Is Your Angelfish Swimming Sideways?

Understanding Your Angelfish

An angelfish is a popular choice for the home aquarium, belonging to the family Cichlidae. With their vibrant colors and unique shapes, they are an attractive addition to any fishtank. It is important to pay close attention to their swimming behavior as any slight change could be indicative of a problem.

When an angelfish is healthy it should swim normally, with its head pointing forward while slightly swaying from side to side. Any change in motion, especially if the fish is swimming in circles or sideways, could signify a problem that needs to be addressed. In this guide, we will review the most common causes of abnormal swimming behavior in angelfish, as well as how to diagnose and treat them.

The Reasons Behind Abnormal Swimming

When an angelfish is swimming sideways, there are usually 3 potential causes. Poor water quality, illness, and infection are the most common factors behind abnormal swimming behavior.

Poor water quality can lead to stress in fish, and as a result, a decrease in their normal swimming habits. Water that is too cold, acidic, or lacking the correct levels of oxygen can be detrimental to your fish’s health and hinder their swimming abilities.

Illnesses or infections caused by bacteria or parasites can also cause an angelfish to swim abnormally. Symptoms of these issues usually include clamped fins, a loss of body color, lethargy, and weight loss.

It is important to identify the underlying problem as soon as possible in order to take the necessary steps to restore your angelfish to its normal swimming habits.

Diagnosing the Problem

When it comes to diagnosing why your angelfish is swimming sideways, the first step is to test out your water quality. This can help you figure out if something in the environment is affecting the fish’s health or behavior.

In addition to testing your water quality, you should also look for signs of disease and other common issues that could affect your angelfish. Keep an eye out for any white spots or discoloration on the fish’s body, as well as any changes in behavior. If you notice any of these symptoms, it may be time to take your angelfish to a veterinarian to get a problem diagnosed and treated.

To sum it up, to diagnose the abnormal swimming in your angelfish, start by testing the water quality and looking for signs of illness or disease. If the problem persists after making adjustments to the environment, it could be time to call in a professional.

A healthy angelfish should have an active and graceful swimming pattern. If this is disrupted, it could be a sign of poor water quality or an illness that needs to be addressed right away. An unhealthy tank environment can cause a variety of problems for your fish, one of which is abnormal swimming behavior.

In order to keep your fish healthy, it’s important to monitor the quality of the water in the tank. Common issues that can lead to a decreased quality in the tank include too many particles in the water, insufficient oxygen levels, and an unsuitable pH level. All of these can affect the well-being of your angelfish and its ability to swim properly.

You should use a test kit to regularly check the parameters of your tank. High ammonia and nitrite levels are two of the most common pollutants that can negatively affect your fish’s health. It’s also important to make sure the temperature, hardness, and alkalinity are suitable for your angelfish.

By maintaining a healthy environment and testing the water quality regularly, you will be able to ensure your angelfish stays fit and healthy.

Illness and Infections

Sometimes, angelfish’s abnormal swimming behavior can be caused by illnesses and infections. Some common diseases that can affect angelfish are bacterial infections, virus infections, fungal infections, and parasites. It is important to identify the cause of the problem so that it can be treated appropriately.

Signs of illness include a loss of appetite, visible sores or spots on the skin, cloudy eyes, unusual swimming patterns, and clamped fins. If your angelfish exhibits any of these signs, it is important to seek medical advice. Treating an underlying illness will help your angelfish to regain its normal swimming habits.

Parasites can also cause abnormal swimming behavior in angelfish. These parasites feed off the blood and tissue of fish, causing discomfort and pain which can lead to erratic swimming behavior. Common types of parasites that affect angelfish include flukes, anchor worms, and gill maggots. To identify a parasite infection, you should look for signs of discoloration in your fish’s skin and small white or gray spots on its body. If you think your angelfish has a parasite infection, you should take it to a veterinarian to get treatment.

Detecting Parasites

Parasites can cause serious health issues for angelfish, so it’s important to be able to identify them quickly and get the proper treatment. When inspecting your angelfish, look out for any strange discoloration on their bodies or fins, or any white or black spots that are indicative of parasites.

If you think your angelfish may have a parasite, there are certain treatments available to help support its recovery. One easy way to remove parasites from your tank is to use a medication meant to target the type of parasite in question. It’s also important to do regular thorough cleanings of your tank, as this will often eliminate the need for medication.

It’s also important to monitor your tank’s water parameters. Abnormal levels of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites can create the perfect environment for parasites to flourish, so it’s important to keep these levels in check.

Finally, introducing some freshwater tank-friendly snails such as pond snails and ramshorn snails can help to naturally control parasites in the tank by eating them. While it may seem counterintuitive, these snails can be beneficial for the overall health of your tank.

Nutrition and Diet for Angelfish

The diet of an angelfish is important to ensure it stays healthy and continues to swim normally. Poor nutrition or an unbalanced diet can lead to a variety of issues including abnormal swimming behavior. It’s important for angelfish owners to be aware of the nutritional requirements of their fish and provide the correct balance of food.

In general, angelfish should be fed a variety of small meals throughout the day, rather than two large feedings. This mimics their natural feeding habits in the wild. A good combination for angelfish includes high-quality flake, pellet, frozen, and live foods.

For a balanced diet, angelfish should be fed a combination of proteins and plant-based foods such as spirulina flakes, brine shrimp, freeze-dried bloodworms, and algae flakes. A lack of protein in a diet can lead to a slow growth rate, lethargy, or even death. Additionally, it’s important to feed angelfish food that is suitable for their size.

Finally, it’s critical to remember to only give angelfish an amount of food that they can consume in two or three minutes. Overfeeding can cause a build up of waste, which, in turn, will decrease water quality and lead to abnormal swimming behaviors in the fish.

Reducing Stress in Angelfish

Stress is unfortunately very common in aquarium environments, and angelfish are no exception. A stressed fish will display a number of notable behaviors, such as swimming erratically or staying motionless for long periods of time. It’s important to understand what causes this stress in angelfish so that it can be avoided.

Some of the most common causes of stress in angelfish include overcrowded tanks, sudden changes in temperature or water parameters, inadequate filtration, or the introduction of unfamiliar fish. All of these situations can lead to an unhealthy environment for your fish.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce stress and keep your angelfish happy. First, make sure your tank is adequately sized for the amount and type of fish you are keeping. Regularly test and monitor water quality, and keep temperatures stable. When introducing new fish, do so gradually and only add one or two at a time if possible.

It’s also beneficial to create an interesting and stimulating environment for your angelfish. Introduce some hiding places and plants, as well as other objects such as rocks or driftwood. Lastly, make sure the food you are providing is of a high-quality and contains all the nutrients your angelfish needs to stay healthy.

By providing the ideal habitat and taking steps to reduce stress, you can rest assured that your angelfish will remain happy and swim without any abnormalities.

Enrichment Activities to Keep Your Angelfish Entertained

Enrichment activities are a great way to keep your angelfish happy and active. Some activities like object hiding and obstacle courses can help provide mental stimulation, exercise, and prevent boredom. Here are some tips on how to appropriately use enrichment activities for your angelfish:

  • Hide objects such as coins or small rocks in the gravel of the tank for your angelfish to find.
  • Give your angelfish an obstacle course by placing stones, plants, or even toys in its path that it can navigate around.
  • Purchase plastic aquarium decorations that your angelfish can swim through or hide behind.
  • Create tunnels and caves with objects like PVC pipes or sunken logs.

Enrichment activities can provide your angelfish with the stimulation it needs to remain happy and healthy while in the tank environment. Make sure to monitor your angelfish’s reaction to these activities and adjust as necessary to make sure it is not too over-stressed or bored.


In this guide, we have answered the question “why is my angelfish swimming sideways?”. We’ve explored the common causes of abnormal swimming behavior, such as poor water quality, illness, infection, stress, and inadequate nutrition. We have also discussed how to test for these issues and the treatments available.

It’s important to remember that if your angelfish is swimming abnormally, you should check its environment and diet carefully. You may also need to consult a veterinarian to diagnose possible illnesses and infections.

We hope this guide has been useful in helping you better understand why your angelfish may be swimming sideways and what steps you can take to address the issue.

If you need more information or advice regarding your angelfish’s behavior, please do not hesitate to contact a professional or search online for additional resources.

Links Section

To help you gain a better understanding of why your angelfish is swimming sideways, we have included sources and links to other helpful websites. Be sure to do your own research and read more from the content creators we have listed below:

  • Fish Channel – Understanding Angelfish Health
  • Angelic Aquariums – Diagnosing Abnormal Swimming
  • Aquatic Life Network – Nutrition and Diet for Angelfish
  • Fish Lovers Forum – Stress Reduction Techniques for Angelfish

We hope these resources will help lead you on the right path to understanding why your angelfish is swimming sideways. Have any questions? Leave them in the comments section below!

Solving the Problem of Abnormal Angelfish Swimming

If you’ve noticed that your angelfish is swimming abnormally, it’s important to take steps to solve the underlying problem. In this guide, we will cover the common reasons why an angelfish might be swimming sideways and how to identify and fix the issue.

The first step to solving the problem is to diagnose what might be causing the abnormal swimming behavior. We’ll cover three potential explanations: poor water quality, illness or infection, and parasites.

Poor Water Quality

Water quality is one of the most critical factors for keeping aquarium fish healthy. Too much or too little of certain components in the water can cause stress to the fish and lead to abnormal swimming behavior. To diagnose whether water quality issues are at fault, it’s important to test the parameters of the tank environment, such as pH, ammonia, and nitrite levels.

Illness and Infection

Fish illnesses and infections can also cause abnormal swimming behavior. These can include bacterial and fungal infections that can be identified by cloudy eyes, reddening of the fins or gills, and gray patches on the body. If you notice any of these signs in your angelfish, you should look into possible treatments.


Parasites such as lice, worms, and flukes can also cause abnormal swimming behavior in fish. To detect if this is the cause of your angelfish’s swimming issue, look for small, black or white spots on its body, or signs of rapid breathing. If parasites are the culprit, there are several treatments available that can help rid the tank of the unwanted guests.

Nutrition and Diet

Providing the correct nutritional balance to your angelfish is essential for its health. A poor diet can lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients, which reduces the fish’s energy levels and causes it to swim slowly or abnormally. Make sure to provide a varied diet with plenty of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Stress Reduction

Certain behaviors can increase the amount of stress on your angelfish, which can lead to abnormal swimming. To reduce the amount of stress on your fish, try to create a peaceful tank environment with few sharp decorations or bright lighting. Additionally, you should avoid overcrowding and rapidly changing water parameters.

Enrichment Activities

A bored angelfish is more likely to swim abnormally, so make sure to provide them with activities to keep them entertained. This can include hiding food in different parts of the tank, adding decorations for them to explore, or setting up obstacle courses. Not only will this keep them busy, but it will help them stay in shape, too!


If you’ve noticed that your angelfish is swimming abnormally, don’t panic! Through this guide, we’ve covered several potential causes and solutions to the problem, as well as how to identify them. Regularly testing the water parameters and monitoring their diet and behavior should help you maintain a balanced tank environment and keep your angelfish healthy and active.

Links Section

Call to Action

Now that you are armed with knowledge about why angelfish swim abnormally, it’s

What Causes an Angelfish to Swim Sideways?

  • Q: What causes an angelfish to swim sideways?
    A: Abnormal swimming behavior in angelfish can be caused by a number of factors, including poor water quality, illnesses or infections, parasites, and stress.
  • Q: How do I know if my angelfish is swimming abnormally?
    A: Abnormal swimming behavior in angelfish can include swimming in circles or swimming in a jerky manner. If you notice this type of behavior, it may be an indication that there is a problem.
  • Q: How do I diagnose an issue with my angelfish?
    A: You can diagnose an issue with your angelfish by testing the water quality for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. You should also look for signs of disease, such as cloudy eyes or pale colors.
  • Q: What are common water quality issues that could affect an angelfish?
    A: Common water quality issues that could affect an angelfish include high levels of ammonia, nitrates, or nitrites, or a low or high pH level.
  • Q: What illnesses and infections can cause abnormal swimming behavior?
    A: Illnesses and infections that can cause abnormal swimming behavior in angelfish include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and some types of parasites.
  • Q: What types of parasites can affect an angelfish?
    A: Common types of parasites that can infect angelfish include ich (also known as whitespot), anchor worms, and velvet.
  • Q: How can I reduce stress in my tank environment?
    A: There are several ways to reduce the stress of an angelfish in its tank environment. These include providing a variety of hiding places and using floating plants which serve to lower the light levels. Other stress-reducing activities include providing enrichment activities such as object hiding and obstacle courses.

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