Why is My Parrot Fish Turning Black?

Parrotfish can turn black due to various reasons, such as transitioning from juvenile to adult coloration, artificial dyeing, or disease. Parrotfish come in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and markings, with some having iridescent scales. 

Possible Causes of Blackening in Parrot Fish

The blackening of parrot fish can occur for several reasons, so it is essential to recognize the possible causes in order to take appropriate measures. Here are the main factors that contribute to a parrot fish turning black:

  • Natural Growth: Parrotfish can change their colors throughout their lives, as they grow and mature. As protogynous hermaphrodites, parrotfish are born as females and can later undergo a sex change to become males, leading to changes in their coloration and behavior.
  • Water Adjustment: Parrotfish may show black spots due to adjusting to the water quality and may fade for a couple of weeks.
  • Artificial Dyeing: Some parrot fish are artificially dyed to achieve bright and attractive colors for sales purposes. Over time, the dye may fade, and the fish’s original dark color may show through.
  • Illness or Injury: Discoloration or black patches can appear on a parrot fish’s body due to various factors such as Black Spot disease, physical injuries, or trauma resulting from aggressive interactions or sharp objects in the tank.

Understanding these factors can help fish owners identify the underlying cause, which will enable them to take the right steps to address and prevent blackening in their parrot fish.

Treating and Preventing Blackening in Parrot Fish

To treat and prevent blackening in parrot fish, it’s crucial to address the possible causes and maintain a healthy environment for your fish. Here are some helpful steps to follow:

  • Water quality improvement: Maintain the ideal water parameters by regularly testing and adjusting the temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Perform water changes and use a high-quality filter to help keep the tank clean and stable.
  • Parasite elimination: If black spot disease or other parasites are suspected, treat your fish with appropriate medication according to the veterinarian’s instructions. Make sure to disinfect the tank to prevent reinfection.
  • Stress reduction: Identify any stressors affecting your parrot fish, such as aggressive tank mates or improper living conditions, and take necessary measures to eliminate or minimize them. Provide hiding spots and ensure the tank size is appropriate for your fish.
  • Injury treatment and prevention: If your parrot fish has an injury, consult a veterinarian for proper treatment. Prevent future injuries by removing sharp objects from the aquarium and monitoring tankmates’ behaviors to ensure a peaceful environment.

By addressing underlying issues, fish owners can help promote the overall health of their parrot fish, prevent future blackening, and ensure a vibrant, lively tank community.


Parrotfish are incredibly beautiful and colorful fish that can naturally change color over time as they age. However, changes in coloration can also be a sign of stress, disease, injury, or sex changes. To ensure the well-being of your aquatic companion, it’s important to constantly monitor your parrotfish and the tank environment. By understanding and addressing these possible causes, you can help these amazing fish thrive and add a burst of color to your tank.