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Old 03-29-2004, 07:50 PM   #1
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Happy Fish?

How do you know if your fish are happy? or if they're sick? or if they're bored? or if they're playing or attacking?
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Old 03-29-2004, 08:39 PM   #2
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Happiness and boredom are human emotion/conditions and do not apply to fish, they do not have the higher reasoning to feel bored or happy or sad. Sickness is characterized by abnormalities in behavior and physical signs of stress and disease/infestation.
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Old 03-29-2004, 09:05 PM   #3
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Although, some fish you can judge their mood by their color....kind of like a built in mood ring. I have two in my tank that have a fair amount of chromatifors in their skin, Fox face and the Vlamingi Tang. Sometimes I would swear they hare half Octopus with the way their color changes right infront of you! Anyway....you can tell when they are scared or stressed by their color.

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Old 03-29-2004, 09:06 PM   #4
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Interesting assumption...

I believe that happiness and boredom are words that we use to associate with certain bio-chemical & electrical processes that occur within our brains and bodies. It is leap to assume that fish experience anything similar simply because they seem less advanced than people.

Used to be that it was so clear than "non-human" species couldn't do or feel anything. I think that is increasingly hard to argue... take for example chimps using tools and language. Go back 15 years and you would have commonly heard. "Chimps aren't capable of language, they don't have developed enough brains..." I don't think that is a common opinion any more.

Didn't we already decide that fish "feel" pain?

...always easy to get me going!!
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Old 03-29-2004, 09:11 PM   #5
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...more..

... ...so we think that fish can be "scared" or "stressed"...but not "bored" or "happy"...hmm..

How about "excited"..."hungry"..."nervous"..."tired"..."lone ly"...?

I don't think it is as simple as it might seem.
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Old 03-29-2004, 09:18 PM   #6
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Ask the Tang police about putting a full grown Pacific Blue in a 30 gallon tank. What is the prime reason we dont do that? Because they FEEL stress, closed in, restricted....what ever word you chose, the verb is still Feel.

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Old 03-29-2004, 09:24 PM   #7
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Stress and fright are a product of natural survival INSTINCT, boredom and happiness are not.
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Old 03-29-2004, 09:44 PM   #8
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Instinct...

I guess I don't see the line as clearly defined as you do. Unless either of us gets reincarnated as a fish...we'll never know.

We would agree that people "feel" these things...and that our close biological relatives probably also do...If you've ever owned a dog, you would conclude that dogs have a lot of "feelings or moods"...

It becomes a question of how far down the species complexity line you are willing to go before you begin to assume that a species isn't capable of this or that. I won't draw that line. Other's draw it very easily at human/non-human.

Time and time again, we keep having to move that line downward.

Did you see that report (ttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2983045.stm)that UK scientists determined that fish feel pain when hooked by a fisherman? It caused quite an uproar (mostly among fisherman), who called it ridiculous. To me...it seemed pretty obvious that, of course, fish feel pain. What is amazing to me is the number of people who would refuse to accept even that and the lengths that science has to go to prove that the fish is actually in "pain".

The trouble is that once you accept that animals share similar responses or feelings...you feel compelled to treat them with more respect that we are willing to. It makes everything so easy if we're just "different" from them.
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Old 03-29-2004, 10:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
The trouble is that once you accept that animals share similar responses or feelings...you feel compelled to treat them with more respect that we are willing to. It makes everything so easy if we're just "different" from them.
This is troubling, even though I might not think my fish love ne (I'm the guy that brings them food, it's a pavlov's dog kinda thing), does not mean that I do not value their lives or their well being.
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Old 03-30-2004, 12:04 AM   #10
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Pavlov...

I hope I didn't imply that you don't care for your fish. I know that everyone on this site does....but you would admit that we're a pretty odd bunch! It is pretty easy to attach human emotions to the little guys.

I've got a 11 year old damsel that is developing a gill tumor. He's already a year older than I thought he was going to be. I'll be really sad when he goes... and everyone I know will say that is silly...after all, it is just a fish, right?
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