angelfish laying on the bottom of the tank

Angelfish Sitting at the Bottom of Tank

Angelfish are not bottom dwellers. As such, it isn’t necessarily natural for them to sit at the bottom of the tank. If your angelfish are spending a lot of time at the bottom, one or more of the following is to blame:

1). Age


Like people, fish tend to become less active as they age. Angelfish can live an average of ten years[2]. They may slow down as they approach their final moments. This is because don’t have the energy to swim as energetically as they once did; some of them might choose to rest by sitting at the bottom.

2). Stress

Stress is one of the most common causes of lethargy and timidity in fish. Angelfish have an aggressive streak but that doesn’t make them immune to stress. Common causes of stress in Angelfish include:


A). A sudden transition to a new tank without proper acclimatization

B). The presence of human traffic in the vicinity, not to mention the tendency the owner might have to knock on the glass.

C). Loud noises such as television sets

D). Harsh lighting, particularly the kind that doesn’t permit the angelfish to sleep, preventing them from enjoying a normal day/night cycle.

E). Poor tank conditions such as overcrowding and the presence of aggressive fish.

3). Water Quality

Angelfish require a cycled tank with specific parameters. Poor quality water is harmful to fish, and it can lead to adverse consequences such as loss of appetite, discoloration, and the sort of lethargy that forces the fish to lie at the bottom of the tank. Some problematic factors in the water that can adversely affect the behavior of Angelfish include:


A). pH – The wrong pH will cause considerable discomfort in your Angelfish, making them more susceptible to illnesses. The wrong pH can also kill them.

B). Temperature – An Angel’s tank shouldn’t be excessively hot or cold. High temperatures will strip the water of its oxygen, forcing the fish to lie at the bottom where the water is cooler and more oxygen-rich. On the other hand, low temperatures can cause sluggishness which also compels your Angels to frequent the bottom.

C). Toxins

The ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites in your tank can poison your fish. The presence of these toxins is associated with symptoms such as listlessness, weakness, discoloration, loss of appetite, and gasping.

The presence of toxins may drive an Angelfish to the surface for a time but their physical weakness will eventually pull them to the bottom.

D). Oxygen

The temperature is not the only factor that can affect oxygen levels in a tank. You can create an oxygen deficiency by crowding your tank, allowing toxins to grow in concentration, and failing to install suitable filters and pumps. Angelfish cannot survive without oxygen. After gasping at the surface for a while, they will fall to the bottom.

E). Crowding

Fish are explorers. They want as much room to swim as you can offer them. Angelfish have nothing to do in a crowded tank because they don’t have the room to maneuver. This could force them to remain at the bottom.

4). Disease

Some diseases, such as dropsy and velvet, are so severe that they sap an angel’s strength. Once it is too weak to swim, it naturally descends to the bottom. Others have a more direct impact on the angel’s swimming behavior. For instance:

A). Swim Bladder Disease

The swim bladder affects an angel’s buoyancy. For that reason, when the organ is injured or stricken with diseases, the fish’s ability to swim suffers. When they contract swim bladder disease, some fish will swim erratically. Others will lose their ability to swim. This will force them to stay in place at the bottom.

B). Ich

[5]Ich is an illness that covers your angelfish in spots. It also causes itching. Some fish will rub themselves against the substrate as a consequence of ich. Others will simply sit at the bottom.

How to Treat Angelfish that are Lying at the Bottom?

If you want your fish to stop sitting at the bottom, you can try the following:

1). Stress

If your fish are stressed, the following should give them some peace of mind:


A). Acclimatization

Acclimate new fish to the conditions in a new tank before you throw them into the water. If they encounter hostility, rearrange their aquatic environments to disrupt territorial behavior.

B). Location

Keep the aquarium in a quiet room away from areas that receive a lot of foot traffic. You should also avoid places with loud electronic devices such as air conditioners, television sets, radios, and the like. Keep the tank away from windows that expose it to direct sunlight. Prioritize filters that operate quietly.

C). Lighting

Use programmable lights that will switch off after twelve hours to give angelfish the darkness they require to rest.

D). Plants

An angelfish tank should have plenty of foliage, not to mention decorations. This will create hiding places that stressed angelfish can use to stay out of sight.

E). Tankmates

[7]Pair your angelfish with suitable tankmates such as corydoras catfish, mollies, and platies. You can either remove aggressive fish from the angelfish tank or add a divider that will protect the angels from bullies.

F). Size

Angelfish require a tank of at least 20 gallons. Anything smaller will confine them, creating uncomfortable conditions that will stress the angels.

2). Water Conditions

It isn’t enough to cycle the tank before you introduce your angels. You must also maintain the right parameters. [8]That includes a pH of 6.8-7.8, temperatures of 78-84 degrees F, and a hardness of 3-8 dKH.

To prevent toxins from spiking, you need a decent filter that will remove contaminants. You should also vacuum the substrate along with removing any dead plants and animals, food, and leftovers you see in the water.

Install a heater to prevent drastic temperature shifts and a filter that is powerful enough to prevent the water from growing too stagnant. IN the event of an oxygen deficiency, you should consider adding air stones and pumps.

3). Disease

Angels that are sitting at the bottom of the tank because of diseases will manifest additional symptoms. You should treat each angel according to the illness you have identified. For instance, you can treat swim bladder disease by giving your angels foods such as daphnia that are rich in fiber.

[9]You can treat ich by raising the temperature, improving the water conditions, using aquarium salt, and deploying medicine that combats parasites as prescribed by a vet.

Dropsy, in the earlier stages, will respond to Epsom salt and antibacterial medicine. [10]With velvet, you can experiment with formalin, copper sulfate, and methylene blue. Talk to a vet. They will guide you accordingly.

Do Angelfish Sleep on the Bottom?


Yes, angelfish sleep on the bottom. At night, they will not only descend to the substrate but their colors will fade and they will stop moving. They are more likely to fall asleep when the lights are switched off.

Some people confuse dead fish with sleeping fish. It should be noted that sleeping angelfish are not completely still. If you observe them closely, you will notice that their fins are still moving. But they are slow and sluggish.

The easiest way to determine whether a fish is sick, dead, or simply sleeping is to introduce new stimuli. Switch the lights on and either find a way to prod the angelfish or add some food. A healthy fish will react to the food by swimming up. A sick fish is more likely to stay at the bottom. A dead fish won’t move.













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