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Arrrg! Me mateys.
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Nearly 13 million American households contain a fish tank, and the average tank size is less than 10 gallons. Yet a study comparing the behavior of common freshwater fish in a variety of habitats found that those kept in such small tanks were considerably more aggressive than those in larger ones more likely to fight, flare their gills and guard whatever tiny alcoves they could find.
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We work on almost every animal issue under the sun, a spokesman said by e-mail, but I dont think this is one of them.Still, Dr. Oldfield noted that the average household tank was only one-tenth the size of the smallest tank in the study to yield docile fish. If people kept dogs in these conditions, theyd be put in prison, he said. Its something we should think about.

The study consisted of two experiments conducted side by side. In one, Dr. Oldfield tested the effects of overcrowding by keeping tank size constant while increasing the number of fish. In the other, he tested environment by placing three fish in consistently larger and more complex tanks. He then recorded their behavior at least two hours after feeding, to eliminate competitive behaviors related to food.

While aggression seemed to remain constant regardless of the number of fish in a tank, Dr. Oldfield observed that it dropped off considerably once the fish were placed in a 100-gallon tank with several plants and rocks to form alcoves.

The findings confirmed what he found when observing Midas cichlids in the wild. If you go out and observe these fish swimming in a river, he said, theyre not aggressive at all, really.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/sc...sive.html?_r=1
 

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That's really interesting! Fish are so different and alien to me, I always wonder how they think and feel. This makes me wonder if they are so different from other animals after all. It certainly has important implications for how we treat fish in the future.
 

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I had a fancy goldfish for a while. I learned tons about them! They can live 20 years or longer and grow to be a foot long or more. They need much more room than most people give them. They need the room in order to prevent spine malformation that occurs from small tanks (people think goldfish magically stay small in small bowls but really they just become deformed and die young). The other reason for space is that they make their water dirty very quickly in a small space (goldfish poop a lot). This new reason for more space - aggressiveness - makes a lot of sense!
 

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It's interesting that the number of fish present didn't change the aggressive behaviors, but rather the total ecosystem volume did.
Sounds rather like small enclosures stress them out and increase aggression regardless of the population.

That's great to know. I had always assumed it was a volume per fish issue, rather than a total volume issue. That informs my views on the practice of keeping fish as pets considerably.
 

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I also have Fancy Goldfish


Mine are very large and have a 200Gal tank. It sure gets me upset to see people put them in bowls or such inappropriate places. It is even worse with Bettas now. The 'tanks' they sell are pure animal cruelty.

Fish are very smart and social creatures. I have learned a lot with them. You can see that they have their 'best friends' which they hang out with and sleep next to. SOme are smarter and more 'people friendly' than others. My fish go crazy and swim to the surface begging for food when they see me. They don't care if anyone else walks by their tank tho.
THey are one of the reasons I became vegan. I had one fish get a deadly disease and he fought for 6months. I would hand feed him every morning. His incredible will to live was quite inspiring and made it clear that I shouldn't be eating fish.
 

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Originally Posted by SwissMiss View Post

THey are one of the reasons I became vegan. I had one fish get a deadly disease and he fought for 6months. I would hand feed him every morning. His incredible will to live was quite inspiring and made it clear that I shouldn't be eating fish.
That was beautiful, thanks for sharing that.
 
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