It’s the single most commonly asked question brought before thousands of specialists every day – why on Earth do most of my fish keep dying after a few days? It’s such a common problem that it sometimes gets taken wholly for granted and simply accepted as an inevitability. Of course, given the fact that these are living creatures we’re talking about, this really isn’t a responsible attitude to take.
The simple fact of the matter is that if you intend to keep fish, you have a duty and a responsibility to look after their best interests. What’s more, if the fish are healthy when you take them home and appear to be fine as they enter the tank, the fact that they are dying within a short period of time means it is 100% a fault or mistake on your part that’s making it happen. It’s a pretty bitter pill to swallow of course, but it’s only by accepting your role in the whole thing that you can make efforts to put a stop to the cycle.
So, with this in mind, here’s a quick overview of the most common reasons of all for fish meeting their maker before their time:
1 – Water Temperatures
Right off the bat, there’s really nothing that can deal the health of any fish a blow quite like water that’s of an inappropriate temperature. If you are not using the very best commercial aquarium chillers or heaters on the market, it’s unrealistic to expect the water within the tank to remain at the temperature the fish require to survive. Fish can die pretty much in an instant if the water isn’t at appropriate temperature for them, so while you yourself may believe that a few degrees here and there won’t make a difference, the truth is quite to the contrary.
2 – Water Quality
The same also goes for the quality of the water as when and where water quality is allowed to deteriorate, you can end up robbing your fish of pretty much everything they need to stay alive. Water quality is seldom taken seriously enough by home aquarium keepers as they often tend to assume that if the water looks clean, it is clean. In reality however, fish tank water can be crystal clear and flawless in appearance though 100% deadly to the fish themselves.
3 – Untreated Water
If you have fallen into the habit of using normal tap water in your aquarium, you have a clear answer as to why your fish are dying. Tap water is wholly poisonous to fish because of the various things it contains to make it safe for human consumption. As such, in order for tap water to be made safe for fish it must first be treated with an appropriate product. They don’t cost much and are really easy to use, so technically there’s no excuse for not doing so.
4 – Overcrowding
The more fish you put in a tank, the bigger the strain put on the water’s ever-fragile nutrient balance. There’s a very good reason why experts will tell you only ever to put in a certain number of fish in accordance with the size of the tank – too many fish could lead to the whole lot of them getting sick and dying out. If anything, it’s better to err on the side of caution and keep plenty of space free.
5 – Transfer ‘Shock’
One of the most disastrous things you can do for the health of any fish is to immediately drop them into their new home from the transportation bag, without first floating the bag in the top of the tank for at least 15 minutes or so. The reason being that what might appear to be just a slight difference in the two temperatures can be such an enormous shock to the fish’s system that it may not survive. Always take your time, there’s no rush.
6 – Overfeeding
One of the most common killers of fish the world over, fish have a tendency to eat as much as they can whenever the opportunity arises to such an extent that they’ll happily eat themselves to death. As such, if you’re not carefully following the feeding guidelines, you have the answer as to what’s killing your fish.
7 – Poor Positioning
Last but not least, there’s always the possibility that the actual location of the tank is contributing to the ill health of your fish. If the area is too cold, too hot, susceptible to temperature changes or has a habit of being knocked around by those passing by, any of these could be killing your fish.