Why Do Fish Jump Out Of The Tank?

As a fish owner you may have witnessed a fish jumping up out out of the water, but why do fish jump out of the tank?

Out in the wild, a fish would jump out of the water to escape something such as a predator. The problem with fish jumping out of the tank in a home aquarium is that they will land on the floor.

If this happens when you are not around then the fish are not going to survive long being out of the water. So why do fish jump out of the tank and what can you do to prevent it happening? All of out tips and tricks will be revealed.

Why Do Fish Jump Out Of Water?

Why Do Fish Jump Out Of Water

Let’s first take a look at the reasons why fish jump out of the tank before we give you some solutions on how you can prevent it from happening.

1. Dirty Water (Too Much Ammonia and Nitrites)

If the quality of the water declines, this will cause your fish to jump out of the water in an attempt to search for a cleaner home. Bad water conditions can be caused by elevated levels of nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia.

Even small amounts of ammonia in the water can make fish sick and potentially kill them. As this is such a major problem, one of the first things you should do is to test for nitrites and ammonia if your fish have started to jump out of the water.

There is no such thing as a safe level of ammonia as even the slightest amount should be a cause for concern. High levels of ammonia are caused by the following:

  • Decaying matter such as fish waste
  • Uneaten food
  • Decaying plants
  • Dead fish
  • Insufficient filtration

So the solutions to eliminate any ammonia getting into the tank are:

Sale
MarineLand Penguin 350 Power Filter 50 - 75 Gallon Aquarium, 350 GPH
30,244 Reviews
MarineLand Penguin 350 Power Filter 50 - 75 Gallon Aquarium, 350 GPH
  • WITH ROTATING BIO-WHEEL: Patented Bio-Wheel technology provides excellent wet/dry biological filtration.
  • MULTI-STAGE FILTRATION: Delivers mechanical, chemical and biological aquarium filtration to maintain a clean aquatic environment.
  • COMPATIBILITY: Use with Marineland Rite-Size Filter Cartridges (see individual filter for sizing recommendations).
  • FIVE SIZES: Available in 75 GPH, 100 GPH, 150 GPH, 200 GPH and 350 GPH sizes.
  • Age range description: All Life Stages

You can also read our full guide on how to clean an aquarium here.

2. Lack Of Hiding Places & Space

Your fish may be jumping out of the water due to a small tank being too cramped up with no hiding places or anywhere to escape.

If there are too many fish or too many fish types in the tank, it’s inevitable that they are going to chase each other. The lack of room and available hiding places is going to cause stress on your fish with no where left to go other than jump out of the water.

Always make sure you have the correct size aquarium, as well as providing plenty of plants and caves for your fish to hide.

MyLifeUNIT Artificial Seaweed Water Plants for Aquarium, Plastic Fish Tank Plant Decorations 10 PCS (Green)
3,937 Reviews
MyLifeUNIT Artificial Seaweed Water Plants for Aquarium, Plastic Fish Tank Plant Decorations 10 PCS (Green)
  • MyLifeUNIT Aquarium Seaweed Plastic Plant, made of eco-free non-toxic PVC material, ceramic base, won't contaminate water, color won't fade
  • Soft won't scratch fishes, plant will swing with the water which looks real, could be planted both in freshwater and seawater
  • Note: Plastic water plants may get squeezed and deformation during packaging, put into 104 - 140 Fahrenheit degree warm water get restored
  • Main Color: Green. Base Dia.: 2 Inches (5 cm); Height: 12 Inches(30 cm)
  • Package Content: 10 pieces artificial aquarium plants
2 Pieces Stackable Aquarium Decoration Rock Caves, Hideaway for Shrimp Cichlid Hiding Breeding Spawning, Professional Hideout Decor for Territorial Fish (Natural)
642 Reviews
2 Pieces Stackable Aquarium Decoration Rock Caves, Hideaway for Shrimp Cichlid Hiding Breeding Spawning, Professional Hideout Decor for Territorial Fish (Natural)
  • Safe material: Made of natural, fine and tiny compressed sand, the surface and edges are very flat, absolutely safe for your fish, and it can also filter and purify water. It is suitable for small whistles, snappers need to rest or breed.
  • Pleasing to the eye: This hidden cave creates a visual feast for you and provides a "house" for your fish. Rock caves allow to stop and visit, or hide or hide, to reduce stress and minimize aggression, such as cichlids, but also suitable for betas, wax fish or crustaceans.
  • Easy to stack: The rock cave has a flat roof for stacking, you can bevel in any direction.
  • Size: 1x2 high-quality granite aquarium hiding place; small 3.5x2.6x2 inches (9x6.5x5 cm); large 4.3x3.3x2 inches (11x8.5x5 cm).
  • Please note: Please carefully check the size information marked in the photos and instructions before purchasing. The real product is smaller than your imagination.

3. Not Enough Oxygen

If there is a lack of dissolved oxygen, this will cause your fish to jump out of the tank as they seek to find a new home.

Although fish do not breath gaseous oxygen as they do not have lungs, they do require dissolved oxygen which enables them to breath in the water. Here are some of the reasons there may not be enough dissolved oxygen in the tank:

  • Too many fish: If there are too many fish cramped up in a small tank, there will not be enough oxygen in the water. The solutions to this are either purchase a bigger tank, or have less fish in the same tank. Another solution is to add an air stone to oxygenate and aerate the water which provides more oxygen.
  • Algae: Too much algae can be problematic because it can use up a fair amount of oxygen in the tank. Always ensure you remove algae from your tank to enable your fish to breathe.
Sale
SeaClear 40 gal Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set, 36 by 15 by 16', Clear
793 Reviews
SeaClear 40 gal Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set, 36 by 15 by 16", Clear
  • Combo includes aquarium, reflector and electrical 24" light fixture
  • Acrylic aquariums are clearer than glass, 17 times stronger, and only half the weight!
  • More impact resistant and less prone to chipping or cracking than glass, making it safer around children and pets
  • Safe for Salt or Freshwater
  • You won't believe how your fish and decorations will pop when viewing this beautiful SeaClear aquarium
hygger Aquarium Air Stone, Bubble Stone Fish Tank Oxygen Stone Ultra Silent Deep Dissolving Oxygen Diffuser Kit for Aquarium Fish Tank and Hydroponic (Black, 4 Inch)
889 Reviews
hygger Aquarium Air Stone, Bubble Stone Fish Tank Oxygen Stone Ultra Silent Deep Dissolving Oxygen Diffuser Kit for Aquarium Fish Tank and Hydroponic (Black, 4 Inch)
  • 🐟【Fine bubble】 Oxygen stone refines the air output from the air pump into a particle bubble, which is smaller and denser, like the "atomization" effect, and the bubble size can be adjusted, and the different oxygenation amount can satisfy different use requirements
  • 🐟【High dissolved oxygen rate]】 Compared with ordinary bubble stone, the nano bubble stone emits more bubbles, and the gas and the water surface are more widely contacted, which makes the dissolved oxygen amount larger
  • 🐟【Quality Nanomaterials】: The nano-stone is sintered at high temperature. The material is sturdy and durable. It can be used for a long time and has better dissolved oxygen effect. When the bubble burst into the water, the sound is super quiet
  • 🐟【Air pump wattage】 The weighs of air stone is 15.2oz/430g and is easily placed at the bottom of the fish tank, suitable for fresh water and salt water. It is driven by an air pump of 4 watts or more. PS: The deeper the water, you may need to use a larger wattage air pump to drive it
  • 🐟【Air pump accessories】: 4 inch nano air disk stone, 1 control valve, 1 check valve, 2 suction cups, 1 T-shaped connector, 1 reducer of connecting 8mm and 4mm. Note: Hose and air pump are not included

4. Water Temperature

Another factor in the condition of your water that may be causing your fish to jump out of the tank is the temperature of the water. Fish can be very sensitive when it comes to changes in the temperature of the water.

The water being too hot or cold could cause them to jump out as they search for water with a better temperature. As well as the water itself, the following are also factors that can effect the temperature of the water:

  • Tank located next to a door or window
  • Tank in direct sunlight part of the day
  • Lighting that produces heat
  • Faulty heater

The correct temperature of the water varies, with each type of fish having their own preference. They will generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • Cold Water Fish: Below 68°F (20°C)
  • Tropical Fish: 75-80°F (24-27°C)
  • Temperate Fish: A wide range of temperatures overlapping from the above two categories.

5. Fish Is Hungry

Fish should be fed their required meals on a daily basis to prevent them from jumping out to seek food for themselves. Floating plants should also be kept in the aquarium to enable your fish to eat when they get hungry.

6. Accident

A fish jumping out of the tank could also be an accident. As it happens in all forms of life, your fish may have exited the water due to it swimming too fast and too close to the surface.

How Do I Stop My Fish From Jumping Out Of Tank?

A couple of these points have already been covered, but just to recap and add a few additional tips, here’s how you can stop a fish from jumping out of the tank.

  • Suitable Water Conditions: Always make sure that the water is the correct temperature, as well as being clean and free of nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia.
  • Distract New Fish: If you are adding new fish into the tank, distract your current stock of fish by feeding them at the same time to prevent them from pestering the new fish.
  • Hiding Places: Rocks, caves, and plants should be added to the tank to give your fish plenty of hiding places to retreat to.
  • Add A Lid: Adding a suitable lid or cover to your aquarium will prevent your fish from jumping out of the water. There are many different options available depending on what tank you have, as well Zilla Screens which work great.
  • Compatible Tank Mates: It’s important to know which species of fish are going to be compatible. Pairing the wrong type of fish together can cause them to fight each other over territory.
  • Limit Noise: If your tank is located in a noisy area of your home, it may cause stress on your fish and cause them to jump out. Always place the aquarium setup in a quiet location.
Natural Slate Stone -1 to 3 inch Rocks for Miniature or Fairy Garden, Aquarium, Model Railroad & Wargaming (2)
1,028 Reviews
Natural Slate Stone -1 to 3 inch Rocks for Miniature or Fairy Garden, Aquarium, Model Railroad & Wargaming (2)
  • NATURAL SLATE - 100% real Slate stone will add beauty and realism to your creations. Because these are natural stones, each bag is a mix of stones from 1 to 3 inches. Product of the USA
  • PERFECT for creating walkways, benches, steps, archways, caverns, ground cover and much, much more in miniature or fairy gardens, model railways and doll houses.
  • EXCELLENT for Aquascaping aquariums, terrariums, vivariums and other pet enclosures. These stones naturally hold heat for reptiles or other heat loving pets. They can be glued together with aquarium safe glue to create caves, cliffs and mountain ranges for fish and plants.
  • BEAUTIFUL for bonsai. Use in home decor in bowls and vases and as ground cover for indoor plants. Perfect size and shape for rock painting. Gives wargaming miniatures natural and realistic scenery.
  • COLOR - These stones are a natural grey slate that are darker when wet or can be more permanently darkened by using a sealant or clear finish (do not use sealant or finish in pet enclosures or aquariums). Because this is a natural stone, slight color variations including some white quartz or brown stones may be mixed in.
2 Pieces Stackable Aquarium Decoration Rock Caves, Hideaway for Shrimp Cichlid Hiding Breeding Spawning, Professional Hideout Decor for Territorial Fish (Natural)
642 Reviews
2 Pieces Stackable Aquarium Decoration Rock Caves, Hideaway for Shrimp Cichlid Hiding Breeding Spawning, Professional Hideout Decor for Territorial Fish (Natural)
  • Safe material: Made of natural, fine and tiny compressed sand, the surface and edges are very flat, absolutely safe for your fish, and it can also filter and purify water. It is suitable for small whistles, snappers need to rest or breed.
  • Pleasing to the eye: This hidden cave creates a visual feast for you and provides a "house" for your fish. Rock caves allow to stop and visit, or hide or hide, to reduce stress and minimize aggression, such as cichlids, but also suitable for betas, wax fish or crustaceans.
  • Easy to stack: The rock cave has a flat roof for stacking, you can bevel in any direction.
  • Size: 1x2 high-quality granite aquarium hiding place; small 3.5x2.6x2 inches (9x6.5x5 cm); large 4.3x3.3x2 inches (11x8.5x5 cm).
  • Please note: Please carefully check the size information marked in the photos and instructions before purchasing. The real product is smaller than your imagination.
MyLifeUNIT Artificial Seaweed Water Plants for Aquarium, Plastic Fish Tank Plant Decorations 10 PCS (Green)
3,937 Reviews
MyLifeUNIT Artificial Seaweed Water Plants for Aquarium, Plastic Fish Tank Plant Decorations 10 PCS (Green)
  • MyLifeUNIT Aquarium Seaweed Plastic Plant, made of eco-free non-toxic PVC material, ceramic base, won't contaminate water, color won't fade
  • Soft won't scratch fishes, plant will swing with the water which looks real, could be planted both in freshwater and seawater
  • Note: Plastic water plants may get squeezed and deformation during packaging, put into 104 - 140 Fahrenheit degree warm water get restored
  • Main Color: Green. Base Dia.: 2 Inches (5 cm); Height: 12 Inches(30 cm)
  • Package Content: 10 pieces artificial aquarium plants
Marineland LED Light Hood for Aquariums, Day & Night Light
3,535 Reviews
Marineland LED Light Hood for Aquariums, Day & Night Light
  • Actual Dimensions: 22.94" x 11.38" Fits most 24" x 12 " Aquariums
  • DOMED HOOD: Sleek design with energy-efficient LED light bar.
  • NATURAL EFFECT: White LEDs create a shimmering illumination that mimics sunlight’s natural underwater effect.
  • NIGHT LIGHT EFFECT: Enjoy your aquarium at night by switching to the blue night light mode.
  • HINGED: Includes two sets of hinges to fit most popular frame sizes – for easy access during maintenance.
Sale
Zilla Solid Screen Covers 20 x 10 Inches
7,787 Reviews
Zilla Solid Screen Covers 20 x 10 Inches
  • Rigid steel frame is durable and long lasting
  • Steel screen withstands clawing from pets and high temperatures from heat fixtures
  • Black mesh design allows for necessary air flow in terrariums
  • For added security, use with Zilla Locking, Non-Locking or Heavy Duty Screen Clips.
  • For 10 and 20X Gallon Terrariums

Do Newly Added Fish Jump Out Of Aquariums?

The most vulnerable time for a fish is when they are first added to an aquarium. They are wary of their new tank mates and vice versa which can cause a state of shock. This confusion can scare them and make them jump out of the water to escape.

Which Aquarium Fish Jump Out Of The Water?

Studies have found that certain species of fish are more prone to jumping out of the water. One of these species were Guppies who were found to be jumping out of the water not because or food or to evade predators, but to look for fresh water.

A published paper on the study of guppies can be read here

Another example is betta fish who’s natural environment is shallow water and swamps in parts of Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. The jumping originates from their natural environment where beta fish had to jump as the shallow water dries up.

Due to this behavior, a breathing organ called a labyrinth was evolved over time which enables them to breath for shorts periods of time outside of the water.

Conclusion

The next time you see your fish springing up out of the water, not only do you now know why but you should also be armed with all of the tips and tricks to prevent it from happening.