Nightmare notes
4 min readSep 22, 2019


For people playing Minecraft, one thing that has proven difficult is creating a successful fish tank. By the time you show your friends the fins tank you’ve built, the fish are dead. With how frustrating this can get, some people turn to Google or Bing to help.

After a quick search, you will find two ways to keep your fish from despawning. You can either spawn them from a bucket rather than an egg or you can name them with a name tag. Today I am going to test these two methods and see what works.

Here are some things to remember before we get started.

  • This test will be on a PS4 console. If you have a different console or you are a PC gamer, the results may be different.
  • The test will be run on a super flat map in creative mode.
  • There’s a chance that this will be a two part article. I’m trying to pace myself, so I can create consistent content for readers like you.
  • With how many of these I intend to do, I have created a map strictly for these experiments. Other structures in the screenshots you see are from earlier or future tests.

After preparing another cell, I start with making two ponds and two tanks. The tanks are made with glass blocks and the ponds are dug two blocks deeps to prevent fish from flopping out. For laziness purposes, both the ponds and the tanks will be the same measurements.

Our first test is with the bucket of fish. One pond and one tank will be used. Both are 7X7 blocks around and 2 blocks deep. The tank has an extra two layers on the top and bottom of the tank. 7 buckets of tropical fish are placed in the pond and 8 are in our tank. The water is only filling one layer of the given space. A small window will be used to track the daylight cycle.

After each cycle, I’ll place down one green wool. If they are all alive any changes will be marked with red wool and a sign.

I’ll also be using a timer to let me know when a daylight cycle has passed. Each daylight cycle is 20 minutes. At the end of every cycle I’ll be doing the following.

  • Count out how many fish are alive.
  • Noting any interesting behavior.
  • Placing either a red or green wool.
  • Restarting the timer.

Let’s be honest, the timer is so I can do other things. Watching Minecraft fish despawn is like watching water boil.

The first 8 days were uneventful. I left my character in the cell for those daylight cycles and did my own thing outside of the game. Checking in every 20 minutes. That is 160 minutes of standing still and checking on the fish.

After day 8, there was a change. Like I said before, this map is dedicated to these tests. Eventually, I want to start running tests on the Nether and on the End. I decided to create signs and portals for these future tests. After construction, I had 3 minutes and 9 seconds before the day cycle was complete. I return to the fish cell and all my fish disappeared.

No joke, Scotty beamed them out so fast that I had to do a double take to make sure I wasn’t missing any fish curled up in a corner.

This leaves me with one more tactic. That is to name these fish and do it all over again.

With going through 160 minutes of standing still in Minecraft, and leaving for 15 minutes just to let the Thanos of fish to snap his fingers. I’m going to let this next bit be for next time.