This is a link to a video of an advancement into the area of communication and intelligence - feeling pain and pleasure, and their ability to communicate across fish to man, This area- for fish- is grey at best. the link is
The fish is "Punch".
What you will see is not trick photography or illusion by computer mastery. Since we first acquired Punch; I have made every attempt not to scare, accidentally hit - or startle. In working on Punche's tank one day Punch came right up against my hand and starts an intermittent high speed vibration similar to the vibration from electric hair clippers. Contact was made. Since then ; I have come to some fundamental understanding that fish, in fact, "feel"; both as pleasure and of pain, and that of actual affection and their ability to show a sense of common-bonding with a animal unlike itself.
The trust is so real that - often- in positioning him to- say- scratch his chin- which he loves- I need to flip him around end for end- which he simply goes into a mode of total relaxation and allows my efforts. If you look close when I am holding him and scratching his chin; you will see that my thumb is not touching the body. It is long past that he has learned that a few simple movements of his tail gives him instant release. Now; the flicks of the tail,. I have found, are not for escapoing, but for repositioning himself. In fact; as he is being "massaged, he actually allows part of his red crown to move up and cover most of his eye, as if in signifying his trust and confidence that no harm will come of him.
When swimming around my hand- especially the back of the hand, he comes up against my hand and gives spitts of vibrations. I am confident these are a form of affection and acceptance. I have tested how far I may go with his trust. While in a "sleep coma" I inserted my hand into the tank and gently placed my hand around his body. Normal reactions for most fish would be a dart for the other side of the tank. However; he simply stays in my hand as he comes out of the coma without regard to danger of any kind. So he is aware of the surroundings during sleep and ios clearly able to control his natural instinct to "flee" and escape. This was important to me in that it is a clearer understanding that they can control, if they desire, their natural reactions to certain situations, and have a sense of being.
This experience, over time, gives me serious belief that fish have feeling and, in their own standards, have a unique intelligence which, as in my case, they are capable of communicating their desires and "feelings" as well, and are able to "bond" with fish, of course, but humans as well; that has yet to be explored.
Understand; what you see in the video is just a small part of the play time. I assure you; I tire out before he wishes to finish or shows any sign of being over the contact and communication. This needs to be better understood.