Why Do Fish Jump?

Many of our clients have noted their fish jumping at various times and have wondered why they do it. But why do fish jump? Here are the most common causes of fish jumping:

It’s feeding time and they’re excited.

Just like your 2-year-old getting their favorite snack, some fish love feeding time above all else. They will show their excitement by jumping for joy! This is usually easy to judge if your fish only jump when you show up with the goodies.

They are itching themselves.

If you see your fish jumping other than dinner time, they may be scratching themselves. Since they don’t have fingers or fingernails, fish use their surroundings and the surface tension of the water to itch their bodies. Some do it occasionally, but if you notice multiple fish jumping or flashing (rubbing their bodies on structures in their environment), you may have a parasite you can’t see.

They are trying to escape a poor environment.

If your fish feels trapped due to poor water quality or another bully in the tank, they may jump to try and find a new home. This is especially true of betta fish who puddle jump during times of drought in the wild. Make sure you have a lid to prevent injury from falls.

For large, breeding koi, sometimes females will jump out of their ponds to escape persistent males. Unfortunately, there is no way around this unless you are physically able to separate your males and females. Some owners will purposely stunt their fish to prevent reproduction, but this is not the best option for all.

They just like to do it.

Some fish do not fit in any of the above options, so we figure it’s just their thing. Just like some people like to whistle, some cats have to use the exact same spot in their litter box every single time, and some dogs only want one toy out of a box of thousands, some fish just do what they want to do. In this case, jumping.

So, hopefully we’ve answered “why do fish jump.” Since a lot of people have been stuck at home and watching their fish closely, you’ve probably noted some new fish quirks. If your water tests out within range and you haven’t added any new fish or plants in more than 6 months, your fish will probably be okay.

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