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Is Exercise Important for Aquarium Fish?

Exercise for Aquarium Fish San Diego, CA

Virtually all aquatic species need some sort of physical activity to enjoy healthy lives. Tropical fish and invertebrates, whether they’re kept in freshwater or saltwater tanks, stand to benefit the most from exercise because they’re already living in enclosed ecosystems that are generally far smaller than their natural habitats. Aquarium fish incorporate exercise into their lives through activities such as swimming, feeding, mating, establishing territory, and escaping aggressors. This need for exercise is something fish keepers should keep in mind when setting up their tanks. The friendly and knowledgeable staff at Aquatic Warehouse, a trusted provider of saltwater and freshwater aquarium supplies, would like to share some important details about the importance of exercise for fish.

Misconceptions About Aquarium Fish and Exercise

The high adaptability of tropical fish shouldn’t be overestimated. Just because species such as Siamese fighting fish and guppies can survive in habitats as small as fishbowls, this doesn’t mean they’ll enjoy living in such cramped conditions. When you look at the natural habitats of Betta splendens in Thai mangroves, you realize they have plenty of space to swim around. To keep your betta fish happier and healthier, you should provide them with adequate space and vegetation.

Fish Exercise for Better Health

Betta mirrors are among the most unusual products aquarium shops sell. These mirrors are essentially toys designed for the purpose of encouraging Siamese fighting fish to exercise, and they can almost be described as therapeutic tools. Betta fish are naturally aggressive within their own species. Not being able to release this innate aggression can cause stress and weaken immune systems. One of the best ways to avoid this situation among bettas is to chase their mirror reflections, which is a fun way for them to exercise.

Fish Can Get Fat without Exercise

Even though overfeeding is the number one cause of fish getting fat, not having enough space to swim or aquarium mates to chase can also result in them getting fat. In 2007, aquaculture researchers from the University of Florida noticed tropical fish that were fed more than their recommended quantities were more likely to become overweight if they were kept by themselves in smaller tanks. Something else researchers noticed among fatter fish is that they were more likely to develop infectious diseases.

Anxious Fish Need Exercise in Their Lives

Not all aquarium species are fun and gregarious like Oscars, Corydoras, and goldfish. Zebra danios and angelfish are notoriously tense, nervous, and passive aggressive. These are natural traits that can become exacerbated if they’re not able to exercise. A 2018 study published in the December issue of the Behavioral Processes journal determined that active Danio rerios, also known as zebra danios, suffered from greater anxiety levels when they were kept in small, darkened tanks. Since zebra danios are known to school in groups of five and actively swim during daylight hours, not being able to enjoy this level of activity understandably makes them very anxious, thus having 5 or more of this variety is recommended. As a matter of fact, most small fish do better when there are 3 or more of their same species to interact with.

Though exercise is important for fish to stay healthy, it’s also crucial to have all of the necessary supplies to properly maintain their aquatic environment. Whether you need aquarium monitors or controllers, filtration, LED lighting, testing kits, or any other essential aquarium supply, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Aquatic Warehouse. Stop by our store in Kearny Mesa, order your supplies from our website, or give us a call at 858-467-9297 if you have any questions.


Contact Information

  • Address: 5466 Complex Street Suite 204
    San Diego, CA 92123
  • Phone: (858) 467-9297
  • Email: sales@aquaticwarehouse.com
  • Working Days/Hours: Mon - Fri / 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    Saturday / 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Sunday / 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM


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