Goldfish taught tricks


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Comet the goldfish could arguably be called the world's most intelligent fish after its owner, Dr.

Dean Pomerleau, taught him to play football, basketball, limbo, play fetch, slalom around a series of poles and push a rugby ball over a set of posts.

Comet was taught the repertoire of tricks by a method known as positive reinforcement, which rewards the fish with food for completing a task.

Dr. Pomerleau, who lives in Pittsburgh, has previously trained a calico fantail known as Albert Einstein to perform similar tricks, and the fish is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fish with the largest repertoire of tricks.

Comet, having learnt to perform more tricks than Albert Einstein, looks set to claim this title.

According to Dr. Pomerleau "ith the correct tools and the basic promise of a food reward, fish can very quickly learn complex tricks - like the limbo, slalom or playing fetch. Now people in the market for a dog might want to consider a fish instead."

Practical Fishkeeping first covered Pomerleau's trained goldfish in 2005 (See Clever goldfish scores goals, News, December 21, 2005).

PFK contributor Dr Peter Burgess warned that fishkeepers should not attempt to try the techniques at home, as he believed that they could be stressful to fish if done incorrectly.