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For animal science our teacher wants us to die a fish a different color. How would I go about doing this? Or can I just get a white fish and out like 2 drops of food color on each side of him ? Because I have a 3.0 GPA looking at going into collage next year, this is 50% of 1st semesters grade. Thanks!
Question Date: 2011-10-04
Answer 1:

That sounds like an unusual project. Are you sure your fish is meant to be dyed? Perhaps you could post a bit more of the assignment, so I could understand better. What fish do you have?

In any case, I dont think you should use food coloring on your fish, because that could be harmful to them and it is not going to have any effect on their color. You could test this on yourself by putting food color on your hand, and putting it into water.

Fish color can change either by changing the pigment in the cells, or the light that hits them. Fish can naturally change their color due to fear, mating, or other reasons, but not all fish do this. Fish skin is made up of pigment-containing cells (called chromatophores), and light reflecting cells (called iridocytes).

Fish lack the ability to make their own pigments, so they must obtain pigment compounds from their diet in order to maintain their coloration. This isnt a problem in nature, where fish can eat many things in order to obtain a variety of pigment-rich plant, algae and bacterial food. The pink coloring of flamingos comes from pigments in the creatures they eat, which are rich in alpha and beta carotenoid pigments. These pigments come from eating crustaceans which are the same things that cause shrimp to become red when cooked.

Depending on the fish, you could try adding a little bit of food rich in pigments (from a pet supply shop) to their diet that might make them change color over about 2 months. I would contact a fish care specialist in a fish- centered pet shop to talk about what foods would be best for your fish.

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