Eggcellent and Intelligent Aquarium Fish
When talking about the cognitive abilities of pets we keep in our households, we tend to leave aquarium fish out of the conversation. For example, goldfish are said to have the memory retention skills of an ant, but this is an incorrect assumption that has no scientific basis. Research into the memory mechanisms goldfish use has shown that they’re able to remember the color of tubes containing food up to one year after interactive feeding. Moreover, a 1980 study published in the Behavioral and Neural Biology journal determined that goldfish exhibit emotional responses comparable to those of a 5-year-old child.
Tropical fish intelligence tends to be a lot higher than we usually think. As is the case across the animal kingdom, some fish are smarter than others. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more intelligent species you can stock your tank with.
- Oscars and Other Cichlids
The Cichlidae family is native to the freshwater and brackish water tropics of Africa and the Americas. This is a family that spans more than a thousand species, and many of them are considered to be exceptionally smart. Astronotus ocellatus, commonly known as Oscars, are South American cichlids popular among aquarists who enjoy keeping large tanks. When you observe the behavior of Oscars in an aquarium, you can see this is a fish that swims deliberately instead of randomly. Plus, they remember humans and acknowledge their presence even if they’re not the keepers who feed them.
This saltwater species can be found in many reef tanks because aquarists find it fascinating. The exotic appearance of puffers and their toxicity aren’t their only attractive factors. These fish are also curious and very playful. Similar to Oscars, puffers will recognize the hand that feeds them and become more active when they see your face close to the aquarium walls. They’ll truly “turn their nose up” at food that isn’t their favorite and swim around the tank back and forth to let you know so.
The sharp vision of these attractive freshwater fish allows them to differentiate and spot people even when they’re several meters away from the tank. It should be noted that pterophyllum are part of the Cichlidae family, which makes them smarter than many other aquarium species, but they’re far more delicate than Oscars, and they’ll react positively to clean water, adequate pH levels, and appropriate feeding. A tank filled with nothing but angelfish is a joy for aquarists who like keeping intelligent species.
These colorful freshwater schooling fish will show their higher intelligence quotient when they’re given the opportunity to feed on insects. However, fish keepers who only get one or two rainbows for their tank won’t get to see how smart they can be. It’s better to stock the tank with at least three of them and provide live food such as brine and larvae.
No matter the species of fish you choose, it’s vital to have all of the essential supplies for your tank so you can keep your fish happy and healthy for many years to come.