How to Make a Goldfish More Interesting

Three Methods:Training Your GoldfishCreating an Interesting HabitatPersonalizing Your Goldfish

Goldfish are one of the oldest known domesticated household pets and have been around for over 1,000 years. [1] Contrary to popular belief, goldfish are actually relatively intelligent and can be trained to do tricks and can have a personality of their own.[2] By training your goldfish, personalizing it, and adapting its habitat, you can take that ordinary goldfish and transform it into something exciting and extraordinary.

Method 1
Training Your Goldfish

  1. 1
    Examine your goldfish's behavior. Examine the simple things that your goldfish does and how they react to different types of stimuli. Take notice if they get excited when you get their food, where they like to swim, and what kind of behavior they naturally exhibit. This will not only make your fish more enjoyable, but it will also help you understand it when you start to train it.
    • Potential tricks include swimming in a circle, swimming under a rock, or swimming backward. Pay close attention to his natural behavior and what the fish is naturally inclined to do.[3]
    • Your fish probably already has some trained behavior, like coming to the surface of the tank when you have fish food in your hands or following your finger on the tank.
  2. 2
    Choose a visual or audible cue for your fish. The cue will tell it that it did an excellent job and should be followed by a reward in the form of fish food. Cues include a clicker, saying something, pointing, moving a feeding stick in the tank, or shining a flashlight on the tank.[4] You will also need a cue to initiate the trick itself, which can be any of the above options, but must differ from the cue that indicates a reward is imminent.
    • For instance, you can drag your feeding stick in a circular motion in the water as the "do it" cue, then use a clicker and reward your fish for the "did it" cue.
    • Do not tap on the glass for your cue. The vibrations created can stress out your goldfish. [5]
  3. 3
    Wait for your fish to move, use the cue and reward your fish. Before your can reward your fish for doing a trick, your fish needs to know that the "did it" cue equals a reward. At first, wait for your goldfish to make any movement, then use your cue and put some food in the tank. This will make it so your fish associates reward with your cue.
    • The cue must come immediately before the reward to reinforce the behavior. If you wait too long, your fish won't associate your cue with the reward.[6]
    • If your fish exhibits specific behaviors such as following your feeding stick or coming up to the surface of the tank when you walk by, these actions can act as natural "do it" cues.
    • After a couple of practice tries, don't use the cue or reward your fish until they do the trick that you want them to. This will teach them to associate the trick with a reward.
  4. 4
    Practice until your goldfish gets good at their trick. Classical conditioning requires a lot of repetition. Your goldfish is reasonably smart, but it will take a lot of tries before they likely get it right, or associate your cue with a particular behavior. Don't lose your patience and realize that it's a gradual process.

Method 2
Creating an Interesting Habitat

  1. 1
    Purchase another goldfish. Goldfish like to socialize and will rarely become aggressive to one another.[7] Make sure to buy goldfish that compliment one another and to provide enough food so that they don't have to compete for it.[8] Adding another goldfish to the tank for your fish to socialize with may make it a much more interesting pet.
    • Make sure that your tank is big enough to accommodate more than one goldfish.
    • Larger goldfish like the comet, shubunkin and wakin require up to 100 gallons of water and thrive better in small ponds.
    • For smaller goldfish, make sure that there is at least 20 gallons for the first goldfish and an additional 10 gallons for each additional fish.[9]
  2. 2
    Add rocks and other structures to your tank. Adding things for your goldfish to swim through and around will make it more intelligent and give it more things to do during the day.[10] Consider adding structures or rocks to your tank to increase the complexity of your goldfish's habitat.
    • Adding structures to the tank will also make looking at it much more engaging and exciting for you as a pet owner.
    • Substrate is the stuff on the bottom of your tank. You can buy different color pebbles or sand for this.[11]
  3. 3
    Add plant life to your goldfish tank. Adding plant life to your goldfish tank will give it more character and make it a much more attractive habitat. Purchase plant life from a local pet store. However, keep in mind that goldfish are notorious for eating plant life and will most likely use it for grazing.[12]
    • Popular varieties of plants for fish tanks include java moss, java fern, and dwarf baby tears.
    • Adding plants to your tank introduce foreign bacteria, and the water needs time to adjust before it's a safe habitat for your goldfish. This is called the cycling process and typically takes two to eight weeks.[13]

Method 3
Personalizing Your Goldfish

  1. 1
    Give your goldfish a name. To personalize your goldfish, think of a name that suits it. Look at how it swims, what it does, and how it looks and think of a name that would fit its character. If you give it a unique name, you may even be able to say the name as a cue when you train it.
    • Some common goldfish names are Bubbles, Comet, and Spot.[14]
  2. 2
    Create a backstory for your goldfish. Even though you may not know the history of your goldfish, doesn't mean that he doesn't have one. Use your imagination and think of his backstory. Come up with a tale about how he was born, who his parents were, and how he ended up in your house. Think about the perilous journey and all the miles your goldfish must have swum.
    • You can write a short story or draw pictures showing your goldfish's journey.
  3. 3
    Talk to your goldfish. Interact with your goldfish by talking to it. It may not understand what you are trying to say, but treating it like a pet will make you appreciate it more. Goldfish are living beings and should be treated with respect just like any other animal.
    • If you have no one to talk to, you can get your troubles off your chest by talking to your goldfish.
    • Even though they may not understand you, your goldfish will appreciate your company.

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Categories: Goldfish