Why Your Goldfish Is Just Sitting At The Bottom Of The Tank

Why are my goldfish just sitting at the bottom of the tank?Why are your goldfish just hanging out at the bottom? There could be several reasons for it, both good and bad. The most likely issue is the water conditions need to be changed.

The water conditions in your tank are vitally important to your fish. If the conditions are off, you’ll notice a change of behavior in your pets. If they are hanging out at the bottom of the tank, there may be several reasons why.

Why is my goldfish at the bottom of the tank?

The habitat of your goldfish will affect the way they behave. If they don’t like their home, they will be sad. If there are too many loud noises, they’ll want to hideaway. They don’t have hands to cover their ears.

Here are some reasons your fish is hanging out at the bottom of your tank:

  • Stress
  • Water Quality
  • Lack of Air
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Loud Noises
  • Sleep

1. Stress

Stress is a general term and it can be caused by a few different things. If your pet isn’t moving around much, you may need to look into some different areas:


Are you sticking with the proper ratio for goldfish? Remember you need a 1:2 ratio of inches of fish to gallons of water. A small fishbowl may not be enough room for your little guy. He may want some space to stretch.

A common goldfish would like to have at least 40 gallons of water. Make sure you have the right size of the tank.

Aggressive Tankmates

Is there a bully in the tank? Your fish might be attempting to avoid an aggressive fish in the tank. Double-check that you don’t have a fish that doesn’t mix well with your goldfish. That will lead to many problems, including a stressed-out fish.


While goldfish can be just as cute as your kitty, it’s important that you try not to handle them too much. If they’re constantly being moved about they won’t feel great. Imagine what it feels like to have someone shuttle you about without offering any explanations. It’s not very fun.

Try to limit the amount of time that you interact with your pet. They need their me-time. And make sure that any children in the home aren’t trying to play with your little one too much. Children have been known to love pets to death.

Unfavorable Environments

Do you have mood lighting in the room that you have your fish? Are they right beside a window that keeps getting opened and closed?

If so, your goldfish might not be too happy with his home life. Temperature and lighting fluctuations can confuse your fish.

Remember, out in the wild the temperature and light helped them determine their day-to-day life. When you change it all the time, they’re bound to be upset and confused.

Also, make sure your tank isn’t too cluttered with decorations. If there isn’t much room for them to move around, your fish might just give up trying.

Many people keep their goldfish in bowls or want to keep their goldfish in bowls. This is not something we recommend but it seems that people love the idea too much.

If you want to keep your goldfish in a bowl, we highly recommend reading our article on how to make that work here!

why do goldfish sit at the bottom of the tank?

2. Water Quality

There are many different things to take into consideration with the water quality of your fish tank. If the water is off, your fish will likely act differently.

When there are bushfires in the area, people tend to stay indoors and limit their regular activity. All of the smoke in the air is bad for the lungs.

The water in your tank is much like the air humans breathe. So make sure that you have everything right.

There are several things you’ll want to look at:

  • The temperature of your tank – you’ll need a good thermometer. We recommend this one!
  • The pH of the water – pH strips are helpful but a pH tester is more accurate. Get a pH tester here!
  • The cleanliness of your water – double check that you have the right filter for your tank.
  • Are their possible contaminants in the water? – is it possible that you have a decoration in the tank that wasn’t meant for a fish aquarium?
  • Have you fed your fish some human food that could have made the water turn bad? We recommend reading our goldfish human food guide here! We show you there foods you can feed and foods you should avoid.

All of these things can make your fish less active. Their water must be cleaned and monitored regularly. If it isn’t your fish may not be in the best health. When we’re not feeling good, we tend to just chill out, too.

3. Lack of Air

Our goldfish live in water and can’t survive out of it, so it might seem counterintuitive to say they need more air in their tank. But it’s true.

Their gills filter the water and bring in oxygen for the fish. Water can grow stagnant if there isn’t aeration or living plants. If they’re having a tough time breathing, they’re not going to move around too much. You can’t really blame them.

Double-check your air pump, you might need to replace it. We recommend getting this air pump!

Do you have enough plants? Are they the right ones? You’ll want to talk to your pet store about whether you need a pump or not. If your tank has plenty of live plants, you may be able to get away without the expense of a pump, but it’s important to make sure.

4. Poor Nutrition

Are your pets getting the nutrients they need? A lack of food might mean they’re conserving energy. Too much food may mean they’re too uncomfortable to move around much. Malnutrition can be a big deal, so make sure it’s not happening with your pets.

If you’re having trouble regulating the amount of food your goldfish are getting, it might be time to invest in an automatic fish feeder (have a look at this one! It is cheap and it does the job perfectly). This can help to ensure your fish are only receiving the amount of food they need.

It’s also a good idea to make sure they are getting a wide variety of nutrients. Basic fish flakes should cover all of your bases, but you may want to consider brine shrimp, mealworms or other high protein foods every now and again.

And don’t forget the greens! Algae wafers for your fish can help to balance any deficiencies in their diet.why is my goldfish at the bottom all the time?

5. Loud Noises

Perhaps the teenager with the stereo system shouldn’t have the fish in their room. Loud noises can be stressful for everyone. Fish are no different. Remember, water amplifies sound and your fish can also feel the vibrations of the sound waves.

Try to keep them in a quiet, peaceful area with consistent lighting and environments. If they’re in the living room, turn the TV down and don’t place them above or below a room that will have lots of loud noises.

6. Sleep

This is the only good reason that your fish is just chilling at the bottom of the tank. Fish don’t have eyelids, so it’s hard to tell if they’re asleep. However, they do need an astounding six hours of sleep a day.

Keep an eye on the time of day and conditions when your fish are at the bottom of the tank. If they are hovering about an inch above the water with their nose slightly downward, they could be sleeping.

It’s also possible that their colors may fade a little bit while they are sleeping. When they wake up they will be as bright as ever, though, so don’t worry.

To be safe, it’s always worth double-checking the rest of the conditions to make sure you have a healthy fish.

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