Do Fish Have Friends?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by TigerRockFish, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. TigerRockFishNew MemberMember

    Lately I've been reading What a fish knows: the inner lives of our underwater cousins, by Jonathan Balcombe. Basically, fish are more mentally and psychologically complicated than most people give them credit for (but a lot of people in this forum will agree!). Do they feel pain? Yes. Do they remember stuff? Of course. Can they learn things? Again: of course.

    So I am watching my fish these days more open-mindedly.

    Recently I removed two of my goldfish from my main tank overnight to a breeding tank. The shubunkin who was left behind was swimming around kind of "frantically" looking for his "school" (one interpretation, although goldfish don't apparently school in a strong way). The male oranda I moved to the breeding tank seemed kind of scared there (he hid in the spawning mops). When I moved him back to the main tank, he just hung out at the bottom for a while (traumatized?), and the male shubunkin, who had stayed in the main tank, kept him company on the bottom for quite a long time. At least 15 minutes, maybe longer (see my avatar photo).

    One possible interpretation is that goldfish like to be around other goldfish, or at least familiar tank-mates, or feel safer when they are, and the shubunkin was "uncomfortable" when he was the only goldfish in the tank. Another interpretation is that the shubunkin missed his friend. What is the right, or the more-right interpretation? Have other people seen friendships between or among their fish?
  2. KarenSoCalWell Known MemberMember

    I separated my male and female platies...the 2 of them were miserable and pouted. Normal behavior as soon as I put them back together after a couple days. They pined for each other.
  3. MattS99Well Known MemberMember

    Just read that. My dad got it for me, actually. They do, for sure. I had 6 Colombian Tetras together for 2 years. Found one dead the other day, got out the net, ready to take him out. The survivors circled him as if they were mourning him. I was pretty moved, actually.
  4. 2211NighthawkFishlore VIPMember

    Defiantly think they do. I don't have much expierence with multiple goldfish but my weather loaches are brutal for that. My female always hung out with my ropefish. I got her a friend and they hung out, leaving the poor rope all alone and he was miserable. Swimming back and forth all alone... Now I got a third, a male, and the original female is back with her old friend the rope while the two newest snuggle.the rope is happy again with his "girlfriend" (90% sure on the sexes of everyone) It really is hilarious watching all my fish interact with each other and the wicked bizarre hierarchy(?) that goes on between everyone.
  5. MattS99Well Known MemberMember

    It's crazy. You know who's on top of the chain if you watch them for long enough. Especially in a community setting.
  6. TigerRockFishNew MemberMember

    "I had 6 Colombian Tetras together for 2 years. Found one dead the other day, got out
    the net, ready to take him out. The survivors circled him as if they were mourning him."

    That's really interesting. Do fish understand mortality in any way, and do they honour their dead? Or do they "just" miss their friend?
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
  7. MattS99Well Known MemberMember

    More of the missing. They lost their colors ALL day. Barely moved. They were sad, for sure.