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Dead Fish And Fish Losses | A Bad Day Of Fish Keeping

Updated on November 4, 2009

Fish die. It happens to the best of us. What good fish keepers feel bad about are fish deaths that didn't need to happen or that occurred from preventable causes.

After months without incident, I managed to lose not one, but four fish in one day, and have two end up fairly maimed. This is a list of what occurred, and what you can do to prevent the same deaths and injuries from occurring in your fish tank.

The First Three Deaths

The first deaths came by trialing danios with small cichlids. When first introduced to the tank, there were eight of them. One of them tempted death by swimming around the bottom of the tank, and was removed to a safer place, leaving seven inside it.

The next morning, only four remained. Three had fallen prey in the night to cichlids, synodontis catfish, or a combination of the two. The remaining four were removed to a safe tank, and I now have five out of eight danios swimming around happily, able to relax now that they are no longer in constant fear of their lives and being picked off by bigger fish.

Lesson: Choose dither fish with care. Any fish you put in an aggressive fish's tank should be several times bigger than its mouth, and fast.

The Fourth Death

This was a very sad one and totally preventable, had I been thinking. Earlier in the week I had introduced two Jewel Cichlids into my main tank. One took to it happily, but the other became piggy in the middle, being constantly picked on by the two more aggressive fish. Hoping to ensure its survival, I removed it to a smaller tank. To cut a long story short, it jumped out of the tank and died on the carpet whilst I was out. I did not know that large cichlids could and would jump that way, none of my others have shown the slightest inclination to do so, but this fish cleared a four inch rise to leap to its doom. I have no idea why it chose this course of action, it was in clean water and separated from all bullies. It should have been entirely safe, but for whatever reason, it chose suicide.

Lesson: Never underestimate the jumping power of any fish. Fish can, and do jump, tank covers are essential for this reason.

The Maimings

This happened because a faulty divider allowed two betta fish to enter the same swimming space. Note to budding betta owners. It does not matter how big your tank is, you cannot put two male betta fish in it. They will seek each other out and kill each other. Mine are still alive, but that's because I caught them less than a minute after the divider failed, at which point they had already shredded each other's fins. Both of them now look like folorn Christmas trees without their foliage. It is sad, and I am sure, painful.

Lesson: Ensure that any aquarium dividers used for aggressive fish are secured with aquarium silicone.

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