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Do goldfish become sad?


ShawneeRiver

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I definitely think they do - - because during hurricane Irene we lost power for nearly a week...so no filters, no aerators...and we had a water advisory so all water had to be boiled...but we have an electric stove!

My mother also had no power but she did not have a water advisory...I set up a 10 gallon tank in my kitchen and used every container I could find to transport water from my mother's house to my house and took about 3 gallons from their original tank to set up an emergency tank with fresher water. My husband had gotten his hands on a small battery back up (not strong enough for the large tank) and I seeded a small filter to run on this tank. Every area was sold out of generators and the one battery back up we could find was one that we charged in the car for an hour, then it ran for a while, charged in the car...and so forth. For days. I set my alarm on my phone during the night to get up to charge the backup and then to go take it back in to hook up the filter. It was an exhausting few days.

In the emergency tank, Wizard perked up with in a few hours, but my other goldfish was beyond help. my other goldfish lasted days being sideways before passing. It came to the point where Wizard was literally trying to hold up the other goldfish.

Here are a few pictures of Wizard's devotion...he would not leave the other goldfish's side.

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Here, he is literally trying to hold my other goldfish

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Unfortunately, the ill goldfish passed away. My surviving goldfish, Wizard was distraught. He and my previous goldfish had been together for 3 years and were very chummy...

When my other goldfish passed, Wizard stopped eating and barely reacted to me near the tank and hardly swam around. After days of him being depressed - - not even peas, bloodworms or earth worms would cheer him up...I went out and bought him a few friends. They were quarantined a few weeks...during this time I was really worried about Wizard. He would eat about once a week, then stop eating again and would go sit in the corner.

When I introduced the new goldfish to the tank...it was like Wizard became alive again...he at that very night with the new goldfish, swims all over the tank with them and has eaten everyday since they were added back to the tank.

So yes, I do believe that goldfish feel sadness, depression, loneliness, joy...

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just bcuz their nervous system isn't like our does not mean anything, as they are not mammals. that's like saying the earth is flat.

the only thing that we really know... is that we do not know everything.

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I have seen fish have a violent reaction towards some people. I used to work at a saltwater LFS. There is a Red Sea Sailfin Tang, that was there with me when the original owner had the shop. She is still at that store. Anyway, if she knew you and liked you, she would keep her normal colors. She would come up to us and let us feed her, and pet her. If someone walked in the store that for some reason she did not like{and it was only once n awhile} she would dart to the back of the tank, turn solid black in an instant, then swim out and make herself as big as a dinner plate, and her color would come back bright stripes and spots as before. It was pretty wild to see her do it. I love that fish. :wub:

Edited by waterfaller1
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lilirish that was beautiful, thank u for the post!

Thank you! It was an sad yet amazing thing to see - I had never known or contemplated the emotional capacity of my fish before.

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Aww, lilirish, thank you for sharing that. How touching and sweet and sad.

just bcuz their nervous system isn't like our does not mean anything, as they are not mammals. that's like saying the earth is flat.

the only thing that we really know... is that we do not know everything.

I agree with Sand. We really don't know. So in the meantime, I too will continue to anthropomorphize my finned friends. ;)

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There is a book called When Elephants Weep in it there are many stories from animal researchers, Vets, and whomever, about how they are certain that all of the living creatures with which they have worked, have what we would call feelings. That they know they will be laughed at for anthropomorphizing, but it's unspoken that they believe it none the less. One researcher even felt that way about SPIDERSSSSSSS that he was experimenting on! He went as far to say that when he was through with experiments and they were to be put to death, that he would never use a certain chemical on them again because it killed them too slowly and he knew he was hurting them needlessly, he had watched too many tending to their young etc, to discount everything as "instinct". Fish research biologists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute term inflicted deaths for research as "Sacrifice" because they give credit to the fish or clam or what have you, as a living being with merit.

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Fish research biologists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute term inflicted deaths for research as "Sacrifice" because they give credit to the fish or clam or what have you, as a living being with merit.

I think it's important to keep in mind that nobody here said goldfish were living beings without merit. Just because I don't happen to believe that my goldfish experience emotions similar to that of humans or many other animals, that doesn't mean that I find their lives unimportant or expendable.

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  • 2 months later...
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I'm seeing fishy behavior today that again makes me think that goldfish form attachments.

Harry for some reason "rests" nose down in the plants. He looks fine, the tests are fine and nothing seems off. He does this periodically. The only thing I see is that he clearly has breeding stars now. :idont

But twice today during his resting, he was joined by one of the female goldfish. The girls just hung out for awhile near him, not long enough for me to worry about their health, but long enough for me to think that they were there on purpose to be with Harry. :hug

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