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    VHALKYRIE   16,242
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A Trick My Fish is Teaching Me

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I bought Data the Betta because I miss having a fish. I grew up with aquariums, and I haven't had a fish in a very long time. I'm becoming obsessed with the idea of creating an aquarium with a mini self sustaining ecosystem, but I'm doing more research about what I need to do. For now, Data the Betta and Spot the Snail are happy enough in their bowl.

When I got the fish, the girl at the checkout counter told me that she taught her betta tricks. That gave me the idea that I wanted to teach my fish tricks! I'm sure it is doable. I had goldfish and bettas as a kid. I can say quite definitively that bettas are more intelligent than goldfish. Goldfish are like pekingese of the fish world (cute, but not bright), and bettas are like a tiger (when you look at him, he looks right back at you).

Ever seen a betta chase and stalk live food? Last night I caught a small insect that was crawling on my desk, and I put it in the betta's bowl. He was keen, and lightning fast. It's incredible.

You can teach almost any animal to respond to stimuli with food rewards. I taught my cat to sit and beg. Maybe I can teach my betta to sit on a leaf on command, too.

He is already recognizing that when the purple ring goes in the bowl, it means food is coming. This morning I put the purple ring in the bowl, and he immediately came up near the water surface, awaiting the menu. I dropped in some pellets, dried shrimp, and flakes, to see what he would like.

He took a nibble of this, a nibble of that, then swam off. He didn't "clean off his plate". He ate what he needed, then stopped eating.

I got my super high tech fish bowl cleaner - an old turkey baster - and removed the uneaten morsels so it wouldn't dirty the bowl. As I was doing so, I was thinking Data the Betta had something to teach me. About the lesson of not overeating, or eating when not hungry.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
ANDEENNATE 4/13/2011 11:25AM

    what a great lesson!

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ARCHIMEDESII 4/13/2011 10:31AM

    My former boss used to keep a HUGE aquarium in his office. In it, he kept a brittle star and some shrimp/lobster type crustecean. The brittle star was a fascinating animal. Watched him when he put a pellet of food at the end of a stick. you should have seen that animal lunge for that food !!

When I was a kid, I had goldfish. not nearly as exciting as the brittle star.

emoticon emoticon

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VHALKYRIE 4/12/2011 12:19PM

    Yes, indeed. ;D

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SEDGEY 4/12/2011 11:59AM

    So Data is teaching you "hara hachi bunme"! :)

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THINRONNA 4/12/2011 11:31AM

    Very clever fish and very clever you for learning from your fish!

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MYTURN11 4/12/2011 8:56AM

    Data the Betta is one cool teacher!

There was this tech guy here at work from India. He said he only ate very small amounts of food and always ate very slowly, and only ate when he was hungry and ate only until his hunger was satisfied - never went beyond - sometimes a few spoonfulls of beans. He was 6' and trim. emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/12/2011 8:57:36 AM

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TEDDYTEDDY 4/12/2011 8:45AM

    Yesterday I was on a clear liquid diet prepping for colonoscopy and I thought I would be ravenous...but surprisingly I was not...And here it is the next day (colonoscopy scheduled in about 2 hours) and I am still not hungry.

As I recall from the last one I had 3 years ago, I will be very hungry and thirsty afterwards and probably won't get anything to eat for another 5 hours from now.

I need to remember this for when I am back to "eating normally." I need to remember to stop eating before I lose track of my portions and start with smaller portions than before. Animals seem to have better instincts when it comes to this but we can train ourselves to emulate them in this way.


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CAM2438 4/12/2011 8:10AM

    Good lesson. I think this is a great observation!

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