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Why Goldfish Missing A Scales? | 5 Reasons Must Check

Goldfish, one of the most popular fish around the world, is a type of carp. They are available in almost every pet store and are known to be smart and happy fish. And if you are reading this article, I bet that you own a goldfish in your tank. All of a sudden, you might find that your Goldfish has shed some scales.

Why Goldfish Missing A Scales 5 Reasons Must Check

Is it normal for Goldfish to lose scales? Will they grow back? What can we do to help them grow their scales back? If you want to know the answers to these questions, then keep reading.

Is It Normal For Goldfish To Lose Scales?

Goldfishes shedding their scale is not a normal issue. They are not like other animals who lose their fur or skin while growing. If Goldfish missing a scale, that indicated there is a problem.

Causes of Goldfish Losing Scales and How to Prevent

There are several causes for Goldfish to lose scales. The most common scale loss occurs due to an injury. What are the other causes?

Rough Handling

When Goldfish owners handle their fish, roughly injuries can happen. If you aren’t, be careful while changing the tank’s water and removing the Goldfish from one place to another Goldfish may get injured and lose their scales.

Solution: You have to be gentle enough with Goldfish handling as they are prone to injuries. You can also keep the Goldfish alone in a different tank while it is being treated for infection or illness. They may shed more scales if they are disrupted while in the healing process.

Not Feeding Goldfish the Right Food

Goldfish are naturally carnivorous species. They need a diet that includes meat. If you are not comfortable with meat foods, you should feed them good Goldfish food. Otherwise, the diet may be not suitable enough, and the Goldfish will become unhealthy. It will cause the Goldfish to miss their scales after some time without a proper diet.

Solution: Always pick the food which has meat-based ingredients. There is some fish food that is corn-based. Never buy corn-based fish food for your Goldfish. They don’t have the proper nutrition needed for your fish. Better yet, buy fish food specifically made for Goldfish.


Just like any other pet fish, Goldfish can also become sick. They will catch up with bacterial infections and other diseases when the water condition is terrible. In addition to missing their scales, they show many other symptoms and side effects like a “cotton-like” appearance when they become sick.

Solution: Change the water regularly to see if the problem fixes. If changing water doesn’t get Goldfish better, you’ll have to buy a test kit to check water parameters.

Check if the water has a Nitrate level below 30ppm, Nitrite level at 0ppm and Ammonia level at 0ppm. If those conditions are not met, your Goldfish will get sick. Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate are dangerous for Goldfish.

In that case, you’ll have to remove your sick Goldfish from the tank and treat it with fish “medicine” or a light saltwater bath. Salt will help remove the fish’s infection and bring back the fish and scales to life.

Goldfish are Pecking at Each Other

Sometimes Goldfish attack or “peck” each other.  This pecking can cause Goldfish to fall off their scales.

Solution:  If you have more than 1 Goldfish in your tank, you’ll have to give them a bigger tank. Goldfish like to have personal space, and if they feel smothered, they tend to attack each other. Another solution is to attach decorations like plants which help Goldfish to hide in such situations.

Damage from Sharp Edges

If Goldfish get hit by an excessively sharp, rough, and hard object, they will likely miss their scales. You might think that injuring themselves with sharp objects is impossible because they live in water. But, this can happen due to water current and other factors.

Solution: Avoid buying decorations that have sharp edges and rougher decor. Goldfish like to have decorations inside the tank to hide when necessary. So, there’s no way you can stop them from going to a specific decoration inside the tank.

The best way is to provide them decorations with a safe and soft surface for the fish to slide easily without damaging their scales.

Read more How Many Goldfish Should You Keep In A 30-Gallon Tank?

Do Goldfish Scales Grow Back?

Yes. Goldfish Scales grow back when you treat the fish properly. Before giving them any treatments, you must find the cause of Goldfish Missing scales and fix the issue first. It will take around one to two months to regrow the goldfish scale and sometimes more if the damage is severe enough. You should ensure a clean tank with correct water parameters for the Goldfish to stay healthy while the scale is regrowing.

And it’s completely normal if the fish regrow their scales in the shade, paler or completely clear color.

Though the color is different from their original color, the regrown scales give the right amount of protection a Goldfish needs.

Goldfish Losing Scales Treatment

Goldfish Losing Scales Treatments differ in the cause of scale loss. If the fish lost scale due to an injury, changing the tank to a big one, removing any hard and sharp decorations, and handling the Goldfish carefully enough will be sufficient. But if the Goldfish miss their scales due to an illness, you have to treat it with proper treatments.

The first and foremost step is changing the water regularly. Most of the time, bad water condition is the cause for Goldfish to get sick.

Changing the water usually fixes that problem. Sometimes, even the water change does not help the fish to heal. In that case, we need to treat them with fish medicine or mild saltwater, keeping the sick fish in a separate tank. We must keep the sick fish in clean water so that the fish stays healthy while healing.

Read more Can I Keep Koi and Goldfish In the Same Tank? All To Know

My Goldfish is Turning White and Losing Scales

If your Goldfish is turning white and losing scales, it is definitely sick.

Fatal illnesses cause the Goldfish to turn white while losing scales; hence an IMMEDIATE checkup with a vet is needed, or else your fish will die. Symptoms of fatal illnesses are scales falling off, muted colors, distended belly, appetite loss, et Cetra. If you see any combinations of these symptoms, take your Goldfish to the veterinarian ASAP.

Read more 8 Non-Aggressive Cichlids for Community Tank And Care

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.