Your fish don’t smile, even though you could swear they smile once they see you. They don’t laugh, even though you wish you could hear them if they did. So how do you tell if your fish are happy?
Just like being able to identify whether your fish are friends or foes in that tank, it’s really a matter of knowing the behavior of your fish.
Generally speaking, following are some of the ways you can tell if your fish are happy.
1. They swim back and forth freely and energetically around the tank.
2. Quite like humans, happy fish might have a vibrant glow to their skin. If their skin looks good, it’s a sign of good health. And healthy fish are happy fish.
3. They do not appear fearful of the other fish in the tank. Fear will make them cower in a corner or back away from other fish rather than being active members of the aquarium community.
4. They are breathing normally. Irregular breathing may be a sign of distress.
5. They seem to enjoy eating, as applicable for their nature. Some fish are bottom feeders, for example, so they might not rush to consume the food you give them.
If you find that your fish don’t seem to be as happy as they could be, considering the following might help you lift their spirits.
• Do the fish have room to roam? If not, maybe you can obtain a larger tank or separate your fish into two tanks.
• Are they being bullied? If so, moving an aggressive fish into its own aquarium will make all of your livestock happier.
• Is the water clean? We can’t stress enough the importance of using clean, filtered water in your fish tank. It will make all the difference in their health and happiness.
• Knowing that some fish can be picky eaters, have you considered changing their food? If you think they might not be happy simply because they’re not thrilled at feeding time, you might be surprised to find that a different type of food makes them jump for joy. Remember that fish food expires and gets stale as well, so keep that in mind as you’re feeding them.
• Are you providing them with a proper playground, full of natural or artificial plants, rock, and gravel? If your fish tank is boring to you, it’s probably boring to them too. Keep in mind that having those items in your fish tank serves as a natural filter as well, so it will keep your fish healthier.
Remember that different types of fish have different characteristics. Some are naturally very social and playful, while others just float in the corner quietly as they’re checking out the action.
Being able to tell if your fish are happy really depends, therefore, on a combination of all of the above. Are they behaving as they usually do for the type of fish that they are? And are they eating? Do they look healthy? Are they getting along with other fish in the aquarium? If so, they’re most likely just fine, and it’s all due to your loving care and attention.
So it’s OK to imagine that they’re smiling when they see you. They probably are in their own way.
If you are still worried about the health of your fish, let us know! We’ll help you determine the cause of their discomfort and suggest ways that you can improve the aquarium environment.