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Author Topic: Shoaling in Goldfish  (Read 908 times)
Fishy Jeff
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Shoaling in Goldfish
« on: August 29, 2011, 10:30:54 AM »

I'm curious about the way goldfish shoal. I think this must be different depending on the number, the environment and the type of fish.

  What I see is a very social group (I have 5 common/shubunkin in ~400 gallons, no rain). They forage as a group.  They spend most of the time near the surface. In the shallows they can be within inches of each other, particularly when they find a score, in deeper water when they are foraging at the bottom they can be a foot or so apart. Sometimes then they will get separated. But they like to be together and will, of course, find each other again.

I have indoor/outdoor cats and I find that they behave and socialize differently than their pampered brethren.

Goldfish are one of the first domesticated fish, so I think although much of this is inherent, much is also selectively bread and conditioned in. They are part wild but also take well to being taken care of.

So, the question is: What do your goldfish do during the day? Do they hang out together, do they shoal? Or do they wait for something exciting to happen?

I never suspected that watching goldfish could be so interesting.

(attached typical feeding at parrot feather, note shubunkin blends right in with sky reflection)

Fishy Jeff
« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 10:51:24 AM by Fishy Jeff » Logged
fantailer
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2011, 03:39:44 PM »

All my goldfish simply search for food and uproot my plants or follow people around
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Summer Time
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2011, 09:43:49 PM »

Mine swim around a lot, from top to bottom, then back up again.  Thru the bubbles, into the fake soft rubbery plant on the bottom.  

They spend a LOT of time picking at things on the bottom of the tank, especially my shubunkin.  I think there is some really small algae growing on the glass rocks.  When I'm cleaning the tank, they're working on the bottom as if they're helping me.

They get sooooo excited when someone comes to the tank to talk to them.
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Fishy Jeff
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2011, 09:28:07 AM »

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Mine swim around a lot, from top to bottom, then back up again.  Thru the bubbles, into the fake soft rubbery plant on the bottom. 

They spend a LOT of time picking at things on the bottom of the tank, especially my shubunkin.  I think there is some really small algae growing on the glass rocks.  When I'm cleaning the tank, they're working on the bottom as if they're helping me.

They get sooooo excited when someone comes to the tank to talk to them.

This is cool! It sounds like a lot of play.

As far as the picking at the bottom that is the natural behaviour of carp:

wisegeek.com/what-is-a-common-carp.htm

They dig up the bottom and eat whatever they find there, including crustaceans and plants, and when they spawn, their eggs need to cling to vegetation in shallow water in order to survive.

Mine are constantly trying, and usually spitting out bits they find on the bottom.

What I see when they travel is that they try to stay close.  The paths are fairly direct. Sometimes the slowest fish gets lost.

When they reach their destination they make right angle turns if they are milling about. Usually the turns are back toward the group or another fish, if not another turn will usually bring them closer. Sometimes they wander off as the group drifts.

Mine never get excited to see anyone. Not even the cats. I have a calico that dips her paw in the water and washes, the fish don't mind, even though they are within a swipe. And, the cats have more interesting things to do.

Fishy Jeff
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Fishy Jeff
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2011, 09:32:36 AM »

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All my goldfish simply search for food and uproot my plants or follow people around

Are they usually in a group? Or are they individualists? You've got a lot of different fish and they may not relate to each other as well as my commoners!
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Goldiegirl
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2011, 10:27:02 AM »

My outdoor goldfish school obviously...they travel closely together, and when the one in front turns the rest will follow. Sometimes one wanders off, then darts back to the rest. They're like a little parade.  Wink
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Summer Time
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2011, 10:10:03 PM »

My goldfish are usually all 4 together, or sometimes 2-3 together, and one picking on the bottom.  It's always someone different on the bottom too, like they take turns.

Sometimes they do synchronized swimming... and follow one another across the tank, doing the exact same motions.  It's so fun to watch them.  What a life!  Just one big tank full of happiness...

I have 2 comets and 1 shubunkin.

Regarding your cat, isn't it bad for them to get aquarium water on them?  The chemicals in the water can't be good for them to ingest.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 10:13:16 PM by Summer Time » Logged
Fishy Jeff
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2011, 05:18:35 AM »

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My goldfish are usually all 4 together, or sometimes 2-3 together, and one picking on the bottom.  It's always someone different on the bottom too, like they take turns.

Sometimes they do synchronized swimming... and follow one another across the tank, doing the exact same motions.  It's so fun to watch them.  What a life!  Just one big tank full of happiness...

I have 2 comets and 1 shubunkin.

Regarding your cat, isn't it bad for them to get aquarium water on them?  The chemicals in the water can't be good for them to ingest.

I like the follow the leader! I see that sometimes but not so synchronized, sometimes they just migrate as a group and sometimes two will swim next to each other with very tight rapid turns. I haven't seen the classic schooling where each fish moves the same way at the same distance, what I see is more like a parade or a race. Where they all wind up at the same destination but they do it their own way!

As far as the cat(s), my water is untreated as it is a low density pond. The only cat with much interest is a calico, she'll dip a paw in the water and wash her face with that. I've been watching the social interactions of cats for a while (they are indoor/outdoor cats) and hadn't expected to see complex relations in fish too.

  Fishy Jeff 
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Ron H
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2011, 07:09:06 AM »

wow fishy jeff you are so right about that shubunkin, how fantastic is that camo for them, you can hardly see the shubunkin and it seems to be right near the surface... thanks for sharing... cheers
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Summer Time
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2011, 11:23:00 PM »

oh a pond, that makes sense.
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Nossie
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2011, 03:05:24 AM »

(MAN, I missed such a good thread! D: )

My goldfish do shoal, they split up into smaller groups when they go looking for food Wink Usually in pairs or in threes Smiley
Whenever I have introduced a new goldfish, the rest of them come and start swimming around him/her, placing the newcomer in the very center of the group. That's so sweet to watch :'D
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Fishy Jeff
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2011, 04:51:23 AM »

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(MAN, I missed such a good thread! D: )

My goldfish do shoal, they split up into smaller groups when they go looking for food Wink Usually in pairs or in threes Smiley
Whenever I have introduced a new goldfish, the rest of them come and start swimming around him/her, placing the newcomer in the very center of the group. That's so sweet to watch :'D

That is sweet! My fish (except for the shubunkin) grew up in a small high density pond. When they first explored my pond it was very cautious as a very tight group and they slowly worked around the perimeter, taking turns leading.

What kind of fish and how many do you have? When mine shoal it is usually the whole group, none want to be left out. But it is only 5 and they are all fast.

I have a lot of variation in the pond (due to depth, aeration and plantings),  and the fish treat each area differently. The other day I was watching them work the slow shallows when all but one of the group left for the other end (around the bend and past the agitated water) . Once the "stray" noticed being left, it made a bee line for where they had gone. How it knew where they had gone, I don't know.

I'm having a small "What's up Water Lily" party today. Mine just opened a new flower and it may be the seasons last. They open  each morning and close in the afternoon for a few days and then it is done. There is a lot you can plant in a large tank but probably not a water lily. It is spectacular!

  Fishy Jeff
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Goldiegirl
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2011, 10:09:25 AM »

Nossie, my fish do the same exact thing when I introduce a new fish!  Cheesy They start swimming around it like crazy, as if asking it, "hey, what's up, where ya from?" It's so cute!!

Congrats on the water lily blossoms, Fishy Jeff!  Wink
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Nossie
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2011, 01:40:09 PM »

But that's nice! Well-mannered goldfish Wink
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fantailer
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2011, 04:02:13 PM »

My goldfish are pretty nice until food comes
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Fishy Jeff
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2011, 04:15:01 PM »

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My goldfish are pretty nice until food comes

That sums it up. Friendly and social until dinner time, and then it is every fish for him or herself!

I've seen this more than once where a fish will push another fish out of the area where the big food score is. While that is going on, the other fish are chowing down!

Fishy Jeff
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keo1463
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Re: Shoaling in Goldfish
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2011, 04:45:22 PM »

my 3 gold fish are 2 comets and a shubunkin they swim together agenst my filter's water and bubble jet stream i find it funny when they get pushed from one side of the tank to the other the rest of the time they follow each other.  Cheesy
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