Do fish have good mood days?

Discussion in 'Fishkeeping Hot Topics' started by JoannaB, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. JoannaBWell Known MemberMember

    As I observe my danios this evening happily swooping through the tank, it occurs to me that they appear to be in a very good mood today. Do fish have good moods or am I anthropomorphising? Good fin days sort of like we have good hair days? For no particular reason, just glad to be alive, enjoying yet another day?
  2. slimeneoValued MemberMember

    Haha, not sure about that. I wonder if fish ever get bored.... seriously. I wish I could teach them to play a game or something.
  3. GordinianWell Known MemberMember

    I don't see why not!

    I would think you'd especially see fish like bettas having good/bad mood days- they seem to like to show their emotions.
  4. JoannaBWell Known MemberMember

    Maybe you should consider buying a training kit for your fish? Seriously, they do make such a thing. Here is a video:


    Of course this kit will work only for some fish like goldfish especially or batta, but I can imagine that trying to rain a bristlenose pleco would probably lead to total failure. :) Bn plecos are more like cats than like dogs in temperament, and probably consider themselves too smart to do parlor tricks.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  5. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

  6. GordinianWell Known MemberMember


    I love when the goldie goes round and round inside the hoop, as if to say, "I'm doing it right, now give me my food!!" lol
  7. soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    Fish can get bored, which causes them to be irritable normally. I know for sure that some of the smarter species of fish like Gourami, Loaches, Goldies and Bettas are all very capable of being bored and thus having a bad attitude.
  8. carolo43Valued MemberMember

    Moods are a human emotion. Fish do not have that emotion. I'm sure they are very happy when being fed, when mating and with water changes but I would not call that a mood. I'd call that being a fish. :):)
  9. slimeneoValued MemberMember

    That's too cool haha. I have goldfish in my pond. For some reason one of them is completely black. He's second generation I think, maybe third..... Anyway, he's a dragon! He's probably twice the size of his red siblings. He likes to hangout where the waterfall is :)
  10. GordinianWell Known MemberMember

    I respectfully disagree :)

    I've seen animals like horses get their moods. My dogs have their lazy days and their "bouncing-off-the-walls" days. Even my birds will occasionally get a bit ill-tempered and won't put up with as much as they normally do. I don't see why fish can't have their good and bad days :)
  11. carolo43Valued MemberMember

    Fish aren't as smart? Mine get all excited when they see me but it isn't me that makes them all happy. They know that person in front of their tank is about to feed them. :;banaman
  12. AlexAlexWell Known MemberMember

    IMO, I think fishes do have mood swings, but it's all about how we take care of them. Stability is one of my pet peeves when it comes down to it. If your fishes do not have that, then I truly think they can be "moody" per say.

    That is my 2 cents worth. :)
  13. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    I agree with carolo43. People tend to anthropomorphise, especially with something we consider as a pet.

    Fish are not horses or dogs or people. But lets assume they are, since they are being compared as similar.

    Would you feed your horse with horse meat, or dog with dog meat? Why on earth would you feed your fish with fish meat?

    If a dog has babies and another dog starts gobbling them all up, we'd be appalled, right? Fish do this all the time in our tanks.

    How does one define a fishes "mood" exactly? Isn't that inherently anthropomorphic? If my JD has fry and starts flaring at anything that comes near the tank, I could say that he is in a bad mood, right? Or is he just doing what his instincts drive him to do to protect his young?

    If he recognizes me as his food source, and then when I come near the tank or open the lid, I happen to see him wagging his tail and pacing up and down in front of me, does that mean he's happy? Or just hungry and knowing he's about to be fed. Again, instinct.

    Alternatively, if he doesn't recognize me, and he hides in his cave, does that mean he's scared? Or does it mean that he is responding, yet again, instinctual reaction to a perceived threat.

    It's a slippery slope applying higher emotions to fish, because if you do, then you should also have to apply a higher level of treatment. That means prosecuting anyone that we deem as treating them inhumanely, whether it be a guy with a tank that is a little too small for our liking, the guy who gives his oscar feeder fish, or the millions of food fish that suffocate to death on the deck of a fishing boat daily.
  14. AlexAlexWell Known MemberMember

    I respectively disagree with you, jetajockey. I highly believe that fishes have moods and thoughts.

    Just as you have mentioned about fishes eating their own, there are some humans that do the same, as gross as that may seem - Realistically speaking in the nature of facts.
  15. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    You are welcome to disagree with me, but I think I made some valid points that run counter to your statement.

    I didn't say that certain creatures couldn't eat their own, my point was emphasizing that we don't accept it ethically if they do, yet we don't apply that same logic to fish. If you want to equate them then it should be the same across the board.

    If we deem fish as sentient then they deserve every law, rule, and treatment that we give other sentient animals. That means no more fishing for sport, as that would be immoral. Am I wrong in my logic?
  16. AlexAlexWell Known MemberMember

    I don't fish, I don't eat seafood or any kind of fish, tuna, etc. I can live by that "law" as you put it. :)
  17. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    My fish are always happy. See...


  18. fishynoobWell Known MemberMember

    Fish however have a ton of babies because they will eat them for food sources and other fish will eat them that is normal so we do not get appauled, or if we do we end up with a million fish in our tanks! Dogs and horses don't typically eat their young and as a result have fewer babies so we do get a shock when they eat their own it is unusual hence the feeling of repulsion.
    I think it is a fine line between instinct and emotion. When I bang my toe I cry and people could say that I am upset or they could say that it is my instinct to display what can be interpreted as being upset to convey I am not feeling right... personally I would say that I am upset!

    I think its safe to say when our fishies are not feeling well they show us that in their lethargic behaviour and being grumpy with other fish not letting the others come near them etc in much the same way humans do. I don't think it is much of a stretch to say the inverse is true when they are displaying playful behaviour with each other and are not expecting food!


    When one of my goldfish died from a swimbladder disease for a few days after the fish that I brought at the same time that had effectively grown up together went off their food for a day or two and didn't seem to be doing the typical goldfish thing of sorting the stones and none of them played with the dead fish's "special stone" for several days (the only green pebble in my tank that came in with a plant the dead fish used to always move it to on top of a little wall I had their tank and the the fish used to move it off and then he would move it back etc...) Is this the fish in mourning or was they just unsure about the subtle water changes that having one less heavy bioload fish in the tank? I like to think they were sad due to the loss of their "friend".
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  19. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    That's nice, but there are a few billion others that would have a huge problem.
  20. MagooFishlore VIPMember

    Lol have you heard of Mordin the monkey fish ;) he goes through more moods than any fish I've ever known at the moment he is sulking/mourning because his snails passed away but in about ten minutes he will be crankily mischievous because I'm about to do a water change and then he will just be cranky because I touched his stuff and then of course happy because he will get his dinner lol