One of the questions most often asked of a Pet Shop Owner or Fish Consultant is...
"My fish keep dying, why?"

Well there really no one answer for this question but most commonly (even though we hate to admit it) is human error. Most often it is something to do with diet or environment, either too much or too little food, bad water or bad tank mates. Sometimes it is disease or even a "BAD" fish recently purchased from a fish store. The only one true rule you can go by is that fish die, and no matter what we do, we cannot change that. However we can help our aquatic friends to live healthy and a long life with a little bit of care and attention.


1. Overfeeding, Man does this cause problems, not only do fish get fat and lazy but the excess food breaks down and decays turning your water into poison. Click the following pages for direct info on feeding and water quality.

2. Temperature, Like in the old story of the Goldilocks and the three bears where the porridge was either too hot or too cold, Temperature can quickly do your fish in. For Tropical fish a range of generally no lower than 72 deg F. and no more than 84 deg. F. this is just a basic range with most fish living around 76-78 deg F. And with every rule there are exceptions, you should always consult your fish professional or check the Species Pictures and Profiles Section to double check what temperature is best for your fish.

3. pH, This delicate water condition can kill your fish in minutes if the balance is upset, too high, or too low. Testing equipment is practically a necessity as an aquarium hobbyist. As well as natural elements or chemicals to adjust your pH to a healthy levels. Most Tropical fish are neutral, around 7.0 to 7.2, but then again there are always exceptions and some fish really thrive in higher or lower pH boundaries.  And with every rule there are exceptions, you should always consult your fish professional or check the Species Pictures and Profiles Section to double check what temperature is best for your fish.

4. Water Quality, Ammonia, nitrates among other chemicals can get too high and poison your fish.  Check the Water Testing page for further information.

5. Wrong mix of Fish, This one is pretty easy to spot, either by missing fish, nipped fins or scales. Somebody in the tank doesn't get along with another member. Either move one to another tank, return to store if you can or just discard it. As with people, as much as we would like, some fish just don't get along. Post a note at the Club to see if your mix will work, you will generally get an answer within a very short time.

6. Disease, All the above can lead to a weakened immune system, leading to internal and/or external parasites. Consult the Disease Section of this web site for further information.

7. Contamination, Either chemical residue (i.e. soaps, grease, etc.) from objects entering the tank like hands or dirty decorations.

8. Old Age, It is just simply at the end of the fishes life cycle. I will not be going into life spans of specific fish, some fish can live very short lives other fish can live for decades! If you need specifics answered feel free to write me at the Club.

9. Accidents, Most often a fish jumping out of an open tank, or swimming headfirst into the wall knocking themselves out and drowning. ( the latter is rather common with one of my favorite fishes the Iridescent  Shark ). Breaking heaters, eating bad or previously thawed and then refrozen food are all prime examples of accidents that can happen.

10. Discards, For whatever reasons we find it best to discard the fish, with young it is more commonly referred to as "Culling" or thinning out the weak and runts. It may sound as though that I am being rather cruel, but facts are that majority of these fish are by nature destined to live very shortened lives, usually as nutritional material for other fish. By thinning out the weak, it allows for the stronger ones to remain stronger. Breeding weakened fish can lead to entire broods of weak fish.