Do you own an aquarium? Even if you only have a single goldfish bowl, you’ve probably witnessed fish pooping without even knowing that that’s what they were doing. But, what does fish poop look like?
One of the tell-tale signs that a fish has pooped is that you’ll notice them looking very happy with themselves. Of course, the proof is in the pudding and in this case, it’s usually in the form of long, stringy matter that will usually be hanging from your fish’s behind.
If you’ve ever owned different fish or even worked at an aquarium, then you’ll know that different fish have different colored poop, from white to pink, brown, and green.
But what’s normal and what isn’t? Keep reading to find out!
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What Does Fish Poop Look Like
Before you understand what fish poop looks like it’s important to understand this process and where it starts. Thing is, fish will eat anything.
As long as it’s edible and you place it in front of them, they’ll gobble it up. In fact, fish have been caught eating other dead smaller fish when left unsupervised which is of course all the time.
But, the more a fish eats the more it poops naturally. Among many of the questions about fish pooping is what normal fish poop looks like and what warning signs to search for when a fish isn’t healthy. Generally, your fish’s poop should be of the same color and follow a similar consistency to what they eat.
For instance, if you feed your fish flake food then their fish will come out as brown or red. However, if they eat shrimp or meat then their poop will come out pink and if they eat peas or algae then their fish will turn green. So, it all depends on what they eat.
In terms of texture, normal fish poop is usually solid which is why it immediately sinks to the bottom of the pool once your fish has released it. Fish poop should ideally be half the size of your fish’s body. That’s a healthy size for white fish poop as well as other species.
How to Find a Disease Checking Fish Poop
One of the reasons you might want to know what fish poop looks like is because paying attention to the color and texture of fish poop can help you detect early signs of illness.
Keep reading to learn about different fish poop colors, textures, and appearances in order to determine what it all means.
Thick and Long Poop
This kind of poop texture probably means that your fish is constipated and you should avoid overfeeding them. Remember that your fish will eat everything you feed them regardless of whether or not they’re hungry.
In the end, constipation could make the fish lose their appetite and feel lethargic which means they won’t be able to enjoy their environment as much.
The best way to prevent constipation is to only feed your fish about once or twice a day within a span of just 2 to 3 minutes max. If they eat voraciously and finish everything within 2 minutes then you can give them more.
Long and Slim Poop
In addition to learning what color is fish poop it’s important to know what the texture should be like.
Ideally, your fish’s poop should naturally fall off their anuses within a minute or two. If it stays on then it means that your fish is having trouble releasing it.
Long stringy poop that won’t come off is typically caused by one of the following:
If you don’t notice any inflammation in the anal area then you should check for flagellates next.
Flagellates refer to different parasites that typically hang out in the fish’s intestinal tract leading to mild infections. However, it’s important to treat this early as failure to do so can be fatal.
You’ll want to check your fish for roundworms. As weird as this sounds, fish can get roundworms too.
If your fish has an inflamed anal area or vent then you definitely can’t rule out roundworms.
Bacterial infections are quite common among aquarium fish and often happen due to physical injuries and abrasions. However, they can also be caused by exposure to unsanitary water or having a poor diet.
The most common and most effective form of treatment for both bacterial infections and flagellates is Doxycycline, Metronidazole, or Paracide-D, while Paracide-D is the main treatment for roundworm.
It’s important to note that while fish live and poop in the same water, this is not the same as immersing them in toilet water if that makes any sense.
If you notice multiple strings of poop hanging out of your fish’s backside and they’re brown or red in color then your fish might be struggling with the larvae-bearing Camallanus worms and the best way to overcome this is to seek treatment from a veterinarian.
Long and Thin Poop
How do fish poop? In long thin strips. Okay, jokes aside, if your fish’s poop looks like this then he/she might be malnourished.
This might be brought on by a lack of appetite which can be caused by infections, poor water conditions, or just poor food quality. Or maybe your fish just wants to try something new and is tired of eating the same thing all the time.
Other less common causes include gut blockages and tumors.
No Poop and Brown Water
Notice your fish’s water looking brown? They might have diarrhea which is often caused by viral infections, bacterial infections, or consuming bad food.
Do fish poop white bits? Sometimes yes. Often this happens when they have parasites or certain diseases.
If your fish’s poop is pale and slimy then it means that they are malnourished. According to Jessie Sanders, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, stringy poop is basically poop with no food.
Basically, it’s just mucus. You can help by changing your fish’s diet and if this doesn’t help then consult with a vet.
White and Lumpy Poop
Lumpy and/or white (and sometimes yellow) stringy poop could be a sign of parasitic infections, internal infections, or even high levels of stress.
Whether you want to know what does goldfish poop look like or just what does fish poop look like, we hope we’ve answered your questions and will help you care for your fish better.