Hnf Logo H65 2022Hnf Logo H40 2022

How to revive a fish

Writen By
nafisbd []

 How to Revive a Dying Fish

Before your fish dies, you will always have some signs. If you notice some abnormal signs, both physically or behaviorally, it's best to take some action. Find out what could be causing the symptoms in your fish and provide a solution.

This article will help you explore the causes of death in various fish and how to save them. Some symptoms may require immediate attention, or else your fish may die. This article will explore what solutions you can offer and when to consult a veterinarian. 

Before learning how to revive your fish, let’s find out which are symptoms of a dying fish. 

Signs of Dying Fish 

If you spot your fish with the following symptoms, then it’s a warning the fish needs immediate help;

  • Gasping for air at the water surface- the fish may be having stress, which can cause difficulty in breathing. Again, your fish may be lacking enough oxygen. 
  • A pale body can result if the fish is under stress.
  • Sluggish movements- poor water conditions or rapid water changes
  • Low appetite due to stress or sickness
  • Trying to jump out of water – severe stress 
  • Bulging eyes 
  • Faded coloring, especially in betta
  • Raised scales 
  •  Cloudy eyes – check the water quality 
  • Rotting fins- a bacterial infection 
  • Abdominal swelling – internal infections or constipation 

Causes of a Fish to Die and Solutions

Here are the factors leading to fish death and the solutions you can offer to revive your fish.

  • Stress 

This issue is a common factor that may cause death to your fish. Stress can result from many problems like diseases, bullying from other fish, small aquarium space and more. You can find out if your fish has stress if it presents the following signs;

  • Fish swims frantically without much movement
  • Crashing at the aquarium’s bottom
  • Fish rub on the gravel or decorations, especially with external parasites or water quality.
  • Locking fins sideways

If your fish has the above signs that indicate stress try to find out the cause and offer a solution. For instance, if your fish is being bullied, you should transfer it to a separate tank. If starting on fishkeeping, check the compatibility of your fish. Avoid keeping fish such as cichlids, blue gourami and a male betta in the same tank as they are territorial. 

  • Unfavorable Aquarium Environment 

Failure to clean your aquarium and perform water change can result in fish death. A lot of waste accumulates from excess feed and fish waste products. This scenario affects water quality leading to high ammonia, nitrate levels and even drastic pH changes. Again, the dissolved oxygen levels decline, putting your fish at risk of dying. 

Therefore, it's best to clean the tank by wiping and cleaning the gravel to maintain a clean environment. Again, perform a water change at least once per week. Change 10-20 % of the dirty water in the tank and replace it with fresh water for favorable fish habitat.

  • Rapid Water Change 

Rapid changes in water quality parameters like pH and temperature can shock your fish. A freshwater fish in shock due to water change undergoes swelling due to accumulating too much fluid. This condition is known as dropsy.

The swollen organs pressure the swim bladder, making your fish swim sideways. The osmotic shock occurs when it fails to regulate its absorption of ions and starts to either absorb or release too much fluid. 

Therefore, it's important to acclimate your fish before adding them to the aquarium, especially when you first bring them home. Additionally, when replacing fresh water in an aquarium, ensure it has the same water parameter levels. All the changes in water parameters should be slow and steady. 

  • Fish Jumping Out of Tank

Some fish are very aggressive and may jump out of the tank as they swim. Others may jump out of the tank if the conditions are unfavorable; for instance, the temperatures may be too high or lower pH pushing them to jump. Another reason that may cause the fish to jump is when they are itchy, mainly due to parasite infestation. 

When you find your fish gasping for air, you should place it in cool water for proper aeration. Again, you can check if the fish gills are still red, which is healthy. You can keep increasing aeration by doing a water change or placing an air bubbler. These practices will save your fish from dying due to a lack of oxygen. 

  • Overcrowded Small Water Tank 

Overstocking your fish in a small aquarium risks your fish life. First, the fish waste products accumulate higher than what the bacteria can break down with overcrowding. This waste leads to the accumulation of toxic substances, forming an unhealthy water environment for your fish. 

A small tank can still cause stress to your fish like bettas and goldfish that require ample space. With less space, the fish will have less oxygen and suffocate. To save your fish from dying, you should first transfer them into a quarantine tank before stocking them in a larger tank.

  • Overfeeding Your Fish 

Overfeeding your fish is another reason for fish death. When you overfeed your fish, they end up bloating, causing swim bladder conditions. Again, overfeeding results in excess fish waste and accumulation of uneaten food decays that affects water quality. 

The waste fouls up your water and makes it toxic, killing the fish. The solution is to reduce the feeding frequency for your fish and amount. Again, you should clean your water tank and perform regular water changes to eliminate waste and improve water quality. 

Additionally, it's best to give your slat an Epsom salt bath to relieve it from constipation. This salt can still heal wounds and eliminate pests and pathogens.

When to Call a Veterinarian 

Consider consulting an expert if you try reviving your fish and it still doesn't recover. Again, if the fish has the following conditions, its best to seek help;

  • Bacterial infections 
  • Pop-eyed condition
  • When not sure of the treatment to give your fish

When to Give Up on Your Fish 

  • Fish fails to eat even when you try feeding by hand
  • Fish has compromised immunity and keeps contracting diseases
  • No improvement even after giving the best treatment 
  • Severe bacterial infections 
  • Loss of some parts like fins 

General Tips to Maintain a Healthy Fish Environment 

  • Perform a water change weekly 
  • Clean the tank to prevent algae build-up
  • Test and monitor water parameters ensuring ammonia and nitrates are at low levels.
  • Avoid overcrowding your fish 
  • Avoid overfeeding your fish 
  • Monitor any signs of illness early and quarantine your fish to avoid spreading diseases. Quarantine is also best for a new fish to avoid shock. 
  • Avoid rapid water changes for your fish 


Fish requires a healthy environment, just like any other living creature. A clean habitat with appropriate water parameters will protect fish from stress and infections. Again, proper feeding to gain immunity,  performing water changes and cleaning the tank are other practices you should observe. Also, it's best to monitor your fish for any infections, quarantine the sick fish and offer the best treatment.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts
Home and Fences is reader supported. We independently recommend methods, ways, products etc. As amazon associates we receive commission for every qualified purchases. More Details>> 
crossmenuchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram