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Goldfish Loneliness?


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What are the symptoms of goldfish loneliness?

 

I have two orandas--Jack and Whale. Whale is currently in QT under going an antibiotic and salt treatment for a reddish tinge on his fins. Since I bought the two goldfish at Petsmart (fall 2013), they've not been separated for longer than an hour. Whale has been in QT for 9 days. Since putting Whale in QT, Jack acts lonely--he swims around slowly in this one area of the tank and he doesn't forage for food at all. He did not act like this when Whale was in the tank. He doesn't show any other symptoms, so after two days (or so) of him not eating, I put him into a 8 cup measure bowl and put food into it. He readily eats food this way. I've been doing this twice a day, every day. He looks fine: no clamped fins, no redness, etc. so I don't think he is sick (water parameters are fine).

 

I think Jack is lonely, but I won't know for sure until Whale is put back into the main tank. Hopefully this happens within a week.

 

Have you had a goldfish show symptoms of loneliness when his buddy was out of the tank?

 

 

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Have you had a goldfish show symptoms of loneliness when his buddy was out of the tank?

Yes, I have had a goldfish act lonely when I was QTing his tank mate. 

 

I believe that they get lonely, but others will strongly disagree.  However, they will form loose shoals in nature.  Either way, you should post up in the 911, or Disease section, whatever they call it now.  Be sure to fill out the full chart. 

 

How long will your other fish be in QT?  For your other lonely acting fish, try rearranging the tank, interacting with him/her, and offering other stimuli to help entertain the lonely acting fish.  The fish will get over it and be even happier when reunited with his/her friend.

 

Good Luck!

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Have you had a goldfish show symptoms of loneliness when his buddy was out of the tank?

Yes, I have had a goldfish act lonely when I was QTing his tank mate. 

 

I believe that they get lonely, but others will strongly disagree.  However, they will form loose shoals in nature.  Either way, you should post up in the 911, or Disease section, whatever they call it now.  Be sure to fill out the full chart. 

 

How long will your other fish be in QT?  For your other lonely acting fish, try rearranging the tank, interacting with him/her, and offering other stimuli to help entertain the lonely acting fish.  The fish will get over it and be even happier when reunited with his/her friend.

 

Good Luck!

How did your goldfish act like when lonely? For how long?

I've been doing lots of interacting with Jack. He does come to me when I interact with him. I'll try some of the other things you suggested. I'm currently working on trying to get the QT tank next to the main tank, so they can see each other. Putting the tanks next to each other may not work physically though.

Whale will hopefully finish QT in less than a week.

(I'm working with mods behind the scenes on my fish. I just wanted to check on people's experience of goldfish loneliness.)

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Newton never really acted lonely when his tank mate died.  He is now in a QT (frankly, I fear a death tank as he is very poorly, not responding to treatment) and Marty is clearly lonely - circling near where Newton was hanging out (he moved very little the last 2 months).

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I have had a few fish that when there tank mates died they got very depressed... others not...

 

My :twocents:

 

I think it depends on the fish....

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I think they do become lonely, if only because they feel safer in numbers.

 

The "do goldfish become sad" thread was quite interesting to me. At the risk of reviving an old topic, I do think that goldfish have cognitive and perhaps emotional lives--which is also why I think they manifest different dispositions or, for lack of a better word, "personalities"--but I don't necessarily think they are readily comparable to human ones. I guess that's why a word like "emotional" is difficult to apply to what's going on in a goldfish's brain since the language just doesn't quite fit. Anyway, I think they feel fish things in fish ways, and have fish-alities (?) accordingly.

 

But just based on behavior and anecdotal evidence, I know that Duchess missed her former tank mate very much and acted skittish and depressed for a long while. She is much happier with a new friend. D also was never aggressive toward Queenie even when Q was very sick. I've seen other fish try to eat sick ones, though, so they seem capable of a range of social responses, from what one might call empathetic to aggressive.

 

Side note: I love that your fish is named "Whale."

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I don't want to anthropomorphize, but I've observed repetitive behaviors in goldfish is classify as lonely or nervous. Glass surfing, hiding in corners, darting, etc, with no disease etiology. Even in my current tank, Otto is more vibrant, curious, and displaying natural group behavior with his tankmate that was absent when it was just him. I wouldn't call him lonely, but I'd say three and more groups are a healthier setting for goldfish than solitude, and present less behaviors problems like nipping, mouthing, or territorial behavior than pair settings.

Lonely would b the way I'd describe it, acknowledging that animals and humans differ in the range and source of their expressiveness and no goldfish is having an identity crisis for lack of companionship ;)

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Just before I left for out of town, I saw Jack foraging a little bit in the tank. He still looks quite healthy, but definitely not as perky as when Whale was in the tank with him.

I've trained my husband on how to feed Jack while I'm gone. I'm hoping I'll be putting Whale back into the tank within a week. I look forward to their reunion. I think I'll video the event. If I do that I'll post it here.

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I think that Goldfish definitely feel more secure with other Goldfish.  A fish that is used to a tankmate or tankmates is most likely going to be stressed (at least initially) when suddenly isolated.  They may become more comfortable with it over time if the keeper works with them in a positive manner.

 

I do, however, feel that there is some variance in the level of isolation related stress between individual fish.  My Ranchu gets nervous when alone, while my Moor seems fine with his own tank.  

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Honestly, if you think your fish is lonely, you're probably right.  We each know our pets better than anyone else, and I think our instincts when it comes to them are pretty good.  Hence why many of us "know" our fish are sick almost before they are really showing many medical symptoms...because we know their behavior, their personality.  The signs of it though will likely differ from fish to fish as it does in humans.  Some may become depressed or lethargic, others may show signs of anxiety, while others may actually show physical symptoms of stress such as torn fins, clamping, bottom sitting etc.

 

I find it very curious when the human species think that other animals are not capable of the same emotions we are.  The understanding of how/why we have emotions is lacking, so without that information as to how, it seems a stretch IMO to say some other creature does not. Science has shown them to be far more intelligent than previously expected, and I suspect that the emotional capabilities of fish is included in that.

 

There have been some interesting findings in recent years, if interested :)  Google "goldfish sentient" and a handful of scientific articles pop up with conclusions that include emotional abilities likened to those of humans.

 

Also, interesting article I came across stated that the province of Quebec has proposed a bill sometime in the last few days that includes heavy animal cruelty fines and potential jail time for ALL animals, including pet fish.  It also includes flushing live fish in the bill and criminalize it.  The direct quote from the Minister of Agriculture is "if you have a goldfish, you take care of it.  Don't get a goldfish if you don't want to take care of it.  [A]nimals are not things.  They are sentient beings and have biological needs."

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Jack has started to perk up. I don't need to put him in a smaller container to feed him any more. I just need to put food in a specific part of the tank. Any food that goes outside of that area just sits there until the pleco eats it.

Whale is going back into the main tank in a couple of days. It will be interesting to watch the reunion. I hope to record it.

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I have two fish that have been together over ten years they are never more than 5 inches apart unless feeding, the big male always waits for the female to finish feeding before he eats. When I had to treat the male a year or so ago the female was listless and acted ill.

Dunno what I'm going to do when one of them passes away!

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I have two fish that have been together over ten years they are never more than 5 inches apart unless feeding, the big male always waits for the female to finish feeding before he eats. When I had to treat the male a year or so ago the female was listless and acted ill.

Dunno what I'm going to do when one of them passes away!

 

I know--it is heart breaking to watch their "loneliness." :cry1

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Here is the first video of returning Whale back into the main tank with Jack:

 

 

 

Here is another video a couple of minutes later:

 

 

 

Jack is one happy fish!!

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I hope that they are not lonely, because my one GF Gracie is living alone in a 40B tank. No plans to add another, but I am considering a snail. I am not sure snails are much company though.

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I hope that they are not lonely, because my one GF Gracie is living alone in a 40B tank. No plans to add another, but I am considering a snail. I am not sure snails are much company though.

My two fish had not been apart for longer than an hour since I bought them. I think if I raised just one if them, I think it would be fine.

Since Whale has returned, Jack is much more active.

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I hope that they are not lonely, because my one GF Gracie is living alone in a 40B tank. No plans to add another, but I am considering a snail. I am not sure snails are much company though.

My two fish had not been apart for longer than an hour since I bought them. I think if I raised just one if them, I think it would be fine.

Since Whale has returned, Jack is much more active.

It's nice to see them together.

Cute video Lisa.

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