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Phillyn17

Am I insane?

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Hi guys.....

At the risk of being accused of being insane, can I ask everyone a general question....

  • Do you think that fish recognize their main owner/keeper?

I studied my fish tank through the rear window of my house recently...my wife was going about her general chores in front of the tank. The fish just swam around gently, casually finding their way around the tank, and sifting their way through the substrate.

I entered the kitchen via the back door, which is right by the tank.....my fish went nuts!!! :carrot:

It was as if they recognized the person that the hand that normally feeds them belonged to.

Questioning my sanity, I tried the experiment several hours later...the exact same thing happened, they went nuts again!! :carrot:

Has anyone else experienced this? Please reassure/convince me I'm not heading to the loony bin!!! :aint:

Edited by Phillyn17

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I want to say yes, for at least some species of fish! both my goldfish and my betta seemed to know when it was me or someone else walking by their tank; they always went crazy or at least came to the front of their tanks when it was me, expecting food. when it was anyone else, they were pretty much ignored. then again all of this could have been massive coincidence lol.

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You are NOT insane. My fish recognizes me and in the past I have had other fish recognize me as well.

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Since we aren't mental health professionals/experts, it is unfortunately not possible for us to determine your mental state. :rofl

However, I can say that goldfish seem to be able to recognize specific people and respond accordingly. :)

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Ah Phil, you have touched upon one of the most sensitive issues in my house. Little Cometredcap and I claim that Newton likes us best and recognizes us. Bitter, grumpy Teen claims otherwise. The fish simply responds to 'person' generically and not to 'persons' specifically, he argues. To make it worse, Teen is scientifically inclined and runs double-blind experiments, translated into 1 way ANOVAs demonstrating that Newton is person-blind. The answer: science validates Teen but we know in our hearts who Newton loves best. :heart

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Since we aren't mental health professionals/experts, it is unfortunately not possible for us to determine your mental state. :rofl

However, I can say that goldfish seem to be able to recognize specific people and respond accordingly. :)

Thanks for the reassurance Alex......I'll go and cancel the straight jacket I've ordered from Ebay. LOL!!! :krazy:

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Most definitely they do. It seems like an instinct to me, like how they would recognize a predator vs a familiar or prey in the wild.

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Yes! :D My Oki ( she is a bit more interactive than Cary) will come to me when I'm near the tank. She will also nibble on my finger while she ignores my siblings' fingers. :P

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Yep , although I am well past normal so my say doesn't count :lol I learned that when I was a wee tike :rofl2 I trained my self to sleep on my back half awake in case an Alien or some clown attacked lets just say my sister scarred me back then she introduced me to it the clown ,jeepers creepers, van helsing, and the infamous Punjab lasso guy, I was scared to death at night when I was little :( well at least now I laugh at those movies , :D

Edited by Gustave

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I would like to say Yes to your question but then again there are only two of us living here. I am the main one that feeds our fish. The fish goes crazy whenever they see me. I'm going to have to keep a closer eye when my daughter goes by our tank to see if the fish goes just as crazy. Thanks for your question. I thought it was a great one that I never thought about. (Now I am going to check to see if our fish like me more or my daughter. ha ha :) )

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Hard to say. I think it's mostly to do with operant conditioning, although they probably do recognize us to a certain extent. Animals identify others at least partly by scent, many fish species included, and in this case, us being outside the tank, they are dependent wholly on their eyesight (and maybe sound.) If presented with someone of a similar build/way of moving, the fish could react as if they were seeing YOU rather than a stranger.

In that vein, you may find that they are reacting less to a specific person, and more to that person's behavior. As the caretaker of the fish, you are likely to display a certain set of behaviors, and the fish are possibly connecting these behaviors to a likliehood of being fed.

Fish reacting to one set of fingers over another is probably a scent issue. They will be more familiar with the scent of the person who works on the tank the most, because it is going to be in the water as a result of general tank maintenance, and likely to be on their food, likewise, the smell of their food may be on your fingers.

Some fish are not picky at all and will track anyone and inspect all fingers. Pigs lol

Edited by ratfishes

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My fish don't care who's hand goes in the tank, they're just excited that they're being fed. Lol!

I tried my own feeding experiment, and had my husband feed them. I figured that they'd all swim away, and hide, but nope! They were munching on his arms, hands and fingers as if they were no different from mine. Lol! I was so mad!

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I don't think your insane :D. My fish do that too. They ignore my BF and his dad, but they swim up to the glass in excitement when they hear/see me! I can also hand feed both of them with out any trouble, but they refuse to take food directly from my bf lol

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it's true..... yes, you're insane..

as we all are! welcome to the club of psycos :crazy:

:rofl :rofl

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it's true..... yes, you're insane..

as we all are! welcome to the club of psycos :crazy:

:rofl :rofl

We have goldfish shaped cookies! :rofl2 And our club is shaped like a goldfish!

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^ :rofl

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It's not just just the opinions of fishkeepers that goldfish recognize their caretakers' appearance and voices, but has been established by scientific experiments. My pond fish can spot me inside the house, through the window, and stick their open mouths out of the water. The same fish will go to the bottom of the pond if a stranger -- especially male -- comes near.

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I think my fish totally prefer me over others. If my daughter and I both go sit by the tank, all 3 of them come over to my side and beg for food as I'm the food giver. They're no dummies, and they have great eye sight ;)

Also, When my dad was visiting they would get really nervous and hide behind the plants and stuff when he would come up to the tank.

Edited by CindiL

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My fish don't care who's hand goes in the tank, they're just excited that they're being fed. Lol!

I tried my own feeding experiment, and had my husband feed them. I figured that they'd all swim away, and hide, but nope! They were munching on his arms, hands and fingers as if they were no different from mine. Lol! I was so mad!

I've got to try this with my husband and see how my fish react. Interesting!

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My fish don't care who's hand goes in the tank, they're just excited that they're being fed. Lol!

I tried my own feeding experiment, and had my husband feed them. I figured that they'd all swim away, and hide, but nope! They were munching on his arms, hands and fingers as if they were no different from mine. Lol! I was so mad!

I've got to try this with my husband and see how my fish react. Interesting!

All their feeding is done by hand, so I really thought they'd shy away. Those big, hairy man hands made absolutely no difference. ;)

I think my guys are REALLY friendly, though. I have my hands in there 24/7 fiddling with things, and I think they're just used to hands. Maybe they think we're fish, too. :tomuch:

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My fish don't care who's hand goes in the tank, they're just excited that they're being fed. Lol!

I tried my own feeding experiment, and had my husband feed them. I figured that they'd all swim away, and hide, but nope! They were munching on his arms, hands and fingers as if they were no different from mine. Lol! I was so mad!

You have fancy goldfish, right? My husband took care of the fish while I was away for two weeks, and the fancy goldfish accepted him as the "feeding machine" immediately, while the pond-type fish were just warming to him when I returned. On the average, fancy goldfish appear to be more thoroughly domesticated than the fish that are more similar to wild goldfish.

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You have fancy goldfish, right? My husband took care of the fish while I was away for two weeks, and the fancy goldfish accepted him as the "feeding machine" immediately, while the pond-type fish were just warming to him when I returned. On the average, fancy goldfish appear to be more thoroughly domesticated than the fish that are more similar to wild goldfish.

i really do agree with this point. my friend whom owns a beach house, has a pond of comets. they went overseas for 2 weeks and i house sat their home. during the change over, she showed me how to feed the pond fish and as it was she that was feeding them, they all rushed to her. once she was gone overseas. i'd walk upto the pond to feed them, nudda. none came to me. only in the few days prior to their return, a few would come for a feed, the others had no interest. yet, when i walked away, you would see them all go to the place i dropped the food in.. so they were hungry, just not sure about me.

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My fish don't care who's hand goes in the tank, they're just excited that they're being fed. Lol!

I tried my own feeding experiment, and had my husband feed them. I figured that they'd all swim away, and hide, but nope! They were munching on his arms, hands and fingers as if they were no different from mine. Lol! I was so mad!

You have fancy goldfish, right? My husband took care of the fish while I was away for two weeks, and the fancy goldfish accepted him as the "feeding machine" immediately, while the pond-type fish were just warming to him when I returned. On the average, fancy goldfish appear to be more thoroughly domesticated than the fish that are more similar to wild goldfish.

Yes, a tank full of fancies. ;) I actually found this out when I was out for the night, having a sleep study done. When he picked me up, he told me that "fish kisses" felt weird. Lol! I saw it in action a couple weeks later. ;)

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I can say after all theses years of having goldfish... yes they do recognize there owners.... Charlie is TD's fish and everytime TD comes near the tank Charlie goes into a full display... " Look at me Daddy" when I come by he just swims back and forth...

So yes goldfish can recognize each person :)

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