Freshwater Fish Care-Does Noise Stress Fish?

July 12, 20120 Comments
Freshwater Fish Care-Does Noise Stress Fish

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I know a lot of you really care for your fish, and get upset when you see your fish acting strangely at times. Is that true of you? Some feel that perhaps….noise may stress their fish, and have asked the question, should I protect my freshwater fish against loud noises, and does freshwater fish care include shielding them from such noises?

Here is what one aquarist has found to be the case, on this subject of noise…

“It is very possible for a fish to really get ‘spooked’ by loud noises or even too much movement near a tank. I have had fish crash into the sides of tanks from being scared and knocked themselves crazy and die! Also, you would be surprised at how chemicals, even air fresheners, or anything that is toxic, can get into the filters and settle in the water of aquariums and make fish sick. So you both are probably right!”

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Along similar lines is the comment below. The commenting aquarist though, goes into the makeup of fish, in greater detail, to explain what could be the case. They say……

Freshwater Fish Care-Does Noise Stress Fish?

“I’ve no scientific data to support this, but I would tend to agree that continuous noise from filters, lights, pumps is something the fish likely get used to. No one has yet suggested we not use this equipment due to the stress they cause fish, so…

Sudden noise is another matter. The fish in your aquarium can “hear” the water running in your house pipes, when you turn on the tap or flush the toilet. But their sense of hearing is very different from what we think of as “hearing.” Fish detect changes in water pressure and for this they use the lateral line system. Without getting too technical, there is a line of pores through which water enters into a small canal. Pressure changes cause the water in the canal to move, and nerve cells send impulses to the brain. This is highly sensitive and fast responding, which is how fish can chase each other at remarkable speeds without hitting objects or each other.

Pressure waves are generated by loud noises outside the tank, tapping on the glass, etc, and the fish “hears” these and reacts. Most of our fish are shoaling fish, and they have a heightened sense to noise. I have observed my fish reacting to a car door being closed across the street, when the room windows were closed. Noise from loud music, TV, etc can stress fish. These sorts of noise should be avoided.”

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Takes a bit of thinking about, doesn’t it. They (our fish) are complex creatures. In the video below, a fellow aquarist takes extra precautions with his aquarium setup, maybe for his own sake, with regard noise, but I’m sure it would be good for the “ears” of his watery friends, too. Watch along and see what he does. It’s something we can put into practice………

Those are definite steps that we can take, I’m sure you will agree. Finally, try and have a read of the scientific studies attempted, as shown below, dealing with the noise effects on fish. See if you can decipher what they are saying……

“There have been several studies that have examined the effects of long-term noise exposure on fish (e.g. Smith et al. 2004a,b, 2006; Scholick & Yan 2001, 2002; Amoser & Ladich 2003; Amoser et al. 2004; Wysocki et al. 2006). In general, these studies show that fishes that have anatomical specializations that make them better able to detect lower levels of sound pressure (i.e. hearing specialists) than other fishes might show temporary hearing loss when exposed to increased background noise levels for 24 h or more, whereas fishes without such specializations (i.e. hearing generalists) do not necessar-ily show hearing loss. For example, Smith et al. (2004a,b) examined hearing loss after over 20 days of exposure to a broadband noise of 170 dB re 1 μPa (rms) and found that there was a substantial hearing loss in goldfish (Caras-sius auratus L., 1758), a fish with hearing specializations making it more sensitive to sound pressure, but not in the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus L., 1758), a fish without such specializations. Similar findings for hearing specialists and generalists have been reported by others

These results lead to the tentative suggestion that the amount of hearing loss that occurs in fish might be cor-related with the sound pressure level of the noise relative to the hearing threshold of the fish. In other words, as first pointed out by Hastings et al. (1996), it is likely that a sound pressure has to be at least some level above a fish’s threshold before any hearing loss occurs. Therefore, goldfish, with lower hearing thresholds (better pressure sensitivity), showed hearing loss because the sound pressure level was much further above threshold than for the Nile tilapia.”

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So, what conclusions have you come to in your own mind, and from the experiences and studies mentioned above? Does freshwater fish care , include the shielding of our precious fish from noise, as much as we can? I think I may tend to take action on what is stated above, and do my best to lower noise levels as much as I can for the sake of these precious little ones.

How about you? What are your thoughts on this subject?

I’d like to hear your comments


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