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Thread: Cichlids caught playing

  1. #1
    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002

    Default Cichlids caught playing

    Figured I would post this in this section. First article I have seen showing cichlids playing. Though I do recall us having several members that claimed their discus liked to play in the water from the hose during water changes.

    In any case have a read of the whole article.

    How to test if this was playing
    The researchers wanted to make sure the fish were truly playing. After all, they reasoned, the fish might just be aggressors letting off some steam, or hungry guys angry at not having enough food — or even lonely guys frustrated by not having a mate.

    Male cichlids vibrate their whole bodies when looking for a mate, Burghardt says. But these fish were not doing that. Their thermometer-bashing also didn’t seem to have anything to do with being hungry. These guys did it before and after eating.

    Finally, the videos showed no link between thermometer batting and aggression toward other fish. Former bullies who could sometimes see others of their species in a neighboring tank might race at the glass wall, as if they were trying to attack. But even when they could see these other cichlids, the sequestered males still played with their tank’s thermometer.

    In the end, what the fish were doing looked a lot like Burghardt’s definition of play. He defines that as repeated behavior that has little to do with finding food, finding a mate or fighting off predators. Animals do it when they’re relaxed or bored, he says.
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  2. #2
    Moderator Team LizStreithorst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Moselle, MS

    Default Re: Cichlids caught playing

    Interesting, when my larger group prefers to fight over food than eat it. I think that they're play fighting because after they are finished fighting over food, every one gets plenty to eat.
    Mama Bear

  3. #3
    Registered Member + MVP danotaylor's Avatar
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    May 2018
    Aussie living in Cincy
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    Default Re: Cichlids caught playing

    I used to have a group of large cyphotilapia gibberosa "mikula"...these guys would go nuts when I came to feed the tank...I could hand feed them and they would literally lay in hand and let me stroke their flanks...some of my fish in the 500 gallon trust me like that as well...the 5 second memory theory is rubbish IMHE

  4. #4
    Registered Member
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Cichlids caught playing

    I've read about Oscars playing "catch" with their fishkeepers using a ping pong ball. My wild discus have always enjoyed playing in the water flow.

    Cichlids are extremely intelligent fish so I'm not surprised that they seek entertainment in some form.

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