Fish Jumping Out Of The Water, Why Do Fishes Do This?

It is not unusual to see fish jumping out of water in the wild; some pet fish also jump out of the tank, which worries their owners. Are you curious to find out why fish do this? Please stick with us to get enlightened with everything you need to know about this interesting subject. 

Various specialists, including aquatic ecologists, have examined this subject. They are extreme observers of the ordinary surroundings and have come up with substantial responses. In addition to swimming, it appears that fish get around in several ways other than tossing on their tail and doing multiple flip-flops, gliding, jumping, and squiggling. 

Fish jump out of water for different reasons; they jump for pleasure or run away from predators in the wild. In a fish tank, they are likely to jump out if the environment isn’t conducive.

Different fish jump out of water for different reasons depending on their habitat and species. Some species jump out of water when they sense danger. Asian cap is one such species; when they hear noise from motorboats, they tend to jump from the water in a bid to stay safe. Some species, such as largemouth bass, jump when they’ve been hooked to try and unhook themselves.

Below are some species that are notorious for jumping out of water and reasons why they jump; 

Type Of fish:Reason For Jumping:
Marlin, largemouth bassTo release the fishhook from their mouths when hooked.
Asian capEscaping when they hear a motorboat’s noise on water.
African ButterflyOn the run from hunters or catching their target prey. 
Betta fishSearch for a freshwater body.
Marbled hatchet fishTo feed on insects.

To better understand why fish jump out of the water, we look at them in their different habitats: in the wild and in aquariums.

Why Do Fish Jump Out Of Water In The Wild?

Why Do Fish Jump Out Of Water In The Wild

1. The Dynamism Of Life:

Fish are naturally energetic, and in the early stages of their well-being, they find themselves jumping out of the water. They could be doing it just for fun or displaying it to others, actively relishing existence to the fullest.

2. To Catch Prey:

In many living beings, food is the principal incentive for bizarre achievements and approaches, and fish is no exception. When fish notice food or insects on the surface of the water, they devise strategies to get to them, and jumping out of the water is one such strategy.  Some species can jump up to a meter above the water surface. Take a look at the following examples:

Type Of Fish:Food Acquired:
BassTo catch dragonflies.
Monkey fish (found in the Amazon Basin)Bats, insects, crustaceans, and birds
Silver ArowanaInsects on leaves or tree branches.
Trout Crickets 
Southern Saratoga fishFrogs and small birds

3. For Companionship:

In the Gulf of Mexico, different fish species are seen gathering in schools around the summertime. Researchers discovered that males and females of the same species jump simultaneously: probably looking for mates. These jumping places are like nurseries to some species, as young fish are mostly seen around the area. Research has also shown that fish jump in this area to alert other fish that they have found a suitable spot to relax.

4. To Escape The Hunters:

When fish detect predators, their instinct is to flee and save themselves from the hunters. Sometimes, they also jump out to confuse or distract their predators. The flying fish is the best example of fish that jumps out of the water to escape predators. The flying fish is mostly pursued by deep-sea species swordfish, marlin, tuna, and giant mackerel.

Flying fish have overdeveloped front fins that allow them to remain airborne longer than other species by acting as wings and allowing them to glide for a distance before landing back to the water.

These fish can also bend over their tail and form a C-shape, throwing themselves forward and paddling with their fins; this action helps launch the fish above the water surface.

5. To Get Rid Of Unwanted External Organisms Or Parasites:

Debugging is also another reason why fish are likely to jump out of the water. They jump because they cannot get rid of any irritating organism using the fins or mouth. Sometimes, fish may be jumping out of the water to deal with extreme anxiety or out of desperation. 

6. To Get Past An Obstruction

Sometimes, fish jump out of the water to get past a natural obstruction such as a waterfall or rock. Salmon are famous for jumping out of the water to get past any obstruction between them and their spawning grounds. Salmon can leap over nine feet when going upstream to get over an obstruction. To do this, they point their head in the direction in which they want to go while flexing the rear portion of their body into a coiled S-shape. The fish’s tail is kept over to one side, which generates many thrusts directed backward and to the opposite side, pushing against the water as the fish sweeps its tail.

The salmon continue to beat their tail back and forth as they move up through the water column until they briefly become airborne. 

Do Aquarium Fish Also Jump Out Of The Water?

Do Aquarium Fish Also Jump Out Of The Water

Yes, aquarium and pond fish also jump out of the water for the reasons we’ll discuss below:

1. Dirty Water

When the pond contains a lot of nitrates, ammonia, and nitrites, it becomes toxic to the fish, causing them to jump out in search of a cleaner environment. To ensure your fish stay in a clean home, buy a kit from fish supplies stores and test the water. Your aquarium water should be free from ammonia and nitrites, and the nitrate level should not exceed 20ppm.

Ammonia buildup is caused by decaying food or waste from the fish to clean up your tank regularly to get rid of these materials. A biological filter is also recommended to help break down the ammonia and make it harmless.

2. Because They Are Natural Jumpers

some aquarium fish jump out of their tanks because that’s their instinctual behavior, or they are natural jumpers, and there’s an opening n your tank. The only way you can keep them from jumping is by ensuring there’s no opening they can use to jump out of the tank

3. Incorrect Water Temperature

Some fish species are sensitive to water temperature, and when the water is too hot or too cold for them, they jump out. For such species, you need to keep an aquarium thermometer to ensure the water temperature is correct for your specific species and consistent throughout the tank.

4. Insufficient  Oxygen

The most common reason why fish jump out of water is the lack of enough dissolved oxygen in the water. They jump in the hope of finding a better-oxygenated environment. If you notice your fish breathing rapidly, gasping for air, or hanging around the surface, the chances are that they lack sufficient oxygen in the water.  Insufficient oxygen can either be caused by algae or overcrowding: ensure you remove algae from your tank and reduce the fish population or get an air stone to help aerate the water.

How Can You Prevent Fish From Jumping Out Of The Aquarium?

If you address all the mentioned issues and your fish still jump out of the water, you need to take physical steps. First, ensure you place a cover slide between the water and the lights but leave enough space for gaseous exchange. Secondly, place a tightly fitting lid on your tank and seal any gaps that can be used as escape routes.

Final Word

As an angler, seeing fish jump out of the water can be scary when you don’t understand why they are doing it. It can also be fun and appealing when you understand why they do this. Most fish species jump as natural behavior, but fish in an aquarium mostly jump when the environment feels toxic.

Always ensure you keep your fish tank clean, in optimal condition, and well covered to keep your fish from jumping out and probably dying. We hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as we did putting it together, and you will use some of our tips

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