted treatment.

Maintain clean water

Clean water is
essential for promoting healing and preventing infections. Ensure that the tank or quarantine tank has a proper filtration system to remove waste and maintain water clarity. Perform regular water changes to remove toxins and maintain optimal water conditions.

Medication and treatment

Depending on the cause of scale loss, you may need to use specific medications or treatments. Consult a veterinarian experienced in fish health or a knowledgeable fish store professional for guidance on appropriate treatments. This is especially important if the scale loss is due to a fungal infection, bacterial infection, or parasitic infestation.

Provide a balanced diet

A nutritious and balanced diet is important for the overall health and immune system of your goldfish. Ensure that you are feeding high-quality commercial fish food and supplementing it with occasional fresh or frozen foods. A healthy diet can support the healing process.

Minimize stress

Reduce stressors in the environment to allow your goldfish to heal. Provide appropriate hiding places, maintain a consistent and suitable temperature, and minimize disturbances in the tank.

Monitor and observe

Keep a close eye on the affected goldfish’s progress. Observe its behavior, appetite, and overall health. Look for any signs of improvement or worsening of the condition. If the scale loss does not improve or if the fish’s health deteriorates, seek professional advice from a veterinarian experienced in fish health.

Do Goldfish Scales Grow Back?

While Goldfish losing scales is terrible news, the good news is that they can regrow it. Fish can regrow their scales regardless of what causes them to lose it. But bear it in mind that it is normal for the scales to be a little pale or off-color when it regrows.

However, it is essential to ensure that the conditions are right with them if you want Goldfish to regrow lost scales. Make sure that their water is clean and free of parasites that can cause infection.

Remove rigid substrates that can cause Goldfish to lose scales from their tank. You can replace such substrate with softer ones that cannot remove your fish’s scale. Providing enough hiding space for your Goldfish in community tanks will mitigate scale loss that arises from nipping from other fish.

Is It Normal For Fish To Lose Scales?

Goldfish Losing Scales

It is not typical for fish, particularly Goldfish, to lose scales. Losing scales in fish is not a natural phenomenon because they don’t molt. It only occurs as a result of undesirable happenings in the tank.

You should make no mistake; fish won’t shed their scales as they grow because they are not reptiles. Goldfish will not shed their scales if nothing terrible happens in the tank. Seeing your Goldfish lose its scales might indicate that you have to put some things in order in your tank.

Why Is My Goldfish Skin Peeling?

Like Goldfish losing its scales, Goldfish skin peeling off is also not normal. Goldfish skin often peels off due to adverse conditions like poor water conditions, bacterial infection, high ammonia concentration, parasites, and bullying tank mates.

Seeing the skin of your fish peeling off indicates that something is wrong in your tank, and it is best to fix it as soon as you can. Goldfish often rub their bodies against hard surfaces while trying to eliminate the parasites in their bodies. Consequently, their skin might peel off in the process.

Regular water changes, high-quality water, and putting the tank in order will mitigate the possibility of fish’s skin peeling off. Similarly, monitoring essential water parameters to ensure that they are optimal will also protect your fish.



Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind HelpUsFish.com. I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.