Goldfish have much longer memories than you have been led to believe

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How long is the memory of a goldfish? A few seconds? That is what most people believe.

But in fact, studies have shown that goldfish have memories that last several months, and are able to remember things from as long as 5 months ago.

A couple of studies were carried out by researchers to prove that goldfish are not as forgetful as people think,

In one study, a fish tank was modified with a lever to release food. Over time the goldfish learned how to use it. They would press the lever to release food when they were hungry.

Then, to test the fish further, they set the lever to only release food within a one hour period of the day. The goldfish soon figured it out and returned each day at the right time to get their food.

In the second study, researchers would play a specific sound every time they fed the goldfish, so that they would learn to connect the sound with food. Once that connection was established they released the fish into the wild. Five months later when they played the sound, the fish returned to the feeding spot.

They also live longer than you might think

It’s a common belief that goldfish have a short life span. In fact, if you take care of it properly, cleaning it’s tank and feeding it well, a goldfish can live for many years, potentially as long as 10 years. A few pet goldfish have even lived for decades.

Siblings Matthew and Hayley Wright were young kids when they won two goldfish at a funfair in 1977 in Brockworth, England. They named them Splish and Splash. They kids grew up and moved out of the house, leaving their father Richard to take care of them. In 2015, Splash became the oldest living goldfish at the age of 38 years.

Splash led a long life, yet still does not hold the record for the longest living fish of all time. Thus record belongs to Tish, who diead at the grand old age of 43 in his fishbowl in 1956.

His owner, Hilda Hand, said:

“I’m sure Tish recognized me. He always knew when it was feeding time and I used to talk to him.”

You might expect a fish that lives that long to get quite big, but Tish only grew to the size of 4.5 inches long.

Another myth is that goldfish grown only as big as their tanks. Really, their size is based on genetics, and has nothing to do with the size of the bowl they are kept it. “Tank suitable” goldfish can grow as long as 10 inches long, with “pond suitable” goldfish growing up to 18 inches long.