Do fish grieve?

  • Thread starter Ndhp
  • Start date
  • Thread starter
  • #1

Ndhp

New Member
Member
Messages
43
I started a year ago with 5 platies and a betta, I knew nothing. Got a 10gal tank put in tetra safe start and promptly found the least educated person at Petco. Petco person answers all my questions and sales me 5 platys and a betta. Over the next two months or so all but one male and one female die. Male platy aka Fish One was always into female platy, Fish Two, even when there were other platies in the tank. I got another female platy because Fish One would never leave Fish Two alone. I also got another betta. Second female platy died one day which left Fish One, Fish Two and Fiddlesticks as tank mates for the next eight months with no events. A couple months ago Fish Two gave birth to 4 fry and all survived in tank, about a month later 4 more! Fiddlesticks is very unhappy. I got a 20gal set it up and started a fishless cycle. Cycling takes forever but I didn’t want to kill anymore fish so we waited. About 3 weeks ago Fish Two developed Dropsy I tried to treat her but she never got to see the new tank. Yesterday I moved Fish One and all 5 of his fishy daughters to the 20. Even while Fish Two was sick Fish One would just be wherever she was and would warn her when now grumpy Fiddlesticks was near. Here’s where I need advice. Fish One is spastic in the new tank. Only swimming quickly up and down the walls or hiding deep in rock formations. How do I help him? The other fish, tho juveniles, stay in a school most of the time but he just completely ignores them and paces the tank or hides.
 
  • #2

BlackOsprey

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,094
I... I'm guessing you're askin if Platy1 is acting like this because of the loss of Platy2??

Fish like livebearers don't really bond with their mates. Theirs is a "hit it and quit it" kind of deal, and the confines of an aquarium just mean they'll keep running into eachother no matter what they do. It's more likely your fish is stressed in general from the move, or is possibly in the middle of getting sick. I wouldn't be surprised if it were the latter if its tankmate, especially one that it pestered all the time, got dropsy.

Not much to do besides keeping sources of stress at a minimum by keeping ammonia/nitrite/nitrate at bay with weekly water changes. Watch for signs of disease too.
 
  • #3

Miss

New Member
Member
Messages
18
The glass-surfing is most likely stress, or maybe something funky with water parameters?
Make sure everything is up-to-par chemically.

I had two Oscars, one was acquired significantly later (and smaller) than the other cichlids, and the larger Oscar would protect it until it grew. Those two were thick as thieves, and I referred to them as life-partners
The larger Oscar got mauled or had some freak accident while I was on vacation, and lost most of her vision. The smaller Oscar, now grown, protected the older one while she healed, and became her seeing-eye-fish. It was adorable, they’d always be touching each other.
the older Oscar got egg-bound and didn’t make it, and the younger Oscar mourned for 3 months, just sitting in the same spot where I had removed her friend.
I got a new Oscar to try to help with the process and give her a new friend, she rejected him for the longest time, but finally caved and started behaving normally again.

make sure it’s nothing external causing the fish to behave erratically, if not, time ought to help. fish are smarter than we give them credit for, and some can learn faster than dogs and other “higher” intelligence animals.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #4

Ndhp

New Member
Member
Messages
43
BlackOsprey said:
I... I'm guessing you're askin if Platy1 is acting like this because of the loss of Platy2??

Fish like livebearers don't really bond with their mates. Theirs is a "hit it and quit it" kind of deal, and the confines of an aquarium just mean they'll keep running into eachother no matter what they do. It's more likely your fish is stressed in general from the move, or is possibly in the middle of getting sick. I wouldn't be surprised if it were the latter if its tankmate, especially one that it pestered all the time, got dropsy.

Not much to do besides keeping sources of stress at a minimum by keeping ammonia/nitrite/nitrate at bay with weekly water changes. Watch for signs of disease too.
I’m thinking more of a bond from them being the only two fish of their kind for so long more than for breeding reasons. My cycle just finished on the new tank and all is well, I’ll retest Tomorrow and see if that throws any flags. The ph Was higher in the new tank But I did a 50% water change and it’s getting closer to what they were used to. I think Fish Two got dropsy because there were 7 fish in the 10gal then I had a death in the family and water changes got missed.
 
  • #5

julifhy

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,526
Miss said:
The glass-surfing is most likely stress, or maybe something funky with water parameters?
Make sure everything is up-to-par chemically.

I had two Oscars, one was acquired significantly later (and smaller) than the other cichlids, and the larger Oscar would protect it until it grew. Those two were thick as thieves, and I referred to them as life-partners
The larger Oscar got mauled or had some freak accident while I was on vacation, and lost most of her vision. The smaller Oscar, now grown, protected the older one while she healed, and became her seeing-eye-fish. It was adorable, they’d always be touching each other.
the older Oscar got egg-bound and didn’t make it, and the younger Oscar mourned for 3 months, just sitting in the same spot where I had removed her friend.
I got a new Oscar to try to help with the process and give her a new friend, she rejected him for the longest time, but finally caved and started behaving normally again.

make sure it’s nothing external causing the fish to behave erratically, if not, time ought to help. fish are smarter than we give them credit for, and some can learn faster than dogs and other “higher” intelligence animals.
That’s so adorable

This probably does not connect to what you’re asking so much, but I’ve heard multiple stories of goldfish getting depressed after their goldfish tank mate died.
Fish definitely form relationships with each other, but they are not the same types of relationships humans might form. I also don’t really think that they necessarily grieve. I think they might get more stressed out if they loose a “friend” since it can put them in more risk I guess.
I think this is going to be the next thing I’m going to be randomly researching :p
 
  • #6

Miss

New Member
Member
Messages
18
julifhy said:
That’s so adorable

This probably does not connect to what you’re asking so much, but I’ve heard multiple stories of goldfish getting depressed after their goldfish tank mate died.
Fish definitely form relationships with each other, but they are not the same types of relationships humans might form. I also don’t really think that they necessarily grieve. I think they might get more stressed out if they loose a “friend” since it can put them in more risk I guess.
I think this is going to be the next thing I’m going to be randomly researching :p
I recorded the “mourning” oscar’s behavior (pardon the tannins!)

Oscars do a lot of weird behaviors, like getting huffy about changing their decorations around and playing dead lying on their side at the bottom. But this Oscar would sit in the corner I removed the “friend” from for hours on end.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #7

Ndhp

New Member
Member
Messages
43
  • #8

Lilthuglet

Active Member
Member
Messages
148
No idea how common this is and not exactly scientific, but when I got two juveniles to go with my two older boys they stayed vey much in pairs. When I lost one of the older pair the other, Butch was really off, he just hid in the corner and didn't interact with the youngsters at all.

When I got a couple more older boys, Butch really perked up and now spends most of his time with them.

Maybe he's lonely with only the babies for company.
 
Top Bottom