Why Do Fish Jump Out of Water In an Aquarium or Pond?

Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by cmoarz

Whether you are just watching fish jump around in a lake or river, Or you have a problem with your fish jumping out of the water in your pond or aquarium, it can be fascinating to watch. But why do fish jump out of water?

The problem here is fish don’t jump out of the water for no reason, there is almost always an underlying issue causing the behavior. The most common reasons are:

1. There is something wrong with the water quality

2. The fish are not getting enough oxygen

3. They are trying to escape predators

In general, seeing a fish attempt to flee from its own watery home is bad news and it needs to be addressed immediately. Here are the most common reasons for this problem and what you can do about them.

Poor water quality will cause fish to want to escape and take their chances

Did you know water quality can become so toxic and bad for fish that they will attempt to remove themselves from the water to avoid the pain and burning from the ammonia or high nitrates?

Even if that means jumping onto land where they may surely die.

Well, it’s true!

Ammonia and high nitrates cause painful burning and irritation to a fish’s skin. In an effort to remove themselves from the water and escape the pain, fish will jump out of their aquarium or pond.

If you see your fish trying to jump out of the water and you know there are no predators, you should first test your water quality. If it’s poor, take steps to improve it immediately.

Adequate filtering and cycling are necessary for an aquarium or manmade pond, Otherwise, water quality will decline and causes fish to stress. Do regular water changes and don’t overcrowd your fish.

Also, check around the area to see if any chemicals may have spilled or leaked into your pond.

Divider 2

The fish are not getting enough oxygen can sometimes cause jumping

If your pond or tank is extra stagnant, it’s not uncommon to see fish bobbing at the top of the surface.

But in extreme circumstances, they may even jump out of the water entirely in search of oxygen.

Aeration is a straightforward fix. You can use air stones or waterfalls, or anything that can cause turbulence in the water which mixes in oxygen from the surface.

Divider 2

In the wild, fish jump out of the water to escape predators, But what about in captivity?

It may seem odd to think there’s a predator in your fish tank. And your probably right, unless you’ve got some very aggressive tank mates in your tank, this probably isn’t the reason your aquarium fish are fleeing.

However, For outdoor ponds, it’s a much more significant concern.

Even if you don’t have aggressive species of fish in your pond, Many predators can still get in.

These include animals like:

  • Alligators
  • Turtles
  • Raccoons
  • Snakes
  • Birds
  • Large frogs

And the list can go on for quite a while.

Dealing with predators isn’t as easy as fixing water conditions or adding extra oxygen. In fact, In some states, it’s even illegal to handle or remove some of these predators from your own pond, such as in Florida.

In conclusion, Fish jump out of water for a few reasons, and each one of them needs to be addressed immediately to ensure the safety and health of your fish.

Water quality, Oxygen levels, and predators are the three most common reasons for this problem. By keeping a close eye on your fish and taking steps to improve water conditions and aeration, you can help prevent your fish from jumping out of the water.


Owner of AquariumGravel.com and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!