Logic dictates that fishes would hesitate to leave the water. After all, these wet pets cannot breathe air nor have a good time on the livingroom carpet. Despite this, nearly all aquarium enthusiasts – especially those starting out in the hobby – might walk into the room and find a fish flopping on the floor. Worse, one that’s already dried up and dead. Even tanks that come with lids experience fish that behave more like jumping beans than guppies. In such cases, they’ll hit the lid and injure themselves.
Why they try to escape?
Fear not, your fish aren’t insane. They’re escaping for valid reasons. Below are the three most common conditions that cause fish to abandon ship.
- The tank or bowl isn’t big enough.
- The water is too hot or cold.
- A lack of oxygen.
Here’s the good news. Other aquarium problems may be devastating, but in this case, they are easy to fix. Once the culprit is identified, one can take the right steps to correct the situation. Some steps are free, while others are inexpensive – but they’re all simple enough for the greenest beginner.
There’s a handsome rule among aquarium keepers. The bigger the tank, the healthier your fish. This is very important. That being said, you don’t need an aquarium so big that it takes a forklift operator to put the whopper in the house. Follow the volume requirements and fish can thrive in smaller aquariums.
Each species has different needs, including how much water they need. It’s critical to measure a tank’s water capacity and research how many of your chosen species it can comfortably hold. For example, seven gallons can support four adult guppies. When fish aren’t provided with enough space, they can develop cabin fever and the most desperate might resort to leaping.
Fish are a bunch of Goldilocks. They like their water temperature to be just right. The wrong numbers can have deadly consequences. Apart from cooking up the perfect environment for disease and parasites, it can physically stress fish out so much that they just want to bail.
Once again, research can quickly reveal the right temperatures. When you know the toasty numbers your favorite species loves, it’s as easy as getting a heater and adjusting the settings. You’ll also need a thermometer to monitor the situation.
When an aquarium is doing poorly in the oxygen department, there are warning signs. Fish press their noses to the surface of the water, become lethargic or increase their gill movements. Of course, some choose to leave the tank entirely.
This isn’t stupidity or suicide. For certain fish, the behavior is a hardwired inheritance from their wild ancestors. Back in the day, ponds lost oxygen or dried up, and fish lept to find fresher water. An interesting example is the Betta fish, better known as the Siamese Fighting Fish. They originally came from rice paddies and jumped all over the place to find new homes.
How to Increase Oxygen
There are two ways to increase oxygen. The most important is a weekly water change. One needn’t replace all the water. In fact, this will shock the fish. Removing and replacing around ten percent is sufficient. Secondly, airstones can also be added. These rocks release air bubbles into the water and turn the environment oxygen-rich.
Prevention is Best
Luckily, a tragedy isn’t necessary. All three factors are avoidable with a little research, equipment, and a chore routine. Most of the time, just keeping the aquarium clean and free of over-population keeps fish right where they belong – zipping happily between underwater castles and treasure chests.