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How to Stop Fish from Jumping out of a Tank?

Jumping out of the tank is undoubtedly a leading cause of aquarium fish death. While this usually happens soon after a new inhabitant is introduced to an already established tank, there are other reasons why fish feel compelled to leap out of the water in a contained environment. So how do you prevent this? What are the ways to stop fish from jumping out a tank?

There are 5 things you can do to stop fish from jumping out of their tank. First, put a lid on it. Second, choose peaceful, compatible tankmates. Third, maintain a clean, stable environment with plenty of hiding places and floating plants. Fourth, limit noise outside of the tank. And fifth, provide a gradual transition from light to darkness.

Now that you know the top 5 ways to stop aquarium fish from jumping out of their tank, let’s explore this topic together in more detail. We’ll learn why this sometimes happens, which species (in particular) are known for this behavior, whether (or not) a fish can survive after jumping out of its tank, and which tank lids are best.

And now if you’re ready to learn more about keeping your fish safe and secure in their tank, then let’s dive right in!

Why do Fish Jump out of their Tank?

Fish jump out of their tank for different reasons. For example, if the water parameters are ‘off’ or the tank is toxic, then fish sometimes swim to surface in search of a safer environment. Also, if tankmates are aggressive, some fish will swim to the top to try and escape harassment. As well, if the oxygen levels are low, fish will often head to the surface for more air.

goldfish jumping out of fish tank

What to do to Prevent Fish from Jumping out of their Tank?

To keep fish from doing the unthinkable and jumping out of their tank, make sure to put a lid on it. If you’d like to keep part of the top open for easier observation and feeding, try placing a piece of clear plastic along the outside edges only, keeping the middle free. Most fish that hit the glass walls will instinctively dart straight up so placing a barrier just along the perimeter of the tank should do the trick.

Another way to stop fish from jumping out of their tank is to ensure the water parameters are accurate. Maintaining a clean tank and testing the pH, temperature, and ammonia levels regularly will provide a healthy environment for fish. Try adding some floating plants along the top as surface markers. Place rocks, plants, and other decorations in the tank to act as hiding places for added security.

Yet a third thing you can do to prevent fish from jumping out of their aquarium is to add a blue to the tank. Fish in the wild experience a gradual change from day to night. In captivity however, flicking a bright light on suddenly can startle and disorient fish, causing them to shoot up to the surface. A blue or ambient light mimics moonlight and provides a more natural transition from day to night.

Fourthly, limiting the amount of noise near the aquarium may prevent fish from jumping out of their tank. Confusion and excessive activity near the tank can startle fish. If they happen to be swimming near the surface, they may become confused and dart upwards instead of down. Keeping the surrounding environment as a calm and quiet as possible may help reduce the risk.

And finally, to keep fish from jumping out of their aquarium make sure you stock it with compatible and peaceful tankmates. Fish that feel safe in their environment won’t dart to surface to try and escape hostility. If possible, try to introduce fish to the tank all at the same time so they can get used to each other and their aquatic surroundings in tandem.

What Species of Fish are Known for Jumping out of their Tank?

There are some species of freshwater fish that are notorious for jumping out of their tank. Guppies are one such example. Goldfish and koi will also leap out of the water, especially when kept in an outdoor pond. Killifish as well are known jumpers, often leaping from water puddle to water puddle in the wild. When if comes to saltwater species, firefish and gobies are also capable of jumping out of their tank.

Should you happen to keep any of the species listed above, you must consider investing in an aquarium lid – if you don’t have one already. Apart from the obvious reason of preventing your fish from jumping out of their tank, lids go a long way in reducing evaporation due to humidity. They also help shield the aquarium light, propelling the rays down into the tank rather than up into the surrounding environment.

Can a Fish Survive after Jumping out of its Tank?

Should the unthinkable happen and your fish jumps out of its tank, it’s still possible to save it – provided you get to it quickly and immediately place it back in the tank. The distance at which your fish falls will also determine its fate. If the aquarium isn’t too high off the ground and the floor happens to be carpet, the chances of it surviving are much greater.

*Just remember to be careful and gentle when you scoop it up (or use an aquarium net instead to help prevent injury) as fish can be slippery and you don’t want it sliding out of your hand and getting hurt.

jumping fish

How Long will a Fish Survive after Jumping out of a Tank?

It’s a known fact that fish will suffocate and die without water. Should the unthinkable happen and your pet fish inadvertently jumps out of its tank, it may survive for up to 3 minutes with no gill movement. However, the sooner you can get it back into the water, the better. To ‘bring it back to life’ quickly start by gently opening its gills before placing it back into the tank and turning on the air pump.

What Lids are Best for Fish Tanks?

When it comes to fish tank lids, glass tops tend to be the most durable, effective, and versatile. They also fit more snuggly than most plastic versions which helps better prevent evaporation. They’re also easier to clean, though they can be a bit more expensive. If you don’t want to cover the entire top of the tank, you can opt for a partial lid that you ‘retro fit’ yourself using pieces of plexiglass placed just around the outer edge. Partial lids allow for better viewing as well as easier feeding and quicker cleaning.


To sum things up, there are at least 5 things you can do to prevent aquarium fish from jumping out of their tank. Putting a lid on it is the first thing. Another option is to stock the tank with peaceful fish. Yet a third suggestion is to provide a safe aquatic environment with the appropriate water parameters and added plants for cover. Fourthly, eliminating excessive noise around the tank and finally, adding a blue LED light to provide a more gradual transition form daytime to nighttime will also help.

I trust this article has been of help to you and answered your questions about aquarium fish and how to keep them safely contained in the tank. Thanks for reading – good luck and happy fishkeeping!

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