Goldfish staying in corner of tank how to get them to come outYou may have noticed your Goldfish staying in corner of the tank and wondered why. From sickness to stress and poor tank conditions, the reasons for this behavior are endless.

We have spoken to expert aquarists and outlined all the reasons why your fish is not active and what you can do to get them moving around the tank.

Keep reading to find out more.

Why Do My Goldfish Stay in One Corner of the Tank?

In this section, we will explore why you see your fish huddled in corner of the tank, not moving around much.

– Stress

Stress can make your fish stay in one corner of the tank. The stress may be from incompatible tank mates, poor feeding, lightning, and tank conditions. Another reason could be that the tank is overstocked.

– Water Quality

One reason your goldfish isn’t swimming around the tank is the water quality. This could be a direct result of not cycling the tank properly before adding the fish. When this happens, your fish will confine itself to one corner of the tank.

– Temperature

When the temperature in your tank is less than optimum, your fish will move to one corner of the tank. For clarity, when the water is too warm, your goldfish will move to the bottom of the tank, where the temperature is cooler. Likewise, when the tank is too cold, the fish will swim to warmer corners of the tank.

– Ammonia Poisoning

Ensure your tank is not ladened with ammonia. When there is too much ammonia or nitrate in your tank, your fish suffers. Easy ways to spot that your tank is struggling with high ammonia levels are lethargy, loss of appetite, inflamed gills, red fins, and strange swim patterns. Ammonia poisoning can also cause their gills to take on a red coloration.

Ammonia poison is so deadly that if swift action is not taken, your fish could be dead in hours. When you notice your fish staying at the top or bottom corner of your tank, gasping, you’ll need to act fast.

– The Water Flow Is Too Strong

Water flow can also be the reason behind your fish sticking to only one corner of the tank. When the current is very strong, the fish will become uncomfortable. So naturally, it goes to the corner of the tank with medium water flow.

– Your Goldfish Is Sick

Sick goldfish are more vulnerable to attack from other fish and tend to back up into a corner to feel safe. So, when you notice your fish in a corner, examine it and make sure its recent behavior is not due to sickness.

Common symptoms of sickness in fish are lethargy, loss of appetite, clamped fins, and strange swimming patterns. However, each disease has its telltale signs, so if in doubt, consult your vet.

– They are Breeding

We have noticed that female goldfish may stay in a corner of the fish tank when they are breeding. Goldfish do this because they feel very vulnerable. Sadly, there is nothing you can do to fix this; you must wait out this breeding period.

– Not Enough Hiding Places

Lastly, your fish will hide in one corner when it doesn’t have enough hiding spots. The lack of hiding spots leaves your fish exposed and vulnerable. Feeling unsafe, the goldfish sit or back up and hide in the corner of the tank.

How to Fix It?

Now that you have the answer to the question of “why do my fish stay in one corner of the tank,” we are sure you are eager to know how to fix it. So, here are some helpful tips to help you get your goldfish moving.

– Make Your Tank Inviting

The best way to get your fish moving is to make the fish tank inviting. Add a few plants, tank decor, or change the substrate. Plants, rocks, caves, and other tank decor make your aquarium more inviting for your goldfish and give them a sense of security.

– Add Compatible Fish to the Aquarium

Another reason for this behavior may be shyness. New fish staying in corner of tank is not strange. To help make the fish feel at home in their new environment, try adding other fish species to the tank. This gives the fish a sense of security. Ensure that the other fish species you add are compatible with your fish.

– Ensure the Tank Temperature is Even Across the Aquarium

We have already discussed how the tank water temperature affects your aquarium fish. So what can you do in such a case? Find a way to ensure that the temperature is even across the tank.

You can confirm that the temperature is even with a thermometer. Take the thermometer and check the temperature at different corners of the tank. If you notice that the temperature is uneven in certain areas, you may need to add another heater.

– Get a Reliable Water Heater

An easy way to solve the problem of uneven tank temperature is to get a reliable water heater. Ensure that the heater heats the whole tank evenly without making it too hot for your fish. If your tank is too big, you may need more than one water heater.

– Fix the Water Flow

Strong water flow can disturb your goldfish. We suggest getting a water filter to ease out the water flow. Angle the filter to the side of the tank for best results. Alternatively, you can attach a filter sponge to the nozzle to reduce the water flow further.

If you are thinking of getting a tank filter, we advise you to choose one that allows you to control the water flow and speed. The best part is that the filter doesn’t have to be expensive.

– Get a Water Kit and Change the Water

One way to spot if your fish is suffering from ammonia poisoning is to test the water with the aquarium kit. Once it is established that the ammonia levels in the tank are high, perform a 50% water change immediately. In some cases, you will still see your fish huddled in corner of tank after water change. In that case, you should try to neutralize it with some API Ammo Lock.

Another way to keep the ammonia levels in check is to cycle your tank properly before even adding the goldfish. That means keeping your tank empty while allowing the ammonia-eating bacteria to grow. Finally, ensure that the tank is not overstocked and that you change the tank water regularly.

– Treat the Fish

If you suspect your fish is sick, you should treat it immediately. Of course, before you can treat the fish, you must first identify the exact disease. You can reach out to the help of a vet for that.

You can also keep these fish diseases at bay by keeping your tank clean and in favorable conditions. Poor water quality affects your fish adversely. Of course, diet also plays a vital role in the health of your fish.

– Create More Hiding Spots

When your fish don’t have enough hiding spots, they will hide in one corner of the tank. Remedying this is easy. You need to add more plants and caves to the goldfish tank. That way, the plant has enough space to hide in and feel safe.

Remember, proper goldfish care will ensure that your fish stays active and healthy.


1. Do Pregnant Goldfish Sit at the Bottom of the Tank?

Bacterial infection due to bad water in the tank can cause a malfunctioning swim bladder. This may be why you see your fish at bottom of tank not moving. This is because your fish loses its ability to swim correctly and floats at the top of the water on its side. Swim bladder disease results from injury to the abdomen, infection, or pressure from excess air swallowed.

2. Why is My Fish Lying in a Corner Around the Heater?

It is possible that your heater is not distributing heat evenly around your tank. So, your fish naturally seeks out the warmth of the water heater. Thus, you will find the fish on its side around the tank heater. You can rectify it by fixing your tank heater or getting another one to support the present one.

3. Why is Your Goldfish Gasping for Air at the Bottom of the Tank?

Goldfish staying in corner of tankOne reason your fish is gasping for air at the base of the tank is stress. The stress could stem from everyday stressors are unfavorable water conditions, diseases, and chemicals. Common signs that your fish is stressed are loss of appetite, gasping at the water surface, diseases (e.g., white spot), strange swimming patterns, etc. The best way to de-stress your fish is to fix the reason for the stress.

You know your goldfish is happy when it swims actively around the tank, has a healthy appetite, is brightly colored, and is free from diseases. Remember, proper care ensures your fish stays happy and healthy.


Your goldfish may be huddling in the corner of a tank for several reasons: stress, poor diet, water parameters, and temperature. Here’s a summary of all we have outlined in this article.

  • Uneven tank temperature may be the reason why your goldfish is confined to a corner
  • You can get your fish moving by creating more hiding spots and fixing a heater
  • The stress of being in an unfavorable environment can make your fish sedentary

We have outlined many reasons for your goldfish sitting on bottom of tank not moving. We hope this helps you identify what the problem is. Once you know why your fish is sedentary, go further and fix it.

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