Do fish miss other fish?

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Table of Contents

Fishes are awesome pets, and owning one is not a bad idea. Tank owners around the world have continuously cited how owning a fish pet influences their lives in different ways, including giving them a level of peace after a long day at work. Research carried out on fishes supports this fact, as metrics show that tank owners let go of stress quickly when watching their pets play compared to non-fish owners. This stat confirms that fishes, apart from being pets, also play a rehabilitative role in our mental health.

Fishes have also been known for being quite intelligent and can be noticed in their way of life, including the strategies they employ to ensure their survival. A small or weaker fish targeted by a bigger aggressor will always look for ways to hide from danger. Also, when asleep, some fishes put out protective measures to keep them safe from aggressors or predators in their vulnerable state. These survival strategies and other similar abilities have made a lot of fish owners wonder if it is possible that fishes possess emotional intelligence and can actually miss each other.

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Some owners have claimed that some of their fishes, after losing a playmate, begin to act up and may refuse to eat, become inactive, and even fall ill. They state that the fishes seem to miss the other one, which must have caused the sudden behavior change. To a certain extent, these claims hold a level of truth but not as interpreted. Fishes, just like most mammals, can tell when one is missing. They might go to the spot where the missing fish was last seen. This, however, does not mean that they miss the fish. They simply know that one is missing and will end up forgetting about it within an hour due to their poor memory retention.

Our claim is supported by available research, which shows that fishes cannot feel, so there is really no way they can miss another fish.

Do fish miss other fish
Do fish miss other fish

Do Fish Mourn Fish?

As a fish owner, you may discover different occurrences and pass through certain phases when caring for your pets. These experiences may include your fish getting stressed out, falling ill, and even dying. All of these events are sad but will likely happen if you plan or have been rearing fish pets for long. Owners have continuously lamented how they lost their fish despite keeping all the rules. It can be quite hard to lose a loving pet, but this can happen when a fish is old and has lived to its maximum age.

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After death, however, comes another question that fish owners love to ask, and that is if other fishes in the tank miss the dead one. While this question may seem funny, it is one that has garnered a lot of talks and serious discussions among fish lovers. Some owners have claimed that other fishes act sad after the death of a particular fish while those very close to it usually fall ill, go through stress, and may even die. While these claims may be worth looking into, there is no known research of all the thousands of ones carried out on fishes that support this claim. Observed data shows that fishes, while they can recognize things and play pets, do not have feelings to feel good or bad. They cannot tell if a fish is dead and cannot feel sad either. This means that fishes cannot mourn and will simply continue to live and fulfill the basic necessities of living.

Another proof that fish do not mourn is that they eat a dead fish as food once it begins to decompose. This again proves that these pets do not have the ability to feel and can therefore not mourn. If your fish suddenly becomes ill after the death of a close pal, you should carry out a water test for ammonium and nitrate concentration or call a vet for a check-up.

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Can Fish Recognise Each Other?

Fishes are great creatures, and time has shown that they are quite intelligent. In fact, on so many occasions, fishes have displayed impressive survival and hunting strategies that show how brilliant they are. Many owners who have experienced their fishes carry out many impressive gimmicks have been left to consistently wonder if fishes can do some things that intelligent animals are known for. Some of these things include if they can recognize each other, and we will be answering this question.

From research and tank observations, it has been shown that fishes can actually recognize each other. And we will state some very obvious reasons to prove that they do. Firstly, social fishes in tanks tend to get along with their own species because they recognize them as their type. They will not move along with other fishes except with their crew. Another instance is that of a bully fish and the passive one. While it may not transfer its aggression to other fishes, the bully fish immediately recognizes its target when it comes out of hiding. It will continuously chase it around until the passive one returns to hiding.

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Finally, research has also shown that fishes recognize their own, especially the mother fish who always leads its fingerlings and keeps them from danger. From the above examples, it is clear that fishes recognize each other, which is really amazing.

How Do You Know If Your Fish Aren’t Getting Along?

It can be really great when you are starting a tank for the first time. You get to stack different fishes together and get them their feed. It can feel cool to always come back from a long day and watch your fish swim gracefully. However, all of this feeling can be reversed when you find out that your fishes are not getting along. Some owners find it difficult to tell whether their fish is getting along because fishes may be an equal match and cannot overpower each other, which is typically the red sign for owners whose fishes are not getting along. We will, however, be providing tips in this section that can help you tell if your fishes are getting along or not.

The first sign to know that your fishes are not doing well is when they fight. Fishes generally mind their business and will only get riled up when there is a threat or invader, leading to a face-off. There are many reasons fishes may fight, with one of them being when at least one fish is territorial. The betta fish is an example of this. Two male bettas will never get along and will always fight at every given opportunity.

Another reason they could fight is if there is not enough food to go round in the tank. This usually leads to a fight, with the bigger one overpowering, the weaker one. Mating could also be a reason for fighting when there are more male than female fishes of a particular species. This can easily lead to a face-off to determine who earns the right to mate with the female. Whatever the reason, fighting is a clear sign that your fishes are not getting along.

Another sign of fishes not getting along is if they keep chasing each other around. While this could be them playing, it should be a cause of serious concern when it is unrelenting and unending. You should, at this point, separate the fishes to prevent the weaker from getting extremely stressed and end up weakening their immunity.

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Do Fish Get Lonely If One Dies?

With their ability to show different brilliant characteristics, fishes have made fish lovers wonder if they can actually feel. Fishes have been known to protect their territory and everything on it from other fishes. An example is a male fish who always tries to keep a mate for itself. This behavior in fishes shows that they not only recognize their kind but also try to keep them to themselves. But does that mean they feel sad when one dies?

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Firstly not all fishes are social in nature. Some fishes like the Goldfish like to spend time alone and do not really need a companion or social clique. This means while they might play with their kind, they won’t miss it if they die. In fact, they could eat the decomposing carcass if it is not quickly evacuated.

For social species, the case is not very different as while they might play with each other and move around, they do not really miss themselves if any dies. This is because fishes do not have the emotional intelligence required to show feelings in them.

Can Goldfish Get Depressed When Other Dies?

Tank owners around the world who have been able to stack different species of fish will agree that the Goldfish is one of the best they have ever had. These fishes are known for their highly gentle behavior and how they go about their things. Goldfishes are very popular in tanks due to their nature. They are very tolerant and would usually never get into a fight with other fishes.

Goldfishes are one of the most intelligent species and can employ many tactics for feeding and surviving. Goldfish are one of the few fishes that can protect themselves when sleeping. They usually fade their gold color to become less visible and more difficult to spot by predators and bullies. These amazing behaviors outline the intelligence of Goldfish, which is really impressive and could even tempt humans to wonder if they can express a higher level of intelligence, such as getting depressed. Some fish lovers have actually, based on observation, stated that Goldfish can get depressed when another dies.

Even though Goldfish are intelligent, it is impossible for them to feel. They, like other fishes, do not have the ability to feel and cannot express emotions like happiness, sadness, or pain. This means that they cannot fall into depression when one dies.

Also, Goldfish are solitary animals, so they would barely care if one of their playmates is no longer around as they typically prefer to be alone. Suppose your Goldfish starts behaving strangely or expresses any emotion similar to sadness after the death of a pal. Then it is most likely due to it contracting or suffering from what killed the first one. At this point, it is advised that you perform a water test or contact a doctor for treatment.

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Can Fish Love Their Owners?

Fishes, like most animals, are quite intelligent and can actually display some impressive characteristics and behaviors that most people will find surprising. Most of these behaviors and intelligence are not so surprising to owners who are already used to seeing these impressive displays. Fishes have been recorded to recognize things and their environment. They can recognize themselves and try to defend their own if they believe they are a part of their territory.

Another ability that has been noticed in fishes is recognizing their owners. Tank owners have revealed how their fishes usually get all active and excited anytime they see them or any close members of their family. This ability which fortunately is backed by objective research has prompted fish lovers to wonder if fishes possess the ability to love their owners.

While it sounds great and looks like a real possibility for fishes to love their owners, there is no data to back this claim. If anything, research points that fishes do not have the ability to express any form of emotion, and this includes love. Based on nonscientific metrics available, fishes cannot love their owners.

It is quite true that fishes may be able to recognize their owners and get excited. This excitement, however, does not depict love but more like recognizing their owners as their food source, which is a more likely possibility to love. Until technology advancement and research prove otherwise, fishes cannot express love and certainly cannot love their owners. 

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Do Fish Feel Love?

The curiosity on whether fishes can express love has been quite common in recent times. Fish lovers and tank owners all seem to want to know the answer to this question due to the belief that their pets seem to recognize them and express a level of emotion towards them. A lot of owners have continually claimed that their fishes always get all jumpy anytime they see them and that it is possible that they could actually express love.

While it is true that fishes can get excited, they cannot feel love or express any other emotion. They do not have the emotional capacity to express any of these feelings and are simply guided by their basic instincts to play, eat and survive. As it stands, only humans have been fully verified to have the emotional capacity needed to relate with each other.

Can My Fish See Me?

It is quite difficult to actually tell if your fish can see you from inside its tank if you are to judge from their behavior. However, depending on the tank and its viewing position, it is possible for your fish to see you and even recognize you. Fishes are intelligent, and over time learn how to recognize the face that feeds and cares for them.

According to research, some sets of fishes were trained to spit on the pictures to identify their owner. After three days of intensive training, the research commenced. Over 50 images were lined up, including that of the fish owners. All the fishes scored an average 80% accuracy in identifying the picture of their owner. This research clearly shows that not only can a fish see you from its tank, but they can also recognize you. 

What Does It Mean When A Fish Is Chasing Other Fish?

Nothing can be quite worrying and stressful, like seeing one of your fish being chased around by another. This playful term can hardly be worrying, but there is a serious problem when it is aggressive and continuous. A fish that is continuously chased will suffer from stress and may eventually die over time. So it is essential to know what to do when one or a couple of your fishes are chased around.

We will be revealing in this section what it means for your fish to get chased around and what to do to avoid it. A territorial fish is naturally aggressive and will generally fight off any perceived attack or a new addition to a tank. It could always be helpful to check the species of an aggressive fish to know if it is territorial or not.

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Another reason that could lead to your fish being chased around is if both fishes are incompatible. Intolerant species will always have confrontations. Therefore it is essential to know fish behavior before stacking them together. Another reason that could lead to fighting and chasing is if the two fishes are trying to establish mating rights. This occurrence usually is due to tanks with more males than females of a particular species.  

Hazel Buckley
Hazel Buckley

About Hazel Buckley
Hazel is an animal enthusiast and educator who grew up on a farm which her parents owned in Ingogo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  The farm was situated right under the Majuba Mountains - the site where the Anglo-Boer War was fought. 

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