First of all, you need to know what we’re talking about! Because a goldfish is not necessarily red…
Goldfish are the result of a breeding process for common carp that has lasted several centuries. Over time, specimens have been chosen because of their color, shape or dimensions. Today, the term “red” fish ultimately refers to fish that can also be orange, white or yellow.
But when you buy a fish of a particular color, can it change? Well yes ! Goldfish can change color because their color is the result of a complex alchemy between environment, genetics, diet and health. Vary one or more parameters and the fish will change color.
The color changes depending on the water
The environment in which a goldfish lives greatly influences its color. Water temperature is a key factor: colder temperatures can make fish appear paler, while warmer temperatures can intensify their red or orange pigmentation.
Water quality also plays a role. Dirty water can stress fish and cause color loss. Cloudy water will also allow light to pass through differently, thus impacting the appearance of the fish. Intense light will allow you to perceive bright colors, while weak light attenuates this perception.
Color changes depending on power supply
Foods rich in carotenoids can amplify red and orange tones. Astaxanthin is one of the best-known carotenoids. It is widely present in fish foods. It is produced by marine algae and bacteria. It is in particular what gives its deep pink color to the flesh of the salmon.
The color changes depending on the age of the fish
Some goldfish are born with an appearance that will change with age. It is not uncommon for a goldfish to change color during its first year of life, from gray to red or orange hues. This transformation is a natural process which is explained by the maturation and genetic evolution of the individual.
The color changes depending on the health of the fish
A sudden and significant change in color in a goldfish should alert its owner. This is indeed a bad sign: the fish is probably sick. When a goldfish turns pale or almost white, it may be a symptom of illness, parasites, or severe stress. The fish must be quickly isolated so that it does not contaminate others, and any necessary care provided.
The color change of a goldfish is ultimately an indicator of many things. This shows that it is important to know the animals we choose to keep us company on a daily basis, so that we can decipher these signals. There is no need to panic. Ultimately, only the sudden color change is problematic. If goldfish are these small animals that we can win at the funfair, they are nonetheless living beings who are entitled to our full consideration and our care to ensure their well-being.