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How To Help A Fish Stuck In A Decoration!

There has been a huge surge in the popularity of fish keeping over the last couple of years and is it very common for people to add a wide range of tank decorations to their aquariums but these can cause problems.

Although tank decorations do look nice, they can end up being a pain as fish can get stuck in tank decorations no matter if it is a commercial decoration or natural decorations such as plants or rocks.

Fish getting stuck in decorations is a surprisingly common problem often due to people purchasing generic fish tank decorations for their tank that are designed for use with other species of fish.

The majority of commercial aquarium decorations are designed for use in tanks with small goldfish, livebearers or betta fish and larger fish can often get stuck in some decorations.

Depending on the way you have arranged your tank decorations, usually rocks and live or fake aquarium plants, these can also end up presenting a hazard for your fish too.

With this being such a common problem, we decided that we wanted to publish this article to try and help as many of our readers as possible avoid these problems with fish getting stuck in their tank decorations as possible.

Can Fish Get Stuck In Tank Decorations?

Fish can definitely get stuck in decorations, sometimes with relative ease if you have a medium or large-sized fish species in your aquarium.

This is surprisingly common due to most aquarium decorations on the market being designed for the smaller, more commonly kept fish species out there but all sizes of fish can end up getting stuck in decorations in their tanks.

This can often be avoided with ease if you are looking to add the generic, commercially available tank decorations to your tank by just avoiding anything with holes in it.

We know that fish hides are extremely common, especially in some tank setups where the larger fish may see the smaller fish as a food source but these can often result in the larger fish getting stuck when chasing the smaller fish.

When it comes to live or fake aquarium plants, you can often avoid having problems with your fish getting stuck in the decorations by taking a minute or two every couple of days to make sure that your plants aren’t getting tangled and essentially forming a net in your tank.

With a little prior planning, you can often arrange your rock decorations in a way that can prevent your fish getting stuck in them too.

Can A Fish Die If It Gets Stuck In A Decoration?

Fish can die if they get stuck in a tank decoration without a way out be it due to injury from being stuck and trying to free themselves, a lack of available oxygen, or being trapped for so long that they stave.

This does tend to be more of a problem for medium sized fish species within the fish keeping hobby that are just a little too big to be able to use regular tank decorations without issue.

If you have multiple species of fish within the same aquarium then the chances of your fish both getting stuck in decorations as well as dying due to getting caught in the decorations starts to increase.

This is due to the larger fish often chasing the smaller fish around the tank while trying to eat them and the smaller fish panicking and trying to get into a decoration to hide only to end up getting stuck.

The larger fish may be able to easily eat the fish that is stuck in your tank decoration in this situation but the smaller fish can often injure themselves when swimming around the tank so quickly too.

There are plenty of combinations of different fish species that can easily be kept in a community tank with minimal issues so we would always recommend that you try to opt for fish species that will not try to eat each other if possible.

Can Fish Get Stuck In Rocks In Your Aquarium?

Fish can get stuck in rock decorations in your aquarium but this is often easily avoided if you spend some time planning your rock layout prior to building out your rock feature.

Using one single medium-sized rock rather than multiple small-sized rocks can be a quick and easy way to drastically reduce the chances of your fish getting stuck in the rocks and keep them safe.

Depending on exactly what you are trying to do with your aquarium setup, it may not be a realistic goal for you to use medium or large rocks in your aquarium though and you may be forced to use multiple smaller rocks.

If this is the case for your fish tank, you can fill in the gaps between the rocks with substrate to prevent your fish from being able to get into the gaps and get themselves stuck.

As you can usually part the rocks in setups with multiple small rocks, this can sometimes may it easy for you to free your fish without having to try push or pull it out of the decoration.

If possible though, we would always recommend that you go with one single rock with less areas your fish can get stuck or fill in the gaps with your substrate if you do have to use multiple small rocks.

Can Fish Get Stuck In Plants?

It can be common for fish to get stuck in plants that have moderate to high water flow levels as the plants get tangled with each other and form a net.

It is usually easy to avoid this by spending a couple of minutes untangling the plants in your aquarium when they start to get tangled into each other to ensure that your fish can swim freely amongst the plants without getting stuck.

If you have fake aquatic plants in your tank that are made from the more rigid plastics then this can become a real issue as they tend to get stuck to each other much easier than live plants or the fake silk plants.

Depending on the setup of your aquarium, you may be able to adjust the placements of your plants to prevent the water flow rates from being able to cause problems with them but for the most part, it will always be a risk in tanks with moderate to high water flow.

One alternative that is common is to use shorter live pants such as java moss as their height prevents your fish from getting themselves stuck in the plants as they swim around.


That brings our article going over how you can stop your fish getting stuck in tank decorations to an end. Although rare, this can be a real pain with some tank setups and decoration types making this far more likely than it would be in other tanks.