THE myth that fish have a three-second memory has much to answer for.
Research has shown that fish are capable of thinking and feeling. Studies have found that they can observe other fish and will adjust their behaviour according to their own social position.
Not many people train their fish. The biggest barrier to doing so is the belief that they cannot be trained.
Libby Eyre, who trains fish at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, says that any fish – including pet goldfish – can be trained. In fact, you may have unwittingly trained your fish already. “If you feed them in the same location in the aquarium, they will know to go there for food,” she says.
The first step is to offer a small food reward when your fish swims to a certain location. Once your fish learns to swim to this location, you can then reward your fish for swimming to another location. This teaches the fish to follow. You can even buy small hoops or rings and teach your fish to swim through a ring.
Limit training sessions to a few minutes per day, and be careful not to overfeed fish.
“Training is stimulating for fish and it creates a rapport between the fish and the owner,” Eyre said. “They’re fast learners.”
Read her blog: smallanimaltalk.com