Why Is My Angelfish Laying at the Bottom of the Tank

Why Is My Angelfish Laying at the Bottom of the Tank?

Have you ever come home to find your beloved angelfish lying on its side? This can be a very distressing sight, as it can mean that something is wrong with your fish.

There are several possible reasons why your angelfish is laying at the bottom of the tank. Anything from a simple change in water temperature to a more serious health condition can cause this.

This article will indicate the most common reasons your angelfish is swimming at the bottom of the tank and what you can do to help them.

1. Old Age

Fish, like people, become less active as they get older. Angelfish can live up to ten years and may begin to slow down as they near their final days.

They don’t have the energy to swim as vigorously as before; therefore, some may choose to sit at the bottom and rest.

2. Low Water Quality

Providing your angelfish with highly specialized water conditions is a must since lousy water quality can result in several problems, including loss of appetite, discoloration, and a lethargic condition that forces the fish to rest at the bottom of the tank.

The water conditions that can have a negative influence on an angelfish’s behavior include:

Water pH Level

Angelfish are sensitive to changes in their environment, and the wrong pH can irritate them severely.

So, it is essential to monitor the pH levels and make sure they are in the normal range (6.5 to 7.1).

Aquarium Tank pH levels
Aquarium Tank pH levels by the Spruce Pets


A fish’s tank should not be overly hot or cold.

The water will lose its oxygen if the temperature is raised too much, forcing the fish to lie at the bottom where the water is colder and more oxygen-rich.

On the other hand, low temperatures might cause sluggishness, which piques their interest and encourages them to hang out at the bottom.

Adjust the tank's water temperature
Adjust the tank’s water temperature by Wikihow


The ammonianitrates, and nitrites in your tank can poison your fish.

These toxins are associated with symptoms such as listlessness, weakness, discoloration, loss of appetite, and gasping.

The presence of these toxins may drive an angelfish to the surface for a time, but their physical weakness will eventually pull them to the bottom.

The nitrogen cycle in aquaculture systems and aquarium tanks. Ammonia is built up from fish excretion and uneaten food. Nitrosomonas , a bacterium, converts the ammonia into nitrite, which is converted into nitrate by nitrobacter , another bacterium. During both chemical conversions by the bacteria, H + is released causing a reduction in pH. A reduced pH will change ammonia into 
The nitrogen cycle by researchgate

3. Overcrowding 

Angelfish are explorers at heart; they want as much swimming room as you can provide them.

They have nothing to do in a crowded aquarium since they don’t have the space to move around. This may cause them to stay at the bottom quickly due to stress.

Crowded fish bowl
Overcrowded tank by algone

4.  Disease

If your angelfish is sitting at the bottom and its fins are drooping, this might be a sign that your fish is sick.

Swim Bladder Disease

The swim bladder controls an angel’s lift, which means the fish’s swimming capacity is hampered when the organ is harmed or afflicted with this illness.

Some fish will swim erratically when they contract swim bladder disease. Others will lose the ability to swim, forcing them to remain at the bottom.

Here is a guide to teach you how to deal with the swim bladder disease.


This parasitic infection manifests as white spots on the fish’s body. It can cause the fish to itch and rub against objects in the tank, damaging their fins, skin, and scales.

The parasites will also attack the fish’s gills, causing respiratory distress. This will make it hard for the fish to swim and may eventually result in its death.

Image titled Treat Tropical Fish With White Spot Disease (ich) Step 4
Ich disease by wikihow

5. Introducing New Fish to the Tank

Angelfish can be very territorial, and they might attack other fish if they feel threatened.

This aggressive behavior mostly happens when new fish are introduced to the tank. The angelfish will chase the other fish around, preventing them from getting food and rest.

The new fish will eventually get tired and hide at the bottom of the tank to escape their tormentor.

How to Treat Angelfish Lying at the Bottom?

As you may see, an angelfish that frequents the lower parts of the tank might indicate various issues.

If you want your fish to stop sitting at the bottom, follow these steps:

1. Improve Your Water Conditions

It’s not enough to cycle the aquarium before adding your angels. It would help if you also kept the proper conditions.

A pH of 6.8-7.8, temperatures of 78-84 degrees F, and hardness of 3-8dKH are all required.

You should also use a filter to prevent poisons from increasing in the future.

It will also be beneficial to vacuum the substrate and remove any dead plants or animals, food, and leftovers you find in the water.

We also recommend installing a high-quality heater to maintain the tank’s temperature.

2. Avoid Overcrowding

As we mentioned before, these fish need a lot of space to swim around. If your tank is too small, they become stressed, leading them to rest at the bottom.

Therefore, we recommend you upgrade to a larger tank as soon as possible.

3. Avoid Noisy Environments

Angelfish are sensitive to noise, and a loud environment could cause them stress.

It would be best to keep the tank in a quiet room to reduce stress and help your angelfish feel more comfortable.

4. Provide a Lot of Hiding Places

Angelfish also need hiding places where they can go to escape other fish and feel safe.

You should provide them with live plants, caves, or anything else where they can go to feel secure.

Hiding Place forGuppy Fry | Tropical Fish Keeping
Angelfish hiding places

5. Provide a Proper Diet

A poor diet is one of the primary reasons behind many health issues in fish, including swim bladder disease.

It would help if you fed your angelfish a diet that contains both plant and animal matter.

Some good options for protein include:

  • Bloodworms
  • Brine shrimp
  • Krill
  • Mealworms

You can also give them vegetables like:

  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Romaine lettuce

6. Introduce the New Fish Slowly

It would be ideal if you didn’t put your angelfish under pressure by introducing the new tankmates too quickly.

You should take your time and do it slowly to give them a chance to get used to each other.

Gently float the new fish in a plastic bag over the surface for a while instead of immediately placing it.

Try rearranging the aquarium decorations if you find that the angels’ companions are bullying your new fish. This will eliminate any established territories and force all fish in the tank to seek new ones.

7. Treat the Diseases

You should monitor your angelfish for any signs of disease and take appropriate measures to treat the illness.

If you find any sick fish, you should quarantine them in a separate tank to prevent the disease from spreading.

After that, you can treat the fish with medication or change the water conditions to eliminate the parasites.

Do Angelfish Sleep on the Bottom?

Angelfish sleep on the bottom. They will go down to the substrate at night, their hues will dull, and they will cease moving.

Some people mistake dead fish for sleeping fish. Sleeping angelfish do not sit motionless entirely. You may see that their fins still flutter if you look closely.

The most direct approach to telling whether a fish is sick, dead, or merely resting is to provide new stimuli. Find a way to prod the angelfish or offer some food for them.

A healthy fish will swim up in response to the feed, while a dead fish won’t move.


What Is the Life expectancy of an Angelfish?

The life expectancy of an angelfish is 10-15 years. However, many factors can affect their lifespans, such as the quality of their diet, the water conditions in their tank, and whether or not they are sick.

How Often Should I Change the Water in My Angelfish Tank?

You should perform water changes in your angelfish tank every week. During each water change, you should remove 20-25% of the water from the tank and replace it with fresh, clean water.

Do Angelfish Need a Filter?

Angelfish need a filter in their tank to remove harmful toxins from the water and to keep the water clean. Also, the filter helps to keep the water oxygenated.

Do Angelfish Need Plants?

Angelfish need plants in their tank for two reasons. First, the plants help to keep the water clean by absorbing toxins. Second, the plants provide shelter and a place to hide for the fish.

What Is the Best Food for Angelfish?

Angelfish are omnivorous, so they do best on a diet that includes both plant and animal matter.

A good quality pellet food should form the basis of their diet, supplemented with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia.

Some angelfish also enjoy eating blanched vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, and spinach.

How Often Should I Feed My Angelfish?

You should feed your angelfish 2-3 times per day. Each meal should be small enough that the fish can eat it all in a few minutes.

What Are the Diseases That Affect Angelfish?

There are several diseases that can affect angelfish, including:

  • Velvet
  • Ich
  • Flukes
  • Hole in the Head

How Do I Know If My Angelfish Is Sick?

If your angelfish is sick, you can notice that it has lost its appetite, is swimming erratically, or is clinging to the bottom of the tank.

Also, you can see signs of infections such as cloudy eyes or open sores. If you think your angelfish is sick, you should take it to a veterinarian for treatment.

How Do I Prevent My Angelfish from Getting Sick?

The best way to prevent your angelfish from getting sick is to provide them with clean water and a balanced diet.

Also, you should quarantine new fish before adding them to your tank to make sure they are not sick.

Do Angelfish Hide When They’re Sick?

Angelfish hide when they’re sick because illness makes them more vulnerable to predation. Hiding gives them a sense of security and helps them to recover.

Do Angelfish Hide When They’re Stressed?

Angelfish hide when they’re stressed for the same reason they hide when they’re sick as it makes them feel safe. Stress is caused by a variety of factors, including changes in the water quality, lack of hiding places, and bullying from other fish.

How Can I Tell If My Angelfish Is Stressed?

If your angelfish is hiding more than usual, it may be stressed. Other signs of stress include lethargy, loss of appetite, and darting around the tank.

How Can I Reduce Stress in My Angelfish?

There are a few things you can do to reduce stress in your angelfish:

  • Make sure there are plenty of hiding places in the tank for them to feel secure.
  • Do not overcrowd the tank.
  • Perform regular water changes to maintain good water quality.
  • Avoid sudden changes in temperature or lighting.
  • Do not move the fish around too much.

Last Words

If you see your angelfish flared up at the bottom of the tank and not swimming, don’t fret. They may be only resting. However, if the fish is scratching itself against surfaces or has other signs of illness, take appropriate measures to treat the disease.

Remember to maintain a clean and stress-free environment for your angelfish to live a long and healthy life.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and that it helped you understand your angelfish better. As always, thanks for reading!