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three stories was Fish Training

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  • donna joanna
    A dumb fish and a smarter fish?      I think lots of questions come up about fish - do they feel pain, do they think, do they form romantic attachment
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 20, 2012
      A dumb fish and a smarter fish?      I think lots of questions come up about fish - do they feel pain, do they think, do they
      form 'romantic' attachment to mates, do they learn from errors of their own or when seen in other fish, do they have good days and bad days, do they miss a fish who is suddenly missing?    Do they have any self or other awareness other than food competition, safety from predation and mate selection.
       
      1 )     OK,  I had some 10 Chocolate Gourami in a 10 gallon tank.    One was injured, it spent its days on the floor of the tank, kind of propped up against the back wall.    Once in a great while it struggled to reach the surface for a gulp of air.       WHAT got my curiosity raised was the constant presence of one other Choc.    And just one.    The other Chocs were all over the tank, goofing off.     But one fish always stayed close to the injured fish.    Why and was it just one Choc companion or did the others in the tank take turns sitting beside the injured fish?    This went on for a couple of weeks.     Then I moved the injured fish into a floating net fish box - adjusted to keep the fish within easy reach of the tank's surface as it leaned against floating Hornwort -  no fish stayed beside the net fish box.    All the Chocs in the tank quickly learned to surround the net box when I fed  live BBS.   I always dropped the wrigglers above the injured fish and the shrimp that swam through the netting were gobbled up by the tank's fish.
       
      2)    I also had a Chocolate Gourami that seemed to play dead when it was unhappy.   A fish geek visiting the tank studied the
      dead looking fish and announced, "Donna, this fish is not playing,  it is dead."     So I stopped messing with a nearby tank and did whatever the Choc wanted me to do and it popped right up and was fine.    I'm embarrassed to say I don't remember what the fish had trained me to do --   that was some 20 years ago.   This fish and I had been companion creatures for a long time.    Looking back, I should have taken the dead living fish a whole lot seriously and tried to figure out just what the heck was happening.      Was the fish smart and learning to communicate by causing me to visibly react each time I found his
      lifeless living body?
       
      2)    Then -   my little friends, the feeder Guppies.    A weakness of mine, keeping tanks of feeder Guppies just to study the colors and designs that show up on these little guys.     I'd had this colony for a couple of years - in the house where I could watch them.   Late one Spring morning I moved them to a big tub on the patio.    They were thrilled.   Really.    Racing the length of the tub (a new concrete mixing trough) to greet me each time I appeared.    Feeding Gups does that :-)
      Then, I netted some and transferred them to my Side Neck Turtle's tub.    She had a ball chasing and eating the Guppies.
      Though eating healthy Guppies was wonderful nutritionally for Polly, I felt kind of ashamed of using my trusting little Gups as her breakfast.      THEN, I noticed that when I walked up to the Guppy flat trough again, the fish swam away from me.
       
      What was that?     Could my Guppies have heard screams from their fellows I fed Polly?    The net had previously been a friend to Gups - moving them to the outdoors.    I did not not know but I never fed any more of the Gups to my turtle.
      Was it intelligence, ESP, psychic viewing. could they read my fish killing aura  :-)
       
      SO, there are so many questions about fish.    And it's funny that so many scientists have studied fish for decades and still find more inquiries to investigate.    I used to do Medline searches on fish:    I loved all the thought that fish scientists put into testing the flirting behavior among wild Guppies in the streams and ditches of their wild habitat.    Lots of research on this.
       
      So, Ryan, Jessi - a concrete mixing trough, some feeder Guppies and some grant applications and you could each be
      living large.     I happen to have some genuine wild caught Guppies imported from Columbia.    I could share  :-)
       
      Donna, Kansas
      From: Ryan O'Donnell <ryanodonnell23@...>
      To: uniquaria@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, March 19, 2012 11:08 PM
      Subject: [UniQuaria] RE: Fish Training Thread



      Donna:
       
      Agreed that it is an urban legend. Totally! [The crazy things that humans construct with verbal behavior!]
       
      Question: How would you measure either ‘smarter’ or ‘dumber’ between the fish? This must be defined before any investigation. Also, I’ve found little evidence suggesting any fish are ‘smarter’ than others, that is which is empirically validated to some extent.
       
      Jaeda:
       
      Nice statement about the differences in behavior [parameters of swimming for example] and the number of fish in a tank. This would definitely need to be considered.
       
       
      I have a few questions…
       
      First, how did you measure ‘smarts’? You stated that the beta was ‘smart.’
       
      Second, can you explain this in more detail? “they didn't even do anything to indicate a more complex grasp of the cause and effect sequence of the micro-events that made up the whole sequence of them being fed.”
       
      And this as well, “. a single fish notices the approach of a human keeper, perhaps even by an internal clock that matches a timepiece for the human and/or their internal clock and/or daily routine.” I have yet to see anyone identify any organisms internal clock, humans included of course. Evidence actually suggests that it is all in the environment, quite the contrary!
       
       
      Until these mentalistic constructs are objectively defined it will be hard to make any real progress towards investigating the ‘smarts’ of a fish.
       
       
      Best,
       
      Ryan O'Donnell
       
       
      From: UniQuaria@yahoogroups.com [mailto:UniQuaria@yahoogroups.com]
      Sent: Sunday, March 18, 2012 6:28 AM
      To: UniQuaria@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [UniQuaria] Digest Number 6416
       

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      1.


      Now there's another good question Donna! Take notes Ryan! (that is if you're serious about studying this - the group will no doubt supply you with oodles of Q&A&C/E/etc (conjecture, experience, etc.) that you may or may not think of yourself.
       
      Are fish that school or have schooling behaviour smarter? - I can't answer that, but I can throw some stuff in to add to the equation or broaden the questioning.
       
      While many of the fish I have had, have been of types that in a natural setting would school with others of the same or others who served a eco-preservation purpose (a mixed group all working together - we call it nature, but somewhere in experience and evolution different species did find this mixing in a group to be of use) even they were vastly different; there is one fact that sticks out in my head about my fish specifically:
          None of mine were ever in a group or had tank-mates exceeding, I believe four maybe five would be the highest number sharing a tank when I had any of those "smart ones" and most of them even less or were the sole fish in a tank. The Betta that was "smart" - he was solo. When I've had Bettas mixed with others or opposite-gender pairings with or without even "algae eaters" present - they were very "simple-minded" or otherwise living their lives solely on the most basic instincts - they didn't even do anything to indicate a more complex grasp of the cause and effect sequence of the micro-events that made up the whole sequence of them being fed. E.G. a single fish notices the approach of a human keeper, perhaps even by an internal clock that matches a timepiece for the human and/or their internal clock and/or daily routine, watches the food container or food secured, hand open a lid or move to over the surface of the water, food offered - and in
      understanding, grasp/concept, whatever - reacts by "following" within the confines and arriving at the surface to eat, perhaps does a "trick" or whatever.... WHEREAS Multiple Fish, schooling types or otherwise, (with the exception of the DEs, who showed alpha and beta/ranking behaviour when it came to food aside from "tricks") have, for me, shown little to none of that recognition. Perhaps, being in a larger group, did not allow for them to "think beyond" the group and the immediate tank-environment and its presence, such as their welfare, the competition, "whatever"... I know I've seen such in canines and felines, equines and avians, and even some RPs - where the human providing the food was virtually a non-factor, they had their eyes on others - some looking to follow a leader or a majority-action or decision, staying within their rank/position in the group and not rocking the boat, figuratively speaking. Maybe the solo-kept fish have an advantage
      because of lack of competition or peers, or for lack of a social-fish-network within their tank, they are in need of or feel at ease to allow themselves to "broaden their horizons" by accepting additional input/influence from factors outside of the tank (people, other animals, sounds, lighting, you name it).
       
      I got two more Bettas yesterday. Both male, both Crowntails. One is for my son - I couldn't resist, quite possibly the greenest Betta I have found in person and my son loves GREEN. Initially he was set in his wee cup on my husband's pc desk, next to his mouse - which the brand I forget, but the mouse has a techno-tribal pattern on it that backlights in red like dye injected into a vein that then radiates into smaller vessels. I watched these fish for a long time in the store, they weren't displaying to one another. It made sense to me, cooped up in little containers, same rivals day after day in the same type of containers - at some point the displaying becomes a waste of energy, a futile effort with no reward. But last night when that mouse did its light-up the way it did, THAT got that Betta's attention! In retrospect, I was thankful I didn't get the LED colour-changing novelty tank for my son to use - the colour-changing LEDs probably would have had
      that little guy wearing himself out! I haven;'t decided the fate of the second Crowntail. I got him because I liked him, but because Fizz (husband and sons decided on a name for him) - while lovely - blatantly prefers the men in the house and I don't have him "just to myself" to train "to me"; that's not a complaint. It just means that since my daughter has been vying for a fish, I may give her Fizz - and keep the other Crowntail for myself, or vice versa. Either way each male Betta will be paired up with a human "as their very own" and it should all work out. I know that any "tricks" will be more likely to be learned with one-on-one between Betta-and-person. I have yet to find another species - that isn't an algae-eater - that I can put a male Betta with where he won't consider it competition and attack.... had many a guppy become prey-food for DEs because Bettas shredded their fins (males and females alike on the Bettas, and no gender-discrimination
      for the guppies either)... anyone had luck tank-sharing a Betta with anything more attractive than "bottom feeders"?????
       
      Jaeda
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