Why are my fish not swimming?

There are several reasons why your fish is not swimming.

  • The main reason why your fish doesn't swim is stress. If your fish experience upside-down swimming after a water change, this can be a good sign of environmental stress.
  • Swim bladder disorder is a condition when the swim bladder isn't working correctly.
  • Improper water temperature, If your fish's water is too hot or too cold, they will be very inactive.
  • Other possible causes are overfeeding and improper water quality.
  • If your fish floats on the surface or has difficulty rising from the bottom, it has a buoyancy problem.

Sometimes fish may be standing at the bottom of the aquarium simply because it's sleeping and we are afraid that our fish are not swimming. So always check carefully if the gills are moving. Touching the body and shaking the water.

Sometimes if your fish is not swimming it means it's dead, so always check first, even if it is sick, maybe it will respond.

What is Fish Buoyancy?

Buoyancy trouble is a common and widespread problem. It is caused by a wide variety of disorders. Some of these include systemic disease (bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic, cancer) general weakness, broken fins, and swim bladder diseases. If your fish presents with a buoyancy disorder, water quality should be checked immediately and corrected.

How to cure buoyancy

  • Feed green peas to affected fish.
  • Water maintenance.
  • Feeding changes.
  • Possible antibiotics.
  • Add a small amount of aquarium salt to the tank.
  • Reduce the water level to make it easier for the fish to move around within the tank.
  • Keep the water especially clean and the temperature Between 78 and 80 degrees F.

What is a swim bladder?

A swim bladder is a gas-filled internal organ that helps a bony fish maintain its buoyancy. Swim-bladder disorder is a condition when the swim bladder isn't working properly due to various possible factors.

This disorder can be caused by rapidly eating, overeating, constipation, or gulping air may occur with floating foods to cause an extended belly and displace the swim bladder.

Fish show all the symptoms of swim bladder diseases are:

  • Swimming poorly or at odd angles.
  • Floating to the top of the tank.
  • Curved back.
  • Changed appetite.
  • Struggling to stay upright, turning on its side, or upside down.

Can swim-bladder disease be cured?

Swim-bladder disorder may not be easily corrected. Keeping the tank clean and performing regular water changes can help prevent swim bladder disorder.

Swim-bladder disorders may be temporary or permanent. If your fish has a permanent swim bladder disorder, it can still live a full and happy life with some lifestyle modification.

If the swimming problem persists, consult your local aquatic veterinarian to help set up an X-ray to evaluate the swim bladder.

If you want to know more about this disorder you can check our Swim Bladder Disorder article.

Cause and cure for swim bladder


This is the most common manifestation of a swim bladder disorder. It is the easiest to treat. It will cause a bloated stomach, which in turn will press against the swim bladder. You need to offer a specific food source that is rich in fiber.

Thaw a frozen pea - It is better to leave the pea to thaw naturally.

Boil the pea - Cook the pea in boiling water while being careful not to overcook it.

Bacterial swim bladder

Sometimes swim bladder disease is caused by a bacterial infection. The best course of action is to take the fish to the vet. safe from harmful bacteria and other pathogens you should consider getting a UV sterilizer.

Birth deformation

It is mostly seen in goldfish and bettas. your fish may have cysts growing in its kidneys, which in turn will enlarge.

What do you do when your fish won't swim?

First of all, you should know the reason why your fish won't swim, as we know there are so many reasons behind it.

The best treatment is prevention.

Act early: Don't let the problem linger or it may spread to other fish.

Activated carbon will remove the medication from the water.

Check your water quality first, once the problem has been diagnosed you can easily cure it.

Veterinary care

Your veterinarian can help you diagnose these problems by performing a physical examination of your pet and perhaps taking a radiograph (X-ray) of your fish.

Check your heater and verify that your aquarium is at the right level.

Do not cover the top of your tank to keep your fish submerged. This will result in decreased oxygen diffusion.

Switching the tank lights off for a while often helps, partly by removing one source of stress.

How do you help a stressed fish?