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Why Your Angelfish Is Twitching And How To Stop It!

The popularity of angelfish within the fish keeping hobby is starting to increase again and with more and more fish keepers looking to add various species of angelfish to their tanks.

As normal, when any species of fish starts to see a spike in its popularity, we have noticed more and more questions being asked about taking care of angelfish with some people having problems with their pet angelfish twitching in their aquariums.

Some species of angelfish can twitch as a part of their mating dance of when trying to establish dominance but these twitches are usually subtle twitches.

Rapid deliberate twitches from an angelfish are usually an indication of there being a problem with parasites, the water parameters in the tank or due to issues with the tank being overstocked causing problems with stress or anxiety in the fish.

Most causes of angelfish twitching are easy to treat and can usually be fixed with a few simple changes to the aquarium.

Once the cause of the twitching has been normalized, the majority of angelfish will return to their normal behavior within days.

As with any problem with your fish, the sooner that you notice your angelfish are twitching randomly, the more likely it is that you will be able to fix the problem with your fish quickly and without your angelfish having any long term problems.

Is It Normal For An Angelfish To Twitch?

It can be normal for an angelfish to twitch in their aquarium if they are trying to establish a dominance hierarchy in the tank or they are trying to attract a mate.

All other causes of twitching in an angelfish are an indication of a problem in the fish tank that will need to be fixed as quickly as possible before serious issues can start to develop in the fish.

We have dedicated articles going over how to treat fin rot in angelfish as well as clamped fins in angelfish that can also be common symptoms in the fish if you notice that they are twitching.

The majority of the unnatural causes of an angelfish twitching will have a number of secondary symptoms that you are able to watch out for though helping you narrow down exactly what the problem is with the fish and how you are able to fix the issue.

Depending on the exact tank setup, it can be easy to misidentify the reason behind your pet angelfish twitching making you think that it may be due to natural reasons when in actual fact, there is a problem with the tank that needs fixing.

It is always important to check for all causes of twitching in your angelfish prior to trying to start treatment with the fish though to make sure you are offering your angelfish the best possible care.

What Causes An Angelfish To Twitch?

The common causes of an angelfish twitching randomly include problems with water parameters, problems with overstocking in the tank, a parasitic infection, the fish trying to attract a mate, and the fish trying to establish dominance in a tank.

There are some less common reasons that an angelfish may twitch but they are far less common in most aquarium setups.

if your angelfish is twitching due to parasites, you will often be able to see signs of the parasites on your fish or its color slightly changing.

You really should be using a decent water test kit as they only cost a couple of dollars more than the cheaper water test kits but they are more accurate and test for a wider range of potential problems.

This will help you check your water parameters and get a good idea if this could be the reason that your angelfish is twitching or not.

When it comes to water parameters, problems with pH levels, water temperature, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates can all come into play, especially with the more sensitive species of angelfish.

This is why you really do need to have a decent test kit for your aquarium water as the cheaper test strips are just not accurate enough to get the job done reliably.

How Can You Stop An Angelfish To Twitch?

If you suspect that your angelfish is twitching due to poor water parameters or a parasitic infection, correcting the water parameters as quickly as possible and starting an anti-parasitic treatment should be able to get your angelfish back to full health as quickly as possible.

If your angelfish is twitching due to looking for a mate or trying to display dominance in the tank then it will stop naturally after a couple of days.

The problem with parasitic infections on your angelfish is that they can be difficult to diagnose and problems such as ich often require a totally different treatment to other types of parasites.

In some cases, fungal infections can also cause your angelfish to twitch too but this is rare and although a bacterial infection can technically cause an angelfish to twitch, this really does seem to be rare so check for potential problems with parasites first.

It is very common for people new to the fish keeping hobby to accidentally overstock their tanks and this can also result in your angelfish being stressed and anxious and cause problems with the fish twitching.

We usually recommend that you stick to the one inch of fish per gallon of water in your aquarium rule but some species of angelfish do tend to need more space to themselves to prevent them from getting stressed and ending up twitching.

Is An Angelfish Twitching A Serious Condition?

Although there are natural reasons that an angelfish can twitch, if the twitching is due to the fish having problems with parasites or living in unsuitable water conditions then it can eventually be fatal to the fish.

This is why you really have to start investigating the condition of your angelfish as soon as possible to try and work out exactly what is wrong with the fish.

An angelfish twitching due to being in an overstocked fish tank can also end up causing serious issues over the long term due to the elevated stress and anxiety levels in the fish constantly causing small problems that build up and compound over time.

Thankfully, even the more sensitive species of angelfish will often recover quickly once the cause of their twitching has been fixed helping to fish to recover quickly in most situations.


That brings our article going over why your pet angelfish is twitching to an end and we hope that we have been able to help as many of our readers as possible. It is usually very easy to treat an angelfish who is twitching without needing any specialist treatments so the majority of our readers should easily be able to save their fish and prevent it from having any serious problems in the long run.