Fish of a Different Color

Magenta Dottyback

We often choose fish for our home aquariums that are colorful and different looking. We want our aquariums to be an attractive home for the fish as well as add to the decor of our home.

But why do fish have such a wide variety of colors and patterns? They sport these colors for more reasons than just to look attractive. Colors and patterns serve to communicate to other fish, both their own species and others:

Gender and species

Camouflage such as mimicking their surroundings

Predator fish use colors offensively while prey fish have defensive colors, the object being, in both cases, to confuse or distract

Age and sex – some fish change color as they mature; males may become more colorful as they reach sexual maturity.

In all instances, colors and patterns can mean the survival of the species. And we are fortunate to be able to enjoy the beauty that these fish colors and patterns bring to our aquariums.

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