Why Does Your Fish Keep Doing Backflips?


While fish are pretty low-maintenance pets, they can have some issues, and sometimes it’s difficult to realize something is wrong. Observing how your fish moves is a good way to detect a problem. If your fish is suddenly doing backflips, there’s likely a serious issue you need to address.

Your fish keeps doing backflips because of ammonia poisoning, constipation, or parasites. To fix these issues, try changing the water gradually. You can also treat your fish to kill parasites or feed it boiled peas to relieve its digestive tract.

Read on to learn more about why your fish could be behaving strangely and how you can fix it.

Reasons Your Pet Fish Do Backflips 

Fish can swim in different directions and patterns, but backflips are generally considered a sign that there is a serious or even fatal issue. 

The most common cause of this irregular swimming pattern is a problem with your pet fish’s swim bladder, which can be caused by several factors: 

Too Much Ammonia or Nitrates in the Water 

Water quality is essential for aquatic animals, and it can change quickly, which is why you should constantly test the levels of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites in the aquarium, as well as the temperature

High levels of ammonia or nitrates in an aquarium can damage or infect your fish’s swim bladder. This can hamper its ability to control the pattern and direction in which it swims and may result in your fish doing backflips. 

Your Fish Is Constipated

Like most other animals, fish can suffer from constipation, which may cause swim bladder issues resulting in backflips. A fish gets constipated when food blocks the digestive tract and disrupts normal digestive functions. 

There are various signs of constipation in fish, with the most obvious one being abnormal excrement, which is long and thin and stays afloat rather than settling at the bottom of the aquarium. Your fish may also look a little bloated.

Your Fish Has a Parasite Infestation

Unfortunately, fish are commonly affected by parasites that can cause swim bladder problems. Such parasites disorient the fish and cause an itching sensation, making it swim erratically to try and alleviate it.

Below are some signs that parasites have infected your fish: 

  • White spots on the scales 
  • Irritated, pink gills 
  • Cloudy eyes 

How To Prevent Your Pet Fish From Doing Backflips

Once you identify why your fish is doing backflips, the next step is to explore possible solutions, which I’ll discuss below. 

1. Give Your Fish Fiber-Rich Food

Pellets and flakes are likely to cause constipation in fish, especially in goldfish, and could be why your fish is doing backflips. 

To fix this issue, you can feed your fish boiled peas to provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Feed your fish boiled peas daily by following these steps:

  1. Get a few frozen green peas from your freezer.
  2. Place them in a bowl with very hot water.
  3. Wait for them to absorb the water and become mushy.
  4. Remove the outer membrane.
  5. Feed the peas to your fish.

2. Use Medication To Get Rid of Parasites 

You can try a parasite medication if you suspect your fish has parasites. There are different instructions for every kind of medication, but typically, you will need to change the water and clean the tank before applying the anti-parasite solution.

Check the instructions and follow the prescribed quantity and frequency to ensure effective treatment. Once you notice the desired changes in your fish’s behavior and appearance, you can stop the treatment.

3. Change the Water in Your Aquarium

If you suspect that the quality of the water is the culprit, test it by using a home test kit, which will tell you whether there’s excess nitrate in the water. 

You need to change the water if the tests indicate a possible imbalance. However, it’s important to consider the amount of water you can change safely to avoid shocking your fish. 

If it turns out that poor water quality is the problem, remember to test the water often to avoid problems for your fish in the future. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the common issues that could cause your pet fish to do backflips, inspect your aquarium frequently to detect any issues early. Fortunately, you can easily solve the most common problems. 

Additionally, you can maintain optimal conditions in your aquarium instead of waiting for issues to arise. If you give your fish fiber-rich food, keep the water quality high, and keep the aquarium parasite free, you are unlikely to see your pet fish doing those worrying backflips. 

Sources 

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