Do Angelfish Jump?

Angelfish can leap out of the water in a tank giving the impression that they are jumping, but it’s not common. Although it’s not unusual or something to be concerned about, angelfish don’t tend to jump as a habit, and owners should deduce the possible reasons for this behavior.

More important than the ability to jump is the reason for it. Why do fish jump, and how is it possible for them to jump? Let’s start with the ability and move our way to the reasons so we can accurately assess what needs to be done to avoid an angelfish from jumping and possibly hurting itself.

How Is It Possible For Angelfish To Jump?

Angelfish do have the ability to jump, but they are not as evolutionary evolved as the ‘flying fish,’ for example. A flying fish’s pen-like shape helps them build up enough speed to penetrate the surface and use their abnormally large fins as wings to gain a lot of air and distance.

Angelfish do not have the shape or fins to jump high or gain a lot of distance, but they can break the surface of the water and leap a few centimeters into the air.

The method of angelfish involves bending their body into a half circle and releasing the tension to flick themselves upwards. The method of bending the body to create tension and then releasing it creates an up-and-down motion resulting in enough force to power through the surface of the water.

You’ll find that most fish can do this, but the angelfish’s light weight allows them to gain more inches, which may result in them landing outside of the tank.

Most impressively, angelfish do not need much space or a build-up of speed to jump as they can use this method in a stationary position.

Angelfish and Discus in Large Planted Aquarium

Why Do Angelfish Jump?

There are various reasons why an angelfish will jump out of the tank. Still, most theories can be divided into three groups, water quality, personal inadequacies, and external factors.

The water quality refers to all the needs of the fish that are not always met. This includes proper oxygen levels, the correct water temperature, and the tank’s overall cleanliness.

Personal inadequacies refer to a fish that is ‘unhappy’ in its habitat or lacks stimulation. External factors refer to people or other unforeseen forces causing unexpected stress on the angelfish.

It’s essential to keep track of what might be affecting the angelfish and causing it to jump as you don’t want to make too many unnecessary changes.

Angelfish Will Jump If The Water Quality is Poor

Angelfish don’t thrive in dirty water, but if the water is business, they will try almost anything to find a different habitat, including jumping. Therefore, always ensure the tank’s levels are correct and appropriate.

For example, high levels of ammonia and nitrite will affect the angelfish’s general health, causing difficulty breathing and a weaker immune system.

In addition, poor water quality also affects the oxygen levels meaning the fish can’t breathe. Oxygen needs to dissolve in the tank as the fish can only ‘breathe’ through their fills, meaning it needs to be thin enough for them to digest.

Furthermore, the temperature should also be stable and consistent as sudden drops can cause the fish to become stressed and jump. Most fish, including the angelfish, can adapt to a deviation from average temperatures (between 76-84 degrees Fahrenheit), but sudden and constant changes will cause them to seek a different habitat.

Angelfish Will Jump If It Lacks Stimulation In Its Habitat

It’s important to understand the natural tendencies of angelfish to be aware of any changes in behavior. Angelfish require space and hiding places in order to not feel bored or vulnerable in their surroundings.

When groups of fish share a tank, dominance is often asserted, meaning some fish will need a place to hide. Moreover, seeking shelter from dangerous situations is an angelfish instinct; as a result, it’s also stimulating for them to try and find places to hide and protect themselves.

If angelfish feel vulnerable or unsatisfied with the living conditions of the tank, they will also jump out of fear for protection or lack of stimulation.

Therefore, ensure that your angelfish has enough space and places to move around and hide in, as well as enough activities and objects to keep them occupied and stimulated.

Angelfish Will Jump If External Factors Stress Them

Various external factors can cause the angelfish to get stressed and then jump. Some owners might find that angelfish tend to jump when they feed them or when certain people come near the tank. The following are a few examples:

  • Bright flashing lights that suddenly emerge and shine directly on the tank can cause fright among angelfish. Even the tank light can cause the fish to get stressed if it is not a common occurrence
  • Sudden unexpected movements near the tank will also cause stress among the fish. This often includes quick movements when feeding the angelfish or unexpected movements near the tank
  • Sudden loud or continuous noise from a television or stereo may cause the fish to jump

For the most part, angelfish jump as a protective mechanism when external forces frighten them, but it’s not a major issue that is cause for concern.

As long as the tank is placed in a neutral area where there aren’t unnecessary continuous disruptions causing stress on the angelfish, the occasional jump is nothing to be worried about.

Should I Be Worried About My Angelfish Jumping?

Whether you should be worried about your angelfish jumping depends mainly on the reasons rather than the action itself.

If your angelfish is jumping in a desperate attempt to find a different habitat because the current water is poisonous, that is a serious issue that needs immediate attention.

However, if your fish jumps due to quick movements or when you feed them, it might be wise to move the tank to a quieter position, but some fish might continue to do the odd jump or two due to fright or boredom.

It’s necessary to be on the lookout for other signs so that you can accurately assess the reasons for jumping. If the angelfish looks ill, like having rings around the eyes or spots on the skin, you need to test the water and ensure your levels, and the quality of the water is healthy and appropriate for it.

As water quality is most important, other reasons are usually easily solved by adding entertainment or removing stressful factors.


Angelfish can jump, and it is not unusual for them to do it from time to time. Although some of the reasons for jumping may be severe, like poor water quality, it’s often an instinct they have to protect themselves when they experience vulnerability or fright from a stressful situation.