Can Fish Have Seizures? Yes, Here’s 7 Ways To Prevent It

If you’ve ever seen a fish make strange, tremor-like, or wobbly movements, you might not have been able to identify the source of this oddity.

It is well known that people, dogs, cats, and other mammals can suffer from seizures. But have you ever considered that the strange behavior your fish was displaying could have been a seizure? Can a fish even have seizures?

The answer is yes. Fishes are sensitive creatures, and they can also have seizures. However, seizures are rare occurrences, and you might not even encounter one. If you maintain a healthy aquarium, there’s a very little chance of your fishes dealing with a seizure.

What should you do in this case? How to know if it is a seizure? How to prevent it? Well, buckle down and keep reading because you will find all the answers here in this article.

Can Fish Have Seizures?

Yes, fish can have seizures. Seizures, in general, are sudden disturbances that occur in the brain or the nervous system of a living organism. It has its effects on the way the organisms behave and its consciousness.

Seizures can be very painful, and the worst part is that they are unpredictable. Pets like cats and dogs are known to have seizures, but it is a little-known fact that fish can also suffer from seizures. In fact, any organism with a central nervous system can suffer from a seizure.

The seizures and related disorders in fish are not studied well. There are almost negligible studies available. You will be shocked to know that fish are subjects of anti-seizure medications testing. 

What Causes Fish To Have Seizures?

There are quite a few factors that can cause a seizure in a fish, which are listed below:

1. Bright Lights

Fish don’t do well when exposed to intense lighting or abrupt flashes of light from outside the tank, such as those caused by a camera flash.

The majority of fish avoid bright light. It’s recommended that you use tannins to tint the water to reduce light penetration. This will help your fish feel more at ease.

You should get an aquarium light whose frequency or brightness levels you can adjust or the ones that can be graded for the size of the tank. Red, blue, and green frequencies are less intense for fish.

You can also take the help of artificial or live plants. Adding plants to your aquarium will create some escape spots from light for your fish. Just like you need shade to escape from the sun, fish need the escape from light, so be a responsible fish parent.

2. Surrounding Noise

Fish have a lateral line system that helps them detect the changes in vibrations and pressure. These lateral lines are very sensitive to changes. 

You must be aware that sound travels faster in water than in air and that sound is nothing but a series of vibrations. When you tap the glass of the aquarium, vibrations are produced. These vibrations travel fast through the water and affect the lateral line system of the fish.

Yes, something as simple as tapping your tank might scare your fish to an unimaginable level. The resulting stress can cause further internal injuries. You might think that normal tapping is okay, but it is not, so avoid doing that. 

3. Temperature Shocks

Fish cannot adapt to sudden temperature changes. They need to be acclimated to new temperature conditions slowly and gradually.

You cannot just remove a fish from one tank and put them in another without matching the temperatures. If you make a mistake, your fish will most likely suffer from a seizure or can also die from a temperature shock.

You should be careful while changing the water in the tank.

4. Fear

If a fish is startled, it can suffer from a seizure. Sudden shocks overload the brain of the fish and can lead to painful seizures.

Many factors can induce fear, like being chased by a tank mate, flash of light, or a sudden noise. Ensure that you don’t startle the fish, as you can control whatever happens outside the tank.

5. Infections

While these areas of pathology are mostly unexplored, various illnesses and disorders are thought to produce seizures in fish. A viral, bacterial, or fungal infection can cause seizures.

Some parasites may cause nervous system disruption, resulting in uncontrollable movements and convulsions.

6. Stress

Yes, fish can get stressed. Stress can be a result of congested tanks, poor water quality, illness, and fear. 

As a result of stress, fish can suffer from seizures.

can fish have seizures?

Here are some fishes that are prone to seizures

Almost all the fish can have seizures. Here is a list of a few common varieties of fish that suffer from seizures:

  • Betta Fish
  • Molly Fish
  • GoldFish
  • Guppies
  • Platy Fish
  • Catfish 
  • Angelfish
  • Neon Tetras

Can Fishes Survive A Seizure?

Your concern about your fish is clear and it shows. We’re sorry but unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do while a fish is having a seizure. You cannot do anything to save a fish that had suffered from a seizure. 

Usually, a fish dies within a few days after having a seizure. You must know that while you cannot do anything for that one little fish, but you can save the life of other fish. Make the necessary changes and eliminate the factors that can cause a seizure immediately. 

How to Prevent Your Fish from Having Seizures?

Now that you know some of the things that cause seizures, you might have a good idea what you can avoid. We have listed down all the things that you can do to prevent your fish from a seizure:

  • Do not tap the tank violently and unnecessarily. Why do you even need to tap the tank in the first place? Let the fish be at peace and avoid making any other loud noise near the tank as well.
  • The temperature of your tank plays an important role. Different fishes have thrive at different water temperature. You need to make sure that all fishes in a tank are compatible with the temperature range in the tank. Higher temperatures can harm your fish.
  • Monitor your fishes closely. Keep track of their activities and if you observe anything weird, take the fish to a doctor. This way you can prevent the spread of a possible infection in the tank
  • Make sure you transfer the fish to a water tank with the same temperature as its previous tank. Temperature acclimation is very important.
  • The amount of water, and the water quality of your tank play a crucial role in maintaining the good health of your fish. Poor water quality can result in a stressed fish.
  •  Ensure the cleanliness of the tank. Fish tend to get overwhelmed the tank is dirty. Make sure you clean the tank properly before transferring the fish.
  • Ensure there’s ample of space for your fishes to relax. An overcrowded tank brings out an aggressive side of most fishes, and it often ensures in territorial fights. The ensuing stress is really not healthy.

What to Do When A Fish Is Having A Seizure?

If you see a fish suffering from a seizure, try to determine the cause immediately. You cannot stop the seizure, but you can make sure that other tankmates don’t suffer.

Here is a list of things to check if your fish is suffering from a seizure:

  • Check all water parameters like temperature and oxygen levels. Grab your kit and do it right away and if you notice anything weird, make the necessary changes.
  • Check all the products that you use in the tank. Right from the food to the chemicals, check the expiry date for everything. If you find any expired product, dump it in the dustbin right away.
  • Consult a vet. However, it isn’t easy to find vets for pet fish, but you can still try. Local aquarists are also helpful.

How to Tell If a Fish is Experiencing a Seizure?

Seizures are usually followed by abnormal twitching, body jerks, weird behaviors, and eye rolls.

The fish might even hide at some corner of the tank or behind a plant for hours. Others can drop abruptly on the tank floor and show minimal signs of movement.

Many also call these seizures as epilepsy or stroke.  But epilepsy is when your fish suffers from two or more seizures. However, usually, fish don’t survive the first seizure.

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