Fish Jumping Out Of Your Aquarium? Here's How To Stop It.

Why Do Fish Jump Out? 

Fish can be silly creatures. Why would one ever want to jump out of their nice, safe home especially with the obvious consequences? The answer isn't always obvious, but it mostly comes down to instincts. They certainly don't know there's a magic glass wall that separates them from life or death- So by default, when a fish jumps out its definitely an accident. 

If a fish is stressed out or threatened, it might jump in an attempt to reach safety. On the other hand, some types of fish are just born jumpers and do it for fun. This is just one of several reason you should do your research on the fish before you head to the fish store. 

Can You Save A Fish That Has Already Jumped?  

It's happened to all of us, you walk over to your tank first thing in the morning and notice somebody jumped out overnight. Sometimes you might get lucky and be fresh to the scene, other times it's way too late. If your fish is crispy, then it's time to plan the funeral. If the fish is still wet, even if it's not moving, there might be hope. Fish can be very resilient, you can try putting them back in the tank or grab a small container and fill it with tank water. Observe the fish for several hours to see if they will come back to life.  

What Fish Are Prone To Jumping?

Here is a quick list of fish I know personally to be active jumpers. Any fish that spends most of its time at the top of the water should also be considered a flight risk. At the end of the day, all fish can jump out of the tank.

  • Rainbowfish
  • Betta fish
  • Hatchet fish
  • Many Tetras
  • Most fast swimmers
  • Most top dwellers

Fish That Won't Jump Out Of Tank

It's a short list and its not 100% but there is hope! To tell you the truth, there are no fish that absolutely won't jump out of a tank. I've again listed the fish I've had personally not be prone to jumping.

If you have any of the previously mentioned fish, you can totally keep them in a tank that does not have a lid. Lets talk about how to do it! 

  • Neocaridina Shrimp :) AMANOS WILL CRAWL OUT
  • Guppies
  • Chili Rasboras
  • Cory Catfish
  • Most bottom feeders

Guide- How To Stop Fish From Jumping

Method 1: Glass Tops (Aquarium Lids)

aquarium glass lids

Glass aquarium tops or lids are a common add on that can be found at pretty much every aquarium store. They typically have a hinge that allows you to easily lift up just the front portion to access the tank and feed. They come in pre determined sizes for all different types of standard, rimmed aquariums. You might even get some included in the aquarium kit you're thinking of getting. 

However, If your aquarium is rimless, then you have a new set of challenges to think about. Since there isn't a molded border around the tank, you have to either cut a custom piece of glass or acrylic to fit perfectly. Even still, you may have an issue with your light fixture and equipment fitment. Luckily, UNS makes a nice kit to solve this problem. It uses plastic clips and sheets of glass that sit on top, giving you a near perfect covering with small spaces for equipment. 

DIY Aquarium Tops (Lids) 

diy aquarium lid

Making your own lid might be the only option if your aquarium is either a weird dimension or its large and rimless. Lots of tutorials can be found on YouTube of fish keepers making lids out of all kinds of different materials. Here is a link to YouTube to get you started.  

Method 2: Floating Plants

Having an abundance of floating plants covering the top of your water column is a great way to discourage fish from jumping. Whenever I set up a rimless Betta aquarium, this is my go to method. Just having that visual barrier there seems to prevent it, although I guess it's not 100%. If the fish wants to jump, it still can. 

I prefer to use Salvinia rather than duckweed, but really anything seems to work. Floating aquarium plants also have the added benefit of greatly decreasing water toxins like ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and even heavy metals that can make you fish sick. Ill put a link below to where you can find a variety of floating plants you can use for this purpose. 

Salvinia floating plant

Method 3: Have A Tall Aquarium

I know, it sounds weird, but hear me out. If a fish is freaked out and needs to get away, if they can go left, right or down, then they might go up. I've noticed that whenever I have shallow tanks like a 33 long or even something like a 10-20 gallon with slightly too large of fish, I have more jumpers. Comparing that to pretty much no jumpers in my 6x2x2' Waterbox tank that is stocked completely with fish that are known to jump. 

I think overall size is important, but also height. Thinking back to when I had a 50 gallon cube 2' in vertical height seemed to help keep the fish inside. Not completely sure what the deal is with this phenomenon but I'll take it. 

fish wont jump out of this tank

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Method 4: Lower Your Tank Water

This is a pretty obvious one, but it works! Lower the water level and hopefully you can add a few inches to the high jump pole. Depending on your tanks overall volume, dimensions, and aquascape you may or may not what to go with this method. Its definitely not for everyone and I tend to only do this with certain smaller tanks with specific aquascapes that don't need a full volume of water. 

Use A Combination Of Techniques 

If you aren't interested in using a lid on your aquarium, try the other techniques and see what you prefer. Try lowing the water level slightly and adding in as many floating plants are you can. If you don't have enough to create a full organic lid, just wait a week and you'll have more :) My small Betta tanks use both the lower water level and floating plants methods.  

6 gallon waterbox aquarium

I hope this guide helped you out and gave you a good resource for your fish keeping journey! If you have any tips I forgot to mention leave them down in the comment section. Have a great day :)

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