Why does my Tetra stay on the bottom of the tank? - (2023)

Tetra fish are always a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts, loved for their exotic patterns, docile temperament and general hardiness. I don't know a single person in this hobby who hasn't kept tetras. They're excellent options for beginners and experts alike, but regardless of your experience, it's important to understand their behavior so you can recognize if something isn't right. If your normally lively tetras spend a lot of time at the bottom of the tank, it could mean there is something that needs your attention.

Tetra fish may remain at the bottom of the tank due to swim bladder infections, ich or pregnancy. This behavior may also mean that your aquarium is not the best environment for your fish. Staying close to the bottom of the tank could be a sign that you need to change the water or adjust the temperature.

The rest of this article will tell you everything you need to know about bottom-dwelling tetras so you can better understand what this behavior means and how to address the various problems it can mean.

Why does my Tetra stay on the bottom of the tank? - (1)

Contents hide

1 Why is my Tetra fish lying on the bottom of the aquarium?

(Video) Why do fish lay at the bottom of the tank? why aquarium fish hanging at the aquarium bottom surface?

3 Are Tetra Fish Bottom Dwellers?

4 signs of illness to watch out for.

4.1 How to treat common illnesses.

(Video) Aquarium Fish Sitting in the bottom | Sick Fish | How to cure Aquarium Fish | Mayur Dev Tips 4K

5 Tetras Like To Hide?

6 final thoughts.

7 More Tetra Related Articles:

Why is my Tetra fish lying on the bottom of the aquarium?

Here are some reasons why your tetrafish might stay on the bottom of the tank:

  • Your fish has a swim bladder infection.Fish have an organ called a swim bladder that controls their buoyancy and ability to swim properly. Swim bladder infections are unfortunately very common. If your fish are swimming strangely, upside down or unable to swim to the top of the tank, they may be suffering from an infection.
  • Your tetra is suffering from ich or another illness.If your tetra frequents the lower part of his tank, it could mean that your fish is sick and needs to be treated as soon as possible.
  • The tank needs to be cleaned.A dirty aquarium can make your fish sick. That is why it is important to change the water regularly.
  • Temperature adjustments may need to be made.If your fish is too hot or too cold, it may be less active and spend more time close to the bottom.
  • An aggressive roommate has injured your fish.An injured fish may not be able to swim regularly. Your tetra may be seeking shelter at the bottom of the tank from another fish pestering it.
  • Your tetra is carrying eggs.Tetras often spend time near the bottom of the tank when they are about to lay their eggs. You'll notice right before they lay their eggs, they start swimming around the bottom of the tank in a crazy way. Tetras are known as egg scatterers, meaning they lay a large number of eggs at random, usually on the bottom of the tank.

Do pregnant tetras stay at the bottom of the tank?

First, tetras don't get pregnant, they carry eggs that are then fertilized while spawning outside of her body.Egg-bearing tetras stay at the bottom of the tank when they are about to spawn. However, they will be very active while there. They may even look more active than usual.

But how exactly can you tell if your tetra is carrying eggs or not?

How do you know if your tetrafish is pregnant?.

If you think your tetra may be pregnant, here are some common pregnancy symptoms to watch out for:

(Video) Neon Tetra Care - Dying Issue? Tank Mates?

  • Your tetra spends a lot of time near the bottom of the tank.Not every tetra is the same, but many exhibit this behavior during pregnancy. As I mentioned earlier, they won't lie there quietly, as you might see with viviparous fish.
  • Your tetra is visibly more prominent than usual.Fish obesity is not exactly common. If you notice that your tetra's stomach seems larger than normal, it could be a sign that your tetra is carrying eggs. They can spread hundreds of eggs at a time, so they will definitely look rounder than usual.
  • Spawning tetras can hide.If you have good hiding places in your tank (as you should), a spawning tetra may want to keep a distance between herself and the other fish around her.
  • Your tetra is female.While this may seem obvious, you need to know whether or not your fish is female before passing judgment on pregnancy. This is critical because if your tetra is a male, it is likely that your fish is sick as they will not conceive. This may also mean water adjustments are needed.

This 2 minute YouTube video shows a black neon tetra spawning and then releasing eggs.

Are Tetra Fish Bottom Dwellers?

Tetra fish are not bottom dwellers. While they are known to have an occasional algal snack, they are not bottom feeders by nature and should swim throughout the aquarium. Bottom fish include loaches, corydoras, plecos (plecostomus), and others.

If your tetra spends a lot of time at the bottom of the tank, this is considered abnormal behavior.

I have 6 neon tetras in my tank and they spend most of their time swimming around the middle and top of the tank. If they do go to the bottom of the tank, it only seems to last for a minute or two and then they're gone.

Why does my Tetra stay on the bottom of the tank? - (2)

Signs of illness to watch out for.

Unfortunately, a bottom-dwelling tetra can be a sick tetra.

As discussed earlier, tetras are not natural bottom dwellers like loaches and other common bottom feeding species. If you are convinced that your fish is not pregnant, it is essential to check for symptoms of common fish diseases.

Here are some diseases and conditions to check for:

  • I:Ich is one of the most common diseases in freshwater fish. It is a parasitic infection that causes white spots to appear on your fish.
  • Swim bladder infections:An infected swim bladder can affect your pet's ability to swim properly.
  • rotten end:Fin rot is relatively easy to diagnose. While this is more common in bettas and other fish with more elegant tails, mollies can still be prone to this.
  • Poisoning (contaminated water):Unfortunately, it is all too easy to accidentally contaminate the water in your aquarium. If you use harsh soaps to clean your fish care supplies, the chemicals in the soap can leach into your tank. You should also have a special bucket for water changes to protect your fish from cleaning solutions.
  • Chlorine Disease:It is imperative to make sure that the water in your aquarium is dechlorinated. Forgetting this step during cleaning and/or water changes can make your fish very ill.

In addition to soil life, here are some signs of disease to watch out for:

  • Slowed movements
  • Rotten fins
  • Your fish is not eating
  • Increased or decreased aggression (depending on the typical behavior of the individual fish)
  • Color change. You may find it interesting to read thisarticle all about whether your tetrafish can change color.

How to treat common diseases.

If you think your fish are suffering from a disease, it is critical to treat your tank properly. Surprisingly, an easy solution is garlic. Garlic has strong anti-parasitic properties for both humans and animals, so it works very well for treating ich. Adding a small piece of garlic to your aquarium will help you get rid of it quickly and keep your fish healthy.


Garlic is also antibacterial and antifungal, which means it can also help ease the symptoms of fin rot.

Do Tetras Like to Hide?

Tetras like to hide, like most fish. Shelters can help your tetra feel safe as he gets used to a new tank. They can also serve as a shelter, in case some of the other tank members show aggression.

A problem with an aggressive or bullying tankmate may be one reason why your tetra stays at the bottom of the tank. They can get stressed by any kind of aggression, so they want to hide. However, it would be quite unlikely to be any other breed of fish as tetras tend to keep to themselves.

If you have other tetras in your tank, there may be a pecking order dispute. This would only really happen if you already have an established group of tetras and have recently added some new tetras to the tank.

If your fish stays close to the bottom to hide, you probably don't need to worry about this. It's still a good idea to check for symptoms of pregnancy and illness just to be safe.

Why does my Tetra stay on the bottom of the tank? - (3)

Final thoughts.

In conclusion, if your tetra stays on the bottom of the tank, it could be due to natural behavior, water quality, oxygen levels, or disease/disease. Regularly checking your water parameters and maintaining a consistent cleaning schedule can help prevent water quality and oxygen issues. Adding hiding places, such as plants or caves, can give your tetra a sense of security. If you suspect your tetra is ill, prompt action is necessary to ensure the health and well-being of all fish in the aquarium. By identifying and addressing the root cause of this behavior, you can help your tetra stay happy and healthy.

More Tetra related articles:

Will different types of tetra schools merge?

How many tetras can I safely put in an aquarium?

Do tetras change color?

Are tetras aggressive?


Why does my Tetra stay on the bottom of the tank? -? ›

The main reason behind Neon Tetras staying at the bottom of the tank is stress, which can occur due to an unfriendly atmosphere, maybe due to unbearable temperature or tank mates.

How do you know if tetras are stressed? ›

Strange Swimming: When fish are stressed, they often develop odd swimming patterns. If your fish is swimming frantically without going anywhere, crashing at the bottom of his tank, rubbing himself on gravel or rocks, or locking his fins at his side, he may be experiencing significant stress.

Do neon tetras sleep on the bottom? ›

Some species will completely bury themselves under sand or mud. These areas are all intended to serve as a safe hiding places from other fish and larger animals. Neon Tetras are no exception. At night, sleeping Neon Tetras tend to gather in the low areas of an aquarium tank.

Do tetras stay at the top of the tank? ›

When dissolved oxygen levels are low, fish hang at the surface and gasp, as the surface area has the highest oxygen level in the tank because it's in contact with the air. If low oxygen levels are to blame and you don't remedy the situation many common species of fish like Tetras will die.

What does a sick tetra look like? ›

At an advanced stage when the neon tetra disease progresses, the infected fish eat less and white lumps appear in their muscles. Fraying of the fins is also occasionally observed in the fish tanks. Also with time the fish's spine may become curved.

How active should tetras be? ›

Neon Tetras are very active fish that love free swimming. Neon Tetras live as a peaceful fish, so they're one of the best fish for aquarium communities as they coexist well with other fish.


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