As with the circle of life, from time to time you may find a dead fish in your aquarium. What should you do if one of your inhabitants passes on? Follow these steps to ensure it’s not an epidemic, or doesn’t become one.

Search and Retrieve

Once a day, do a check to make sure all fish are accounted for. If you cannot find one of your fish, it could be hiding. Keep a close eye to see if you can located the fish. The sooner you remove a dead fish, the better it is for your aquarium, because that fish could have been sick and may infect others.

Examine

Once you’ve located and removed the fish, examine it for infection. Is it bloated? Are the fins discolored or flaked off? Try to determine if the fish died of disease, bullying, or simply old age.

Test Water

A dead fish may increase the ammonia levels in your aquarium. As soon as you find a perished pet, test your water to be sure everything is okay. Additionally, water quality may have been the cause of death, so you may need to do an emergency water change.

What next?

Properly dispose of the fish, through burial, not flushing.  Keep an eye on other fish of the same species to ensure it’s not a widespread disease. You can restock your fish within a week if the water quality continues to test OKl.

If any of these concerns fall outside your realm of knowledge or comfort level, bring in an expert to do an emergency maintenance check.

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