The length of time a fish can survive out of
water depends on the species of fish. There
is a species of climbing fish that can
survive without water for six days while crossing
land. There are several other types of
amphibious fish, meaning that they live
both in water and on land. For the fish that
must live in water most of the time, they can
survive minutes to hours, depending on how
well they can breathe oxygen through their skin
and other factors.
I recently answered a similar question from a
student interested in catch-and-release fishing.
The short answer is that being out of the water
for more than 30 seconds increases the chance a
fish will die.
Being hooked and handled creates stress, causing
fish to have a higher metabolic rate and need more
oxygen and energy, just like how your heart beats
faster when you’re scared. We don’t know if the
fish are actually scared, but they produce the
same stress hormones that we do, and these can be
measured. Another issue is that the fish will
probably be warmer in the air. Warmer
temperatures speed up chemical reactions, like
the metabolic reactions in bodies. This would
create a higher demand for oxygen and energy. This
is also the reason that it is better not to catch
fish when water temperature is high.
Basically, the less the fish is tired out by
being played, the less time it is handled, and the
less time it is out of the water, the better.
If you use a hook that you can remove
quickly—like a hook without barbs, the fish will
spend less time in the air. If you can remove the
hook with the fish underwater, that’s even better.
But one study showed that using a lip grabber on
the fish when removing the hook can damage its mouth.
Holding the fish (gently) in the water until it
has a chance to get oxygen into its blood can help
it avoid being hurt while it’s recovering. When it
has recovered enough, it will swim away.
There are many kinds of fish, though.
Lungfish live in places where the water
dries up. They stay in muddy, mucus cocoons
breathing air with a sort of lung until the rains
come again. Mudskippers live in the
“intertidal zone,” which is underwater or not,
depending on the ocean’s tides which change
throughout the day. They actually need to breathe
air sometimes. To really appreciate them, you have
to see them in action.
Different animals have different adaptations that
have led to their success in very different
Thanks for asking,
A spokesman for the Association of Midland
Goldfish Keepers said: "Fish can survive quite
a while out of the water, as long as their gills
remain moist, allowing them to breathe. But this
is the longest I've heard of a goldfish staying
alive. It's quite astonishing."Dec 27, 2008
Goldfish leaves owner gasping by surviving 13
hours out of water ...
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