Many people think that having pet fishes might be not as interesting or fun as owning a cat or dog. However, these aquatic animals, especially Bettas, Oscars, or Goldfish, can be trained to do tricks and interact with you as long as you know the proper training. This can be fun and help strengthen the relationship with your pets.
In this guide, we’ll show you four techniques on how to teach your fish tricks.
1. Following your finger
Get the attention of your fish by putting one of your fingers next to the aquarium near the fish. If it responds immediately, reward with a small treat like food. Otherwise, shake the finger until your fish notices.
Move the finger across the aquarium and reward your fish when it follows immediately. This can be a bit more challenging, so you need to be patient. Keep in mind to move in different patterns, such as back and forth or up and down.
Repeat the movements of your finger and use treats to teach your fish effectively. With repetition, it will associate the act of following with being fed. Consider using pellets as a special treat instead of regular food.
Once your fish learns this trick, it’s easier for you to teach it other techniques as the clip below:
2. Swimming through hoops
First, you need to prepare a hoop which is large enough for the fish to swim through easily. It is easy to make one yourself with a pipe cleaner. For smaller fishes, you can use a bracelet or hoop earring. If you don’t want to put your hand in the water, attach the hoop to a pole or strong.
Put the hoop in the water so that it is perpendicular to the aquarium’s side. This will be simpler for you to direct the fish.
Move your finger in the water and try to encourage your fish to follow it. This might take time to succeed because it might see the hoop as something strange or dangerous.
Every time your fish swim through, reward it with food. Keep in mind practice this trick on a daily basis to help your fish get used to the response.
For more impressive and challenging trick, consider reducing the hoop size or adding additional hoops.
3. Completing an obstacle course
Create an obstacle course in your aquarium with plants, arches, or hoops. Compared to a series of hoops, this trick might be more difficult because there are many new items to your fish.
Use treats or your finger to direct your fish through the course. Start with the simplest obstacle, and move on to the harder one as it masters the others. Do not allow the fish to eat the treat until it has completed the course.
Reward your fish immediately with a special treat after it finishes the obstacle course. Similar to other tricks, this positive reinforcement plays an essential role in training your fish rapidly. If you have put the food on a hook, keep in mind to remove it before feeding to avoid hurting your fish.
First, you need to make your hand familiar to the fish by feeding every day by hand. This will associate your hand with being fed. Also, this routine also helps develop trust and relationship between you and your fish.
Teach your fish to move to the surface for food by putting your fingertips above the water. If it does not respond, hold some treats in the fingertips, but do not drop them until the fish has moved to get the food.
Once you have grabbed the attention of your fish, hold some treats above the water. As it is approaching the surface, pull your hand from the water so that your fish will jump for getting the food.
After your fish has jumped out, reward it with some special treats. This positive reinforcement might show it that jumping will get it an extra treat rather than regular food.