Why Is My Fish Swimming In Circles? Cause & Solution

Fish is a beautiful pet that can keep us every time entertain. We care for those loving pets. There are many times they need some special care from us.

Pet fish sometimes shows some unusual behavior, we should closely observe them if it is natural or something else.

Sometimes the aquarium fish swim erratically, in circles, up and down, in darting motion, and sometimes upside down. You should carefully observe this manner.

If you see one of the above mention behavior, it means there is some issue with the fish or the aquarium water quality.

They can display this behavior for many reasons like stress (glass surfing), ammonia poisoning and poor water quality (circle and darting motion), swim bladder disease (floating to the top, swimming sideways, or sinking to the bottom).

In the article we will discuss, why is my fish swimming in circles? And its possible solution.

Let’s begin.

Some Reasons Why Is My Fish Swimming In Circles?

There are several reasons for aquarium fish to swim erratically. You should be concerned about the manner of fish.

Why is my fish swimming erratically? there are some reasons for fish to swim erratically.

Ammonia Poisoning Or Poor Water Quality

One of the main reasons for fish to swim erratically is poor water quality or ammonia poisoning. If you notice your fish is swimming particularly in a jerky, dating motion, this means it may be suffering from ammonia poisoning or reacting to poor water quality.

Symptoms of ammonia poisoning

Swimming is rapid circle tucked fins, rapid breathing, lethargy, and fish gasping at the surface are also signs of ammonia poisoning. Altho gasping at the surface can be for less oxygen in aquarium water. So before coming to any conclusion test your aquarium water thoroughly.

How ammonia is produced in aquariums?

There are three main reasons for the rapid growth in ammonia in aquariums. You are overfeeding your fish and don’t remove extra foods from your aquarium. When that extra food is rotten they produce ammonia. which is very toxic for any aquarium fish.

Fish bio-waste is a reason for ammonia growth in aquariums. If you don’t have a good filter in your aquarium that boi-waste can also produce ammonia.

Ammonia and Nitrates are both toxic to fish. But Nitrates are less toxic than ammonia.

The recommended ammonia in an aquarium is 0ppm and Nitrates are 20 ppm.


You can use a good filter. Stop overfeeding your fish and remove the excess food from the aquarium. Don’t overstock your fish tank. Regularly check your aquarium water parameters and change 25% of the water every week.

Glass Surfing

Symptoms of Glass Surfing

The common of the fish is constantly swimming up and downside. Always swimming upside down doesn’t mean glass surfing. Those fish can be curious and swim upside down.

If that swimming is only for the curious that should stop in one and two days.

Cause of Glass Surfing

Glass surfing case by poor water, non-suitable environment, overstock, overfeed or less feed, stress, poor stocking (incompatible tank mates).


Find out the cause, and why your fish doing upside-down swimming. Try to match your fish’s wild environment in your aquarium. Know your fish better don’t put incompatible tank mates.

Swim Bladder Disorder

The swim bladder disease is common in goldfish and betta fish, but this can also happen in other tropical fish.

Symptom of Swim Bladder Disorder

If any aquarium fish is affected with swim bladder disease, they will show many physical changes with swimming difficulties. Most of the time the affected ones either sink to the bottom or float at the top of the aquarium.

Cause of swim bladder disorder

This disorder comes when the swim bladder doesn’t work normally due to disease, physical disorder, or environmental factors like water temperature.

Overfeeding is also a cause of this disorder. Overfeeding can cause constipation and constipation can lead to swimbladder disorder.


You should keep an eye on the temperature of your aquarium to prevent swim bladder disorder. Clean your aquarium frequently and change aquarium too.

Hey, I am Shuvradeb Biswas a content writer. Fishkeeping is my hobby. There are many problems I faced during my first fishkeeping. So, I made the KeepingWorld.com blog to help new fishkeepers.

2 thoughts on “Why Is My Fish Swimming In Circles? Cause & Solution”

  1. Very informative!!! I am so intrigued with fish diseases and their functions. How it affects the lively hood of the fish. I was wondering sense the fish keeping hobby is growing is there more ongoing research and procudures to provide better care for our aquatic pets. I feel that are the most neglected and abused pets in the pet industry

    • Hello Karlton,
      First, thank you for your valuable comment.
      They are the most neglected pets in the pet industry, though I can not say they are the most abused. Even experts fish keepers make mistakes, and pet fish need more attention from their fish keepers. When it comes to fish behavior, we generally can not say what is wrong with them. Sometimes there is no serious issue, but sometimes we are too late to identify the cause. Even though at our loss, we can learn from that, next time, we can prevent this from happening. Keepingworld.com will share as many experiences as possible.

      If you have any experience that wants to share or have any questions, please contact me through the content page. I will try my best to cover your topic.


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