How to Tell If Fish Are Happy in a New Tank

Estimated read time 5 min read

If you are worried about the happiness of your fish in a new tank, you can quickly look for some signs to figure it out.

You can tell if your fish are happy if your fish are swimming, eating well, breathing well, having bright colors and a healthy appearance, and socializing well. If they aren’t, you can clean up the water, provide nutrients, feed them well, and add suitable fish, live plants, and accessories.

Through this guide, you can go through these signs of your fish being happy and how to make them more comfortable in further detail.


Ways You Can Tell If Fish Are Happy in a New Tank

If you want to determine if your fish are happy in their new tank, watch out for the following behavior and indications.


If your fish are swimming around throughout the tank and exploring their surroundings, they are pretty happy. However, if they are lying still or staying in a corner, they are unhappy, stressed, ill, or scared.

You should give your fish a few minutes to get used to the tank before they start swimming around.


As long as your fish eat well and look forward to their feeding times, they are pretty happy. Again, it might take time for them to get used to it, but you should also ensure that you feed them well. If not, this might indicate that they are not feeling well.

Breathing Properly

Whenever fish breathe, they expand and relax their gills frequently. This can be an excellent way to tell that they are doing alright, so if you find that they are having trouble breathing or keep coming up to the surface, there might be something in the water that you will need to change.

Healthy Fins & Scales

You should be aware of what healthy fish species generally look like. Clear and beautiful fins and scales will indicate their happiness, but if there are spots, marks, tears, redness, and swelling, there might be something wrong with them that makes them unhappy. Consult a vet in this case.


Once your fish are used to the tank, they will also start socializing with other fish to secure their emotional and social needs. Look for your fish swimming alongside other fish in the tank and how frequently they do this. Proper socializing and peace without fighting can help you ascertain that your fish are happy.

Brightly Colored

Fish get their colors from the pigments and nutrients available in their bodies and the food they eat, and the environment they live in. As long as these colors are in place, your fish will likely be happy. If their color seems to be fading, there might be an issue with the food or with the ammonia levels in the water.

How to Keep Your Fish Happy in a Tank

If you think that your fish could still be happier, you should try improving their living conditions. Carry out the following steps to ensure their happiness and health.

Keep The Water Clean

The water should be safe and clean for your fish. Make sure you keep your filters on and keep performing partial water changes so that the water remains safe.

You should also ensure no dangerous bacteria or substances (like high ammonia levels). Make sure there are no foul odors either.

Good Water Parameters

Sufficient water levels, accurate temperature, pH levels, sufficient lighting, and proper water flow are essential and good water parameters, so keep testing the water regularly and making the required changes.

Ensure that the water you use for changes is also always consistent with these parameters.

Regular Maintenance

Remove stressors from the fish tank. Ensure there is enough space in the tank and the oxygen levels and water levels are high enough. Provide habitats and other accessories that your fish can explore and play around with.

Maintain their health regularly as well with regular check-ups.

Peaceful Tank Mates

If you notice that your fish are fighting too much, you might need to separate those fish. From the start, therefore, you should do your research and ensure that you only introduce fish species that get along well with each other without causing trouble.

Good Diet

Maintaining a proper diet is vital so that your fish remain healthy and happy. First, research the best kinds of food and the best and most reliable brands that can sell you such food. Then, make sure all your fish are getting the right quantities of food each time.

Set up a feeding schedule and maintain it every day.

Live Plants & Hiding Places

Adding live plants, gravel, pebbles, corals, and other suitable and safe structures to your new fish tank can help your fish feel safer and acclimate quicker. The plants can allow them to breathe well and snack well, while the hiding places can help them sleep or lie still for a while.


How Long Does It Take for Fish to Settle in a New Tank?

It can take your fish up to an hour to get used to a new tank and another two days, sometimes more, to fully settle in and start thriving. So please have some patience and wait to see how things go.

How Do You Tell If Your Fish Is Stressed?

If your fish are swimming haphazardly, not eating correctly, constantly coming to the surface, staying in one spot, or exhibiting strange colors or marks on their bodies, they are probably stressed. Determine the cause and make an effort to alleviate the stress.

Final Thoughts

You can keep your fish happy in a new tank by looking at their color, fins, breathing patterns, swimming patterns, and socialization while maintaining cleanliness in the tank, feeding them well, providing plants and habitats, and adding some peaceful companions to make them happier.

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