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.
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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