You might be wondering if it is possible to play with your pet goldfish. The answer is Yes!
As a whole, a goldfish can be taught tricks such as eating from the hand, swimming in circles or backward, jumping over a stick, or even ringing a bell. There are also other ways to play with a goldfish such as reading for him or telling him stories.
There is absolutely no reason, why you shouldn’t be able to play with your pet. Of course, you will have to choose different games than you would play with a cat or dog, but it is possible to do more with your goldfish than just stare at him.
How can I Teach My Goldfish a Trick?
Most people primarily watch their goldfish float around in the tank. They don’t really interact with their pet goldfish. There isn’t much to do with a goldfish, anyway, right?
In fact, it is possible to play with goldfish and teach them some tricks. Your goldfish might even already know one or two, such as swimming in circles or coming to the surface when you prepare the fish food.
In order to teach your goldfish some tricks, you should watch his natural behavior first and use it for tricks.
If your goldfish swims to the surface if it’s time for food, you could add some kind of cue to enforce this behavior. Say a certain word when the fish swims to the surface and reward him with a little snack.
If you train that often enough, he will combine the word you say with swimming to the surface and being rewarded with food, even if it’s not time for food.
Goldfish always need positive reinforcement in form of food.
Tricks need some cues, either visible or audible ones. Never tap on the glass of the aquarium. This can sound very loud for fish and cause stress.
A cue can be a word or a gesture of any kind. You can point somewhere or say something.
Classical conditioning takes time, so don’t be disappointed if it does not work right away.
Here are some ideas for tricks you can teach your goldfish. Be creative and use whatever your goldfish already does.
- Eat from your hand
- Teach him to swim through a hoop
- Swim in circles
- Swimming backward
- Jumping over a stick (not necessarily with fancy goldfish)
- Swimming over or under objects
- Pushing an object
- Ringing a bell
Enjoy the training sessions and be patient.
What can I Play With My Goldfish?
Besides teaching your goldfish tricks, you can always spend time with your pet and talk to him or her. Tell your goldfish about your day or tell your pet funny stories.
You can also read out your favorite books for your goldfish. It might not understand every word but surely appreciates your company.
You can also write a diary either about your goldfish or in the name of your goldfish. Try to make up some crazy stories about your goldfish and his adventures during the day.
Write down a backup story, where your pet came from. Maybe your goldfish is an undercover spy, trying to tell you about his secret mission.
How do You Entertain a Goldfish?
A goldfish sits in an empty tank, all by himself. He looks a bit bored and stares outside into the room, where the human moves around. 2-3 times a day, food is being offered to the goldfish and that’s about the most exciting thing that happens all day long. Sound like a boring life? It is indeed! Time to shake things up. Prepare for some goldfish entertainment!
Goldfish like to live in environments, that simulate their natural habitat. In nature, they don’t live in a bowl, they float around in lakes and rivers.
It’s easy to create a nice environment for your goldfish. A nicely prepared tank does not only make your goldfish happy, but it also looks better for you.
Here are a few ideas, how to entertain your goldfish.
Add Gravel to the Aquarium
Gravel simulates the goldfish’s natural habitat and thereby helps to reduce stress. The gravel is also a great place for beneficial bacteria to grow. That bacteria will help you to break down the ammonia in the tank and keep the water levels goldfish-friendly.
You can use gravel to keep plants where they are supposed to be and individualize your tank.
And an empty aquarium without any gravel simply looks boring.
Add Air Bubbler for Additional Oxygen
An air bubbler can be a great toy for your goldfish. It produces air bubbles, making the oxygen level in the water rise and creating movement in the tank which leads to a proper distribution of the oxygen in the water.
Goldfish can also play with the bubbles and enjoy the funny feeling of the bubbles around the body.
Introduce Some Plants
Plants are a wonderful idea to make an aquarium more entertaining for your goldfish. The plants you choose have to be compatible with the water levels that the goldfish prefers.
Plants simulate the natural environment in which the goldfish lives and thereby help to reduce stress. Goldfish can hide between the plants and play with them. And maybe eat them.
Goldfish are omnivorous and might nibble on your plants, so beware.
Good plants for your goldfish aquarium are for example Anacharis or Anubias.
Offer a Variety of Food
Goldfish like variety. They are omnivorous, which means that they eat plants and also insects. You can offer your goldfish smaller insects and also small pieces of fruits and vegetables in addition to flakes and pellets.
Do not overfeed your goldfish. Their digestive system is sensitive and overfeeding can quickly lead to serious health issues. Feed your goldfish two to three times a day
Add Decorations for the Goldfish to Play With or Hide in.
There are a lot of possible decorations that you can introduce to your goldfish tank. A goldfish can play with decorative stones and other items or hide in tunnels or caves.
Always make sure, that the decoration you introduce is free of any chemicals, metals, or anything else that could potentially disturb your water levels.
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂