Beacon experiment 'busts' goldfish memory myth

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The commonly held belief that goldfish have short memories has been debunked by 15 year old Rory Stokes, a student at the Australian Science and Mathematics School in Adelaide.

"We are told that a goldfish has a memory span of less than three seconds... I wanted to challenge this theory as I believe it is a myth intended to make us feel less guilty about keeping fish in small tanks." Rory said.

His experiments involved placing a beacon in the fish tank at feeding time each day and measuring the time it took for fish to swim and obtain their food reward. The time taken reduced dramatically over a 3 week period, from a minute to a few seconds at which point Rory removed the beacon from the feeding process.

Six days later, he once again placed the beacon in the water and despite not seeing it for almost a week, the fish swam to the beacon in 4.4 seconds, showing they had remembered the association between food and the beacon for at least six days.

"My results strongly showed that goldfish can retain knowledge for at least six days," Rory said.

Link to news article

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well i for one am glad that this article was brought to our attention - it certainly stirred up quite a lively discussion/debate among readers. and just because its been done on mythbusters doesn't mean its myth busted/confirmed/plausible. hmmph!
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I'm cruious about it.Goldfish need inordinate amounts of water because they produce copious amounts of waste material/feces through their gills and fecal matter.I ever checked the similar video on horsematch com place.
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VonSkippy: The next time you decide to slag off a fifteen-year-old kid, I would recommend checking your grammar first. Your arrogance is not warranted.

As for the experiment, yes the Mythbusters have been there and done that. However, I will still be passing this link on to someone I know, who has been using the "three-second memory" myth as an excuse for keeping four good-sized goldfish in a ten-gallon tank and three others in a bowl. He actually said that goldfish are too stupid to feel pain, and even if they did, they wouldn't remember! And he wonders why they're now dying one by one...
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i am more interested in learning where this myth came from in the first place- who decided that fish can only remember 3 seconds into the past, and how did they test their hypothesis? i know that my entire life this has been the common belief re: goldfish, but how on earth did it actually start!
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MoniA is right. Goldfish need inordinate amounts of water because they produce copious amounts of waste material/feces through their gills and fecal matter.

People that stick them in stagnant bowls are cruelly killing goldfish slowly - no to mention those stuck in ipods!!

i don't know how many people ive met who wonder why their fish die in one week (space, uncycled tank, waste materials, untreated water, etc.)

yes, i love fish!
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