Stopping fish from jumping!

  • Thread starter

Phloxface

Well Known Member
Messages
1,194
Reaction score
3
Points
208
How do you get your fish to stop jumping? This morning I found one of my females, Angel, stuck to the inside of the tank on the dry part of the glass at the top!    I left about 1 1/2 inches at the top empty to try to prevent them trying to jump thinking a full tank would be easier to escape from. I glanced over from across the room and saw what I thought was a big leaf stuck to the dry part of the glass. I wondered how a leaf got up there and when I approached the tank I saw it was Angel, completely out of the water, stuck to the side. When she saw me she wiggled and plopped back into the water. She had the ability to get back in the water and yet choose to stay stuck there until I came over.  ???   I filled the water level up a little higher now and checked all around the top canopy to make sure there are no cracks or hole she can get through, but these girls still seem to find every bizzarre way of getting out of the water! My boys jump a little bit when I feed them to get the food from my fingers, but never as high or to the extent that my girls do!
For those of you who have female Bettas, be very careful as they are masterful and very determined escape artists!
 

chickadee

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,628
Reaction score
22
Points
358
Experience
5 to 10 years
It isn't just the girls and I am so sorry to hear you have this problem. JT is a jumper too and I wish I knew what to do to keep it from happening to either of us. I think maybe as they get a bit older they will settle down more but as of right now, I, too, am at a loss.

Sorry, maybe someone else in the group will have a suggestion.

I do keep my tanks full and just make sure the cover is on all the time, but I know how you feel, it is heartstopping when it happens.

Rose
???
 

gammerus

Well Known Member
Messages
718
Reaction score
0
Points
186
I have never has a jumper, but I do suggest using some screen mesh, you can find some plastic stuff at any hobby store.
 

0morrokh

Fishlore VIP
Messages
4,476
Reaction score
7
Points
208
Experience
5 to 10 years
Funny you should mention that, because one of my Cories did exactly the same thing just the other day. It nearly gave me heart failure... The little guy went up as if to gulp for air, but at that moment I walked into the room and startled him a bit--my Pygmies are super skittish. Well, he half jumped from the water, stuck to the side of the tank above the water line, and stayed there motionless. I opened the lid of the tank--which is usually enough to send all the Cories flying for cover--but he didn't move. I thought he must be stuck and reached down my finger to push him down when suddenly he gave a wiggle and plopped into the water. I don't know what to make of it any more than you guys. It's wierd that your Betta got up there though cause it sounds like she didn't startle at something and jump like my Cory did, just swam up there for a look around ;D
 

chickadee

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,628
Reaction score
22
Points
358
Experience
5 to 10 years
Isn't she the one who likes to climb up on the leaf and nap? Maybe she enjoys giving mommy a heart attack.

Rose
 

heatmisr

Valued Member
Messages
158
Reaction score
1
Points
178
It seems as though she liikes sunbathing....LOL.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

Phloxface

Well Known Member
Messages
1,194
Reaction score
3
Points
208
No, Aenara is the one who is trying to evolve into a mammal. Now it seems Angel is too... I think the fact that they CAN breathe out of the water makes them want to go out and explore this strange "air universe" that mommy lives in. They don't get the fact that they will dry up if they stay out too long.
Angel and Aenara are so determined to come out this morning when I fed them they kept trying to jump into my hand. They weren't after the food. They weren't even interested in food this morning. All they kept doing was jumping up, full body, and touching my hand. It's very cute but this obsession of their's with being on dry land scares me too.

Last night my brother had a dream that all the Bettas had escaped from their tanks and were "swimming" around the living room in mid air. He was chasing after them to catch them and put them back in their tanks.     It's funny, I always have weird dreams about my fish too, like them being the size of small dogs and me holding them on my lap petting them, or me being really small and swimming with them in their tanks!  ;D
 

chickadee

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,628
Reaction score
22
Points
358
Experience
5 to 10 years
It isn't funny when it is going on and I do sympathize with you as I know how concerned you are, but it is not something they give up on easily. I am going to get several pieces of the plastic canvas and make tops for the tanks I have and keep the water all the way up so they cannot get out of the water. I will not be a popular mommy but this is for their safety...

Rose
 

heatmisr

Valued Member
Messages
158
Reaction score
1
Points
178
Who would have ever thought we would have to become so creative to keep a fish in water!.....LOL
 

emilai333

Valued Member
Messages
269
Reaction score
0
Points
176
My Indra is a jumper, but he only does it for food and never has gotten stuck to the side or anything. My solution to the problem was threefold: One, I fed him just a bit more than his brothers (I am VERY careful never to overfeed) because I thought maybe he was just hungry so he wanted his food NOW; two, I fed him sneakilly when he wasn't paying attention (this is dang hard to do with some fish and easy with others. Indra, its hard); and three, I would hold my hands above the tank and let him jump at them, and not give him any food. Lack of positive enforcement seemed to be the best deterant. However, as I said, he was jumping with the goal of food in mind. If your bettas are jumping for fun... you aren't controlling the reinforcement, so you can't take it away. Good luck in deterring the behaviour!
 

chickadee

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,628
Reaction score
22
Points
358
Experience
5 to 10 years
I know it but they are worth the effort, they can be little stinkers when they want to but when they are being sweet..... ....isn't it nice?

Thank you for the comment emilai! It makes a lot of sense.

Rose
 

LZ Floyd

Valued Member
Messages
457
Reaction score
0
Points
176
emilai333 said:
My Indra is a jumper, but he only does it for food and never has gotten stuck to the side or anything.  My solution to the problem was threefold: One, I fed him just a bit more than his brothers (I am VERY careful never to overfeed) because I thought maybe he was just hungry so he wanted his food NOW; two, I fed him sneakilly when he wasn't paying attention (this is dang hard to do with some fish and easy with others.  Indra, its hard); and three, I would hold my hands above the tank and let him jump at them, and not give him any food.  Lack of positive enforcement seemed to be the best deterant.  However, as I said, he was jumping with the goal of food in mind.  If your bettas are jumping for fun... you aren't controlling the reinforcement, so you can't take it away.   Good luck in deterring the behaviour! 
WRT behavior modification, there are several things to keep in mind.  In Learning Theory, there are two types of conditioning, Classical and Operant.  While Classical conditioning refers to the pairing of two items such that when one is presented, the other is expected, Operant conditioning relies on expectations of a different sort.  Classical conditioning is the one we think of when discussing Pavlov's dogs.

Operant conditioning involves the use of punishment or reinforcement.  While, punishment is employed to extinguish undesirable behavior, reinforcement is used to encourage desirable behavior, and it comes in two forms, positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement.  While positive reinforcement involves the subject getting something desirable when s/he exhibits a particular behavior, negative reinforcement involves the removal of something undesirable when the particular behavior is exhibited by the subject.

If a betta learns that jumping out of the water leads to them getting food, then the betta has been positively reinforced for the behavior of jumping out of the water.  If you want to extinguish this behavior, you can use punishment, which is not really the best method to use, or you can extinguish the behavior by removing the reinforcer that the betta has been conditioned to - in this case, food.

Extinguishing animal behavior that has been conditioned is not easy.  While a variety of methods have been tested to determine which method works best at extinguishing behavior, the method that will most likely work is to absolutely, under no circumstances, give the betta food, if the betta can even remotely consider the association between his/her jumping with getting their meal.  Food is one of the most used reinforcers because of the strength of the conditioning it causes.

Once started, don't stop using extinguishing methods even if they seem to not work.  Often, and this happens mostly at the early stage of extinguishment, there is a rebound effect - the animal forgets about the extinguishing stuff and goes back to the previous "conditioned" mindset.  This lends itself to a brief discussion regarding intervals.  If you condition the betta to jump using positive reinforcers, but don't reinforce the behavior each time, the reinforced behavior becomes more deeply entrenched than if any other reinforcing schedule was used.  Conversely, if one, while trying to extinguish a behavior, even once gives in to feed the fish (remember, it's not what you think the feeding is, it's what the fish thinks) when the to-be-extinguished behavior has been exhibited, it ultimately is reinforcing the behavior, not extinguishing it.

Mike
 

cherryrose

Well Known Member
Messages
582
Reaction score
0
Points
176
;D Woah, that is a profound post. You must be taking a psychology class. I am familiar with that concept, but am not sure it will work with fish. It would certainly be an interesting experiment though, and worth trying if you have the time, the curiosity, and the necessity of extinguishing the behavior.

CherryRose
 

chickadee

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,628
Reaction score
22
Points
358
Experience
5 to 10 years
Gee, thanks a lot for the information and I will watch what I do with my little guy from now on. I know that sometimes negative reinforcement is more potent than the positive but I do not know if I could bear to use it. I will just be more careful and put the screens up.

You are a wealth of information and I thank you for it.

Rose
 

LZ Floyd

Valued Member
Messages
457
Reaction score
0
Points
176
Aw shucks, folks.   :-[

Actually, one of my degrees is in psychology.  Glad I got to use some of it.

Mike
 

chickadee

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,628
Reaction score
22
Points
358
Experience
5 to 10 years
ONE of your degrees...oh my gosh...a genius on the forum...

Thanks for helping, I love that you can use psychology on bettas... they are intelligent and show it by making me feel like I should know what they are thinking and WHY DON'T I

Just kidding..I am impressed really.

Rose
 

LZ Floyd

Valued Member
Messages
457
Reaction score
0
Points
176
I know geniuses, Rose, and I'm no genius.

But, I do think that Bettas can be responsive to conditioning, and I think that conditioning can occur unintentionally by us humans.  If we reinforce undesirable behaviors by providing at the right time (or should I say the wrong time) what is thought by the animal to be a reward, they may continue that behavior and we might not even know why.

Behaviorism, though, does not explain a Betta flopping him or herself onto a water-free side of a tank to hang there and whither.  Nor, does it explain a Betta climbing up onto the dry side of a plant leaf to hang out.  At least, wrt the initial time that they do either.  If the behavior continues, the answer to the repeated behavior might be found through employing the methods of Behaviorism.  Then again, maybe there is something about Bettas that leads them to do these fish-out-of-water antics.

Gainsborough did something similar yesterday while I was doing a water change.  After removing two gallons of water from the three-gallon Kritter tank and leaving Gainsborough to swim around his barely submerged sponge filter for a minute, I came back to find him sitting out of the water on top of the filter.  He was curled up like one of our cats would be while sleeping.  I nudged the filter and he wiggled his way back into the water.  Why he climbed onto the filter, idk.  I've never seen him sleep on it, but maybe he does.  I made sure, though, not to reward him.

As for jumping, the only thing GB kind of jumps for is his morning Atison's,  He's never been able to get completely out of the water.  But, when the top of his tank is off and the water is high, I watch him pretty closely.

Rose, do you leave the top of your Hex 5 off?

Mike
 

chickadee

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,628
Reaction score
22
Points
358
Experience
5 to 10 years
I don't anymore since my little Emma jumped out of the tank during the night and ended up behind the stand her tank was on and was crispy when I found her. She was the most active and ornery female I had and had killed at least 5 other fish that she was in with before I got smart and gave her the "all alone in the tank" treatment.

I do miss her and am afraid that the others will do the same thing but I am going to put some plastic canvas screen on the top of the tank back as they can still wiggle out if they want to. (into the filter tray)

You may not be what you consider a genius but I have a lot of respect for your knowledge and it is great to have you here.

Rose
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom