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LyriumLychee t1_is60pyc wrote

I worked at a fish hatchery and some of the larger fish could tell if you were coming by to feed vs catch them. I think they recognized the fish net or maybe our posture?

They would also know if their food should float or sink, and rush to the appropriate area. I’d consider that a pretty decent memory


Ineedavodka2019 t1_is622qm wrote

Fish are smart. My mollies look at me when they are hungry and get excited when I walk over. Also, I read something on how fish do indeed feel pain. I think it was something on how Japanese chefs kill the fish used for sushi as if they feel pain hey are not as good.


Tardigradelegs OP t1_is675e0 wrote

Yes, a lot of research on pain in fish now, this one off the top of my head:


LordScribbles t1_is7ivd9 wrote

Fascinatingly horrifying that people believed they didn’t feel pain.


Practice_NO_with_me t1_is7jpep wrote

Dude, people used to think human babies didn't feel pain. Or at least didn't remember so no anesthesia operations used to be a thing. I mean, I get it, probably easy to eff up a baby with anesthesia but still.


Content_Flamingo_583 t1_is8dc0m wrote

Wow, it seems like we really operated under the principle of ‘if they don’t say ouch, that must mean they don’t feel pain!’

It seems so stupid in retrospect. Apparently we’re just terrible at having empathy for other sentient living things sometimes.


RobotPoo t1_isamfln wrote

Uhm, some doctors still think black people don’t feel as much pain. Stupidity is rather prevalent in humans.


SatanLifeProTips t1_is8e9fb wrote

Fish quickly recognize any lure sold at Canadian Tire. Sometimes you need to make something custom to really get reliable strikes.

I’d call goldfish highly variable. Some friends had had pet goldfish that were absolutely ‘the lights are on but nobody is home’. Not a single thought going on in there.

Yet one friend had a big goldfish that was super smart, recognized his owner and got super excited when he was around. It was a dog trapped in a fish body.


maximumutility t1_is8l8k2 wrote

A fish tank is a pretty terrible environment in which to live out a life. I’m not surprised that otherwise lively fish would shut down


aldhibain t1_is9mvp8 wrote

No different from an indoor cat I guess. If you have a suitable set up (enough space, stimulation) fish will be fine.


RobotPoo t1_isamp1b wrote

Correct and what’s more, feral cats only live about five years. It’s rough out in the jungle.


jrob323 t1_is9pvjo wrote

I've got an angel fish that comes to the front of the tank when I get home every evening and literally stares directly at me until I feed them.


JetAmoeba t1_is75kzz wrote

My three neon tetras even do this. They get noticeably excited when I grab the food bag


handsomehares t1_is7skk2 wrote

It’s amazing how my fish react to me, my loaches will come to the surface and do little jumps when the food is coming.

They also like to launch themselves out of the tank in protest when the food hasn’t come fast enough…


Beverley_Leslie t1_is7zbwb wrote

Loaches are like tiny aqua-puppies, I had a group of 10 when I last kept an aquarium and they were the life of the party. Zipping around, cart-wheeling, making excited clicking noises you could hear from across the room, and as you said doing mini flicks and jumps when you lifted the lid for feeding time. If I were to set up a tank again I think it would just be loaches.


aldhibain t1_is9n26b wrote

My kuhli loaches are horribly shy (as they tend to be). Weirdly enough they're less wary of me if I'm wearing red, which I chalk up to them having red cherry shrimp for tankmates. They're probably used to red things that sometimes move abruptly.


dedokta t1_isa01dt wrote

I have a colour changing light in my tank that moves between blues and greens, but at 5pm the tank goes red telling me to feed the fish. When the tank goes red the fish get agitated and hang about in the feeding corner.


RobotPoo t1_isam6id wrote

I put koi in our pond last summer. The koi used to run away from me, but now, as I come to feed them, they swarm to me bc they know I mean food. Yea, they’re not as dumb as people think.


[deleted] t1_is5sq8l wrote



Octavus t1_is6fl3a wrote

The paper is not studying goldfish memory and the BBC article's title is just wrong. The actual title is Distance estimation in the goldfish (Carassius auratus).

They were studying how goldfish estimate distance swam, which apparently is via visual references.


Tardigradelegs OP t1_is5t1ji wrote

Yes, some good stuff on this topic in /r/fishcognition too


andreasdagen t1_is6ctep wrote

Read the article, it is pretty short and interesting.


[deleted] t1_is5xzz3 wrote



Bad_Name_Generator t1_is6fsnx wrote

Boolean algebra was once considered useless because it had not real world application. Nowadays, most people have in their pocket a little device that wouldn't even exists if boolean algebra wasn't invented. You can never know if or when a discovery will have real world applications.


TheyHungre t1_is6ui4j wrote

Want to know how cognition works? Gotta study it at work. Guarantee psychologists and folks developing AI pay attention to stuff like this


tommygunz007 t1_is6ncal wrote

It's not long held. It's also been disproven before too as a team of scientists created a sort of vertical maze with clear acrylic walls and after several tries the fish learned how to get around the invisible walls and where they were located. They learned where the walls were, and how to get around them.


MracyTcGrady t1_is7i019 wrote

The MythBusters did this years ago


PermaStoner t1_is7vzlz wrote

Don't tell the scientists! They're gonna be pissed when they find out!


coyote-1 t1_is6cig9 wrote

Virtually every animal study finds they have more mental capacity than ‘believed’.

These beliefs are what humans need to do to themselves in order to kill and exploit those other creatures wholesale.


Octavus t1_is6fwvr wrote

The study was not about memory, it was studying distance estimation. The actual title is Distance estimation in the goldfish (Carassius auratus). The BBC just made up a totally different title.


Tardigradelegs OP t1_is5swc9 wrote


Neurophysiological advances have given us exciting insights into the systems responsible for spatial mapping in mammals. However, we are still lacking information on the evolution of these systems and whether the underlying mechanisms identified are universal across phyla, or specific to the species studied. Here we address these questions by exploring whether a species that is evolutionarily distant from mammals can perform a task central to mammalian spatial mapping–distance estimation. We developed a behavioural paradigm allowing us to test whether goldfish (Carassius auratus) can estimate distance and explored the behavioural mechanisms that underpin this ability. Fish were trained to swim a set distance within a narrow tank covered with a striped pattern. After changing the background pattern, we found that goldfish use the spatial frequency of their visual environment to estimate distance, doubling the spatial frequency of the background pattern resulted in a large overestimation of the swimming distance. We present robust evidence that goldfish can accurately estimate distance and show that they use local optic flow to do so. These results provide a compelling basis to use goldfish as a model system to interrogate the evolution of the mechanisms that underpin spatial cognition, from brain to behaviour.




Three_oh_eight t1_is7sp1w wrote

Great, you've ruined Ted Lasso for me.


NickFolzie t1_is82xc8 wrote

Ted Lasso lied to me!

Guess I'm team Nate now.


NoExplanation734 t1_is7dxkb wrote

Goldfish are quite trainable. At my old job, one of my coworkers taught one to swim through a hoop and push a little plastic ball into a little soccer goal.


red_fury t1_is7o2w0 wrote

Meanwhile Jamie Hyneman: I did it on tv 18 years ago, what more do you need?


usaslave t1_is7kwaq wrote

The title is just false. There have been several prior studies showing the fish have good memory lasting up to two weeks. This is nothing new.


TheSpiderKnows t1_is7j6nm wrote

Mythbusters did this first, something like a decade ago!

They better have been credited for their research!



Certain-Ad-3840 t1_is7v8wa wrote

The only reason we were ever told that is so parents didn’t feel bad about getting fish just for them to die the next day cuz they did no research and just plopped a goldfish in a glass bowl full of tapwater


Tripper-Harrison t1_is7w112 wrote

Are you trying to tell me Ted is wROnG?!? Ted Lasso is NEVER wrong!!!


issafly t1_is7zp69 wrote

My youngest son did this experiment for 3rd grade science fair. Came up with same results.


CelestineCrystal t1_is7zypg wrote

yes, please don’t buy fish. adopt, don’t shop


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ma-goo_ t1_is7nbvf wrote

I got a long held belief for Oxford…it’s called no inflation, free(or truly affordable) health care/college, and no wars. Hope they can prove this..


kratrz t1_is7sdt8 wrote

Can we train them to race? There'll be ppl wanting to bet on goldfishes


CdnDutchBoy t1_is82k66 wrote

I always qstn the roi on this stuff. I don’t feel like it was worth it but anyone pls explain


joeybagofdonuts80 t1_is830py wrote

“Be like a goldfish, agonize over your memories until you die”. Doesn’t have such a good ring to it.


Raa03842 t1_is83o8e wrote

And there are people in this world who wondered if goldfish had memory? Man I wish I had that in my top 10,000 things to wonder about.


hacksoncode t1_is86630 wrote

It's always nice when scientists reproduce the Mythbusters' experimental results.


sewser t1_is86w62 wrote

Well now we need a replacement for “you have the memory of a goldfish”


ComputerSong t1_is88wf6 wrote

It doesn’t disprove the memory theory at all. Goldfish have an incredibly keen sense of smell.


gerberag t1_is89727 wrote

No. The long held belief is that goldfish have short-term memory, not that the complexity of memory was limited.


Saint_Sin t1_is8b5i1 wrote

The little or no memory bs was just to make us feel better about putting them in a bowl and giving them to children.


civ_iv_fan t1_is8cn5e wrote

Anyone who keeps gold fish know how easy they are to train. They 100% learn and know when they are about to be fed.

I never thought of that as memory per se but I guess it is!


lolbertron t1_is8fweh wrote

I'm going to forget this article exists and continue using "memory of a goldfish" just because...


jacalawilliams t1_is8h1pu wrote

So can we stop putting them in tiny, featureless bowls now?


Eric-Ridenour t1_is8y3j2 wrote

There was a study done by children for a science fair where they flashed a flashlight during mealtime training the fish to eat when the light went on daily. So I thought this goldfish have no memory thing was debunked long ago.


UnfixedMidget t1_is913y1 wrote

Mythbusters did something like this (although I’m sure a much more simplified version) a while ago. It was a fun episode.


Weaseltime_420 t1_is96ump wrote

That moment when the goldfish become smarter than you.


Zaquarius_Alfonzo t1_is99om2 wrote

How long does it take a goldfish to travel 70cm and back? I can't imagine it would take more than a few seconds


someone-krill-me t1_is9affh wrote

Wonder if we started saying goldfish have no memories before or after we started storing them in little glass bowls.


Gordon1229 t1_is9avjj wrote

Paraphrase: "Goldfish have proven people are stupid"


GenuisInDisguise t1_is9eqkb wrote

There is literally goldfish playing soccer, very well used research fund money.

Can I join the team of scientists that are proving birds can actually fly?


Count_Wolfgang t1_is9fnry wrote

Now imagine someone locked you in solitary confinement in a bowl for your entire life.


Silt99 t1_is9h4gc wrote

That believe was spread to justify holding them in bland glass jars


bhdp_23 t1_is9jahx wrote

I think the belief that fish have little memory was so people didn't feel bad keeping them in a tiny bowl


Pearl_is_gone t1_is9tpbg wrote

People justify torture of animals in all sorts and ways


EthanIsOnReddit t1_isam89f wrote

So glad we know this now. We were in a rough spot when we didn't know.


indica_bones t1_isbg7h2 wrote

I have said “sorry, I’ve got the memory of a goldfish”for a very long time. I guess now I’ll just have to admit I’m a burnout.

Thanks science.


RuneKatashima t1_isedq0r wrote

I feel like this is just another study without enough testing done. You can still have a bad memory if you simply explicitly remember the last thing you did, or one thing, or just utilize a food reward. I don't see food rewards that are necessary for survival as a good indicator of good memory.


Olderandolderagain t1_isermes wrote

Obviously goldfish are able to navigate their surroundings.


StrayRabbit t1_isnbjup wrote

See mum, my memory isn't like a goldfish.. it's worse


Accidental-Genius t1_is5v5d3 wrote

Who funded this and why?


Tardigradelegs OP t1_is5vu63 wrote

Bottom of study linked: Funding

This research was funded by a Human Frontier Science Program grant RGP0016/2019. C.N. was funded by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship.


TheLastForestOnEarth t1_is68f6q wrote

You worried about your tax dollars?

Exploring how smart fish can be, or whether or not they experience pain & suffering, might just be a fantastic use of tax dollars - it could end up reducing demand for seafood, which is in decline and threatened by global warming.


jungles_fury t1_is697gd wrote

This type of research is valuable for cognition and dementia


TheLastForestOnEarth t1_is69wle wrote

Hell yeah

Maybe goldfish have the cure for dementia hidden away, deep in their shallow little brains.


jungles_fury t1_is694qb wrote

Cognition and memory are vital areas of research. Just because you're incapable of seeing the relevance of knowledge and applications doesn't make it irrelevant.


Bad_Name_Generator t1_is6garu wrote

Boolean algebra was once considered useless because it had not real world application. Nowadays, most people have in their pocket a little device that wouldn't even exists if boolean algebra wasn't invented. You can never know if or when a discovery will have real world applications.


[deleted] t1_is67yan wrote