Goldfish regrow scales that have fallen off due to nipping or infection. Making sure that the water is clean and that there are places for your goldfish to hide from other fish is important to reduce scale loss due to nipping.
Don’t be alarmed if the scales regrow a bit paler or off-color. This is also normal.
Knowing that your goldfish can regrow their scales is exciting news.
But you need to understand why your goldfish is losing scales in the first place, so it doesn’t continue to happen.
In this article, we’re going to discuss why scales might fall off and how you can solve this issue in no time. Keep reading…
Do Goldfish Shed Their Scales?
Some people who have a new goldfish in their tank might wonder if goldfish shed their scales, especially as they grow older.
Well, goldfish aren’t like other animals or creatures who have to lose their fur or skin while growing.
Goldfish never shed their scales unless there is a problem. They do not shed scales as they grow older, either.
If you notice that your goldfish is beginning to lose scales, then most probably it will be due to other factors.
Shedding of scales is not normal and should be treated immediately.
Causes Of Goldfish Losing Scales
When you see scales beginning to fall off of your goldfish, note that it is not normal, and you need to find the cause of the problem.
Luckily for you and your goldfish, most issues can be fixed quickly and easily, and the scales should begin to grow back in no time.
Here are the most common reasons why goldfish lose their scales…
When a goldfish becomes sick (especially with a bacterial infection), it will begin to lose scales.
Most diseases will also come with other symptoms and side effects, including a ‘cotton-like’ appearance on the goldfish.
Here’s what you can do in such a case:
Check Tank Conditions: If you notice an infection or illness with your goldfish, it is likely due to bad tank conditions.
Regularly changing the water is ideal, but if you are cleaning it regularly and still see an issue, then you will want to get a test kit.
Test kits will inform you of all the major parameters in regards to your tank, from the pH balance to the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
With the test kit, you will be able to tell if the bad conditions in the tank are causing illness.
Remember that an excessive amount (over 30ppm) of nitrates is dangerous for fish.
Ammonia and nitrite levels should always be 0ppm. Anything higher than that, and you will see sickness in your goldfish.
Bring Your Goldfish Back to Health: There are some fish ‘medicines’ on the market in fish stores, but you can also try a light saltwater bath for a week.
The salt will work to remove any infection from the fish, bringing it (and its scales) back to life.
2. Goldfish Are Pecking At Each Other
Take a good look at how the fish are behaving with one another.
If they are attacking each other, or ‘pecking,’ it can cause the scales to fall off.
Solution: The best way to ensure that pecking doesn’t occur between the goldfish is to have a big enough tank.
While you might think goldfish are completely fine in a smaller sized bowl, having more than one goldie can lead to trouble.
In fact, goldfish enjoy their own space, and if they are feeling too smothered, they will become slightly aggressive.
It would help if you also offered decor that allows your goldfish to hide from the other fish in the tank.
Having a sort of ‘safe space’ will give them a place to run to if the other fish start to peck at their scales.
As an added bonus, it will give your fish tank some personality and color.
3. Damage From Sharp Edges
When a goldfish bumps into a sharp or excessively rough and hard object, it can cause the scales to fall off.
While this is a less likely factor, it’s still something that should be considered when choosing decorations for the fish tank.
Solution: Never buy decorations that have sharp edges and try to avoid rougher decor.
While goldfish will like to have decorations inside the tank as well as a place to hide, you need to make sure that these decorations are providing a safe and soft surface for the fish to slide easily by without damage to their scales.
4. Not Feeding Goldfish The Right Food
Another reason why a goldfish might lose their scales is that they are lacking a proper diet to keep their scales healthy.
A good food source will be the difference between a happy, healthy goldfish with bright, beautiful scales, and one that’s beginning to slow down energy-wise and lose scales or change hues.
Solution: Pay attention when purchasing your goldfish food. You should never buy corn-based food.
Corn-based goldfish food does not give the goldfish proper nutrition that is needed to keep them (and their scales) healthy.
Actively check ingredients the next time you visit your local pet store.
5. Rough Handling
Goldfish owners who are handling their pets too roughly can also cause damage to the scales.
This could happen while trying to change out the water, and while removing the goldfish from the tank.
Solution: Always handle goldfish gently so that you do not cause unnecessary damage to your goldie’s scales.
You can also leave the goldfish alone while it is being treated for infection or illness.
Any disruption during the healing process can result in further scale damage.
How Long Does It Take To Regrow The Scales?
After finding the cause of goldfish scales falling off and treating the issue, you may wonder how long it’s going to take for the scales to grow back.
It typically takes anywhere from one to two months for a goldfish to grow back its scales completely, but that can differ depending on the amount of damage.
You should ensure that the goldfish stays completely healthy, and the tank is clean while scales are growing back.
Any stress on the goldfish during this crucial time can delay the regrowth of scales.
Remember that it is completely normal for scales to grow back in a different shade, be a bit paler, or be completely clear.
Sometimes the scales will grow back to their normal color, but it’s more than likely going to be a lighter shade or clear.
This is not a cause for concern. While it’s not the same shade, it’s still offering the right amount of protection for your goldie.
There are a few products found in pet stores that can help to speed up the overall process of scales growing back.
Ask your local fish store owner what options they carry in-store.
They may also have specialty fish tank drops that will enhance the strength and health of scales overall.
Conclusion & Final Tips!
Goldfish will never shed their scales unless there’s a problem.
Most of the time, it is due to bad tank conditions leading to illness and infection.
This can be solved with medicine and a saltwater bath, while pecking and injury can be resolved with bigger tanks filled with softer decorations (some for hiding purposes) that don’t have sharp or rough edges.