Historical Events  Science

Goldfish have a 3 second memory

Goldfish have at least a 6 month memory

Smarter than you think

Most people think goldfish only have a 3 second memory, but the truth is very different.

Science has shown they can remember things for at least 5 months, and are smarter than is generally given credit for at problem solving too. in an experiment, which by the sounds of it anyone can easily repeat, a red Lego block was dropped into the bowl of ordinary pet goldfish just before food was sprinkled on the surface of the water above the block. The fish soon learned the arrival of the block meant food, and swam towards it. Then, feeding resumed normally with no block, only to resume 1 week later. Sure enough, the canny fish swam straight to the block as soon as it was dropped in.

Hi honey, I'm home

The research into the behaviour of the goldfish regarding memory and intelligence goes much further. In fact, some experiments show they can distinguish between humans. This is all connected to basic instincts, such as food, because from an evolutionary point of view it matters whether a regular source of food is a potential threat or otherwise. So when a human regularly feeds the fish, they do learn to recognise them, and can sometimes be seen to be distinctly wary of strangers.

They can even remember how to swim through a maze. Again, in the wild this is an advantage when navigating their underwater environment.

The misconception is very popular, and movies such as Finding Nemo with Dora playing up to this stereotype doesn't help. Fish have been around a long, long time on our planet and have actually had much longer to adapt to their world than humans have. It's only because they reached the limit required to become stable as a species that their brainpower stopped increasing. From nature's point of view, it didn't need to evolve any more.