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Thread: How do they think? How much memory do they have? What's with stress levels?- links..?

  1. #1
    Fry coldwater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Illinois, zone 5

    How do they think? How much memory do they have? What's with stress levels?- links..?

    The mind of a fish, particularly koi, is of interest to me. Remember the movie about the gal who has aspergers? and could figure out how cattle think and hence make for better traffic flow in cattle lots etc? Well, is there someone like that publishing on fish and or koi?

    What are your observations on your koi. Do you think they have long term memory? Do you think torpor affects memory? Have they learned tricks or behaviors?

    Why do they get more stressed than GF, for example when alone, is it because of a cortisol issues like orphaned rhinos ?

    Are they capable of tool use like some kid of Wrass fish I read about, do they prefer a dark tank to a light colored tank when in an unknown environment like studies on GF?

    Well you get the idea. I have been around horses for decades. I understand their thinking and communication. I am less fluent in speaking "koi" and interested in learning.

    Thx for your links or thoughts.


  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Orlando, Florida
    Very interesting subject. I do believe fish are more intelligent than we humans credit them. Their brains work differently, so we do not recognize it in them. Some years ago I had a pair of Bolivian Rams, a type of small cichlid, in one of my aquaria. They spawned a couple of times, but the gravel in the tank was mostly river pebbles, not a fine gravel. The eggs and newly hatched fry would fall deep into the gravel and be lost. None survived more than a couple of days. When they spawned a third time, they did not follow their natural instinct to lay the eggs on the bottom of the tank. The eggs were laid on a broad plant leaf about 6 inches above the base. When the fry hatched, they were not moved to nests dug in the gravel. They were moved from leaf to leaf. The Rams acted as if they were Angelfish. Several fry survived and thrived under parental care. Thereafter, their future spawnings were on leaves. You can read all the articles and books you can find about Bolivian Rams and you'll consistently find that they spawn at the bottom and keep their fry at the bottom. It's what they do in nature. Except, mine went against instinct when they needed to do so.

    I have not observed anything so dramatic with koi. Still, mine truly do seem to know when it is me approaching the pond, whether I'm barefoot or wearing shoes, whether dressed in a suit straight from work or in grungy yard clothes, whether feeding them or not. When others approach, their behavior is different, more fearful. They do not like to have a long pole carried anywhere near the pond, whether I am carrying it or someone else, and it does not matter whether it is a net or a rake or a broom. It seems like they recognize a pole as something that chases them, but do not distinguish between nets and brooms. It is difficult to catch a koi in my pond because of its dimensions. The easiest way is to have a stranger hold a net on the far side away from me. They do not need to try to catch anything. Just being there with a net does the trick. The fish then come toward me, even though I have a net also. Still not easy, but at least they tend to stay at the end of the pond where I am. I only catch my koi when taking some to a show, or re-homing one. It seems to me that a friend who more frequently catches his koi to measure them has an easier time. They do not seem as fearful as mine do when a net dips in the water. But, his pond is not so wide as mine, so it's probably just easier... still, maybe his have learned that being caught does not mean they'll be eaten & do not get as afraid ????

  3. #3
    Fry coldwater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Illinois, zone 5
    Mike, Your story about the B. Rams was interesting.
    I haven't tried any other pole like handles/ tools around the pond so that is interesting too. There's a guy on you tube who has a koi business and bowls up his koi and they act so calm about it, like no darting behavior and it makes me wonder how they learn to be calm about it. I'll see if I can find a link.

    I have noticed mine sink to the bottom when we fly the drone low over the pond with seems smart. They will approach anyone or anything down by the pond and beg, including the cat which seems overly trusting.

    I also have a video of my adult koi, Fatty, eye hopping, taking aim and splashing the cat!

    If the koi see me they track me and gather at the feeding spot. If we are up a floor, on the deck, they gather in another place where we chuck the food from the deck. I'm thinking they struggle to see us more up there and wonder if they are pre-cued hearing the door open/ close and the footsteps on the aluminum deck. Fatty has learned a trick: to swim laps to get her treats, and readily swims AWAY from the food to do her lap.

    Fatty learned another trick which is to swim thru a hoop to get a treat. It took her less than an hour to learn it.

    I got a box of babies in Oct. They are 4" koi now. They have more limited brains vs the the large koi. The little ones do learn but much slower and seem more limited by fear and fear like instinct than Fatty. It has taken them almost 3 months to learn something she learned probably before she got here- but applied it here readily- in 3 weeks... Which was don't swim away from the "scary" hand that is feeding you! The little ones seem to have a fear response and dart away then turn quickly and come back, but they can't seem to over ride the fear response yet, even tho it is counter productive.

  4. #4
    Fry coldwater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Illinois, zone 5
    The fish are not net shy you can see this at 1:54. Mine would be out of the shot as soon as they saw the net. Interesting. I don't have this skill AT ALL yet.

  5. #5
    Sansai Reza's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Tehran - Iran
    Hi and welcome.

    My Friend is a breeder he told me if a Koi could run from the net we cannot catch it again easily. It could run again an again.
    a fisher also said, "if a wild carp caught and released you can not catch it again in the same way. It never goes again to the baits".

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