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Understanding Unusual Fish Behavior

Jun 6, 2008
Have you ever watched your fish as they swim around in your tank and wondered why they do the things that they do? While no one can be certain of why fish do all of the things that they do, experts do agree on the meaning of a few fish behaviors. As a fish owner, the better you can identify and understand these behaviors, the happier and healthier you can make your pet fish.

Hiding in the Tank

Many fish enjoy hiding and, therefore, this is not always a cause for concern. Some fish are just naturally shy and like to hideaway from other fish. Similarly, a fish that has recently bore young may have a tendency to hide with its babies in order to keep them protected. If you have recently introduced the fish to your tank, it may also have a tendency to hide until it becomes comfortable with its surroundings. On the other hand, some fish will seclude themselves if they are suffering from disease. Therefore, you should watch the coloring of the fish and the overall behavior in order to make certain the hiding is not part of a larger problem.

Hanging Out at the Bottom

Some fish will also hang out at the bottom of your tank. Catfish and other types of sedentary fish commonly stick close to the bottom of the tank, so this would not be considered unusual behavior for these fish. In addition, sleeping fish tend to stay near the bottom. If your fish is not resting and if it is not a sedentary species, however, staying close to the bottom of the tank can be a sign of illness. In this case, it is best to quarantine the fish until you can be certain it is healthy.

Drifting Along

Most fish swim with a purpose rather than simply drifting along. If your fish usually swims around and suddenly seems to be aimlessly drifting about, it is likely ill. If only one or two fish are drifting, it is a sign that they are suffering from an illness. If all of your fish are drifting, on the other hand, it could be a sign that there is a problem with your tank. Make certain you are getting plenty of oxygen in the tank and check the water for cleanliness and proper chemical balance.

Flashing an Itch

Another behavior your fish may engage in is called flashing. This behavior is characterized by rubbing against objects within the aquarium and then suddenly swimming away in a semicircular fashion. Fish tend to engage in flashing when they are feeling itchy, which can be a sign that your fish is suffering from external parasites. In this case, you need to apply proper medication to the water to address the issue.

The better you understand the behavior of your fish, the better you can provide them with the proper care. The key is to recognize behavior that is unusual for your particular fish and to seek out ways to alleviate the problem that is causing the strange behavior to occur.
About the Author
CS Swarens is the president of Find a Pet Online. 800 998-7065 For additional information on dogs, cats, birds, horses, and exotic pets visit the internet's pet resource including pet classifieds at http://www.findapetonline.com. Research over 430 pet breed profiles at http://www.findapetonline.com/breeds.html
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