Fish depression??

  • #41
This all starts from a fish ailment you're trying to diagnose as a mental illness. Best of luck in your aquatic endeavors with that methodology.
  • #42
Hello, just a friendly reminder that spirited debate is encouraged, but please remain respectful of forum members opinions. Thanks.
  • #43
If the question had been asked at the time this happened then other discussions might have taken place. As it is, no tests can be made on the water he was in, and so a question was posed whether it might have been depression. It's an interesting question. To me. I for one will not shut someone down for asking a question.

One of my favourite teachers (chemistry as it happens) told us on the first day of class that there were no stupid questions except perhaps the ones that went unasked; he would not make fun of us and he would not allow anyone else to make fun of us. It turned out to be a very dynamic class with more participation than what I was used to. If people are afraid to ask the questions, how will anybody learn?
  • #44
It is an interesting concept, with far reaching possibilities. The thing is, it is as of yet so unproven that in application it pales to what's already known. In my mind, you start with the known with a diagnosis before moving on to the unknown.

If you've got any interest in diagnosis & treatment Noga's book on this topic is pretty much a standard reference;

Marck has a pretty good manual available online;

Herwig's book on fish pharmacology is very good for the treatment end;

Unknown & unproven concepts, theories, and ideas are great, no matter how far out they may seem, and do merit discussion. However, without a solid base in the known & proven behind it, and this applies to any topic, they end up just being opinions with no factual base. Start with a strong foundation if you plan on building anything.
  • #45
The finned aquatic creatures we group under the title of "fish" are actually not all that similar to each other. To go back to my previous example, it would be like assuming that we terrestrial creatures have similar attributes just because we all happen to share the same habitat. Humans, giant tortoises, horses, hamsters, and salamanders are not closely related. We don't share a common ancestor. Well, neither do fish. Fish have not been as closely studied as mammals so we don't know yet what their cognitive abilities are but it's not impossible that at least some of the species are capable of experiencing emotions of some kind.

Honestly a more accurate example would be taking one group of terrestrial animals, say primates, and saying that they are all primates, but all different and do not all share common ancestors (which is true). However this only serves as further contradiction to your point.

No one here thinks everything that happens to live in water is the same. I think we can all agree, whales and dolphins are mammals. Aquatic frogs are amphibians, corals are (let's be honest, does science even have an answer to that one yet? lol) and shrimp and lobsters and all those other leggy things with shells are crustaceans. And fish are (you guessed it) fish.

I'm not saying it's impossible that science will ever discover a species of fish capable of emotional depth. I'm saying to date there is no record of such a thing, and it's extremely unlikely this will ever happen. Enough study has been done to at least convince me of that.

I stand by my previous statement: If a fish is acting off, it is stressed or sick, not emotionally constipated. If I ever keep one of the species of fish that mate for life and happen to lose one, should the other one become "ill" (aka stressed) after, I would not be giving it an anti-depressant.
  • #46
I totally agree with you Tolak, I just think it's a fun and interesting thing to discuss. If we don't discuss it, how will we learn? And besides, we still don't have any other information to go on for a medical diagnosis.

junebug: we know now that not all aquatic animals are the same, but at one time we did think that dolphins (for example) were fish. Heck, the Catholic Church ruled that beavers were fish and could be eaten on Friday! We think that's ridiculous now but at the time, with what they knew, that was "scientific" fact. Then we looked deeper, at inner structures, and learned new things. With the advent of molecular biology we may finally find out just what is related and what isn't. We're still rearranging the family trees of many organisms, not least of which is our own. It's already known that not all fish share a common ancestor and their similarities are more likely down to convergent evolution.

Here's an article containing a much clearer explanation than I've been able to give:

  • #47
this article, Fish Depression Is Not a Joke , says this:

When I sought answers from scientists, I assumed that they would find the question preposterous. But they did not. Not at all.

It turns out that not only can our gilled friends become depressed, but some scientists consider fish to be a promising animal model for developing anti-depressants. New research, I would learn, has been radically shifting the way that scientists think about fish cognition, building a case that pet and owner are not nearly as different as many assume.

I think my betta had depression when I first got it. it would lie on the bottom of the cup at petsmart, and two customers thought he was dead. At home he would lie on the bottom for a few days too. It seemed like he was sleeping a lot for a few days too. And now he swims around the tank more. He seems like the least aggressive out of all my five bettas.
  • #48
Oh yeah, I completely agree with this. You can tell mainly with the solitary fish, they show more personality. When I first got my betta he was in a one gallon and just laid inside a plant all day, the bigger the tanks he got the more active he became. In his 20 gal he is now swimming all over the place almost constantly. I think it makes a difference in every fish's personality.
Paradise fish
  • #49
Could you link this study please?
  • #51
Definitely. Once I lost one of my Colombian tetras. His buddies circled around his body. After I netted him out, the others went back to the spot and got in the circle again. They stayed in that spot almost all day.
  • #52
When my gold barb bendy was dying, one of his mates and my rosy barb guarded and the others didn't move all day. It was sad
  • #53
I've had land snails that have seemed to have depression. I hope my gal isn't depressed, she doesn't too much nowadays.
  • #54
I once had a male and female betta in a divided 10. The male spent all his time showing off to her and she would lord the fact she was twice as big as him over him all the time.

Then one day I looked and he had just straight up died. No warning, just dead. The girl looked like she was in shock. She refused to eat, turned black, and died within a month.

I thought it was the saddest thing I’d ever seen, and now I won’t put a female next to a male. I just won’t.


Similarly, I had a pair of males in a divided ten, and then suddenly one got dropsy (I figured out the food was contaminated and now I have new food with a little spoon in it so I don’t get my filthy human hands all over their food...) and the one with dropsy eventually died. He had been the most enthusiastic fish ever. Would leap out of the water and stick to the glass above the waterline to greet me. (So weird...) and he taught his mate on the other side to do the same, so they’d both do it in the morning!

After he died, the other one never tried to leap again.

Yeah, so.

I believe they have emotions and form connections.
  • #55
These replies prove how little we still 'know' about sea/water creatures. They are way more sentient than we realize. No wonder we're enamored.
  • #57
Interesting read! Thanks for linking the article.
Meiki Love
  • #58
Great article! I read this earlier today and sent it to a few friends. I sometimes see me betta "moping" around and then I'll buy something new for the tank and he will be up and about again. I absolutely agree that they do feel down and bored. They are animals just like us. I also appreciated that they mentioned how some fish are able to recognize faces. I wouldn't have believed that until I noticed how my betta would react with my family members and myself in front of his home.
  • #59
Yea I agree that fish do actually have “emotions” when one of my redtail sharks died the other one nudged him to try and get him to swim

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