Colour variations in fish


Ex-LFS manager/ keeper of over 30 danio species
May 26, 2004
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Kent UK
there seems to be some confusion on the forums as to what an albino fish is;
whilst looking into this I found all these other colour variations and what to call them.
it would be intersting to see if anyone has any of the others listed (other than albino/lutino)

Abundism (Abundant)
Markings are more prolific than usual
green tiger barbs are abundant fish

Albinism (Albino [al-bee-no])
Lacking melanin.
Also known as amelanistic. white body (ie lacking melanin) with pink/red eyes (ie lacking melanin in the cornea)..

Anerythristic (Anertino [an-er-tee-no])
Lacking the red colour.
The actual colour and pattern of the fish depends on what other colours are in the pattern. One effect might be a bluish-grey fish.

Axanthic (Axantino [ax-an-tee-no])
Lacking the yellow colour.
The actual colour and pattern of the fish depends on what other colours are in the pattern.

Dilutinic (Dilution)
The colour is washed out
e.g. black becomes blue (grey), red becomes cream, blue becomes lilac.

Erythristic (erytino [ery-tee-no])
Black pigment is converted to red.

Flavistic (flautino [flau-tee-no])
A golden mutation.
The overall effect is that of a yellow fish.
Golden danios are flautino fish

Hypermelanistic (hypermelantino [hyper-melan-tee-no])
Having excessive black and/or brown pigment (usually just referred to as melanistic).

Hypomelanistic (hypomelantino [hypo-melan-tee-no])
Having less black and/or brown colour than normal.
These animals still have some pigment and may simply look "faded".

Leucistic (lutino [loo-tee-no]) Similar to albino; white, but having dark eyes.
fish often have "ghost markings" that are visible in certain light.

Another term for dilution.

Melanistic (melatino [mela-tee-no])
full body pigmentation (often given to full black animals like black leopards ie panther)

Mosaicism (mosaic)
Abnormal black patches of skin cells due to cell mutations in the embryo.

Nigrism (nigrino [nig-ree-no])
Black markings merge into black areas.

Having white patches.
Note: piebald is a normal colouration in some animals, this note only applies to animals which do not normally have black or white patches. In normally dark-coloured animals white patches may be due to albinism affecting certain areas of skin; in normally light-coloured animals, black/dark brown patches may be due to melanism. The patches are due to localised mutations in skin cells during embryo development. If the mutation occurs early in development, the patches are larger. If it occurs later, the patches are smaller.

Combination of Abundism and Nigrism
i.e. prolific markings coalesce to hide the background colour.

Rufism (rutino [roo-tee-no])
Affects the depth of the red pigment turning it from yellow-orange into deep orange-red.

Xanthic (xantino [zan-tee-no]) Having more yellow colour than normal.


"No one is a failure unless you try"
Mar 18, 2004
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Great info, very interesting :cool:
It's not fish, but this did remind me of a site I've visited that documents mutant colour variations in big cats :whistle:
Mutant Big Cats


Jan 25, 2011
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Well it took some time to read it completely, but very useful information. I wonder how did able to take this sample picture. It’s very rear to get this kind of information. Thanks for sharing.