Goldfish At The Bottom Of The Tank Not Moving?

Goldfish At The Bottom Of The Tank

Goldfish are generally one of the most natural aquarium fish to keep. Aside from the fact that they are not aggressive, they can also adapt to varying environmental factors. Goldfish love to swim around in the tank. Therefore, aquarists are often worried when they lay at the bottom of the tank and not moving.

While goldfish lying at the bottom of the tank may be doing just napping, it might also mean there is a problem in the aquarium. If you find your goldfish not moving at the bottom of your tank, it might be an indication that you need to reevaluate the water parameters of the tank. It might also be due to swim bladder problem, constipation, overcrowding, stress, and trauma.

When goldfish lay at the bottom of a tank, they are often unwilling to move. Goldfish often get tired and exhausted if the water parameters are not favorable. Likewise, lack of air, poor nutrition, and other environmental imbalance can also be responsible for goldfish’s unwillingness to move at the bottom of the tank.

Reasons Why Goldfish Lay at the Bottom Of The Tank Unwilling To Move

Goldfish love to move around the tank, thus, lying at the bottom of the tank can be a cause for concern. While it can be just the napping time for goldfish, an extended stay can mean something entirely different. Here are some reasons why goldfish lie at the bottom of the tank, not moving.

Stress And Trauma

Goldfish will spend time at the base of the tank, unwilling to move if they become stressed or scared. This scenario often happens in community tanks when they are together with bullying and aggressive species. If you find the goldfish at the bottom of the tank breathing rapidly, stress is most likely the problem. Stress also gives room for other health complications like swim bladder problem to creep in. Goldfish stress is mainly due to poor water quality and bullying tank mates.

Poor Water Quality

Goldfish lying at the bottom of the tank can also be an indication of poor water quality. In this case, the water parameter to specifically look out for is the ammonia content and pH. You can also ascertain if the problem is high ammonia content when the gills of goldfish become reddish or purplish. High or low pH value can also be a significant cause. In general, you should evaluate and carry out necessary precautionary measures on your water parameters if you find your goldfish lying at the bottom of the tank.


Aquarists are often advised not to overfeed their goldfish. Aside from the fact that overfeeding goldfish can make them gravitate to the bottom of the tank, it also allows the discharge of excess organic waste to the tank. Likewise, excess eating can result in excess organic leftovers in the tank, which can consequently lead to the accumulation of excess ammonia content in the aquarium.


You might also have to observe the population density of your tank if you find your goldfish lying at the bottom of the tank. Overcrowding often leads to an imbalance in the fish tank. Consequently, overcrowding can lead to goldfish becoming stressed, increased levels of ammonia in the tank, as well as insufficient oxygen content.

Swim Bladder

Swim bladder problem is another primary reason why you can find your goldfish laying at the bottom of the tank and unwilling to move. Problems with swim bladder can occur in two dimensions; it can either make the goldfish float at the top of the tank or remain at the bottom. In this case, the air is not allowed into the swim bladder, thereby compromising its buoyancy.

What To Do If You Find Goldfish Not Moving At The Bottom Of The Tank

The first step to take when you find your goldfish motionless at the base of the tank is to find out the cause of the problem. Identifying the problem will help you have a better hand on the solution. Most times, the answer to your goldfish being motionless at the base of the tank might be specific for the cause.

The first factor to consider in this case is the water quality of the tank. You can start by observing the population of the tank and be sure the tank is not overcrowded. Next, examine the critical water parameters of the tank like the pH, ammonia level, Temperature, salinity, and so on.

In case there is any problem with these water parameters, you should fix it as the first step of a solution. You can achieve this by merely changing a certain percentage of water in the tank. You can also employ the use of ammonia neutralizer in a case where excess ammonia is present in the tank.

Likewise, you should also check out if the fish is stressed. You can figure this out judging from the water quality, nature of other tank mates, as well as the type of food you have been feeding to them. You should separate them from aggressive tank mates if you discover they are being bullied or nipped.

Also, you should check out if you have been overfeeding your goldfish. If this is the case, you should reduce the quantity and frequency of your goldfish’s feeding. It would be best if you considered improving the quality of the fish diet instead of increasing the amount.


Goldfish are hardy and do not require any special care. However, a significant imbalance in their environment and poor water quality can cause them serious health problems. One of the things you should be concerned about is when you find your goldfish at the bottom of the tank, not moving.

Goldfish lay motionless at the base of the tank due to several reasons. These reasons are not life-threatening if you take quick actions. However, it can lead to the overall deterioration of the tank health if the problem persists.

The solution to this condition is specific for the cause; therefore, it is essential to find out why your fish is at the bottom of the tank not moving before moving to find a solution.


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