(Solved) Accidentally Dropped Fish on the Floor, What Should I Do Now?

As fish lovers, we take care of our fish with so much love and care. However, sometimes, things can go out of hand. 

The worst thing can happen while cleaning your fishbowl or tank: Dropping fish on the floor.

It can happen because maybe you were a little careless, or the fish jumped out the net. Both are extremely likely scenarios.

Either way, what happened has happened. I am not going to judge you. Now, let’s see, what can you do after the fall?

In this article, we shall discuss what to do when you drop a fish on the floor. And how you can avoid it from happening next time.

Accidentally Dropped Fish on the Floor

Human beings make mistakes, so it is okay if you dropped your fish on the floor accidentally. It can happen while cleaning or in other similar scenarios. 

The most important thing you must do is not to panic. It can be hard to maintain calm when you see your fish flopping about on the floor. Nonetheless, it is crucial to stay calm and focus on what you can do about it.

Generally, a fish can stay out of water for about three to four minutes. During this time, they are suffocating, so you have to act quickly. Nonetheless, you have enough time to pick them up and put them back in the water. 

The act of picking it up and putting it back in the water may sound simple, and in fact, it is simple. Yet, there are certain things you must keep in mind while doing so:

  1. The fish will feel rigid when you touch it, so you need to work around its structure.
  2. Do not bend or loosen the fish up under any circumstances
  3. Put the fish back in the water immediately.
  4. Observe it closely for gill movements and swimming patterns after you put it in the tank.
  5. Do not observe the fish for any gill movement or injuries while it is in your hand. Every second you spend looking at the fish while it is out of water will increase the risk of injury to the fish.

accidentally dropped fish on the floor

What if the Fish Jumped Out of Tank Onto the Floor?

If your fish jumped out of the tank, the drill is the same. You have to stay calm and act fast to pick it up to put it in the water. 

Once you have tackled the problem, it is essential to understand why it happened. So, why did my fish end up on the floor?

Jumping Behavior

Many species of fish, like guppies, exhibit jumping behavior because it serves a purpose in the wild. Although it is not helpful for them in the tank, they still tend to do it. So, there is not much you can do to stop this behavior, apart from being aware that this may happen.

Tank Environment

Fish need more than just clean water and food. They tend to jump out of tanks if there are no fish accessories or spots to hide. They also try to leap out of the tank if there is a low oxygen level or an imbalance of pH levels. 

How to Prevent Fish Jumping Out of the Tank

Similar to babyproofing your home, you have to jump-proof your fish tank. There are simple steps you can take to prevent your fish from leaping out of the tank. I have mentioned some of the most effective ones below:

Put a Lid 

Covering the top of your fish tank is the best way to ensure your fish will not end up outside. You can use acrylic tank covers or tank covers for the best results. However, you can use a window screen or mesh to cover while allowing airflow.

Maintain a Good Environment

Fish leap out of their puddles to reach a different water body with better living conditions in the wild. They mimic this behavior when the water in the tank is not good enough for them. 

Therefore, you need to ensure the water conditions are suitable for the specific fish breeds in the tank.

Keep a close eye on water parameters if your fishes are leaping out of water.


Fish in the wild leap out to avoid predators sometimes. So, it is not surprising if they exhibit this behavior when they are in a mixed environment. Hence, you need to make sure all the fish species in the take adjust to one another. 

Most importantly, avoid introducing aggressive fish species in the mixed tank.

Introduce decor and plants into the tank to act as hiding places for fishes.


  1. Can a Fish Survive the Fall When They Leap Out of the Tank?

    Yes, they can survive if you manage to put them back into the tank immediately.

  2. Do Fish Need Extra Care After the Fall?

    The answer depends on how it fell and how long it stayed on the floor. To be on the safer side, keep the fish separately and observe them for any issues.

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Final Thoughts

Fish leaping out of the tank is more common than you might assume. Therefore, it is vital to take precautionary measures to save these delicate little creatures.

Always remember to act calm and quickly. Also, make sure you limit the sound and disturbances outside the tank to prevent spurring this behavior.