It's always an amazing sight to see a fish or two leap out of the water and dive back in again.
As it is not something that is commonly seen, you might want to try to take a quick snap for social media. If you're by a river or lake, the fish will likely land safely back into the water before you can even whip out your phone. Unfortunately, if it happens at home, your fish will sadly, land on the floor.
Why then do fish jump? Are they running, or rather swimming away from something or simply having a little bit of fun? Well, it all depends.
Aquarium fish and those in the wild are known to jump for several reasons. In some cases of fish in the wild, fish have been known to jump out of the water to escape from predators or to hunt prey.
However, in a study by researchers Daphne Soares and Hillary S Bierman from the University of Maryland, which focused on the behaviour of guppies, it was clear the guppies were not jumping to escape from being hunted nor were they in search for food. So why are these fish still jumping out of their tanks?
1. Lack Of Oxygen
Researchers Soares and Bierman came to the conclusion that fish were jumping out of their tanks in the hopes that they will land in another body of water.
Poor water quality caused by a lack of dissolved oxygen in the water is one of the main reasons fish might be taking that ill-fated leap. They need dissolved oxygen to breathe and if they can't breathe well, your fish might just jump out of the tank in search of a new home.
If this is the reason your fish are making that jump, you might have too many fishes in your tank. The tank has an insufficient amount of oxygen. Consider getting a bigger tank, or getting air stones as they oxygenate and aerate the water.
2. High Ammonia Levels
Your fish could also jump to seek out another body of water if the water gets too dirty. This could be caused by elevated levels of ammonia produced by fish waste, uneaten food, dead and decaying plants. Increase in ammonia levels can cause burns to your fish's gills.
To cut down on ammonia, be sure to keep the water and tank clean by regularly changing the water and cleaning out waste. Also, be sure not to overfeed your fish to prevent unwanted food left floating around.
3. Your Fish Might Have An Itch
You'll be surprised to know that fishes get itchy too and one way they scratch themselves is by taking that leap out of the tank. Besides scratching themselves against the rocks or other structure in the environment, the water's surface tension helps to relieve the itch as well.
Again poor water quality might be to blame. Your tank may have bacteria and parasites and, If you notice white spots on your fishes, your first step should be to quarantine the infected one before the rest get infected too.
4. Water Temperature Changes
Another reason your fish might be showing off their acrobatic skills maybe because of the water temperature. Just like how you may prefer cooler weather to sunny days, fishes have their preference too. If the water is too cold or hot for them, they might again make that jump.
5. They May be Excited
Just like how your furry friends may get excited when they know it's snack time, your fish might jump to show their excitement. You'll know if this is the case if they only jump when they've spotted you or their favourite treats.
While there is usually a reason for your fish to jump, it might take a bit of trial and error to find out exactly why they're doing so. However, sometimes it's just what they do.
Just like how some kids have a favourite toy or some hamsters can only sleep buried under a pile of wood shavings, some fish love to show off their skills by jumping! If that's the case, get a good lid for your tank, sit back and enjoy the show.
Text: By Melissa Especkerman