How Do You Know Your Fish is Stressed, Suffering
By Eddie Waithaka @aquariawise
Stress is a condition where living beings are unable to maintain a normal psychological state because of various factors affecting their well-being.
Just like any other living being, fish also suffer from stress, and this is not good for them.
Most fish can tolerate environmental conditions that differ from the natural conditions in which they evolve, but this does not mean that they will be as healthy or live their full normal life span.
For example, keeping a fish in water that is cooler or warmer than its preferred condition forces its body organs to work harder to keep it alive and, this will cause stress to the fish.
While it may seem like they are living a care-free life in the aquarium, being fed and cared for by their owner’s aquarium fish can suffer stress too and, this is bad for them.
Fish are prone to stress if they are living in less than ideal conditions such as inappropriate water conditions, messy aquariums, or lack of good nutrition
There are a few different visible signs that your fish could be stressed. Detecting the stress signs early enough can help prevent illness and even death.
These signs include
Gasping at the surface for air: When your fish start swimming to the surface for air, it is a clear indication that there is not enough oxygen in the aquarium water, and this can cause stress to the fish.
Poor appetite: If your fish appear to be uninterested in food, they may be stressed. Stressed fish show a lack of appetite even when they are fed with their favorite food.
Hiding: Although it’s natural for fish to hide under rocks, plants, and wood inside the tank, there are types of fish that naturally do not hide. If they start hiding more often, they may be stressed
Sickness or disease: The signs of the diseases may be: bulging eyes, rotting fins, and a bloated stomach.
Clamped pectoral fin: When the fish are under a lot of stress, they might stop using their front side fins or pectoral fins. This is a clear indicator that there is a problem with your fish.
Increased stress reduces the fish’s ability to deal with diseases and heal itself. It also reduces a fish’s ability to breed successfully hence reducing its natural life span.
Although a small amount of stress by itself is not usually fatal, as stress level increases, a fish’s ability to cope with stress decreases.
Therefore, one of the most important goals of a fish keeper is to remove any cause of stress whenever possible.
What Can Cause Aquarium Fish Stress
Stress is present in all living things. Many people are aware of stress in their own lives and can name the causes and possible treatments.
However, the stress in fish is different and very much widespread.
To be successful in keeping healthy aquarium fish, you need to know what causes stress in fish and also how to prevent it.
Stress in fish is caused by many different factors. Many situations that can result in a change of habitat or a disturbance in routine and behavior can cause stress.
Some of the common causes of fish stress in aquariums include
- Elevated ammonia and nitrate levels due to infrequent water changes. This is the main cause of stress in goldfish
- Fractuations in water temperature. This is the main cause of stress in betta fish
- Improper introduction of new fish in a community tank
- Aggresive fish in the tank
- Overstocking the aquarium, which leads to poor water quality and less oxygen
- Poor nutrition or irregular feeding routine
- Ph fluctuations due to the exhaustion of mineral buffers
- Inadequate tank size
Can a Stressed Fish Recover
It can be hectic trying to care for a stressed fish, but sometimes we can find ourselves in such a situation. But when this happens, do not forget that there are several things you can do to turn the situation around.
So to our question, Can a Stressed Fish Recover
Yes,stressed fish can recover. Once you have identified the reason causing stress to the fish and it has been eliminated, our fish are free stress-free.
How to Calm Down a Stressed Fish
Once you notice that your fish is suffering from stress, you should act quickly to treat him because if left for long, stress can lead to serious diseases, and sometimes our pets may die.
You should first determine the cause of stress in your fish and eliminate it
Here are some tips on how to calm down our stressed fish
- Change water frequently to keep nitrate and ammonia levels low. A water test kit can come in handy here.
- Provide additional oxygen to your tank by ensuring there is enough surface area of the water exposed to air. An aquarist can opt to use an airpump
- Reduce overcrowding by moving excess fish to a new tank
- Check the filtration system and ensure it is working propely
- Before adding a fish to the community, ensure that they are compatible with the other fish to prevent harassment and fighting
- Introduce new fish the right way in the tank, in a way that will help them adjust to the water temperature and also for the current fish to get used to their new fish mate
We can reduce stress in our fish by ensuring they are in a healthy, stable environment. but if you notice any symptom of stress in your fish, you should act quickly to identify the cause and provide a solution to the stressed pet
How to Tell if Fish is Happy in a New Tank
After adding a new fish to a community, sometimes they can be stressed.
It is advisable to check and find out if they are happy in their new environment
Your fish are happy and healthy in a tank when they,Swim actively throughout the entire tank, Eat regularly, and swim to the surface fast at feeding time
How to Get a Stressed Fish to Eat
Whenever a fish stops eating, it should be considered a major warning sign. Fish should always react to a food sign by swimming to the surface for food. If this does not happen then, your fish may be suffering from stress.
Fish should always want to eat unless they have been overfed. They should be fed once every day an amount of food they can eat within two minutes.
For a stressed fish, you should identify the cause of stress and eliminate it to keep your fish stress-free. Therefore, our fish in the aquarium will regain the appetite and, they will be excited when feeding time rolls.
There are three main causes to look into when our fish lose appetite, and they include
If the problem persists and the fish do not recover from stress and regain their appetite, you should call a vet.
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