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What causes fish jump out from tank?

Hatchet fish swimming in an aquariumIf your pet fish is jumping out from the tank, it’s a tell-tale sign that something is not right. Fish just like any living creature will not resort to such drastic action unless there is a specific reason that drives them to do it. Most of the time it is not difficult to figure it out yourself and as a responsible pet fish owner, it should be your duty to find out why it happens and take steps to rectify the situation. Let us consider all the facts and factors stated below.

Poor living condition
Water which is too warm, extremely low temperature, dirty, lack of oxygen, highly alkaline or acidic way out of their liking and coupled with prolonged condition will often leave them with no choice but to jump out of the aquarium. For example, if you have a platy living in a tank without any form of heater during the winter, and the temperature drops way below the minimum 82deg Fahrenheit (28deg Celsius) that they require, it is a sign that you are inviting trouble to happen. Sometimes when you introduce new pet fish from the water in the bag which is warmer compared to the water in the new tank having much lower temperature, this can also stimulate the same effect. Thus, always watch over your water quality and it is a good practice to perform a routine check on your water temperature before you add in the new fish. Also another factor to consider when it comes to living condition is when you have a tank with the size too small to accommodate your pets. This is especially when you force them to live in an aquarium with practically no room to swim or maneuver around and this is just a disaster waiting to happen.

Fighting and Bullying
Let’s face it, no matter which living species we refer to, there are bound to be internal competition that can lead to fighting. Whether it is for food, living space, to claim territorial dominance, in searching for partners, or simply just a male to male duel to see which one is stronger, all these are bound to turn out to become an ugly business. Losers will often left with no choice or way out of the mess and thus jumping out from the aquarium seems to be a sensible option. A good example would be Betta fighting fish. Sometimes fighting can also be due to tussle occurring among different groups of fish and usually size is a major factor here because the smaller fish will often become the subject of bullying by their larger tank mates. In this situation, either you transfer your pets to a separate aquarium or split them apart by introducing a tank partition to ensure they will not bump into each other anymore.

Fungus or Parasite Infection
Fungal growth or parasitic infection (normally those that survive living off the slime on the body of the fish) can cause your pet to swim in an erratic matter, often scratching onto the surface of the tank and to certain extent can even lead to them jumping out from the tank. When you notice this happening, a quick remedy is usually to introduce some salt (0.5% concentration) and to deal with specific situation, I suggest you check out the post on fungus infection and anchor worm infestation.

The Fear Factor (Scared or Startled)
This usually happens when you introduce a fish to a new living environment. Based on my own experience, when you have a fish living in a pond where the only threat they can see is from the above and out of a sudden you decide to put them into a glass tank with a 360 degree view of a totally new environment, they will start to freak out. This is because they haven’t really adjusted themselves with the condition and this happens mostly to fish bred in pond with those that have never experience life living in a glass tank. For example, if you are decide to transfer your koi carp from a pond to a fish tank (to winterize them indoor) then the jumping out of the tank scenario is something you should certainly watch out for.

Bright lights, sudden flash can also startled your fish. Paradise fish for example are known as frequent jumpers because anything new or something happening out of a sudden will cause them to leap out of their enclosure. Make it a point to avoid putting the tank too close to TV or moving source of light. Also if you have an aquarium without any form of lighting fixture, it would be a good idea not to suddenly turn on the lights for the room as it will cause your fish to dash around frantically searching for a hiding spot. To deal with this problem, it is either you construct a proper hiding space for them to retreat to or make it habit not to turn on the lights for the room once you have switched it off.

Traits of The Fish
Certain fish has the tendency to jump out of the water. This has nothing to do with size as sometimes even the larger fish can decide to perform the stunt. Fish species that shows this behavior is mostly due to predatory nature that leads them to hunt for creatures out of the water. One good example is the freshwater trout, distichodus fish and silver arowana which can reach few feet above the water in a single jump. Thus, if you are keeping those type of pet fish, either make sure you have a very large tank to accommodate their jumping behavior or else, put a protective cover or netting to ensure that they won’t end up out of the water. Also, if you are keeping small hatchet fish which are top surface dwellers, be wary on their sudden change of mood especially when you are performing tank cleaning and lowering down the water level. The last thing that you want to see is some dried up dead fish lying motionless on the floor.



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About Me

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My fascination and interest towards aquarium fish has led me to devote my time towards caring and learning about this wonderful pet.

Aquarium fish keeping is a very challenging and exciting hobby. When I first started, I never knew much or have the necessary guidance back then because none of my family members were actually a keen hobbyist. And because of that, I’ve encountered numerous failures and the worst part is having to deal with dead fish every time when you started to grow fond and getting attached to my pets. However, I persevered and took steps to find out and search for information from other hobbyist, apart from the knowledge gained and learned from my own experience and research. The blog that I’ve created here is meant to share useful information and tips about aquarium fish keeping so that new hobbyist will not make the same mistakes that I’ve made in the past."

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