A fish’s life in an aquarium is not free of ups and downs. Similar to humans feeling stress, your fish can also undergo stress if something goes out of the way. Stress is not something you would want your fish to go under. A minor change in the composition of the aquarium that does not fit well with your fish can easily stress them. They become very vulnerable to diseases when they undergo stress. It is a necessity that you notice a stressed fish as if it becomes too late for they can succumb to diseases. There are ways in which you can recover your fish from feeling stress.
Within this article, we will take a deeper look into fish stress and ways to get them free of stress. So let us move on.
What is fish stress?
A stress in case of fishes can be defined as the response that they give to certain changes or phenomena in the aquarium. This response brings about adverse effects in them making them wide open for certain illnesses. They can exhibit this stress response by changes in the composition of the water, or not getting along with other fishes and many more.
What causes fish stress?
There are several causes to fish stress. A lot of circumstances contribute to the stress of your fish and you would want to avoid them at all costs.
Change of environment
A small change is enough to expose your fish to stress. Changes in their surroundings make fish very vulnerable to stress. The situations where they can change the environment are cleaning and moving to a new tank. This is why cleanings and a change of tank or shifting to a new tank must be done with utmost care and consideration. You must make the temperature set right to the species’ preference, test the water to know about any inconsistencies in composition, and many more. Remember to not expose your fish to stress. Everything must be checked and kept within the fishes’ comfort.
If your aquarium water is not in the best of condition, it can cause a lot of stress to the fish. As it forms the most of its environment it must be kept in tip-top condition. Stress can be caused by high ammonia or nitrate levels, low oxygen levels, temperature variations, and inappropriate pH levels. Incorrect salt levels in a saltwater aquarium can have a similar impact.
The water of your aquarium has a major effect in terms of stress and there are a lot of factors that you have to keep an eye on regarding water quality. The ill performance of the filter, the food that you give, how often you clean your aquarium, what species of fish you have, and many more. Keeping a variety of fish in one tank is not a good idea. As different species shave different preferences of temperature and composition of the water, it becomes a bad idea. For you cannot create an ideal environment for all the species at once.
If you have a congested or overcrowded tank, you are providing a freeway towards stress to your fish. Overcrowding is never a good idea as fishes require space for swimming.
Another major cause of stress by overcrowding is the diversity of species. If one has an overcrowded tank then it is a given that there are different species of fish mixed. It sure makes your tank look beautiful but remember that not all species get along. Some are built aggressive and might harass the smaller and submissive or peaceful ones. Them not getting along will lead to stress in the peaceful fishes.
Absence of décor
A tank devoid of furnishes can stress fish as well. Decors such as plants, caves, and many more can help reduce the stress on fish. Live plants can reduce the levels of carbon dioxide and nitrates in the aquarium. With decors such as caves, your fishes can play around and can hide if another fish is asserting dominance.
If your fish are not getting the quality food that they require then stress is a sure thing. Your fish must get an adequate amount of nutrients to lead a healthy life. You must set up a schedule for feeding your fish and stick to it. Also, the amount that you give must be right. For if you give less they won’t have the proper amount of nutrients and if you give excess then there will be leftovers. Everyone knows leftover foods are a bad thing for aquariums for they give rise to unnecessary substances that lead to stress. Make sure that you are feeding them the right amount.
How to reduce fish stress?
A fish under stress is not bound to be under it forever. Although if you don’t act on reducing it then the stress might linger on for longer than expected.
Well, the very first thing you can do to reduce stress is to not let its causes take over your aquarium. First off, if you have a crowded tank, then remove some fish and move them to another tank. Or you can buy a larger tank.
Test your water column for any inconsistencies in the parameters. Check whether there are highs of any kind of chemicals that are stressing your fish. If there are then follow measures to reduce it. Or if there is less of anything important, do everything possible to provide it abundantly. Keep the temperature of the water within the preferred range of your fish. Try not to make too many fluctuations in temperature.
Get a proper filtration system for your tank. When getting a filter for your tank, consider the size of your tank and get the appropriate size of the filter. Make sure that you get a good quality filter and that it is working properly. A clean water column can reduce fish stress quite effectively.
Feed your fish properly and regularly. Provide them with the right amount of nutrients and watch them thrive and forget about stress.
You can use opt for medicines and stress coats as well to reduce stress in your fish.
Symptoms of fish stress
Your fishes will tell you if they are undergoing stress, you will just have to be attentive enough to notice them. They will begin to exhibit changes in behaviour if they are under stress.
The very first change that you will notice is the change in the swimming pattern. The swimming pattern will go haywire and strange. They might just start swimming around the tank in a different pattern than usual and in a manner which you have never seen before. This clearly means that they are under stress.
Now as everyone knows that stress makes fish vulnerable to diseases. So if you spot any kind of disease in your fish then it is stressed. A stressed fish takes a lot of time to recover as well.
You will also begin to notice a change in appetite if your fish are stressed. They will begin to eat less or not eat at all if they are under stress.
A stressed fish is not a healthy fish. If a fish is under stress it can never lead a healthy and ideal life. So you should opt for remedies as soon as you notice stress symptoms. A stressed fish is open to illness and diseases, so you must do something quickly for your fish to not fall sick. Get rid of all the causes of stress and use stress coats to relieve your fish of all the stress. Don’t overcrowd, keep the aquarium clean, check for inconsistencies in water parameters and your fishes will remain stress-free forever.