Do Goldfish Regrow Scales?

goldfish lose scales

Is your goldfish missing a few scales?

If your goldfish is missing a few sales, then you’re probably wondering if goldfish can regrow their scales?

Yes, goldfish can, and should, regrow their scales. However, as we will explain in this article, it is a little bit concerning if your goldfish loses its scales. This article will answer everything you need to know about goldfish losing their scales and regrowing their scales.

Do Goldfish Shed or Lose Their Scales?

Goldfish do not naturally shed their scales like many other fish or even reptiles.


This means that if your goldfish has missing scales, then something is wrong with it. So, is a goldfish with missing scales a cause for concern?

It depends on why your goldfish lost its scales. Some reasons are more concerning than others, but you should look to solve the problems because it’s not normal for these fish to lose their scales. A later section will explain some of the most common reasons your goldfish has lost its scales.

How Long For Goldfish To Regrow Scales

goldfish scales

The exact amount of time it takes a goldfish to regrow its scales depends on its diet, age, water conditions, and genetic factors.

A good rule of thumb is that it should take about 2 months for a goldfish to regrow its scales.

You should also know that the scales may not come back the same color, which isn’t that big of a concern. The color of the scales is mostly based on diet and age. You just want to make sure that the scales are strong and healthy.

Reasons Goldfish Lose Their Scales

These are the most common reasons that goldfish have missing scales. There might be more reasons unknown to us – these reasons are simply the most common. I would say that 9 times out of 10 the cause of missing scales can be explained by one of these reasons.

Poor Diet

A poor diet can cause your goldfish to lose its scales. Unfortunately, this reason is one that should be a cause for concern because a poor diet will negatively impact the fish in more ways than just causing scales to fall off.

On the bright side, a healthy diet for goldfish is easy enough for owners – you just have have to know what to feed them. The general consensus is to feed them plenty of meat or fish based food (ie. bugs, guppies, worms, snails, etc.). The meat will help regrow their scales at a faster rate and keep them much healthier overall.

You should also make sure to feed them plenty of plant based food. Duckweed and other aquatic plants found in cold water are perfectly fine for goldfish.

You should not feed your goldfish crackers or other processed food. They don’t have stomachs and cannot breakdown complex processed food like crackers, grains, and even corn.


Do you have your goldfish with other fish?

This can become problematic because the fish may nip at each other during territorial disputes or mating rituals. I must say that this is probably the most common that your goldfish has missing scales. And I’d classify this as a perfectly normal reason for missing scales.

It’s similar to how cats and dogs will have scars from occasional fights.

You can limit this problem by increasing the size of your goldfish tank. Most goldfish owners keep their fish in tanks that are far too small or too crowded. I recommend 20 gallons at an absolute minimum. 55 gallons is a better target for goldfish and 155 gallons or a pond are even better for ideal goldfish health.

Damage from Structure

Goldfish can also lose their scales when they brush up against sharp or jagged structures in your tank.

Again, this problem is not too concerning since the fish have a tendency to avoid brushing up against structure. But if you do have a sharp or jagged structure, then I highly recommend removing it from your tank to keep your goldfish in the healthiest shape possible.

Damage from Nets

Finally, you can damage your goldfish when you net them.

I have problems with this theory for goldfish scale damage. Why am I skeptical about nets damaging goldfish scales?

I have never damaged a fish’s scales with a net. Personally, this sounds like generic advice that people give because, well, it makes sense that you can damage the fish in a net.

I just haven’t noticed it to be a problem.

That said, netting aquarium fish stresses them out, so it’s something that you want to avoid as much as possible.

Infrequent Water Changes or a Dirty Tank

Goldfish can also lose their scales if they’re in a dirty, nasty tank. However, I have placed this at the bottom of the list because I know all my readers treat their goldfish well and don’t keep them in a dirty tank.

Anyway, you should be changing the water once a week and keeping the ammonia levels to a minimum, which can be a bit problematic because goldfish have a high biological load.

That’s a fancy way of saying goldfish defecate and urinate a lot.


To conclude, goldfish do not naturally lose their scales. There is a reason a goldfish lose their scales, which you should work to resolve.

Fortunately, all the solutions are easy to implement and goldfish will regrow any lost scales.

But still, work on solving the problem by utilizing the tips mentioned in this article.

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