Do Fish Die If They Stop Swimming?

The question, “do fish die if they stop swimming” was possibly birthed from the knowledge that sharks die if and when they stop swimming.

The thing is, sharks make use of something called ‘buccal pumping’ that enables them to use the muscles located in their throats to forcefully get water past their gills. This is because sharks will die if they cannot force water past their gills. But unfortunately, not all sharks can make use of this “buccal pumping” and so they are susceptible to death if they stop swimming.

So if you are wondering if fish die if they stop swimming? The answer lies in the fact that as long as their water home is properly oxygenated, the average fish can breathe without hitch whether they’re swimming or not.

Water Filter Can Help A Fish Survive In Captivity.

In natural bodies of water, water is circulated constantly which makes certain that there is constant oxygenation. This is the opposite for water in tanks or bowls. Such water, due to lack of circulation, becomes stagnant and loses oxygen.

It is as a result of this that fish that are kept in aquariums or fish bowls need decent water filters to survive. Water filters are basically what a fish in captivity need to survive.

They perform lots of tasks among which are:

  • Keeping tank clean
  • Create currents needed for the fish to follow.

More effective filters let you control the current and strength of the water. This is rather useful because some fish can survive in stronger currents where others can’t so whatever fish you happen to have, you can always adjust the filter to better suit it.

Like a good fish owner, before making decisions that would affect our fish, it is important you check or find out what requirements are specific to it. So, when you need to buy a filter, think about the type of fish you plan to rear or keep. Make sure you know what they need and make your purchase in light of that.

And if you must get more fish, get those that have similar requirements to the initial fish you got.

Can A Fish Suffocate?

Well, yes. Very much so. As we have discussed, water can be void of oxygen, and fish need oxygen to breathe and survive. So if the fish tank is not properly oxygenated, the fish can suffocate and eventually die.

Of course, always make sure to check on your fish as much as possible. Keep an eye out for odd or uncommon behaviours. But note that if you find your fish-holding still, it might not be dead, but just taking a bit of rest.

Another way to keep your fish from dying on you is making sure you don’t populate its tank with other fish that are not compatible with it.

Also, try as much as possible to provide the fish with its suitable tank conditions.


Do Fish Die If They Stop Swimming?, Aquarium Fish Tanks UK

Add Aquatic Plants To Provide Oxygen

A great way to get more oxygen into your fish tank is by adding plants to it. Plants produce oxygen when they absorb CO2 and they also double as great decor for your tank.

a. Anubias

The Anubias is a leafy plant that fish tend to favour. It mostly grows attached to rocks or driftwoods and can greatly handle dim light and stronger light which invariably helps it produce oxygen.

b. Water Wisteria

The Water Wisteria is another good plant to consider when you’re scouting for a way to increase oxygenation in your fish tank. As long as the Water Wisteria takes root properly, it does really well in so many varied conditions one of which is its ability to withstand a lot of light exposure.

And this helps really, because the more light the plants gets, the more oxygen they create. It is as a result of this that you have to be intentional when picking up plants for your fish tank.

You can get shade-loving plants, but it’s important you mix them up with plants that can handle light exposure.  Water Wisteria is also beautiful and makes a good decor for your tank. Don’t forget that you feed your plants just as you feed your fish. So it’s important to find good fertilizers for your plants as well.

c. Java Moss

This is another popular plant for fish tanks. The Java Moss can handle dimmed lighting and is a great shelter for fish and shrimps.


Make Sure Tank Temperature Is Not Too High

Naturally, cold water holds more oxygen than warm water. Because of this, ensure that the temperature in your fish tank is not overly high. If you want to maintain a well-oxygenated tank, then lower the temperature in the tank.

Oxygen Retention In Water Is Limited Due To Nitrate And Ammonia Created By Waste

When waste becomes too much in your tank, it can be really dangerous for many reasons. It doesn’t just pose a risk for your fish’s health, it also depletes the oxygen level in the tank.

Fish waste discharges ammonia and nitrate which occupies space in the tank that oxygen should occupy. You need to learn to increase oxygen in your tank for the sake of your fish.

When There is Less Movement In The Tank, Oxygen Distribution Decreases

Water movement does a lot in increasing oxygen level in a tank. It is not enough for a water filter to add oxygen to the tank, but also to make sure that oxygen is distributed actively.

So, when you want to get a water filter, invest in one that will not only provide oxygen but also acts as a distributor. Especially to areas where the oxygen cannot reach.

So, Do Fish Die If They Stop Swimming?

From everything said so far, we can pretty much agree that fish do not die if they stop swimming. A halt in movement does not guarantee suffocation but suffocation is still very much possible if your fish does not get enough oxygen.

So work towards getting yourself a decent water filters and make sure your fish tank is properly oxygenated.