Do Goldfish Really Have A 3-Second Memory? Debunking This Popular Myth

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I’m sure you’ve already heard about the myth that goldfish have a memory span of only three seconds. Many of us have believed this is true, but what if I tell you that it’s actually wrong?

Yes. You read that right! It turns out that Dory, from the movie Finding Dory, would not have a bad memory in real life. 

Dory from Finding Dory.

In fact, research has shown that goldfish are pretty intelligent and have good memories! Poor goldfish. We’re so sorry for underestimating you!

Carassius auratus, most commonly known as goldfish, have a much longer memory than most people think.

Culum Brown, a fish cognition expert at Macquarie University in Australia, says that goldfish can remember things for weeks, months, and even years, and science has been supporting this fact for over 60 years.

Thousands of studies have shown their excellent memory and proven how intelligent they are. For example, researchers from Oxford University trained a school of goldfish to measure distances. They observed that the goldfish learned and remembered how far to swim down the tank before returning to the starting point for a treat. 

They also learned that if goldfish are consistently given food on one side of their tank, they will remember to go to that side during feeding times even if they are not fed. 

Another piece of evidence is that goldfish can learn to associate red with food. Goldfish quickly learn to choose the red paddle if a red paddle gives them food, but a blue one does not. Even after the experiment was over, they preferred the color red. Similar experiments have also been conducted using other cues like bubbles and music.

Researchers have also discovered that goldfish can navigate mazes, escape nets, and complete tasks using different stimuli. They can even remember how to do these tasks weeks or months later. 

Incredibly enough, goldfish can recognize and remember other individuals, even after long periods of separation. Some goldfish owners claim their pets can even recognize them apart from others.

Amazing, right?

Did you know that goldfish have good memories? Have you ever had a pet goldfish? Comment below with your thoughts.

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