While it seems like they may lead an idyllic life unbothered from the dangers of the open ocean, fish can actually suffer from stress in an aquarium. Fish stress can alter the behavior of your fish, making them less outgoing and possibly decreasing their life spans. We’ve identified seven different causes of stress in fish, and we’re letting you know what you can do about it.
Are you noticing that one fish is hiding in the top corner of the aquarium? Stressed fish tend to hide towards the top of the tank to gulp in more oxygen. Maybe you’ve added a new fish to an established fish community, and you want to help the new fish adjust to its new home. Care for your aquarium fish by quarantining any bully fish in a separate tank or an in-tank chamber.
Not Enough Hiding Spots
Young and baby fish (fry) need ample hiding spots to get away from older fish and potential bullies. Adding a live plant in an aquarium can give fish the area they need to hide and decrease their stress. Mossy or bushy plants, driftwood pieces, or other aquarium decor can provide relaxing retreats for aquarium fish.
As a general standard in long-term care for the fish in your aquarium, you should refrain from overstocking your tank, and maintaining the population so it doesn’t get out of control. If there are too many fish in the aquarium, it can be a source of stress for other fish since they’ll perceive one another to be competition for resources and space. It’s important to do some research before purchasing a fish so you know how large they will grow, and to stop buying fish once you have an appropriate amount for your tank size.
Do your fish seem little “off”? Improper nutrition and a lack of aquarium fish care can lead to stress and diseases, such as parasites, fungus, or bacterial infections. Make sure that you are feeding your fish the correct food for their species and the proper amounts for their size.
Elevated Nitrates, Nitrites, or Ammonia
Water chemistry can be a daunting topic for a new aquarium owner. When you have elevated nitrates, nitrites or ammonia levels, it can be a stressful and toxic environment for your fish. Partial water changes can help ease this issue, as well as biological filtration through the correct use of live plants in the aquarium.
Wrong pH Level
Different fish require different pH levels. So, if there are a variety of species cohabitating in the same tank, they may have different pH level requirements. Having a disparity in pH requirements can lead to stress. To mitigate this, make sure you do your research before introducing different species of fish into the same environment. You can use an aquarium fish care test kit to test the pH level of your water.
Water Temperature Fluctuations
Temperature variations (high or low) can be very stressful for fish. For tropical fish, you’ll want to keep the water at a constant warm temperature with a heater. Conversely, a chiller can be used to cool the temperature of the tank. Keeping a constant temperature can decrease stress and improve your pets’ health.
Care For Fish in Your Aquarium
At Complete Aquatic Systems, we take pride in providing retailers with the aquatic plants and decor that can enrich their customers’ underwater environments. To inquire about our full catalog of plants and decor, contact us today.