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Stressed out Goldfish

Stressed out Goldfish (How to Calm Down)

Goldfish may not be the most complex of creatures, but just like humans, they can still be subject to stress. Stressed out goldfish can manifest in many ways, from hiding away to aggression or destroying tank decorations.
In this article, I will discuss my experience calming down my goldfish and the steps I took to make them feel more relaxed and content in their environment.

Stressed out Goldfish

What is Stress in Goldfish?

Stress in goldfish is often overlooked and misunderstood. Goldfish are commonly considered low-maintenance pets but can be sensitive to their environment.
Stress in goldfish can manifest itself through various physical and behavioral changes.

Stressed out Goldfish Signs and Symptoms

A goldfish is under stress when it exhibits several symptoms. Some of them are:

May Stop Eating or eat Less Than Usual

One of the most common signs of a stressed out goldfish is that they may stop eating or eat less than usual. When a goldfish goes without food for long periods, it can become weak, lazy, and more susceptible to disease.
It’s worth noting that prolonged stress can cause permanent damage to your fish’fish’sne system.

The Fish may Become Inactive and Lethargic

A stressed out goldfish will become inactive and passive; it may float near the surface or sink to the bottom of the tank instead of swimming around as it usually would.

The Fish may have a Change in Coloration

Goldfish tend to become pale or even grey when under too much stress, which usually indicates that something has gone wrong in their environment or routine.

May Float on the Water’s Surface or Sink to the Bottom

Stressed out goldfish may exhibit unusual behaviors such as floating at the surface or sinking to the bottom of the tank.
This can indicate underlying issues such as poor water quality, aggression from other fish in the tank, or lack of nutrition.

The Fish may Breathe Faster than Average.

Fast breathing in goldfish could be caused by factors such as too much light, overcrowded tanks, or changes in water conditions.
If your goldfish is exhibiting rapid breathing, you should act quickly to help reduce stress levels and alleviate any further problems.

The Fish may have red or Bulging Eyes

Red or bulging eyes are one common sign that the fish is under stress, which several factors could cause.

The Fish may have a Swollen Body.

The most obvious sign that a goldfish is stressed out is if its body appears bloated or puffed up more than usual.

It may lie on its Side at the Bottom of the Tank.

When it lies on its side at the bottom of the tank, this behavior typically indicates that the goldfish isn’t feeling well and needs help from its owner to recover.

May have Clamped Fins or be Swimming Erratically.

One of the main signs is clamped fins when the fish holds its fins close to its body instead of fanning them out like usual.
Another sign that your goldfish could be stressed is if they are swimming erratically and darting around the tank more than average.

The Fish may have White Patches on its Body.

It develops white patches on its body. These patches are typically found near the tail fin or the eyes and mouth area.

Stressed out Goldfish

Causes of Stress in Goldfish

A goldfish under stress exhibits several symptoms and indicators. Numerous them are:

The Tank is too Small

Various factors can cause stress in goldfish, and the size of their tank is one of them. Goldfish need plenty of room to swim and explore, so having a tank that’s too small can cause immense distress.

Not only do they feel uncomfortable in such an environment, but it also limits their activity and may even cause health problems.

A 10-gallon tank is considered the smallest size that should be used to keep a single goldfish, with larger tanks required for multiple fish.

The Water is Dirty

When water isn’t regularly cleaned and changed, it can accumulate impurities that harm a goldfish’s well-being. A buildup of these impurities can lead to increased ammonia levels, which can cause severe distress for your fish.

The Tank Water is too cold or too hot

Living in a tank can be stressful for goldfish, especially when their water temperature is not ideal. Goldfish are cold-water fish and should live in temperatures between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Stress can occur in your pet fish if the water temperature rises or drops too far outside that range.

Other Fish are Bullying the Fish.

Fish bullying can involve chasing or nipping at the goldfish, causing them to become frightened and stressed out.

A Predator is Chasing the Fish.

When a predator is actively chasing the fish, causing a heightened state of fear and anxiety, goldfish often display behaviors such as darting around or attempting to hide to protect themselves from the threat.

The Fish is not Getting Enough Food.

Goldfish must be fed several times daily with an appropriate amount of flakes or pellets designed for them.
If they are not provided enough, their bodies will begin to generate stress hormones which can lead to health problems.

There is too Much Noise or Light in the Tank.

Another common is too much noise or light in the tank. Goldfish need stillness and darkness to stay healthy and calm.
Loud noises or bright sunlight can disrupt them and lead to physical and mental health issues.

The Fish is Sick

Another common cause of stressed out goldfish is illness or injury. If the fish is sick, it will require special attention to ensure that its health does not deteriorate further and that it has enough energy reserves to fight off infection.

The Fish is Being Moved to a new Tank.

According to a recent survey of fish keepers, one of the most common causes of stress in goldfish is their relocation from one tank to another.

Inadequate Hiding Areas in the Tank

An aquarium without adequate hiding places can cause stress to fish, as they lack their instincts of protection and safety.
Goldfish are prone to anxiety when exposed or unable to hide from predators and other threats.

Incorrect Diet

Goldfish can also suffer from stress due to an incorrect diet. A significant cause of this stress is an improper diet that does not provide the fish with the necessary nutrients and minerals for good health.

Overcrowded Tank

Goldfish need plenty of space to swim and explore their environment, yet overcrowding can lead to uncomfortable and dangerous stress levels for the fish.

Low Oxygen Levels

Not uncommon and can be caused for a variety of reasons. One major cause of stress in goldfish is low oxygen levels. Goldfish need an ample oxygen supply to stay healthy and avoid the adverse effects of stress.

Stressed out Goldfish

Can A Stressed Goldfish Recover?

Goldfish are prone to stress and can suffer from depression, just like any other pet.

Goldfish can quickly become distressed when put in an environment where they feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

This can manifest as a lack of appetite, strange behavior such as darting around the tank or hiding in the corners, and even changes in coloration. But is there hope for stressed out goldfish?

The good news is that most of the time, yes! Goldfish are resilient creatures, and with careful attention from their owners, they can recover from stress-related issues.

How To Calm A Stressed-Out Goldfish?

If you believe it is stressed, you may take various steps to quiet down your goldfish. Among the things you can accomplish are the following:

Add a Water Filter to the Tank.

One of the best ways to reduce stress levels in your goldfish is by adding a water filter to the tank.
A water filter helps keep the water clean and free from bacteria or algae, which can cause stress for your pet fish.
It also helps regulate temperature and pH levels which is essential for keeping your fish comfortable in its environment. When choosing a filter, ensure it’s the right size for your tank so as not to overwhelm your goldfish with too much current or noise.

Add Plants to the Tank.

Plants add interest and beauty to the tank and provide your fish with hiding spots that make them feel safe and secure.

Plants also help create oxygen in the water, which helps keep your goldfish healthy and happy. Adding floating or submerged plants will give your fish somewhere to explore and play.

Change the Water Regularly

One more crucial step is to change the water regularly. This will ensure that your goldfish always has access to fresh and clean water.

When changing the water, take extra care not to disturb the tank too much and ensure you use a good quality dechlorinator treatment before adding it back in.

Ensure Consistent Water Temperature in the Tank

To keep the temperature steady, use an aquarium thermometer to monitor the water temperature and if needed, adjust with a heater or air conditioner as necessary.

Add A Bubbler to the Tank.

Adding a bubbler to the tank is ideal for giving your goldfish a calm atmosphere. A bubbler not only creates extra oxygen in the tank but also helps reduce stress levels and anxiety in goldfish while providing them with hours of entertainment.

This oxygenation process helps maintain optimal water quality and encourages healthy gill function. Goldfish love playing with bubbles as they move around their tanks; they often chase after them or swim alongside them for hours on end!

Add Second Tank

One of the simplest ways to calm down a stressed out goldfish is to add a second tank into its environment.

A larger tank will provide more space for your fish to swim around, which can reduce stress levels significantly.

Change the Diet

A healthy goldfish should eat various foods, including flakes, pellets, frozen foods, live foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms, and fruits and vegetables like peas and spinach.

Feeding your fish too much or not enough can cause stress, so keep an eye on how much you provide each day. Variety also helps with mental stimulation, which will help reduce stress levels.

Give the Fish Time to Adjust

Goldfish are naturally social creatures that thrive in tanks with other fish, so giving them time to adjust to their new environment when introducing them into a tank is essential.
To ensure your goldfish is living in a stress-free environment, there are a few steps you can take.

Treat the Sick Fish

If your goldfish is ill, take care of it. The fish will likely recover from the stress after treating the sickness.


In conclusion, it is clear that reducing stress in goldfish is achievable and can be done in many different ways. From utilizing specific aquarium decorations to changing their diet, there are multiple options available for helping stressed out goldfish relax.

Ultimately, it is essential to be patient when attempting to reduce stress in fish, as they may take a while to adjust to their new environment.

Taking the time and effort to ensure that your pet fish feel comfortable and relaxed can help them stay healthy and lead longer lives.

Related Questions

How long does it take for a goldfish to recover from stress?

A goldfish can recover from stress in a few days to a week, depending on the severity of the stress. It’s essential to reduce tension in the tank, such as overcrowding or improper water conditions.
Providing a comfortable environment with plenty of hiding spots and clean water can help the goldfish recover faster.

How do you destress fish after a water change?

After a water change, it’s essential to ensure the fish are not stressed. To do this, ensure the new water is similar in temperature and pH to the old water.

Add aquarium salt or a stress-relieving product to the tank. Turn off bright lights and give the fish time to adjust before feeding them.

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