How Smart Are Fish?

Chad

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I thought this was an interesting article about goldfish.
We often think of betta and puffers as being "smart" fish due to their behavioral responses to outside stimuli but goldfish often get a bad rap. Long has the myth of their short memory been disproved but yet it persists.
 
From the article (in part)...
 
Goldfish may be more refined than people give them credit for. A new study shows the fish can distinguish between the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and Igor Stravinsky.

The study may seem strange, but the results actually add to a growing body of research showing that a variety of animals can distinguish between different composers and musical genres, and sometimes appear to prefer one to another.
 
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/dont-try-fool-goldfish-they-know-their-bach-stravinsky-4B11187601
 
So, just as a discussion...what are your experiences with goldfish in terms of training and behavior?
 

eaglesaquarium

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I have no experience in this area... but here's a video from "Mythbusters" regarding their ability to remember things...
 
[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzhDupwGNgg[/media]
 
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Chad

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I've had puffers trained to do tricks for treats such as sticking their head out of the water, swimming to the other end of the tank and back then getting the treat, and resting on my hand.
 

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I rescued a lemon goldfish who was totally blind, the poor thing fed by rumaging round the bottom for scraps. I taught him to come to the surface to feed by calling him and touching him left and right to direct him to food. He was a lovely fish :)
 
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That's an awesome story. We often forget that fish can hear or "hear" depending on their anatomy. In some way or the other they are sensitive to sound.
 
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I haven't had goldfish since I was pretty young, and the thing I remember most about my first "Goldy", was that she/he (I always called it a "she") seemed to recognize me, and would swim to the side of the tank to greet me, but no one else! 
 
Very interesting article, thanks for sharing.  I don't remember the name of the fish (I think it was Comet?), or where I saw the article, but I once read about a guy who had trained his goldfish a bunch of tricks like swimming through a hoop underwater, and pushing a basketball across a little plastic strip through a hoop.  Fish in general are way smarter than people give them credit for.
 
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[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_Iznh9VbsY[/media]
 
Real?
 

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My Dwarf Gourami is very clever!! He rushes to the left of the tank for flakes when he see's the container (I feed flakes from the left).  When I feed with frozen bloodworm through a pipette he recognises it before I open the lid and he rushes to the right of the tank ready in waiting looking at the surface (I feed bloodworm from the right!)  When I feed the Cory's pellets he tracks each one until he finds their food then he takes it in turns with them to have a nibble!
 
My rummynose recognise me and school on the side of the tank I am on!
 
This is my DG with the Cory
 
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Chad

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Oh, that's very interesting. Is this just upon sight of the container or do you think you telegraph which direction you are headed?
 

214jay

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It tends to be the sight of the container I think.  Certainly if I hold up the pippette and the bloodworm to glass he recognises that.  I have a honey Gourami in another tank which shows similar behaviour but not quite as intelligent.
 
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If you can, take a video next time you feed. Hold the container right in the middle and see if he still goes the expected side just on sight. My fish know where I feed them and go there, I think that's pretty expected, but I've never noticed if they recognize the type of food or not so I'm very excited to see.
 

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Thats a good idea, I will see what I can do later!
 

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214jay said:
My Dwarf Gourami is very clever!! He rushes to the left of the tank for flakes when he see's the container (I feed flakes from the left).  When I feed with frozen bloodworm through a pipette he recognises it before I open the lid and he rushes to the right of the tank ready in waiting looking at the surface (I feed bloodworm from the right!)  When I feed the Cory's pellets he tracks each one until he finds their food then he takes it in turns with them to have a nibble!
 
My rummynose recognise me and school on the side of the tank I am on!
 
This is my DG with the Cory
 
 
Back when I had a DG... I defrosted my bloodworms in a plastic water bottle on top of the glass top of the aquarium.  My other fish never noticed it, so I didn't think anything of it.
 
 
I came back in the room 5 minutes later after the bloodworms had defrosted, and I see my DG jumping up out of the water... I figure that something has to be wrong... until I realize he's just trying to get at the bloodworms!    (Sadly I lost him a few months later to what I believe was DGD.)
 

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My flier Bob learnt this trick to attract my attention, it started with just swimming nose down backwards, which of course I would go upto the tank thinking he was ill, then he added the flip lol. He was in a tank on his own after a disagreement with the Urau. The tank is my quarantine tank in the kitchen so it gets a lot of traffic and while Bob was recovering he taught himself this......
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy_01IBEtHY
 
When I moved him to another tank with angel fish he has not done it since.
 

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Well, they certainly have some type of memory. I have a suction cup on the front glass where I attach veg and fruit for the pleco. It always stays on the same spot and I only normally put veg/fruit once/twice a week max. But every day when I feed the tank with normal food, the first thing the pleco does is check the suction cup. He'd go over it 2-3 times before he realises the food today isn't going to be attached there :)
 
I have a platy that's impossible to catch. I once moved all adult females to another tank besides this stubborn female that recognises the net as a threat and runs the moment I have it in the water.
 
And I had a fish I caught in the river, some sort of small loach that I kept as a child for 5 years. He used to hide immediately when we had guests. I suppose he could distinguish that there were unknown voices as he was superfast gone into his cave when people walked in at home.  He lived in a bare tank, alone with just one cave so that's how we noticed.  People used to ask to see what fish we have and we couldn't show them unless I tried to get him out of his cave, but the cave was some type of marine spiral cone and he just would not come out until the guests leave
 
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