The Fish Keeping & Aquarium Guide.

Why Is My Angel Fish Floating Sideways? Common Causes and Solutions

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Angelfish are popular aquarium fish known for their unique shape and vibrant colors. However, sometimes these fish can exhibit unusual behavior, such as floating sideways. This can cause concern among aquarium owners, as it may indicate an underlying health issue.

There are several possible reasons why an angel fish may be floating sideways. One common cause is swim bladder disease, which affects the fish’s ability to control its buoyancy in the water.

Other potential causes include bacterial infections, parasites, or improper diet. Aquarium owners need to identify the cause of the issue to provide the appropriate treatment and ensure the fish’s well-being.


Understanding Angel Fish Behavior

Normal Behavior


Angelfish are generally peaceful and calm fish, known for their graceful and elegant movements. They are popular with aquarium enthusiasts due to their unique appearance and ease of care.

When healthy and content, angel fish swim smoothly and gracefully through the water, often in pairs or groups. They will also display their fins and colors, indicating good health.


Signs of Stress


Angelfish may exhibit signs of stress when they are not feeling well or in an environment that is not suitable for them. Some signs of stress to look out for include:

  • Floating sideways or upside down
  • Gasping at the surface of the water
  • Clamped fins
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hiding or staying in one spot for extended periods

If an angel fish is floating sideways, it is a sign that something is wrong. It could be due to a swim bladder disorder, which is a condition that affects the fish’s ability to control its buoyancy.

This can be caused by overfeeding, poor water quality, or a bacterial infection.

It is essential to identify the cause of the problem and take appropriate action to treat it.

In conclusion, understanding angel fish behavior is essential in keeping them healthy and happy in their aquarium.

By observing their normal behavior and recognizing signs of stress, you can identify potential problems and take steps to address them. You can ensure that your angel fish thrive in their home by providing a suitable environment and proper care.


Common Diseases in Angel Fish

Swim Bladder Disease


Swim bladder disease is a common issue in angel fish, which can cause them to float sideways or upside down.

This disease affects the swim bladder, a gas-filled sac that helps the fish to maintain buoyancy. When the swim bladder is damaged or infected, it can cause the fish to lose control over its buoyancy.

Various factors, including poor water quality, overfeeding, constipation, and bacterial infections, can cause swim bladder disease. Symptoms of swim bladder disease include floating sideways or upside down, difficulty swimming, and loss of appetite.

To prevent swim bladder disease, it is essential to maintain good water quality and avoid overfeeding.

If your angel fish is already showing signs of swim bladder disease, you can try fasting them for a few days or feeding them a diet high in fiber.


Bacterial Infections


Bacterial infections are another common problem in angel fish that can cause them to float sideways. Various bacteria, including Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, and Vibrio can cause these infections.

Symptoms of bacterial infections include loss of appetite, lethargy, and skin discoloration. In severe cases, the fish may develop ulcers or lesions on its body.

Maintaining good water quality and avoiding overcrowding is essential to prevent bacterial infections. If your angel fish shows signs of a bacterial infection, you may need to treat it with antibiotics.

However, it is essential to consult a veterinarian or fish expert before administering any medication, as some antibiotics can harm fish.

In summary, swim bladder disease and bacterial infections are two common diseases that can cause angel fish to float sideways.

Maintaining good water quality and avoiding overfeeding and overcrowding can help prevent these diseases from affecting your fish.

If your fish is already showing signs of illness, it is essential to seek the advice of a professional before administering any treatment.


Environmental Factors

Water Quality


The quality of water in the tank is one of the most critical factors that can affect the health of your angel fish. Poor water quality can cause your fish to float sideways, as well as other health problems.

Make sure to test the water regularly and maintain proper levels of pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. High levels of these can be harmful to your fish.

It is also essential to perform regular water changes to keep the water clean and fresh. A good rule of thumb is to change 10-20% of the water in the tank each week.

This will help remove any excess waste and debris accumulating in the tank.


Tank Size and Setup


The tank’s size and setup can also impact the health of your angel fish. A tank that is too small can cause stress and overcrowding, leading to health problems. Make sure to provide your fish with enough space to swim and explore.

In addition, the setup of the tank is essential. Ensure to provide plenty of hiding places and decorations for your fish to explore. This will help reduce stress and provide a more natural environment for your fish.




In conclusion, maintaining proper water quality and providing a suitable tank size and setup are essential factors that can affect the health of your angel fish.

Following these guidelines can help prevent your fish from floating sideways and ensure they live a happy and healthy life.


Treatment Options


When an angel fish is floating sideways, it is essential to take action quickly to prevent further damage to the fish. There are several treatment options available, including medical treatments and natural remedies.


Medical Treatments

If the angel fish is suffering from

it may be necessary to use antibiotics or antifungal medications for a bacterial or fungal infection. These medications can be added to the water in the aquarium or given directly to the fish through food.

In some cases, the angel fish may need to be isolated from other fish in the aquarium to prevent the spread of infection.

It is essential to follow the instructions on the medication carefully and monitor the fish closely for any signs of improvement or worsening.


Natural Remedies


Several natural remedies can be used to treat a sideways floating angel fish. One option is to add aquarium salt to the water. This can help to reduce stress and promote healing.

Another natural remedy is the use of garlic. Garlic has antibacterial and antifungal properties and can be added to the fish’s food to help fight infection. Some fish owners also use tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract to treat bacterial infections.

It is important to note that natural remedies may not be as effective as medical treatments and should only be used under the guidance of a veterinarian or experienced fish owner.

In conclusion, several treatment options are available for an angel fish floating sideways. It is essential to act quickly and seek professional advice to ensure the best possible outcome for the fish.


Preventive Measures

Proper Feeding


Overfeeding is one of the most common reasons for an angel fish floating sideways. Overfeeding can cause the fish to develop digestive problems, leading to swim bladder disease.

To prevent this from happening, it is essential to feed your angel fish a balanced diet in the right amount.

Angelfish are omnivorous, so they need plant and animal-based food. You can feed them flakes, pellets, or frozen or live food. It is important to avoid feeding them too much at once.

A good rule of thumb is to feed them twice daily in small portions that they can consume within a few minutes.


Regular Tank Maintenance


Maintaining a clean and healthy environment in the tank is also crucial to prevent swim bladder disease. Dirty water can cause bacterial infections affecting the fish’s swim bladder.

Performing regular water changes at least once a week is essential to prevent this. The amount of water to change depends on the size of the tank and the number of fish in it

. Changing 20-25% of the water each week is a good rule of thumb.

In addition to water changes, it is essential to keep the tank clean. This includes removing the tank’s uneaten food, dead plants, and debris.

You can also use a filter to keep the water clean and clear. It is essential to clean the filter regularly to prevent it from becoming clogged and reducing its effectiveness.

Following these preventive measures can help keep your angel fish healthy and prevent swim bladder disease.

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