Finally, a way to bond with your goldfish.
June 11, 2006 11:42 PM   Subscribe

Goldfish can be trained to do some pretty cool stuff.[mi]
posted by bigmusic (32 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

I won't be koi. Those fish carp diem, and I mean swimmingly.
posted by maryh at 12:06 AM on June 12, 2006

I always heard goldfish only had like a 3 second memory, which, I would assume, would make training impossible. This may not be true though, some argue.
posted by banished at 1:11 AM on June 12, 2006

No way???!! That is incredible!
posted by nickyskye at 1:34 AM on June 12, 2006

That video at the first link in the motherfucking bomb. I have never seen anything like that, and am impressed.
posted by wolftrouble at 1:42 AM on June 12, 2006

Scientists are starting to realize the complexity and sophistication of tiny brains. There's an article in new scientist about the portia spider, which I can't link to because it's subscriber only. Well, here's the summary:

The Portia genus of jumping spider reveals clever cognitive skills that are supposed to be way beyond such tiny creepy-crawlies. Portia eats other spiders, and their carefully planned, dynamic attacks on their prey leave animal researchers wondering if they may have some inkling of a mind. Pages 37-39

posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 1:44 AM on June 12, 2006

That goldfish video is just COMPLETELY INSANE, thank you.

Animal consciousness, be it primate or not, isn't an either-or, black or white question. It's a question with widely gradated answers.
posted by loquacious at 2:16 AM on June 12, 2006

I was just thinking about the fate of my own three goldfish, which I inherited when I bought my home last summer.

They were in the pond in the backyard which hadn't been maintained in months. The pump wasn't working and the pond was overgrown with string algae so they were suffocating. I had to rebuild the pond and fix the pump - which took a whole weekend.

As it's less than three feet deep and I live in Canada, the fish have to come indoors to survive the winter. This is more work than I initially bargained for. The fish are quite big, ranging in size from 6 to 8 inches long. I invested in a 30 gallon aquarium for them and to keep it clean and healthy is a winter-long exercise. I was able to return them to the pond a few weeks ago, and the pond requires far less on-going maintenance.

I was thinking to myself this morning that I don't want to winter them inside again this year. But if I can teach them tricks, that might make the whole exercise worth my time! I just might try these techniques on them. Thanks!
posted by crowman at 4:08 AM on June 12, 2006

watches goldfish video. jaw drops. is stum.
posted by dabitch at 4:17 AM on June 12, 2006

When that goldfish video was on the frontpage of Videosift, people argued that the fishes had been fed magnets.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 4:47 AM on June 12, 2006

Our betta, Clark (aka Floyd) can learn a thing or two from these chum.

And I don't see how magnets would work in a fish.

Think I'll have me some fish and chips for lunch today.
posted by SteveInMaine at 5:04 AM on June 12, 2006

Yeah, I'm thinking magnets. But it was still fun to watch.
posted by theora55 at 5:57 AM on June 12, 2006

HOW?! ...they have like... 30 second memories!!!
posted by Doorstop at 6:08 AM on June 12, 2006

This is fantastic -- I wish I could train my goldfish to do this.

As it is, all I've managed to train him to do is know his regular feeding times. And he's learned that if he swims pitifully in one corner of the tank, it's likely I'll feed him more.

Conniving little bastard...
posted by Katemonkey at 6:29 AM on June 12, 2006

Yeah, uh, that blew my mind.
posted by OmieWise at 6:34 AM on June 12, 2006

It should not take over two weeks of 15 minute a day training sessions to reach your fish performance goal.
posted by craniac at 6:35 AM on June 12, 2006

This is sadly out of print.
posted by donpardo at 6:43 AM on June 12, 2006

This is so cool.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:06 AM on June 12, 2006

Holy crap. Now I feel even worse about my inability to train my cat.
posted by ny_scotsman at 7:11 AM on June 12, 2006

I have an automatic feeder to feed my fish in the morning, and as soon as they hear the sound, they race to where the food comes out. They also swim excitedly near the top-front of the tank near their second feeding time. It's the only time I see the neons not swimming lazily in the middle or bottom of the tank.

Of course, I've also seen them taste a piece of plant matter three or four times before finally getting that it won't magically turn into flake.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:42 AM on June 12, 2006

In with the rest of my stupid fish I've got one bright angel fish that follows my movements in the room, if I even reach for the can of fish food he starts vibrating. He also chews his flakes then spits out whatever parts he doen't like.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:56 AM on June 12, 2006

I don't believe it.
posted by wsg at 8:47 AM on June 12, 2006

I don't believe it either. At 00:42 some fishes have to swim backwards..
Can they even do that? I go with the magnet theory..
posted by zenzizi at 9:16 AM on June 12, 2006

How do you explain the flapping fins? They move precisely when the goldfish needs to turn, etc.

If magnets were used, I imagine the fishes fins wouldn't react they way they seem to be reacting.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 9:30 AM on June 12, 2006

"The crackers Danny...the cheese things you have at parties?"

"I'm not sure I was supposed to know that"

"Give it here."
posted by timsteil at 9:39 AM on June 12, 2006

Google Video seems to be hosed. I think that this may be the same video, on YouTube.
posted by ErWenn at 9:40 AM on June 12, 2006

Hm. No Mythbusters references yet? They did a similar training exercise with goldfish. One of them, Jamie, had been a pet store owner and had already trained goldfish before, so he knew the 3 second myth wasn't true.

Adam didn't fare so well, mainly because he methodology in the training was faulty. Jamie's fish did quite well. I think he trained them to navigate a 3 dimensional vertically oriented maze for food in about a week.
posted by smallerdemon at 10:27 AM on June 12, 2006

..perhaps there is only a solitary trained fish. The others being CGI clones?
posted by econous at 12:26 PM on June 12, 2006

Perhaps a single goldfish has a 3-second memory, but three goldfish together have 3*3*3 = 27 seconds worth of memory...
posted by five fresh fish at 1:18 PM on June 12, 2006

Three fish? There were four fish in the film, five fresh fish.
posted by yhbc at 1:30 PM on June 12, 2006

Now I feel sheepish.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:52 PM on June 12, 2006

posted by ooga_booga at 3:13 PM on June 12, 2006

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