How Attached Are They To Us?

Heiditron3000

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I’ve been thinking tonight (and maybe drinking)— do bettas (and all fish in general) associate us with more than food? Reason for this line of thought being I’ve done everything food related around them with my hands, so they would associate my fingers with food. But when I put my fingers up to the tank, it's nothing special. They maybe flare at it.

But when I put my face up to the glass, they swim right up to it and follow it if I move around.

If they make the connection that our fingers and faces are part of the same animal, then bettas are geniuses.
 

GlennO

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They do see us from a distance too so maybe they do recognise that all our bits are connected. If you have a few more drinks they will start talking to you and you can ask them.
 

Betta'sAnonymous

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One of my bettas likes to tease one of our cats. He is also the only betta the cat pays attention to.
 

DoraCory

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My discus likes to stare at me at non-feeding times. It's also great at photobombing.

Our Betta is also pretty nosy and generally follows me as I move about even after feeding.
 

pagoda

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My Cory family can be funny, they'll be doing their usual thing...scurrying around or getting romantic....as soon as I glance at them, even a sideways glance, they stop dead and freeze til I stop watching them, then they go back to what they were doing

Watching fish is far more fascinating & fun than what is on the TV they can keep you entertained for hours with their zany antics
 

KatLovesCoffee

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I actually wondered this myself a couple days ago as my betta swam up to greet me, and I posed the research question: do fish have limbic systems?

Turns out the answer is that they do have personalities based on a study done on guppies. Brave fish were always brace, timid always timid, etc. But I am still not finding much on whether fish are actually capable of meaningful connection or if their brains even allow for it.
 
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Heiditron3000

Heiditron3000

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KatLovesCoffee said:
I actually wondered this myself a couple days ago as my betta swam up to greet me, and I posed the research question: do fish have limbic systems?

Turns out the answer is that they do have personalities based on a study done on guppies. Brave fish were always brace, timid always timid, etc. But I am still not finding much on whether fish are actually capable of meaningful connection or if their brains even allow for it.
I’d LOVE to see studies on all of this!

I could swear that they know their names. I have two in a divided tank, Tom Petty and Warren Zevon. When I call Tom, he zips to the front of the tank. Then I call Warren, and he zips to the front.

And then I call my newest betta, Harry Dean Stanton in a tank at the far end of the room. And suddenly out of his cave he swims.

It’s sort of weird actually.
 

86 ssinit

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Well I was sitting in a chair to the right of my tank and looked up and saw this. Got up to film and I my have embarrassed a few . I did get the urge to feed them. You don’t think.....nahhh.
 
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Heiditron3000

Heiditron3000

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86 ssinit said:
Well I was sitting in a chair to the right of my tank and looked up and saw this. Got up to film and I my have embarrassed a few . I did get the urge to feed them. You don’t think.....nahhh.
What if...WE’RE the ones in the aquarium?

Well. Terrarium. Whatever.
 

Salem

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I'm positive that my betta at the very least recognizes me and enjoys my attention. His old tank used to be right beside my computer just in my line of sight. He would sit there facing me and wiggle dramatically and even jump until I looked over at him. I would wave and he would zoom around his tank. His new tank is behind me and I still hear him make the occasional jump so I turn around and wave- same thing. He only does this to me. If anyone else comes into my room he will come and greet them but if its me he will proceed to do the speeding around in figure 8s around the tank. He will do the same thing if I stand by the tank and look at the snails instead of him.
 

TheeLadyG

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Can confirm, my fancy goldfish knows me in particular and is excited to see me for more than food. It's harder to tell with the telescope eye fish because she is visually impaired.

Sunny is very drawn to faces, she follows me around as best she can when I move around the room, we also play "chase" back and forth. She does loops when I come home (front door is right in view of the tank). I took a vid of her running after me:


The amount of "social intelligence " Sunny seems to have has really impressed me. They also both quite enjoy touching my hand/arm with brush-by fins and nibbles in a friendly social way when I'm working in the tank.
 

KatLovesCoffee

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Heiditron3000 said:
I’d LOVE to see studies on all of this!

I could swear that they know their names. I have two in a divided tank, Tom Petty and Warren Zevon. When I call Tom, he zips to the front of the tank. Then I call Warren, and he zips to the front.

And then I call my newest betta, Harry Dean Stanton in a tank at the far end of the room. And suddenly out of his cave he swims.

It’s sort of weird actually.


Here is the study, if anyone is interested!
 

StarGirl

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My GBR's are ALWAYS in my photos when I post. Little hams. If I'm by the glass they are there....It's funny though when my husband is standing by the tank they are all there on the side begging for food in a big mass. My GBR's love me though, I'm sure of it
 

LocoGoneCrazy

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I love this thread! I bought a betta on a whI'm a few months ago and I'm so startled at how interactive he is. He gets depressed quite easily if you aren't giving him enough attention. He's such a curious lil guy. He will follow my finger, and he always comes out if I'm just around at all. He really likes it when I talk to him, like literally flutters his fins faster. I sometimes think it's similar to a dog wagging it's tail when he's happy. We actually joke a lot in the house about him being a dog fish. We can't get a dog right now so we got a fish and it kind of seems we ended up with the perfect hybrid, haha. He absolutely hates being lonely. I have to talk to him a lot actually. I sing to him and give him lots of attention, if I don't I have a really sad looking fish on my hands. It's been very endearing and I just think he's the best. Because I'm the one with him most of the time, he responds more heartily to me than he does my boyfriend. I think he just hears my voice more. I picked him over other bettas because he just seemed to be so much more spunky than the other ones. He's more spunky than other bettas I've owned in the past too. I definitely think they have personalities. Loco is the coolest :smuggrin:
 

FishFreak1

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The way I see it is:
Fish sees you approaching. You stop in front of the tank and stares at them. Suddenly manna from heaven appears. I don't know about your tank but my filters stir up the water so they probably can't see my fingers. Along with this, my clownfish are openly hostile to my fingers - if they see the fingers in the water, they get attacked. However, they start getting excited like all my other fish when I come over. They probably connect the dots that if they see you nearby, then they're about to get fed.

LocoGoneCrazy said:
I love this thread! I bought a betta on a whI'm a few months ago and I'm so startled at how interactive he is. He gets depressed quite easily if you aren't giving him enough attention. He's such a curious lil guy. He will follow my finger, and he always comes out if I'm just around at all. He really likes it when I talk to him, like literally flutters his fins faster. I sometimes think it's similar to a dog wagging it's tail when he's happy. We actually joke a lot in the house about him being a dog fish. We can't get a dog right now so we got a fish and it kind of seems we ended up with the perfect hybrid, haha. He absolutely hates being lonely. I have to talk to him a lot actually. I sing to him and give him lots of attention, if I don't I have a really sad looking fish on my hands. It's been very endearing and I just think he's the best. Because I'm the one with him most of the time, he responds more heartily to me than he does my boyfriend. I think he just hears my voice more. I picked him over other bettas because he just seemed to be so much more spunky than the other ones. He's more spunky than other bettas I've owned in the past too. I definitely think they have personalities. Loco is the coolest :smuggrin:
I read in a book bettas are the closest thing you can get to a real pet with fish. You can train them, and they'll interact with your presence too.
 

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So there are things that blow a hole in my theories about this but there are two interesting points about fish that I’m thinking about.

It’s awesome that most fish have the capacity to learn and remember. It makes sense for survival. If they equate you with food and food equals survival and they need food, and the way that we feed them makes them appear social. Because wandering up to big things in the wild with big eyes may not end well.

But a lot of the fish we keep have been bred in captivitity for thousands of generations at this point, maybe we bred a more “friendly” fish. Also when there is more competition for resources and a higher density it behooves them to swarm so they can get food.

Now the hole: my two friendliest fish are a Sarasa comet who flops around like a puppy and splashes to get my attention if he knows I’m around. I can be in the room adjacent and watch him not notice me and then see me his swimming pattern completely changes. But goldfish are chow-hounds so it’s in their nature to want to eat all the time.

The other fish is a wild betta, who will often follow me around the room, and then retire to his subwassertang hammock and watch me for a very long time. I spend a lot of time in the room with the betta and most of that is not feeding him, so I don’t know.
 

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I just put my Corydoras Acutus in the tank last Friday. Letting them get acclimated I hadn’t fed them yet. I immediately noticed their attraction to the sound of my voice. I can sit there and watch them and maybe 1 or 2 will take any notice of me. But when I start talking to them in a low voice (heyyy guys) there will all start to congregate right up in front. They’ll come up to the glass and eventually they’ll all sit together like in a row and just chill as long as I’m talking to them. 1 of them will start going nuts and start doing tricks as almost. I call them puppy fish.
 

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