I have bought this new type of Fish and set up my aquarium again so I have been trying to get as much information about it. While reading one of many articles, I came across this in a article on "aquahobby.com" written by Marc Kutscher. I posted this under bait tackle and tactics because we have had a discussion or two about lure colour etc.
He tells a very interesting story of how he studied the brain power of his fish... Here's his words:
In brief, my experiment consists of showing the fish two different 8 cm disks- for example, a red disk and a Brown disk. The fish is only rewarded with food if he choses the red disk. If he can be sucessfully trained to come to the red disk, then that proves fish can distinquish colors.
Similary, I tested to see if he could distinquish between two abstract symbols by seeing if he can be trained to come a disk with a "O" symbol on it versus a "*" on it. Finally I attempted to see if he could count by trying to train him to come to a disk with one circle and one with three circles. This fish whom I have been training is the Red Parrot cichlid, and these fish are known for their personality traits and some degree of intelligence.
Here are the tests which include discerning color, number and shapes:
*First I trained the fish to follow my finger across the outside of the glass, and dropped food into the aquarium near my finger. This trained him to associate finger=food.
*Then I substituted an 8c red cap for my finger, and did the same thing as above with just my finger. After several weeks, he was able to discern redcap=food. And Already, this fish could strate that he could make new connections of facts. And he could learn!!
*Next I did a test to see whether he could discern red from brown. First, I placed two small food granules on top of the red disk. With my index finger, I covered the food on the red cap. I put the indec finger of my other hind on the same place on the brown disk - but no food was hidden on that side. Standing about half a meter away from the tank with the two discs close together, I paused for five seconds. Then I moved forward slowly, spreading the caps apart (I had to look yp to avoid watching the fish, so that his movements would not influence me). Whichever circle the fish went to first (within a few centimeters) was is choice. When he was right, I gave him the food' when he was wrong, I did not. When he was wrong, I took the wrong cap away and showed him the right one. I would randomly switch which hand had the red cap. Then every two minutes I would repeat the experiment, five times total each night, recording the results each time.
*After Several weeks, I gave him a final test: five trails in the mornin, and five trails in the evening for two days. ould he learn that "red=food" but "brown=no food?" If he could learn that, it would prove he could distinguish colors as well.
*Next, I tested if he could distinguish abstract symbols. I put a 3 cm "O" on one 8cm diameter white paper disk, and a 3 cm "*" on another white paper disk. He only got the food reward if he first approached the "O" disk.
*Finally, can he count? On one white disc, I placed a single 1 cm solid dot. On the other, I placed three of the dots. Could he be trained to come only to the single dot?
overall, the fish succeeded in doing very well on the color test and the shapes test, but not the number test. On the color test, the fish got 18 out of 20 tests correct, for an accuracy rate of 90%! In the abstract shapes test, he got 38/50 correct, i.e., he was right 76% of the time. For the number test he only got 9/20 trials correct. Which was not any different than from pure luck.
So the results come in as the following--
~Red disk versus brown disk-
~1 circle versus 3 circles-
~Circle versus star-
Therefor I proved that fish can learn to make new associations (red gets food, brown not; and "O" gets food, not "*".) This showed he is capable of learned intelligence. He can make his own decicisions, and not just act instintively. I also proved fish can see color and that he can see shapes through the tank. It is not clear why, but the fish was not able to the tell the difference between one dot and three.
This simple procedure - testing if a fish can be trained to distinguish one target versus another - allows us to communicate with our fish/ It allows fish to strate to us what he knows. If you have noticed that your fish reacts when you approach the tank, maybe you can train yours. See how smart your fish really are. Have fun with this; and maybe your fish will have fun with you!
Hope you guys found it interesting.