Why Does My Cichlid Stay At The Top Of The Tank (3 Main Reasons)

Have you ever wondered why your cichlid always stays at the top of the tank? Different reasons may be causing this behavior. Cichlids have been known for being territorial, so they need their space from others and will stay on top of the tank until they find what they are looking for.

Cichlids, which are freshwater fish from Africa, tend to stay close to the top of their tanks because there is a lack of oxygen in the water at the bottom. This is due to the fact that as fish breathe they release carbon dioxide into the water and this increases the concentration of carbon dioxide near the top of a tank.

The very first thing that you need to check is the oxygen level of your tank. Check if the filter is plugged properly and turn on the switches. Also, ensure that the water is rippled by the motor. If you use an air pump then ensure that it produces bubbles in the water.

You must be wondering why the fishes come to the surface of the fish tank too often?

Is The Oxygen Level In My Fish Tak Too Low?

The first question you need to examine is wether you have enough oxygen in your fish tank.

If the oxygen level is low then fishes come to the surface to breathe, because the surface has the highest level of oxygen in the tank. The reason is that it is in contact with the air. If oxygen is the main reason why fishes come out at the surface then you need to make it right otherwise the fishes might die in the tank.

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Certain exceptional fishes can survive even with low oxygen levels because they are adapted to deal with such away. Some of the fishes are the gouramis, Siamese, labyrinth fish, and some catfish.

Does My Fish Tank Contain Toxic Ammonia?

The reason why the fish come to the surface of the tank is the poor quality of water. It might look crystal clear and pure but in reality, it can be deadly. The fishes produce toxic ammonia and nitrate and they are deadly when they come above zero.

To fix this issue you need to test the water to check if there is any amount of nitrate and ammonia in it. You can do it by using some test kits or install monitoring devices for ammonia alert. If the ammonia is present in water then you need to detoxify that tank and remove it to save your fishes from dying.

In addition to this, you can change half of the water and add an ammo lock to turn the toxic ammonia into safe ammonium.

The thing that you need to do is look at the aquarium and ask why the ammonia was present in it. Was it because you have kept too many fish in the tank?

Was there any dead fish in the tank or was it worth the overfed? Was the filter damaged or was it blocked? Did you throw out the filter along with all the beneficial and necessary bacterias from the tank? Whatever might be the reason just look at the filter again and bring the ammonia back down to zero as quickly as possible.

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Do Some Of Your Fish Have Disease?

Another reason can be fish diseases. They can make fish behave poorly and hang at the surface. These diseases make the fishes motionless and lethargic. In such cases, there are chances that parasites can enter into the gills of fish leading to problems in breathing.

The fish reacts to this in the same way it reacts when the oxygen level is low. To check if the fish has some disease you can see the signs of fungus, white spots, or slime. Moreover, if its fins are also clamped then there is some issue.

If the fish has some disease then purify the aquarium with the treatment suggested by the manufacturer. Or you can install an air stone and air pump to bring extra oxygen to the face who is in trouble

There are some circumstances when all the three reasons can be there. In all those cases a fish might be at the surface because of high ammonia, low oxygen, and disease. 

The causes of disease are poor water and the long duration of fish in the water tank.

That’s why we suggest you buy a proper aquarium with filters in it. Also, it must have test kits and it must be stocked gradually. Also, make sure to add beneficial bacterias on a routine basis and check that oxygen levels of the tank are always high. You can check it using a stone or an air pump.

How To Keep Your Tank Healthy For Your Fish

Exceptions are everywhere here are also some. Some fishes are meant to hang at the surface of the tank. Those fishes include Hatchetfish, Zebra danios, Guppies, and a few more. These all fishes must be feeding and active when they are at the surface.

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Cichlids like to have live plants in their fish tanks. Some fishes show aggression towards the plan while the others just do well with plants. Also, you need to keep in mind that cichlids turn bigger and larger. That’s why bigger tanks are preferred.

You can keep plants, gravel, and different kinds of stone in the fish tank.

To oxygenate your fish tank, you must follow these simple steps. Take any kind of clean pitcher, cup, or any other container. Scoop it out and then fill it with aquarium water. Then, hold the container at some distance away from the aquarium and then again pour back the water in the tank.

Keep repeating this process from time to time.

A sufficient amount of aeration is important for the fishes. A lot of oxygen in the tank can lead to bubble disease. In that lethal gas disease, the gas comes out of the solution and enters into the fish. Then, it creates bubbles around the eyes and skin of fish.

It’s important to monitor your tank and try to avoid any issues rather than waiting for them to come up. If something doesn’t seem right, do your research and make a plan of action so you know how to fix the problem before it becomes a bigger issue.