Your Goldfish is Not Happy in That Tiny Aquarium; Science Scores Another Great Discovery

You’ve really been having sleepless nights wondering if your aquarium fish are happy, haven’t you?

Scientists at Case Western University (U.S.) can rest easy.  They’re tenure and promotion chances have been secured, no doubt, by their discovery that tropical fish are not happy when kept in small aquariums.  Yes, our little underwater friends prefer the wide-open spaces rather than bumping their little selves into the glass walls of their water household prisons.

Is your first question, “who paid for this research?” 

According to the scientists, fish in a cramped space turn mean.  Did they ask a fish psychiatrist to put all the fish on an underwater couch and interview them?  No, but the scientists insist that their discovery could imperil every one of the 182.9 million tropical fish in the U.S.  Don’t even ask how they came up with that number.

First Research of Its Kind

The researchers claim this is highly important research because there are so many fish in captivity.  They claim this is the first scientific study about how the environment of home aquariums affects the behavior of fish.  And, one would hope, the last.

If you wonder what kind of time and money may have been spent on this endeavor, consider the following.  To test their theories, the researchers compared the behavior of some fish in a fish tank with their cousins in native habitats in Nicaragua and a zoo.  Can you imagine that on a grant request it were stated, “we’ll go to Nicaragua and a zoo to test our theory”?  Wouldn’t you think at that point someone would step in and say, “No, you’re not.”

Nevertheless, the research proceeded and it was discovered that the size and complexity of a fish tank could affect fish behavior – the smaller the size of the aquarium and the fewer fun things to play with in the aquarium the meaner and more unhappy the fish will be.

Have You Hugged Your Fish?

Does all this have any relationship to human behavior?  Of course it does – isn’t that what helps justify just about any kind of research?  In this case the researchers conclude that human to fish relationships could suffer.  “Humans have intimate relationships with a variety of fishes,” say the researchers.  Haven’t you hugged your fish today?

Further, say the researchers, “this study might help us to better understand how human behavior changes when people are placed in different social environments.”  Violence in prisons might be linked in part to the smaller space and reduced stimuli.  So, don’t lock people in small places (like prisons?) if you want them to not behave in a negative way?

Okay, this calls for some more research.  Let’s have these scientists investigate the behavior of another breed of fish, say Piranhas, in a very close proximity to the darlings.  It might not make for great research, but I’m sure the Piranhas will be much happier with their newfound friends.  And, perhaps, so will we.

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User Comments
  1. Margaret Boseroy

    On September 26, 2011 at 2:30 am

    I tried to hug my fish, but they’re just so darned slippery! ;-p

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