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Stress isn’t unique to humans. In fact, your pet fish can be under a lot of stress and suffer from its consequences without you noticing it. This often gets overlooked because a lot of owners aren’t aware of their pet’s common stress triggers and its early symptoms. They assume that as long as the aquarium is clean and the fish are fed, they must be perfectly happy and content.

The truth is that stress works in fish the same way it does in humans. When they’re not in the right environment, they experience trouble with their peers, and they are suffering from poor health; stress kicks in and makes matters worse. You’ll want to recognize the symptoms as soon as possible so you can intervene before it results in irreparable damage. Fortunately, you’ll glean a lot of useful information about specific problems and their remedies on websites like For now, it’s best to tackle the general symptoms and the first steps you can take to calm them down.

Fix the Water Condition

Clear water isn’t the highest determinant of good water condition. If you’re not using the right conditioner and there isn’t enough oxygen in the tank, you’ll likely see your fish frequently rising to the surface to gasp for air. An increase in nitrate levels and ammonia could also be the suspect, as well as a drastic change in temperature and pH levels. Saltwater tanks are likewise in trouble of having too high or too low salinity, causing your fish to be stressed and fall sick.

Buying an aquarium test kit should help you determine whether the water condition is the problem. A basic kit will contain instructions, testing solutions, test tubes, and a color card. Fill the test tube with aquarium water, add the specified amount of testing solution, and compare the result to the card. This might take time as one kit can only test for one water parameter, meaning you’ll have to purchase other kits to rule water condition out as a culprit. If you don’t have the time, the budget, or the patience for this, you can leave the testing to your local pet shop instead.

Recognize Fish Feuds

It sounds like a thing from animated movies, which is why it surprises many people to know that not all fish get along in real life. One sure way to start feuds is to overcrowd the aquarium. This brings out the combativeness in their nature and only aggravates the matter, especially when there are few or no hiding spots for them to cool off. Believe it or not, they will take measures to calm themselves, but when you don’t equip the aquarium with the right decors to enable this, fish fights will ensue.

You can address this by either buying a bigger tank and aquascaping properly or buying another tank to divide them. Continue to monitor them for signs of stress and refer to websites online to learn why symptoms like your betta fish losing its color persist.

Provide a Balanced Diet

While fish can survive on minimal nutrition, the prolonged absence of a balanced diet can trigger chronic stress. You’ll have to consult a vet, a pet shop, or an expert in your local aquarium hobbyist club to determine what dietary requirements a specific breed needs and how you can provide them. If they’re already sick, you don’t want to make matters worse by putting medication in the tank where the rest of the healthy fish are. Separate the sick fish first before treating it.

Prevention is Still Best

Preventing your fish from getting stressed is easier than diagnosing them and introducing solutions. Educate yourself about their ideal environment and get your family to cooperate. Should you spot one or two stressed fish once in a while, you’ll be glad that you now know how to calm them down.

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