Dog owners, cat owners, and bird owners always seem to look down on goldfish owners. They will point out their pets can learn tricks, but your pet just swims around. What they do not realize is goldfish memory is much better than previously understood, and you may be able to teach them a few tricks, too.
Before starting to teach your goldfish tricks it is important to understand how long they remember things. Goldfish memory has been measured to last around 1 to 3 months, not very long. Do not let this discourage you, because as long as you keep doing the tricks and playing with your fish, you are constantly renewing the memory.
How can you already tell your goldfish has a good memory? Have you noticed how they start circling, coming to the surface, and anticipating their feeding? They would not be able to do this without having memory.
Training goldfish requires the same techniques as training any other pet. You will be using positive reinforcement of their behavior. Do not expect them to learn advanced tricks, but you can teach them to limbo, or even to play soccer. Both of these are adaptations of current behavior.
Positive reinforcement can be accomplished using food as the reward. Goldfish have been trained to go through tubes, dunk basketballs, and many other unique tricks. This is not some wishful thinking, but actual studies done in high schools and universities have repetitively shown goldfish memory can hold onto these new actions, and repeatedly do them to receive their treat.
It does take patience, and repetitive work to start training your goldfish. One of the easiest ways is to buy a goldfish training kit filled with techniques and advice to train your fish.
The really fun thing about improving goldfish memory and teaching tricks is to see the shocked looks on our friends faces. It is unlikely they have ever seen a goldfish do tricks or stunts. They may begin to believe you are a magician with animals.
How many tricks can you teach your goldfish? It really depends on your persistence and determination. Albert Einstein, is the goldfish who has entered the Guinness record book as having the largest repertoire of tricks, has learned more then ten different stunts. Another fish who is being trained to break the record has already learned nine. These fish are of course extreme examples. Be prepared to have your fish only learning a few simple tricks is more realistic.
What does this all have to do with Goldfish memory? Imagine the goldfish’s tiny brain, and then start imagining it being able to do this many tricks. It is an amazing feat of memory and training on the part of the fish and their owner. Your accomplishment will be much more impressive than a dog owner teaching their dog to roll over or sit. They will be amazed at your goldfish’s new skills, and possibly a little embarrassed with having considered your pet inferior in the past.