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How To Treat Peeling Skin In Fish!

As the popularity of fish keeping as a hobby continues to sky rocket with each year that goes by, we have noticed more and more people reaching out and asking a huge range of different questions about caring for their pet fish as effectively as possible.

Although rare, we have noticed a number of very worried fish owners reaching out to ask questions about having problems with their fish peeling skin off.

Due to seeing a number of people reaching out in a panicked state as well as a number of people having problems with the skin of their fish looking like it’s peeling off increasing, we have decided to publish our own dedicated blog post on the topic.

Our hope is that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible who are having this issue with their pet fish and help you get your pet fish back to full health as quickly as possible.

Thankfully, the majority of the time when it appears that the skin of your fish is peeling off, it is nothing more than a parasite or bacterial infection that is easy to treat with the correct treatments.

Once the issue is treat, you usually find that the skin of your fish is fine and was not peeling off and the vast majority of fish will make a full recovery.

What Disease Causes Skin Peeling in Fish?

The two most common problems that make it appear as though your fish’ skin is peeling off is a bacterial infection after ich and the velvet parasite infection.

Both are easy to treat and most fish will return to full health quickly once you have treat the main problem that is causing the appearance of your fish’ skin peeling off.

Both of these conditions can be common for aquariums kept by beginner fish keepers but both are also easily avoidable once you know what is going wrong in your tank.

If you do notice that your fish have velvet or ich then don’t take it as a sign that you are a bad fish keeper, both issues happen to experienced fish keepers too and you often have to work hard to prevent them from causing problems with your fish.

The simple fact that you are paying close enough attention to your fish to realise that it is having a problem with its skin and it looks like it is peeling off is a sign that you are a good fish keeper as many beginners overlook it.

Provided you catch both conditions early enough, they both do tend to be easy to treat too making it much easier to get your fish back to full health but the longer they are left to develop, the harder it becomes to treat them.

Why Does My Fish Skin Look Like Its Peeling?

The most common reason that the skin of your fish will look like it is peeling off is due to a bacteria infection taking hold of your fish after it initially suffering from an ich parasite infection.

The damaged scales and skin on your fish after having the ich treated can make it easier for a bacterial infection to take hold and it will commonly look like your fish’ skin is peeling.

Depending on how serious the ich infection is, it can be enough to make the skin of your fish appear to be peeling off too.

We would always recommend that you use a specialist ich treatment for your fish like No products found. as it is excellent for treating the initial ich infection.

You should then usually move over to lightly dosing the tank with Melafix or Primafix to reduce the chances of a bacterial infection taking hold in your fish.

If you have already treat a case of ich in your fish and are now noticing that it looks like the skin of your pet fish is starting to peel then adding the regular dose of Melafix or Primafix to actively treat the bacterial infection on your fish is recommended.

This should be able to quickly deal with the bacterial infection that is making the skin of your fish look like it is peeling. Ideally, you will also be putting your fish with the problem in an isolation tank is possible to prevent the issue from spreading to any of its tank mates.

Why Does My Fish Look Like It’s Shedding?

The most common cause of a fish looking like its skin and scales are shedding is the velvet parasite infection.

A serious case of velvet can make it appear as if the skin of your fish is starting to shed off but it is usually just the parasite husks falling off with velvet usually being very easy to treat.

If your pet fish does have velvet then we would recommend that you start to treat it with Cupramine as soon as possible.

Depending on your tank set up, restricting the amount of light available can also help to deal with the velvet parasite too as it usually requires a large amount of light to survive.

When treating a fish with velvet, it will appear as if the condition is getting much worse before it gets better but the increase of what appears to be the skin of your fish shedding is usually just the parasite husks falling off your fish.

The actual skin of your pet fish is generally fine so even though it looks like the condition is getting bad, it is usually nothing to do with the skin of your fish and is just an indication that the treatment is working.


That brings our article going over what to do if your are having problems with your pet fish peeling skin. There are some less common problems that can cause this effect in fish but for the most part, it is generally down to velvet or a bacterial infection on your fish after dealing with ich. Focusing on both of these are usually enough to identify the cause and treat it efficiently but if you feel that neither cause are whats wrong with your fish then we would recommend that you seek assistance from a vet as soon as possible.