Having clownfish in your fish tank will certainly be a treat. Many people love these fish because of how vibrant they are, and others have been drawn to them due to the presence of clownfish in a popular animated movie.
If you’ve been caring for clownfish for a little while now, then you’re likely trying to do your best to keep them healthy. Overall, clownfish are considered to be hardy, but you still need to care for them the right way so that they can thrive.
When your clownfish don’t look so good, it’s going to make you start to worry that you’re making mistakes. Are you concerned about whether your clownfish are dying?
Keep your eyes open for certain signs that your clownfish might be dying. This could potentially help you to turn things around, but even if that isn’t possible, it’ll help you to realize what you might be doing wrong.
Why Do My Clownfish Keep Dying?
There are potentially many reasons why your clownfish keep dying. It could be related to water parameter issues, disease, or even problems with choosing bad tank mates.
Keep reading to learn about some of the signs that your clownfish is dying. This might help you to better understand what’s going on so that you can change how you’re doing things.
1 – Breathing Issues
One thing to look out for first will be breathing issues. If a fish appears to be having a hard time breathing, then that could be an indicator that something is wrong with the water in your tank.
It could also be because the fish has an infection or some type of sickness. You’ll want to observe the fish to try to see how it’s acting and what is going on.
Check the water parameters to see if everything is as it should be. Remember that you want to keep the temperature of the water between 74 degrees Fahrenheit and 79 degrees Fahrenheit for these fish.
Keeping the water too cool or too hot can cause certain issues. The pH balance of the water is equally or more important.
The pH balance is supposed to stay between 8.1 and 8.4 on average. You want the balance to be stable as well, and that means that it shouldn’t be swinging wildly or it can cause issues.
Do your best to keep your eyes on the water parameters and test regularly. If too much ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites show up in the tank, then your fish might not be able to breathe.
Ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites should always read 0 ppm. Test regularly to ensure that things are correct.
These issues can be solved with chemicals. If you catch things on time, you might be able to turn things around if water issues are to blame for the breathing problems.
2 – General Sluggishness
Has your fish stopped swimming around as usual? Perhaps it just stays in one corner of the tank and doesn’t look lively at all.
This could be normal, but it could also be a sign that the fish is dying. Clownfish do “host” sometimes, and this means that they hang out in the corners of the tank.
A fish might do this when it’s stressed or getting used to a new environment. Sometimes clownfish might appear to be a bit lazy too.
However, sluggishness can be an indicator that something is wrong. For example, if the other clownfish is safely swimming near or on the anemone in your tank, then it’d be odd for the sluggish clownfish to be in the corner.
Keep an eye on the fish and try to observe it. Does the fish have any white spots or does it appear to be slimier than it should be?
You’ll want to watch out for diseases such as ich as well as other problematic sicknesses. If you’re very concerned, then you could get the opinion of an exotic veterinarian.
3 – Trouble Swimming
When a fish isn’t able to swim properly, it’s going to be very hard for it to live. Fish need to be able to swim so that they can eat and get away from aggressive fish.
Sometimes fish can eat too much food and they’ll become constipated. This leads to issues with bloating, and it makes their swim bladders stop functioning properly.
If a fish has severe swim bladder issues, then it can make it so that they will only be able to swim upside down or sideways. Typically, this issue can be fixed by feeding the fish a frozen pea to get rid of the constipation.
However, permanent swim bladder injuries can also occur. If the fish can’t get around well enough to eat, then it’ll wind up dying.
If your fish has a permanently injured or malformed swim bladder, then you might wish to consider humane euthanasia. This all really depends on how well the fish is doing.
When a fish is mobile enough to live, it’ll be fine to keep caring for it as normal. If the fish appears to be suffering, then humane euthanasia might be the best option.
4 – Lack of Appetite
Having a fish stop eating normally is a very bad sign. It could be that something is wrong temporarily, but it could also be a sign of disease or something else.
A severely stressed fish might stop eating. Fish can become stressed for a number of different reasons.
Clownfish will get stressed if they’re forced to live in a dirty environment. This is why it’s imperative to keep an eye on the water parameters and to change 15% of the water on a weekly basis.
The fish might also become stressed if it has aggressive tank mates. This could make it so that the fish will get bullied, and it might fear for its life.
If the clownfish chooses to hide instead of coming out to eat at the proper time, then that’s not good. You might need to check to see if the other fish in the community tank are compatible with the clownfish.
It’ll also be prudent to look up symptoms for common clownfish diseases. This will help you to figure out if your fish is sick, but you could also ask an exotic veterinarian for advice if you want to get to the bottom of the situation quickly.
The above signs might mean that your clownfish is dying. However, it could also be fine.
You just need to try to figure out what’s wrong so that you can make changes. In some situations, you might be able to turn things around and get the clownfish looking healthy again.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.