Something Fishy

Student Pen Name: Dory

Observations/Description: I became interested in this project after reading about Ivan Pavlov’s famous experiment where he trained dogs to salivate at the ringing of a bell. I’m wondering if I could do the same for fish. Not the exact same thing, since fish can’t salivate, but to have them move to one side of the tank when I blow a whistle. The fish that I will be studying are my fish at home. My Mickey Mouse Platy recently gave birth, but we were unaware that we had fry until I spotted one while watching the fish eat.

Can fish be trained to go to one side of the tank when a whistle is blown?  In other words, do my Mickey Mouse fish have intelligence to respond to a simple behavioural conditioning?

When I approach my tank my fish swarm toward my general direction because they seem to know they will be fed.  Based on my observations while feeding them, I believe that my fish will be able to be conditioned to respond to a whistle.

1. Screen the sides of the tank so that the fish will not see you while you feed them.

2. Blow a whistle once for several seconds each time before you feed the fish. -Soon the fish will exhibit feeding behaviour when you blow the whistle.

3. Make observations about feeding behaviour.

4. Once the fish are conditioned to go to a side of the tank when a whistle is blown, you can start to condition them to go to another side of the tank when a flashing light is shown to them. By doing this, you can train your fish to move around the tank, kind of like training  a dog to come when called.
*If the flashing light or blowing a whistle doesn’t work, try using a different form of noise or visual.*