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How to Save Dying Fish after A Water Change

After each time you change aquarium water, you notice that 2 to 3 fish die just after the following day. If you wonder now, how to save the dying fish after water changes? And you are also in search what are the reasons for sudden death. Here in this article, you will learn.


How to save the dying fish after a water change? (Instaneous solutions)

Here are a few simple steps to change aquarium water and how to save instantaneously dying fish after a water change.


Remove the filter

Whenever you plan to change the water, remove all of the aquarium equipment like filter, heater, and bubbler. It will create ease when you change the water. It would be best to always add treated water instead of tap water. It would be best to make it ready 24 hours before adding it to the aquarium.

Aquarium filter

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Check fish behavior

When you add the water to your fish tank, keep an eye on your aquarium inhabitants. Deeply watch them for 15 to 30 minutes and check their moment. After that, you should keep an eye out for 24 hours. Check their moment whether all are moving in their natural style or getting slow. If they get slow, there is something wrong with your aquarium inhabitants.


Quarantine unhealthy fish

Separate the unhealthy fish into a quarantine tank. Please treat them with salt and water method. Although it is an old method still works. If they show signs of betterment, then do further advance medication. If they remain slow, you are late and can’t save your dying creature.


Supply low protein and veggies food

Feed your recently recovered fish with chopped pieces of veggies and provide them worms. Worms are low protein food, which helps your fish to regain their health.


How to save dying fish after a water change (Long Term Solution)

Besides the short run or instant cure to save dying fish after a water change. It would be best to keep in mind the following parameter while fish water changes.


Maintain an adequate water temperature

Lower or higher temperature is one of the primary reasons the fish die after the water change. If you consider it, you can save the dying fish after the water change.

Higher temperature reduces the oxygen dissolvability. Thus, fish tend to move at the top of the surface and try to escape from the surface to get ample oxygen.

Besides the top of the surface, they also may live near the substrate because the temperature at the bottom of the tank is relatively low, and they can survive.

To control the temperature, make sure before adding the water into the tank is suitable for your tank creatures. More than that, you can use a digital thermometer that can be attached to the tank wall; it will have a deep insight into the temperature.

Digital Thermometer

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Maintain a proper pH

Fish are susceptible. They can’t survive in higher or lower pH. pH changes from their suitable range can create a fatal effect on your aquarium inhabitants.

To save your dying fish, make sure before adding the water the pH is within an appropriate range of supplemented water. If you find your fish are getting slow and showing a non-natural swimming pattern with res gills after adding water, you should add some buffer solution to make them alive.

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Don’t remove the beneficial bacteria

Ammonia is one of the lethal gases for your aquarium inhabitant. Even a small proportion of ammonia tends to convert your fish tank into a toxicity pool. They will kill or damage your aquarium pets. If you are with the mind to make your fish tank a crystal clear tank and you clean all of the aquarium components and decoration. Then you are going to remove the beneficial bacteria as well. These beneficial bacteria make ammonia non-toxic or less harmful. Like

  • Nitrosomonas oxidize highly poisonous ammonia into nitrates
  • Nitrobacter oxidizes high nitrate in harmless nitrites

So, it is necessary for water change to just water change. Don’t scrap the gravel, wall, and other objects. It is better to clean your filter, gravel, and walls 2 days after the water change. It is how you can save dying fish after the water change.


Control over nitrite level

Nitrite chemical also affects your fish. If there is even a mild change in concentration for a prolonged period, it will attack the immune system and damage it badly. It creates a positive shift toward the bacterial infection disease besides the ich and fin rot. It also gave rise to methemoglobin levels, which damage cells, lever, and gills.

If you feel that after the water change, brown gills, rapid gills moment, and they tend to live near the water outlet, then nitrite affects your aquarium pets. Then to save your dying fish

  • Use chemicals which make detoxify the nitrite
  • Reduce feed
  • Increase aeration


Check air pump

It is recommended to unplug all of the aquarium gadgets like the heater, filter, and air pump when you are changing the water. If you are in a hurry and forget to turn on all of the gadgets after the water change, including the air pump, it will badly affect your fish.

Moreover, if you feel lethargic, fish have lost their appetite, and observe a rapid moment then increase the dissolved oxygen concentration in water. Air pump primarily helps in oxygen dissolution in water. You can also add air stone into your tank to assist the air pump.

Air Pump

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24 hours before water preparation

Prepare water 24 hours before water change. Do chemical treatment, maintain the water temperature, and remove toxic elements like copper and chlorine from it. After making sure all is set, you can go now for the water change. It will save your dying fish after the water change.


Water change method

Don’t pour the water bucket into your fish tank. It will shock your aquarium inhabitants, and they will go under stress. Stress leads to the death of aquarium pets. Other than stress, it is observed that the fish get excited about water change. Some fish tends to dominate other fish. While domination, they will harm them.

It is better to create a natural flowing system to control such behavior. Continuously add treaded with drip system and dispose water into your lawn or garden. The drip system replaces 2 to 3 gallons per hour for 200 or above gallon fish tanks.


Be aware during the water change

When you are changing the water, don’t do any other activity like using your cellphone or busy talking with another. It will create a diversion and loss of concentration, leading to blunders. It is also possible that you forget to plug out all of these types of equipment before the water change. So, keep concentrating while changing the fish water.


Water changing precautions

The following is how to clean your fish tank and water changing precautions. Do act on this advice to create a vibrant aquarium life.

  1. Don’t clean the filter and gravel on the same day.
  2. Don’t perform significant water changes randomly.
  3. Clean the filter only 2 days after the water change.
  4. Clean the filter once 4-6 weeks. Please don’t overdo it.
  5. Keep fish in the tank during 20-50% water changes.



It is inevitable to change the water, and it is a very sensitive matter for aquarists. If water parameters are not properly set, it will shock your fish, and they will die. Some of the life-saving parameters you have to consider while water change is proper range pH, temperature, and different chemical components.

Other than these parameters, follow a proper procedure and water changing schedule. Be attentive and prepare your supplemented water 24 hours before the water change. If you feel some fish are lethargic and show non-natural behavior, then take an instantaneous cure to save their lives.

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