5 Reason Fish Laying on The Bottom of The Tank Gasping

If fish are regularly found lying at the bottom of the tank, it is considered regular behavior. You should look into the cause of this conduct is brand-new and is accompanied by additional symptoms of discomfort or illness.

I am going to elaborate on the possible reasons Fish laying on the bottom of the tank gasping and what to do when this happens. So, follow through with the whole section carefully.

Fish Laying on The Bottom of The Tank Gasping

The Major Causes Fish Lay at The Bottom of The Tank

Some of the reasons fish lay at the bottom might be normal but there are more worrisome explanations for why a fish might lie at the bottom of the aquarium.

Sheltering at the surface of the AquariumGive the fish extra spaces or arrange a second tank
Acting in a territorial manner at the baseMake sure your tank configuration is big enough for territorial fish to stake a claim inside of it.
Fish illnessReplace the water
Poisoning by AmmoniaCheck your tank’s ammonia level.
TemperatureDo not keep tropical fish with cold-water fish in the exact same tank.

1. Sheltering at the Surface of the Aquarium

Despite usually being surface feeders or mid-level swimmers, you notice a fish preferring to lay towards the bottom of the tank.

When the fish attempts to move away from the bottom, keep an eye on it to see what happens. There is a tank mate compatibility problem if you are being bullied or getting poked.

This may also occur if your aquarium is overfilled with fish, your tank is too small, or you are keeping too many fish in one tank that are swimming at the same level.

The Fix

Give fish that are vulnerable extra places to hide (decorations, live aquarium plants). Utilize AqAdvisor to determine whether your tank is overstocked. Consider acquiring a bigger tank if it’s congested.

If the bullying or harassment persists after the “asserting dominance” stage, identify the offender and get them removed. If you do nothing, repeat offenders may severely hurt their tank mates.

For the fish in the bottom of the aquarium that are in distress, get a second tank. This may be the only option if they are completely at odds with the remaining fish in the community tank.

2. Acting in a Territorial Manner at the Base

A territorial fish could sit at the bottom of the tank to declare it as its domain, which is the opposite of the situation described above.

In an organized tank that has been aquascaped to adjust this common fish habit, this doesn’t happen very often.

Do you see that the surface level of the tank is where most aggressive behavior and contests for dominance take place? This conduct may be the result of a territorial conflict. 

The Fix

Make sure your tank configuration is big enough for territorial fish to stake a claim inside of it. Fish cannot avoid occupying each other’s space, so antagonism is inevitable in a tank that is too tiny.

Your aquarium can be visually divided into areas by aquascaping. A few tall backgrounds or midground living plants can be incredibly effective at removing a territorial fish from the tank’s bottom.

Before adding any additional fish, make sure they get along with the current fish in the tank. Make sure they have lots of hiding places if you’ve got bottom dwellers that must share their territory with a territorial fish.

3. Fish Illness

If your fish is sick, it’s usual for it to lie on the ground. Keep a close eye out for additional symptoms like sluggishness, an abnormal swimming pattern, odd markings on the fish’s body, and a bloated appearance.

Breathing issues, a spotty or slippery shell, and frayed fins are further indications.

The Fix

You must isolate and treat your fish if it exhibits any of these signs, notably if it is in a community tank. Additionally, replace the water completely to lessen the likelihood of an outbreak.

4. Poisoning by Ammonia

When fish are laying at the bottom of the tank, one of the deadliest ailments that is simple to overlook is ammonia poisoning.

Ammonia poisoning symptoms include loss of appetite, laboured breathing, overcrowding, and overfeeding. Fish congregate in the tank’s higher-oxygen zones.

Putting too many fish in a tank that hasn’t been cycled, deep-cleaning the tank without employing starting bacteria, and doing it in a way that disturbs the culture of beneficial bacteria already present.

The Fix

Check the ammonia level in your tank using aquarium test kits. Any reading other than zero should raise a warning because there is no acceptable level of ammonia.

To quickly lower the ammonia levels, perform a 25–50% water change. Use tap water that has been resting for a minimum of 48 hours or dechlorinated water. If your setup is new, cycle your tank. Weekly ammonia level checks.

5. Temperature

Your fish may lay immobile at the surface of the aquarium if the temperature of the water in it falls too low in order to conserve energy.

On the other hand, fish will remain on the bottom where there is more oxygen if the temperature of the water becomes dangerously high.

Additionally, a sudden rise in water temperatures can speed up your fish’s metabolism. They will consume more food, which will result in more waste.

A recipe for disaster includes an excessively high-water temperature and insufficient aeration (water circulation). Likewise, abrupt and frequent variations in water temperature.

The Fix

For a steady water temperature within your tank, have an aquarium warmer with a digital controller. Verify that the heater’s wattage corresponds to the endurance of your specific arrangement.

Look into the ideal water temperature range for the particular fish species you plan to keep.

Since tropical and cold-water fish require completely different water temperatures, do not keep them in the same tank.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Stress Something a Fish Can Get Over?

A fish can bounce back from stress, yes. If you give your fish the right care and are patient, you can nurse it back to health.

How to Determine the Age of Your Fish?

Swelling eyes, thinner bodies, and faded once-vibrant color indicate that they are ageing.

How Do I Deal with High Nitrite Levels in a Fish Tank?

Verify with a testing kit and keep an eye on your fish’s activity. Next, make sure the nitrite level is less than 0.2 mg/l and gradually perform a water change of 50%.


The small, nuanced ways that fish express their emotions are unique to them. And one of them is unquestionably lying on the tank’s base.

If it doesn’t happen frequently, you shouldn’t assume anything. They have a reputation for sleeping and resting near the base.

However, you should do a thorough investigation if this behavior doesn’t stop and you see that your fish are having more time at the bottom than swimming.

The causes may include incorrect temperature, toxic accumulation, illnesses including ick and swim bladder infections, and stress. Stay calm and try several fish-relief techniques until you identify the problem.

Arif H Fahim

Welcome to PetFishTank! My name is Arif. I make an effort to publish educational articles using my many years of expertise as a fish owner.

Recent Posts

Мега Сайт Площадка