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Sivan 05-14-2012 05:50 PM

Question on Facebook Group I can't find support for
Hey guys, I was wondering if anybody has heard of this question I was asked on my Facebook group today:


Jacob Petit
So, on redditt i found something saying "...some enjoy being raised in a hand out of the water
And stroked. There have been cases of depression where the male betta will starve himself if taken out straight after a spawn. Is this true??" anyway just wondering if the stroking and depression part is true.
I have heard of the stroking thing but never bought it because there is a difference between liking and tolerating an action, as well as the fact that I have never heard this beyond hearsay/rumor. I do not know about breeding and cannot answer the second part.

MrVampire181 05-14-2012 06:32 PM

In rare cases males will become depressed and not eat for a few days. I've heard of one die.

I've had ONE, ONE betta who actually liked my hands. The rest scream and run away when I clean jars (which BTW getting your hand stuck in a jar is not fun).

I do not recommend actually picking up your fish.

However, the questioner gets brownie points for being a Redditor lol.

Sivan 05-14-2012 06:48 PM

I know that people can transfer bad things to fish if they touch them but that's it. I wish I could find a source on this.

Bombalurina 05-14-2012 10:19 PM

You can also damage the fish's slime coat. I don't do unless the betta seeks my hand out.

Usually, when one of my fish comes up to my hand, it's to bite me.

JKfish 05-14-2012 11:27 PM

Haha +1 Bombalurina XD Same with mine, they like to chomp and hang on

Sivan 05-14-2012 11:42 PM

Bom: That is what I heard! I could not remember the specific detail because I heard it a long time ago. I do not feel comfortable answering without sufficient proof or recollection of detail. I will take a look to see if I can find a trusted non-forum source to back up this information.

Any info on the depression, though?

Laki 05-14-2012 11:54 PM

Not sure if they have the brain function that allows higher functions like love, empathy and depression. Depression, in humans at least, is caused by a low level of serotonin. Depression occurs in a very specific area of the brain (maybe brain stem or frontal lobes) and is there any proof that bettas have that??

**it might be totally different in a fish their size.

But to be safe, I would attribute the "depression" to stress or familiarity moreso than a complex brain function like depression.

Also, +1 to the slime coat thing. Lude shed his slime once!! It's not nice and people who pet their fish can activate that. Maybe the fish was "special" ;p

thekoimaiden 05-15-2012 01:13 AM

Ohh drat! If only I was at home. I have a wonderful ichthyology textbook that talks a ton about fish intelligence and brain capacity. Fish don't have the higher functioning for emotions like love and depression. The brain capacity just isn't there even in the smartest fish, the elephant noses. Fish don't get depressed. Fish get stressed.

About the slime coat. Touching a fish can damage the slime coat as Bomba said. The slime coat is the fish's protective layer against pathogens (in this manner it functions similarly to our skin). Fish will produce extra slime coat when stressed to try to prevent pathogens from taking hold (ever held a carp? you'll see and feel what I mean :sick:). I'm pretty sure there is some research that has been done on the importance of fish slime coats. Maybe poking around on google scholar or pubmed will find you an article. I'll look in my fish library when I get home to see if I can find anything.

dramaqueen 05-15-2012 01:19 AM

The only time I ever touched mine was when they fell on the floor.

MrVampire181 05-15-2012 02:09 AM

Male bettas provide extended care of their fry. Unless you've actually seen it in person you can't say they can or cannot be depressed by such a thing. Now I don't believe they have that higher intelligence but they really do mope around and hate life when they're removed from their batch.

@DQ, that's happened to me. They never can stay in the net >:[

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