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How thoughtful are our fish?


fup10k

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So, I lost Suna Solar on August 19th this year. 
The other goldfish in the tank, Antares, definitely knew something was wrong that week because he was acting strange too and wouldn't leave Suna alone. 
The main reason I had even noticed that Suna had passed was because Antares was swimming up to him, then up to the front of the tank, over and over again. 

Ever since then, he really just hasn't been the same fish. I'll catch him sitting in one corner, staring at the rest of the room, and he'll sit there for minutes at a time before going back to scavenging for food and mess with the snails. 

I did recently add two small (2-3"?) Orandas to the tank, but it's like he doesn't care for them either. It's strange because he was always so interactive with Suna. The two new fish seem to like him enough, and they interact with eachother, but Antares doesn't seem to want to have anything to do with them. He almost acts like they don't even exist.

(Just a disclaimer; they've all been treated before going into the tank together and they will be moving to a 75gallon soon, I don't intend to keep them in a 30g together. He also hasn't shown any ailment since their addition to the tank~1 month ago) 

He has no signs of illness or stress, and the water quality has always been great (mainly becuase of my strict schedule from keeping Suna, since he was always sick) so the only thing that I can think of is that he misses Suna. 

 

Have you ever had other fish that get like this after they lose a tankmate? I've always noticed tons of personality in my goldfish... but I never really anticipated that they would be depressed when their friends pass away. 

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Yes, my fish Duchess has never quite been the same since her tankmate of six years died. She was very irritable, zoned out, and paced the tank for a few weeks. She would also check on Queenie during the depths of her illness, and when I found Q dead in the night, Duchess was sitting next to her. Not eating her, but just waiting and sitting. 

 

Duchess has never quite bonded with the companion I bought for her after I'd more or less gotten over Queenie a few months later, and she is more subdued in general and solitary  in her habits. I think the stress of Q's death also took a toll on her health, since she got parasites soon after (I am not saying that your fish will get sick!!!). 

 

I'm hardly a scientist or behavioral expert, but anecdotally and from what people have said here, goldfish are social, have excellent memories, and are creatures of habit. They feel safer with friends, and when a special friend dies, I imagine that this is very upsetting to the fish--not to anthropomorphize them. Of course, some fish aren't this way at all, since they have different dispositions. But it seems that your fish is feeling sad. I'm sorry for your (and Antares's) loss. 

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Thank you for your input <3 I'm sorry for you and Duchess's loss as well. 

 

I just feel so sad for him. Even though I'm of course still upset and miss suna, Antares will never be able to understand what happened. At least i'm able to understand that it was for the best, you know? It must be scary being a fish and losing your companion. :(

 

Luckily I've been able to avoid any illness with him so far. (Well, slight floatiness after feeding too much hikari lionhead  :teehee but peas fixed that right up) 

I'm hoping that with the new tank he'll be more active. It's over twice the size of their current one, so I'll be able to fit more plants in it. Maybe he'll be more easily distracted. 

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I've noticed this in my fish before, although it's just slight.  Five years ago, I got 3 fish and it was just the 3 of them until I added 1 new guy 2 years ago, and 3 new guys last year.  But, the 3 original fish interact with each other the most, and the 3 newer fish follow each other around and ignore the others (although I just lost one of them 2 weeks ago).  The one I got 2 years kind of does his own thing.  It's like they have a barely noticeable social hierarchy.

 

The one I lost 2 weeks ago was the only female in the tank.  She was also my most active and vibrant fish.  I've noticed the activity level in the tank has slightly decreased since she died.  I'm not sure if that's because she was a female, and now they're all males, or if it's bc they "miss" her.

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Tiger hasn't been the same since Cali died. .he just doesn't seem as excited about things. I moved him to the pond and that perked him up a little. When Cali was alive he would only ever show breeding behaivour with her...and if another male tried chasing her he would chase them away...he spent a lot of time just swimming near her even when not trying to breed

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I had a fish Radar that after his buddies died, he just gave up. He got SBD and no matter what I did (mind you this was about 10 years ago) he wouldnt right him self up and would float endlessly around the tank, not even looking at things (like moving his eyes), it was like he just gave up...

 

I think some fish when they are with a buddy for so long and when they loose them, they get sad just like us, wondering where did they go... I would do like Sharon said... Change the tank, move the fish, make the place new to the fish... :)

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Koko, that's so sad :( Poor Radar. 
It hurts knowing that our fish are capable of caring for and missing their tankmates. Everyone who doesn't keep goldfish likes to pretend that they're just mindless, moving decorations or "just a fish" but they really are such smart and wonderful animals. Suna had his swimming issues for months, but Antares was always there trying to help prop him upright again and would sit by him all the time. 

I notice the same range of emotions in them that I notice in my ferrets, I don't understand how anyone could look at them and think "it's just a fish." 


Aaah i'm crying again just thinking about it. 
I'm so glad I get to move him to the 75 soon... I really hope being in a bigger tank helps him. 
 

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