Sea Life

Why do Fish Jump Out of Water

Why do Fish Jump Out of Water

You may have seen fish jumping out of water, some fish jump out of water just because they can do it and it is the sign that they are happy and there is nothing to worry about. But, it is not always the same case when fish come out of water, there may be more concerning reasons for them doing so. fish jumping out from water

Reasons Why the Fish Jump Out of Water

Although some fish cannot jump out of water, many kinds of fish can jump out of water for a few seconds. The reasons for different fish jumping or escaping out of water are probably different depending on the situation they are facing. Let’s figure out the possible and the most common reasons for which the fish try to escape out of the water and jump above the water surface:

To Catch Prey 

Some predatory fish rely on small birds present above the water surface. When they are hungry and they see a small bird or insect above the water surface, most probably on the leaves above the water surface or on the hanging tree branches, they jump and catch their prey to eat it.

Insufficient Oxygen 

Water also contains oxygen like air and the oxygen is necessary for the creatures in the water to breathe. Fish need a certain level of oxygen to survive. When the level of oxygen decreases to a certain level that the fish cannot tolerate they feel suffocation while breathing. The oxygen level decreases mostly in summers when the temperature rises because warm water has less oxygen as compared to cold water. So, in such a situation, the fish tend to move and jump above the water surface to reduce the suffocation.  

Incorrect Water Temperature

Fish survive between a certain level of temperature and they usually cannot survive a major increase or decrease in that specific level. When the temperature increases in summers, the oxygen decreases and the fish may feel suffocation and eventually die. Similarly, when the water is too cold, the fish die of cold because they cannot tolerate low temperatures for too long. So, the temperature should neither be too high nor be too low for the survival of the fish. 


Sometimes, the water or the area of living becomes less or congested for the fish because of the increase in the population of the fish. This may cause stress in some species of the fish and they may want to escape out frequently for a few seconds to relax. So, in the case of pet fish, it is discouraged to overcrowd the aquarium as it can lead the fish to die of stress. Same is the case with an overcrowded lake or a pond.

Dirty Water 

The water sometimes becomes so dirty and unhygienic that the fish may not feel able to survive easily inside it. In the case of pet fish, it might be due to unchanged water or when there is no fitter for the aquarium. The production of the ammonia in the water increases with the passage of time and this can become life threatening for the fish. So, it is important to regularly replace the old water with the freshwater. Similarly high nitrate levels in the water also causes irreversible damage to the organs of the fish breathing inside that water and the fish may want to escape out of water because of this. 

To Hide From Predators

Some large fish prey on small fish in the water to earn their livelihood. The predator fish usually live deep in the water. When the small fish sense any danger coming from the inside, they try to confuse the predator about their exact location by jumping over the water surface again and again.

The Bottom-Line

While some fish jump out of water just for fun, most of the time there are some facts for the fish jumping out of water. There are some concerning reasons both the pet fish in an aquarium and the fish in a river or a lake jump out of water. The fish may jump out of water to catch their prey, to breathe outside the water for a while because of insufficient oxygen or incorrect water temperature, to hide from the large predator fish, to escape from the dirty water and to escape from overcrowding. 

About the author

Hadia Atiq

A Writer passionate about learning and spreading the knowledge of sea life. I like to spread the knowledge of different types and species of fish and other aquatic creatures.