Why Did My Tetra Jump Out of the Tank?

bcfishtanks
  • #1
Heard the sound I never wanted to hear RIGHT as I was about to crawl into bed: a fish flopping on the floor.

One of my glowlight tetras seems to have jumped through a FULL COVER of frogbit and fell over 4 ft to the ground. I was able to quickly get her back in the tank where she rested on the bottom of the tank for a solid 30 seconds before flashing around the tank and going back to the top like she was planning on jumping again. I managed to catch her and put her in a bucket after I drained about 2 gallons from the tank so there's now 4-5 inches between the waterline and the top of the tank. There's about 1.5 ft of space between the bucket waterline and the top of the bucket. She keeps trying to jump out. I'll do a water change for her in the morning since I don't have any filtration in there, and I'm not planning on feeding her tomorrow.

My biggest question is WHY did she jump out of the tank? I've had this school since October 2020, and not one of them has ever jumped before. Everyone else in the tank is perfectly happy, but I was getting a weird feeling about my female tetras yesterday, though I couldn't figure out what it was. It was this, apparently. The only new thing I added to the tank recently was hornwort from my 5g betta tank. I rinsed a few of the pieces in old 29g tank water, but I'm pretty sure there was 1-2 clippings I didn't rinse.

Here's my theories:

1. She saw a bug on the surface (I did have to pick a spider off my heater a few weeks ago, and the gnats have come in now that we have windows open more)
2. She's suffering from some illness that's about to terrorize my tank (maybe from the hornwort?)
3. Mating gone wrong?

Help!

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 29g, fully and heavily planted
How long has the tank been running? 4 weeks (all fish were moved from previous tanks of mine)
Does it have a filter? Yes, HOB
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 79 degrees F
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
1 nerite
7 peppered cories
1 ghost shrimp
7 glowlight tetras

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Once a week
How much of the water do you change? 25%
What do you use to treat your water? Prime
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Just water, due to the planted-ness of the tank

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water? API Master Test Kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5
pH: 7.4

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? Once per day
How much do you feed your fish? A crumbled pinch/10 shrimp pellets
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Top Fin Tropical Flakes/API Bottom Feeder Shrimp Pellets
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? Yes, bloodworms. I put in about 10 for the school once or twice a week.

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? October 2020
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Just now
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Launching herself out of the tank, flashing
Have you started any treatment for the illness? No, just removed her from the tank
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No. Recurring fungus swept through the school in the first 1.5 months I had them, but she wasn't one that ever got it.
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Flashing, jumping
 
WRWAquarium
  • #2
Does sound strange.

Can you perhaps make a cover out of perspex or similar?
 
bcfishtanks
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Yes, I'll be picking up some extra screening from home depot on my way home today to do something makeshift for now.
 
bcfishtanks
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Any other ideas? My biggest fear is that she's sick and may have infected others in my tank, because none of my tetras even go that high in the tank and even wait for the filter to push their food down to them most days.
 
mattgirl
  • #5
You may want to put the little guy back in with its buddies to help keep its stress level low

. A few months ago one of my neon tetras jumped out of my tank. By the time I found it the little one was feeling pretty dry. I picked it up thinking it was dead but I felt some movement. I was on my way to bed so just dropped the little guy in a 10 gallon tank sitting next to the tank it jumped out of to give it a fighting chance. I was very surprised to find it alive and well the next morning.

I don't know why fish sometime jump out but it isn't unusual for it to happen.
 
Dechi
  • #6
A common cause of fish jumping is trying to escape harassment. They jump and by chance there is a hole so down to the grown they do.

Patching the holes is the way to go.
 
bcfishtanks
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Thank you. My cories are very active at night, so its possible that they spooked her since the tetras usually fall asleep around 9. I don't like quarantining tetras alone, but I was so worried she'd jump out again. I put a big plant in there with her, so at least she doesn't feel exposed.
 
veggieshark
  • #8
Well, let's speculate. They jump to escape predators. escape another stressor (including bad water quality, oxygen deprivation), to reach food (if it discovered something above the water level), a neurological disease that randomly fires its muscles.

Since there is only one doing the jump, there is not an obvious predator, and it seems alert, eating and healthy (not sick), it is possible that it is trying to escape one of its own kind. Maybe it is male to male aggression.
 
bcfishtanks
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Well, let's speculate. They jump to escape predators. escape another stressor (including bad water quality, oxygen deprivation), to reach food (if it discovered something above the water level), a neurological disease that randomly fires its muscles.

Since there is only one doing the jump, there is not an obvious predator, and it seems alert, eating and healthy (not sick), it is possible that it is trying to escape one of its own kind. Maybe it is male to male aggression.

It is a girl. I've got four girls and three males, and the males all go for one female at once instead of splitting up. All the other fish were asleep when it happened (I turned on the light to lure them out and get a head count last night to make sure no one else jumped). The cories were ridiculous last night, though, and did keep bumping into sleeping tetras, so there is a good chance that this was the issue.

Thank you all for your help. They were my most low maintenance fish for months until last night.
 
bcfishtanks
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Update: I put her back in, and it's actually my tetra that had fungus all three times it hit my school. She only has half a gill plate because of it.

She's been acting weird the last few weeks. She's just sat in the current, swimming into it, instead of going around the tank with the others. She also swims a bit lopsided now, too. So I'm actually not surprised at all that it's her that did this. I thought she was going to die so long ago from the fungus.

She's pretty pale from the excursion in the bucket, but she's going around visiting her friends now. I'm glad to know it's my most sickly one and not one of my really healthy ones. Not that I want her to die, but that makes me more okay with if she jumps out again. I'm keeping the water level lower still, so we will see.
 
bcfishtanks
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Double update: the school has not left her alone since she's returned. They never sleep in one spot, but they're all sleeping in the same area tonight. It's so cute.
 

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