Why is My Koi Fish Staying in One Spot? {5 Reasons Explained}

Do you notice your koi fish staying in one place?  Why is my koi staying in one spot and refusing to move?

Are they finding it difficult to move? Are they ill? Is there anything you need to do?

In this article, we will focus on sluggish, lethargic koi fish who aren’t moving.

Why is My Koi Fish Staying in One Spot?

Koi fish can stay in one spot and refuse to move when they get:

  • stressed
  • tired
  • sick
  • oxygen deprived
  • too cold

Koi can become lethargic and immobile due to poor water quality, which may include too many nutrients, ammonia, or a changing pH. The first thing you should do is test the water condition with a tester kit that you can get on amazon to make sure there are no issues with the water.

Koi Fish Staying in One Spot

Why is My New Koi Staying in One Spot?

Koi can stay in one position for several minutes. At times, you might be scared your fish is dead until you see it is still breathing. There are 3 main reasons your new koi fish is staying at one spot:

1. Stress

When your koi fish gets tired or stressed out, you will see it staying in one position. You might even think it’s dead until you move closer to it before it swims away.

2. Tired

As a new one that you newly introduced to the tank, it can get tired of the stress due to acclimatisation. It is when you will see it staying in one position.

3. Water quality

When there is poor water quality, you will notice your koi staying in one position, trying to catch their breath. Poor water quality includes dirty water, water with inadequate oxygen, etc.

When they are down with diseases, they like to stay in one spot and not move around.

YouTube video

Does My Koi Fish Have Parasites?

Parasites are also a good factor in this regard. If your koi fish gets infected with parasites, it will have swimming problems, especially when the parasites affect its swimming organs.

These parasites can cause significant damage to your fish, so you have to get rid of them as soon as you can. Affected Koi may exhibit:

  • flashing and rubbing
  • keeping their fins tightly against their bodies
  • looking listless

In severe infestations, they will also hang at the pond’s surface and gasp for breath.

Is My Koi Fish Too Cold?

Hypothermia is a common cause of your koi fish staying in one spot. Hypothermia is a condition whereby your fish gets cold. When you do not adequately heat the water in the tank or pond, causing the fish to stay in one place.

Although they are cold-water fish, koi do best in water that is between 59 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. You should make sure your pond has both shallow regions and places that are deep enough.

This ensures that they do not freeze to the bottom since aquatic organisms’ metabolisms are sensitive to the temperature of the water they dwell in.

Why is My Koi Fish Breathing but Not Moving?

Your koi fish can be breathing but not moving due to several reasons. It can also get stressed if you have too many fish in the tank, when you change the water, when the fish just finished eating too much.

  1. Your koi fish will also stay in a position if it is sick or affected by parasites. Normal diseases and parasites can cause it to stay in a position as it leaves its immune system to battle the diseases
  2. When organs like the swim bladder, fins, gills, and other essential swimming parts become affected, the fish finds it difficult to swim. You will see it stay in one position and not move around as it should normally do.
  3. When the water is dirty, contaminated, or does not have enough oxygen, your koi fish will stay in one position in the tank. This way, it conserves energy and resources as it knows they are in limited quantity.

Why is My Koi Staying at the Top of the Pond?

Koi fish will go to the top of the tank, trying to have access to more oxygen. It occurs when the oxygen in the water is not enough. There is always more oxygen at the surface of the water as it is close to air.

When you see them staying at the top of the pond, you should change their water and replace it with clean, oxygen-full water.

Koi Fish Floating on Side but Alive

If your koi fish are floating on their side, but still alive and active in your pond, you may be able to help, but you should act fast. Most likely, the problem is that your koi fish is experiencing an excess of gas or an over-inflated swim bladder.

This will quickly turn into swim bladder disease if you do not care and treat your koi fish appropriately. You can treat the entire pond with the products such as “Stress Away”.

Basically, the swim bladder is pushing against the side of your koi fish’s body and causing buoyancy issues. It is usually caused by stress, poor water quality and unhealthy eating habits.

Why Are My Koi Swimming at the Top?

Your koi fish is swimming at the top because there’s an insufficient amount of dissolved oxygen within the pond itself. This is why koi fish routinely swim up to the surface to gasp for better quality air.

  1. Their mouths are opening and closing at the surface of the water and they’re having a hard time swimming back down to a comfortable level where they are used to living.
  2. They would prefer to hang out at the top of the water where oxygen levels are more breathable.
  3. At this point you will need more aeration and oxygenation.

Air stones and an air pump would go a long way to helping your koi fish return back to the bottom of the bonds where they are most comfortable.

Why is My Koi Fish Not Swimming Around?

Your koi fish cannot be swimming around due to several reasons. It can also be a result of parasite infestation. This is an indication of extreme stress of some kind.

These fish frequently seem to be dead, but when you attempt to catch them in a net, they swim away. It may be brought by by:

  • poor water quality
  • illness
  • parasites
  • hypothermia

All of those pressures acting together might possibly be the cause.

Why is My Koi Fish Swimming Erratically?

If you notice an erratic swimming behavior in your fish, it is likely a cause of parasites. You might see the koi fish rubbing their body against the walls of the tank, trying to get rid of the parasites. You will also notice them jumping out of the water.

Koi fish will stay in a spot for several reasons. As an aquarist, you have to check them out and know what is wrong with them. You also have to administer adequate care to them.


Thanks for visiting HelpUsFish.com for this article. Check out our home page and search bar with hundreds of aquatic or marine life articles to choose from. Bye for now!


Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind HelpUsFish.com. I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.