Why Do My Fish Breathe at the Surface?

Are your fish gasping at the surface?  Although this may seem confusing -- fish live underwater -- your fish do need oxygen.  Gasping at the surface is a sign that you have low oxygen levels in your tank.

Why doesn't your water have oxygen?

  • Overcrowding

  • High Water Temperatures

  • Lack of Water Movement

  • Food and Fish Waste

  • Low Lighting

  • Live Plants

  • Certain Chemicals

It's important to note that certain species of fish like Bettas and Gouramis will periodically take a gulp of air from the surface -- and it's normal.  However, if your fish remain at the surface and gasp repeatedly, this is a sign that you need to check your water quality.

What should you do?

If you notice your fish gasping at the surface, you should perform a large water change.  Change about 50% of the water.  This will introduce oxygen to the tank.  You should also determine the root cause of your lack of oxygen.  Do you have too many fish in your tank?  Do you need to clean the tank more frequently because their is waste lying around?  Is the temperature too high?  Determining the reason behind why your fish don't have enough oxygen is essential to addressing the concern.

If you have any questions about your tropical fish, you're new to fish keeping, or you're looking to add a few new fish to your tank, visit our Mineola store!  You can also visit our website for more information on the fish we have in stock or call us directly at 516-739-1015.

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