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Do goldfish get lonely?


AnnaMNR

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Like if they're kept in a tank by themselves?

Goldfish are (semi) social fish, and in large enough numbers, they will school. Many people, including myself, have observed that while a goldfish can live by itself, the fish is much more active when there is at least another companion.

Having said that, it's important to note that while it's good to have a companion for goldfish, it should not be done unless the stocking is appropriate. This is part of the reason why we suggest a minimum tank size of 40 gallons. :)

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I"ll have to upgrade my 29 Eventually then> thanks guys

Same, I just got my 30. I should have just went ahead and got a 40.

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I would not profess to know what a fish is feeling but I will say I absolutely feel that my goodies enjoy the company of other fish. I have 2 big fancies in my 75 gallon and they are always together. The fish in my pond are always zooming around in little groups. My business maintains a property with a pond that is probably 50,000 gallons easy and the 50 goldies in there are usually in 2 groups.

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Do you think it stresses them to be alone?

I do not know. I have not seen or read that solitary goldfish die sooner or have more health problems.

I would be very careful not to project human feelings, wants and needs onto our fish. :)

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Do you think it stresses them to be alone?

I do not know. I have not seen or read that solitary goldfish die sooner or have more health problems.

I would be very careful not to project human feelings, wants and needs onto our fish. :)

I am soooo bad at that LOL

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I agree with what has already been said and think that you see different behaviors from them when there is more than one vs only one. My fantail was the only one for awhile and I definitely saw a difference in him when I added the Oranda and then even the Calico. They are always together in the tank except perhaps when sleeping. How they are in my signature is pretty much how they always are (together).

Edited by CindiL
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A fish that has not known companionship for extended periods of time shouldn't theoretically become 'lonely'. My Goldie Kai was alone for a decent period of time and behaved the same alone than she does now with company. Fish are not emotionally complex animals, as much as we'd like them to be. Even if they have been accustomed to a companion, after a while they should forget about it and again,theoretically, resume normal healthy behavior. That being said, they are fish that naturally converge and have a loose social order. Therefore they should be 'happiest' with other fish.

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I would not personally have a single GF. Mine adore each other and are always with or near each other. They sleep together at night. :) The fact that they can survive alone does not, IMO, make it OK. Humans can survive completely alone as well, but would any of us want that?

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I haven't seen this personally, but people have written about losing one member of a pair of Goldfish and having the survivor mope or "mourn" for quite a while. Supposedly Goldfish can remember things for as long as three months.

Which brings to mind another story (apologies!): two summers ago work; well, specifically graduate school, kept my Better Half and Spouse out of state for about eight weeks, a lot longer than usual at that time. When she finally got back home and walked into the house Blackie, our son's Black Moor, went just plain crazy in his tank. For about 5-10 minutes he dashed around like an insane fish, turning somersaults and so on. And Myra was just a family member as far as he was concerned -- she'd say "Hi" now and then but never gave him any of his routine care or any special attention.

Who knows exactly what it means to them? But it seems that companionship has SOME sort of significance for Goldfish.

http://s848.photobucket.com/user/taz1107/media/Blackie%207-14-2012/PicsforGAB_orgtransferred7-14-2012005.jpg.html?sort=3&o=7

Edited by Steve1107
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Personally, I have adopted three goldfish and they hang out together. If one is at one end of the tank, the other two soon follow. They also keep an eye on me wherever I am in the room. When I've been out all day and come back, they crowd up to say 'hi' and when I wake up in the morning they go crazy. Maybe it's because they know they'll get fed soon haha.

Fish are capable of feeling pain, and it has been found that they miss their owners (link - although this study had some unethical things done such as setting two male fighter fish against each other). As you have read, they are capable of mourning (and a simple google search finds many more examples). It is not too much of stretch to imagine that they would enjoy companionship and feel something akin to happiness. However, we don't even really understand our own happiness outside of certain chemicals being released in the brain and us self-reporting on it, so I assume it's a hard thing to test goldfish for.

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I have never had just a single goldfish, but I have observed that my goldfish spend a lot of time together. Maybe they swim together just because one smells good or is carrying eggs, or maybe they form bonds. I don't know, but based on the behaviors I have seen, I would always keep a pair at minimum. :)

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These are all fascinating accounts. I think I would rather keep goldfish together now. Do you suppose certain age groups feel differently toward younger and older, male or female fish? Does it make a difference to them?

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Do you suppose certain age groups feel differently toward younger and older, male or female fish? Does it make a difference to them?

Similar size and physical characteristics help with compatibility for sure, like eyesight, swimming ability, and so on. Age? idk, my guess (fwiw) is "no," as long as it doesn't also mean a difference in speed, strength, vigor, etc. Maybe another poster has definite info on this...

Also, having a male-female pair means a different dynamic at spawning time.

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When I had to remove one of my fish from the tank because she was sick, the other one defiantly seemed less active. When I put her back in, the two of them raced around the tank together and then just floated side by side for a long time. It was pretty adorable.

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I've had mixed experiences with this in the past. They do appear to socialise, although much like social interaction amongst our species, I think it ultimately comes down to the individual. My pearlscale appeared to look for my oranda after she passed away, and he never really stopped until he passed away 12 months later. My ryukin, however, never really socialised with the other two fish. He just did his own thing.

Social interaction/networking is an interesting field to study regardless of the animal in question.

Edited by dan in aus
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I can only speak from my experience. We have had Comet for about 5 years and he has always been alone. 2 1/2 yrs ago we moved to where we are now, and Comet was put in a bigger tank against a wall in the middle of the living room. My husband has been basically homebound and talks to Comet daily, waves to him and points to the stairs when 'mommy' comes home from work. 2 weeks ago my husband was in the hospital for a week and Comet just did his thing, I thought he was just chillin' in the tank. I was recouping from surgery and running to the hospital so I didn't pay much attention to his behavior.

When my husband came up the stairs and into the livingroom after being away for 8 days Comet freaked. He danced around the tank chattering up a storm and swimming literally joyously. We were hysterical. I always said that I think Comet was a dog in a previous life. lol!

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