We all know that goldfish love to play and exercise. Sometimes, they like to swim and hide in the plants or other toys that you have placed in the tank for them.
But some people might have noticed that their goldfish are starting to hide all of a sudden, which naturally is something to worry about. Why are your goldfish doing this?
There are many different reasons why your goldfish might have started hiding, including the behaviors of the other fish, changes in their environment, poor tank conditions, and even illness. It is important to monitor your fish’s behavior for some time to get a better picture.
Some fish might just be more skittish than others, which is fine. But in this article, we will provide you with some reasons as to why your goldfish are hiding, what to look out for, and what you can do to make your fish feel more comfortable.
Reasons Why Your Goldfish Are Hiding
Once again, there is a multitude of different reasons why your goldfish have started to hide suddenly. Here are some of the most common reasons.
1. You just purchased the fish
Any new animal is bound to feel a little bit stressed when they enter a new home, which is completely normal. If you got your fish from the pet store, it might just feel uncomfortable in its new and unusual environment.
You might even notice that some of your other fish have started to hide if you introduce a new fish to the tank because they aren’t sure yet of what to make of the situation. All you need to do in this case is wait a few days. Your fish will quickly get used to each other’s presence.
2. The fish is feeling lonely
Goldfish and many other species are used to being around many other fish at once. If you only have one or two fish, your fish could simply be hiding because they’re feeling lonely and thus, less protected.
Isolation can cause your fish to feel scared and threatened because they aren’t being protected by the presence of all the other fish. If this is the case, perhaps consider getting more goldfish or similar species so everyone feels comfortable and less vulnerable.
Do fish even have feelings?
Yes! While we mostly thought of fish as being incapable of having feelings, this isn’t actually the case. According to several scientific studies, fish have the ability to feel pain, stress, and different emotions. They also have intelligence and the need to socialize.
Goldfish can even recognize their owners! We show you how you can get your goldfish to recognize you here!
3. On the other hand, there are too many fish in the tank
With that being said, having too many fish in the same tank could cause issues, too. Goldfish aren’t particularly territorial or aggressive, but overcrowding can really cause changes in the overall behavior of your fish.
It may start to hide so that the other fish don’t pay attention to it or see it. If this is the case, you can either purchase a new and larger tank, or take some of the fish out of this tank and put them in another tank of the appropriate size.
4. The other fish are bullying your Goldfish
Once again, goldfish aren’t an aggressive species nor are they territorial, so it’s not likely that other goldfish are tormenting your fish. However, if you have your goldfish living with other fish species, it’s possible that those species are causing your goldfish some trouble.
This could especially be the case if you have another species that is known for being rather aggressive, such as cichlids and betta fish. Your goldfish is hiding so that it can avoid a confrontation with the more aggressive tank mate.
If this is the case, then there are several things you can do. For one, you can get separate tanks and keep the fish separate. Or, you can simply rearrange everything in the tank to give all of the fish some more space to cohabitate.
5. You don’t have enough plants and decor in the tank
One of the most important things you can do when getting a fish tank is making sure that it has all the proper decor. Most pet stores will encourage you to get some sort of toys, plants, and other decors so your fish will have something to play with.
Fish love to exercise and feel like they’re safe. If you have too much open space in your tank, your goldfish will naturally start to feel vulnerable. They want to have somewhere that they can retreat for safety, but if there’s a lack of decor, then your fish are naturally going to hide.
Including some safety retreats will give your fish the confidence to swim out in the open.
6. There have been changes in the tank’s conditions
The water conditions are extremely critical when it comes to the health and behavior of your fish, no matter what species it is.
If you have suddenly changed all the water in the tank, if the temperature has fluctuated, if the pH is off, chemical changes, filter problems, or anything of the sort, this will surely cause your fish to act strangely and want to hide.
Make sure that you test the water regularly and avoid making drastic changes all at once. Clean the tank on a regular basis, too, to make sure that your fish aren’t swimming in their own waste.
If something is off and you go to fix it, you will notice that your goldfish will start to gain confidence and swim out in the open again.
Another behavior that your fish might display if this is the case is frantic swimming. Your fish could simply be exercising, but frantic swimming could also be a sign of stress.
The most common culprit for this is a decrease in water quality. You will want to check the ammonia, nitrate, and temperature levels.
7. Your fish is/are sick
Another reason why your goldfish might be hiding is that your fish is feeling ill. That’s usually not a good sign, especially not for the other fish. You might want to check the tank conditions to see if any changes or imbalances have caused your fish to get sick.
Poor water conditions can definitely be the main cause. It is indeed possible to heal a sick fish, but you will want to make sure that this is the case first. Examine the hidden fish regularly, especially when you go to feed the others.
Its eating habits can give you a clue as to what’s going on. And, of course, you also want to prevent the other fish from getting sick, too.
8. Your fish is/are feeling threatened by something
And of course, goldfish generally hide because they are feeling threatened. It could be something as simple as you or your family members making sudden movements, or it could be because people are tapping on the tank.
Fish will generally retreat and hide in a corner where they are not feeling so vulnerable. Encourage those around you to stop tormenting the fish. If the problem comes from within the tank, you will want to examine the situation first.
What You Can Do
We have listed many solutions as far as what you can do to make sure that your fish is feeling confident.
The most common reason why fish of any species might start to act strangely is due to abnormal changes in the water, especially when it comes to the amount of ammonia or waste there is. You will want to check on this regularly. Some fish are simply timider than others.
One of the best things you can do is to make sure that there are enough hiding spaces. While this might sound counterproductive, your fish will know that there are places they can always hide in a hurry, which will give the confidence to come out of their comfort zone and explore.
You don’t want to tap on the glass and make sure that anyone else you’re living with doesn’t try to scare the fish too much.
If you find that your fish are stressed, it is indeed possible for them to recover.
Depending on what the culprit is, making sure that the water and food are of the highest quality, that you help your fish acclimate to their new environment properly, and that you have a good tank can help your fish recover.
Otherwise, be sure to monitor everything that’s going on in the tank to see what you can do about a fish that has started hiding suddenly.
Making sure that your goldfish feel as comfortable and safe is the best thing you can do for them as their owner. Be sure to monitor their behavior, as well as the activities that are taking place in the tank, the water conditions, and more to be sure that everything is going smoothly.
These are the most common reasons why your fish might be acting strangely, including hiding. As long as you keep an eye on your fish and make sure that everything is working as it should, you and your fish should not experience any problems.