How to Comfort a Dying Fish

Although fish may not spend their days playing fetch, cozying up in your lap, or waiting at your feet for […]

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Although fish may not spend their days playing fetch, cozying up in your lap, or waiting at your feet for its next treat, they are a pet that many owners draw very close to and consider part of their family. If your fish is dying, what are some of the ways you can comfort it?

The different ways to comfort a fish include keeping your fish’s water temperature consistent, keeping the take away from direct sunlight, placing your face in an area that is quiet and peaceful, and removing healthy fish from the tank to avoid any bullying or spreading of disease.

For those pet owners who love their furry friends, it may seem almost impossible that someone would love a water pet just as much. However, fish have their own personalities, preferences, and interaction methods which not only make them curious little creatures, but wonderful pets. If you have a fish that you love and adore and notice they are at the end of their life, read below to find out the different ways you can comfort them during this time.

Keep Your Fish’s Water Temperature Consistent

© Scratchpay

The proper water temperature is going to vary from breed to breed, but as a more general rule, the importance is not necessarily how high or how low the temperature stays, but how consistent it remains. Fish are not fond of temperature changes when they are young and healthy, therefore, it can be easy to assume that when they are ill or are growing old, the changing of temperature can be rather alarming and stress-inducing.

To give your fish comfort when it is dying, it’s important to keep the temperature of the water as consistent as possible. If its aquarium is relatively clean and is not in need of an immediate change, try to avoid changing the water to keep the temperature at a more controlled level for your fish.

The reason that keeping their water temperature leveled is so important is that it takes quite a bit of energy for your fish to acclimate to a new temperature once the water has been changed. This requires a lot of its body, but can also be very difficult for them when they are removed from their aquarium, placed in a temporary holding, and then moved back into a place that is either cooler or hotter than it was thirty minutes ago.

Therefore, to keep the water temperature consistent, try to avoid changing out your fish’s water if at all possible. If you notice that a large amount of algae has built up or that there is quite a bit of waste at the bottom of their cage, you may have no other choice. Simply try to be as gentle as possible with your fish and the movements to take them from their tank, place them into a new holding area, and then back into their cleaned environment.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

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For those who have smaller fish tanks, it is easy to place them just about anywhere in your home. If you like to have your fish on your countertop so you can share a morning coffee, it’s no problem! If you want them in your bedtime so you can always say goodnight, that’s perfectly fine! If you want them sitting below your favorite window to look out of, this is great too, but be mindful of how sunlight may affect your dying fish.

To keep your dying fish comfortable, avoid putting their tank in direct sunlight. Although sunlight can be a great way to keep your fish’s color vibrant, direct sunlight when they are dying can cause a big change in the temperature of their water as well as cause an algae bloom.

As previously noted, one of the best ways to keep your fish comfortable when it is in its final days is to keep the water temperature controlled. If the tank of your fish is exposed to direct sunlight over a long period of time, it can cause the water temperature to increase drastically which can cause concentrations of dissolved oxygen to go down. If this happens, it can cause your fish to be met with a death that came sooner than expected.

Keeping your fish’s tank away from direct sunlight is also a passive way of keeping their tank clean, which in turn, helps to keep you from having to clean it as often. Excess heat can be a quick way to lead to an algae bloom within an aquarium and if this happens, you will be forced to take your fish from the comforts of its home, clean out the tank and water, and risk the chance of causing them more stress due to the constant movement and water change.

Give Your Fish Quiet

© Aquarium Co-Op

When your fish was healthy and active, you may have been able to coax them to the top of their tank with the simple rattle of their food or interact with them with ease and the scurried from one side of their tank to the next with excitement. When fish are in their final moments, they will lose this zeal and will begin to become rather still and docile. Although this may be hard to watch, is there anything you can do to keep them comfortable in this state?

If your fish is dying, it is important to give them peace and quiet. To do this, avoid tapping on the sides of their tank and place them in an area that does not have a ton of traffic passing back and forth in front of their cage. This will allow your fish to rest as it needs.

If you have a fish that is in a bowl or tank that is easily moved, consider taking them to a place in your home that does not have a lot of noise or motion. If you are not able to move your fish, be mindful of its state and try to be quiet when you get around their tank and move slowly as you go around it. This will allow your fish to relax as they will not be easily startled or disturbed by loud noises or constant commotion around their tank.

If you notice that your fish is particularly disturbed and you are not able to move their tank or bowl, it can be helpful to place a towel over their environment for a while. Still allow for some light to get into their space, but cover it enough to where oxygen is still available, but the light is drastically decreased in their environment. This can help to keep your fish calm by decreasing the visual stimulants outside of their tank.

Separate Your Fish From Others

© Aquatic Veterinary Services

Many fish owners have more than just one fish that they have grown to love and adore. Not only do more fish make aquariums more beautiful and diverse, but they also offer fish the ability to have company in their small little world. If you have multiple fish within one aquarium, this is great for them when they are healthy, but it may not be the best when one fish is dying. What then can you do if your fish is dying but is surrounded by other fish?

To comfort your fish when it is dying, it can be very helpful to separate the ill fish from the rest. If you don’t know the cause of death, this can prevent the spread of disease to other fish, but will also offer the ill fish a chance to be alone without being ganged up on by fish that are well.

You may be thinking, “You just said try to avoid moving your fish from their tank to prevent the shock of water temperature change!” and you would be right. Therefore, in this case, remove the fish that are healthy and place them into another take. This will get them into clean water, but will also keep from startling your sick fish, moving them to a new environment, and will allow them to stay in a place that is familiar and comfortable.

Once you have the healthy fish moved, monitor your fish and care for it as you should. Once your fish has passed on, you want to be sure to thoroughly clean the tank so that you can ensure there is clean, uncontaminated water, and that no unhealthy bacteria exist within the space which could result in contamination of other fish. If need be, replace the rocks at the bottom of the tank to guarantee the environment is as clean as possible.

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