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Old 09-17-2012, 09:43 AM   #1 
teeneythebetta's Avatar
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TBFW #1: Do fish have 3 second memories?

Myth Buster: Do fish have three second memories?
By Alcemistnv
"My memory is so bad that my fish remembers things longer than I do."

How many times have you had a friend, or maybe yourself say something along those lines? You think itís whimsical, and itís perfect for the right conversation. Especially if one has a fish. But did you know, the whole idea that fish have a 3 second memory is developing to be nothing more than a myth? Thatís right. Studies are now showing that fish can possible remember things up to six months!
While the average fish owner might look at this new detail and simply scoff, more experienced owners might discover that the above is true!
There was an experiement in which researchers from the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel trained a group of young fish to associate a sound with feeding time. This process was done for a month before they were sent out into the ocean. Four to five months later, the researchers played the sound and surprisingly, the fish returned for food! Itís not shocking in the least that these fish are so intelligent. Minnows are found to have the same intelligence as mice!
In my experience, I happen to have four bettas, but for this example, I will only use my three. Buddha is my eldest one, and he has been with me for over seven months. Over the time Iíve had him, I have noticed that he reacts when only I come near the tank. Often, he will sleep on the bottom of the tank and wait until I am near to return to his normal behavior. Hmmm, not convinced? Alright.
My other two bettas, Pudge and Squirt, have developed a very interesting habit. They both live in a tank together (separated, mind you) and get fed at the same time. During feeding time, I will put the bottle in front of the tank, in a place where they can both see it, and as soon as their eyes catch sight of it, they will dart to the front of the tank immediately. Not convinced? Okay, well once Iím ready to feed them the pellets, I open the small window of the tank, and they both swim straight over to the corner of their divider, and wait. They donít move away, because they know that that is exactly where I drop their pellets. Iíve witnessed them actually coming to the area, just to ask for food on days when I havenít fed them yet!
Fish intelligence is nothing to be scoffed at. Just because theyíre small, doesnít mean that their brain or intelligence is. In the long run, they definitely will surprise you with how much they remember. If they were any bigger, Iím sure theyíd be able to say hi to you in the same way your cat or dog does. So remember, they can remember.

(((Original article at ))
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:07 AM   #2 
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I always thought that was probably a myth. If you think about it, if fish only had a 3 second memory, then they would never get bored. And there would be less cases of fin biting.
I know my fish recognize me. I've mentioned this a couple times but I had Fishie for about a month before my parents saw him. When they came over, he wouldn't flare because he didn't recognize them. As soon as they left he was flaring again with me sitting next to him on the couch. So he definitely knows me and remembers me, even having a long enough memory of me that he's more reserved around my parents who he doesn't know than he is around me.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:18 AM   #3 
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I have a fish who now remembers a song.. I have in my video with him everytime I play the song at home, (and not associated with feeding time) he starts to dance, and wiggle, and get sooo exited, and I watch from afar, then I come over to the tank, ,and watch closely, and I say..Hey Sammy, your song is on, and he really gets into it, his mouth starts going, like he's (singing it) so he must remember it somehow, and it is just amazing to watch..
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:20 AM   #4 
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Lol Lelei that's so funny and cute !
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:23 AM   #5 
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Originally Posted by teeneythebetta View Post
Lol Lelei that's so funny and cute !
It is, and he is soo funny..if you haven't seen the video, click the link in my sig
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:28 AM   #6 
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Of course betta fish do not have 3 second or 5 minute memories. The same for goldfish. This has been scientifically proven to be false. In fact, betta fish are used in experiments that require memories. They can recognize people, objects, and rituals.

Also: I notice you used the Daily Mail as your source... I would steer away from that one in the future. It is a British tabloid paper that is known for greatly exaggerating stories or straight out making up stories for sales. Not everything is bollocks in but the majority of its articles are skewed and fear-mongering in regards to larger stories.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:38 AM   #7 
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I don't know if the forum rules permit links.. so I'll quote it instead.

according to researchers...

<<<The traditional view that fish lack the brain power to retain memories is "absolute rubbish" said Dr Kevin Warburton, an adjunct researcher with Charles Sturt University's Institute for Land, Water and Society in Australia.

He made his conclusions after studying the behaviour of Australian freshwater fish such as the silver perch, which can remember a predator for several months after only one encounter.

Dr Warburton said: "Fish are quite sophisticated.

"Fish can remember prey types for months. They can learn to avoid predators after being attacked once and they retain this memory for several months.

"And carp that have been caught by fishers avoid hooks for at least a year.

"That fish have only a three second memory is just rubbish."
Nobody knows where the three-second myth comes from.
Dr Ashley Ward, a fish biologist at Sydney University, said: "It seems to come from an advert many years ago, but nobody is sure what it was for."
Fish can also learn to improve how to catch food, said Dr Warburton, carry out acts of deception and modify their behaviour.
For example, in reef environments cleaner fish who eat parasites off 'client' fish act on best behaviour when they spot a larger patron.
Dr Warburton said: "What's fascinating is that they co-operate more with clients when they are being observed by other potential clients.
"This improves their 'image' and their chances of attracting clients.
"Some cleaners co-operate with small clients to raise their image so as to deceive larger clients, which they then cheat on by biting them rather than removing their parasites.">>>
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:56 PM   #8 
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Whenever I open the flap to the tank I feed my fish in they always rush to the area where I drop it in. That's all of my fish (platies, guppies, rasboras + bettas) . :)
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:34 PM   #9 
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Look up syncronized swimming goldfish on YouTube...I highly doubt that behavior was just random
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:08 AM   #10 
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Myth Busters busted this years ago. :U they set up an experiment with goldfish, and proved that their memory is at LEAST three MONTHS long. :U
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