Yes, they do recognize their owners although some might find that hard to believe in a non-verbal fish.  Some will even develop a bond with their owner too. 

 True, it is not a bond like someone would have with their dog or cat but fish can memorize their owner’s face and its surroundings when they live in different habitats.

Do Fish Recognize Their Owners

Yes, a fish can recognize their owners.  They can recognize human faces and even differentiate between faces.  This is a big deal because they have a very simple brain.  Simple brains usually do not function this way but it does.  Their simple brain is able to form complex patterns.  Yes, your fish is able to recognize your face and pick you out from a crowd.

Do Fish Bond With Their Owners

Not only do fish recognize their owners, but they can also bond with them.  Recognizing and bonding with their owners are two things that some did not feel a fish could do.  They both sort of go hand in hand.  The fish wait for the owners to come home to feed them and play with them. 

Studies have shown that fish recognize their owners and bond with them by jumping and flipping, swimming rapidly, and asking for food.  Fish do know you and want to be with you.

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How Fish Recognize Their Owners

It is thought that fish recognize their owner through feeding time, which is why only the owner should be the one that feeds them.  Fish are smarter than what people think and with this intelligence, it helps a fish to recognize their owners and store them within their brain. 

Scientists are still trying to figure how they are doing this but they do know that a fish can recognize and even bond with their own.

Structure of Their Brain and How It Works

The fish has a central nervous system that comprises of a spinal cord, nerves that go throughout their body, and a small brain.

  • Olfactory Lobes:  These are responsible for the sense of smell and are at the end of their body.  They are small but efficient.  Some of the bony predator fish have larger olfactory lobes to smell and hunt for their prey.
  • Telencephalon:  This lies behind the olfactory lobes and is the part of the brain that is similar to the cerebrum of vertebrates. This and the olfactory lobes make the forebrain of the fish.
  • Diencephalon:  This is the part that differentiates between dark and light, regulates hormones, and distinguishes colors.  It is connected mid-brained to the telencephalon.
  • Optic lobes:  This is what enables them to see the world and is connected to the midbrain.  The fish that hunt by seeing prey are specially developed
  • Cerebellum:  This is the hindbrain and what the optic lobes are connected to.  This part of the brain is responsible for movement and balance and will allow the fish to balance and swim properly
  • Myelencephalon:  This is the last part of the brain and is connected to the spinal cord.  This part helps in osmoregulation and respiration.
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Fish Intelligence

In some fish, their cognitive powers match or exceed some of the higher vertebrates.  This means that a fish can process features and structures well.  Because their peripheral nervous system coordinates with their central nervous system is why a fish can store information and give a response.  Basically, this means that a fish is able to see human features and they can also store information too.  They know who is taking care of them and do not forget the face of their owner.  

How to Bond With Your Fish and get Them to Recognize Their Owner

If you want your fish to not only recognize you but bond with you, you need to do the following things.

  • Pick a Healthy Fish: You must choose a healthy fish that has intact fins and is active.  The fish should be aware of the presence of people around it and moving around the tank.
  • Provide a Good Home:  When you bring your fish home, make sure that you have a spacious aquarium so that they have plenty of room to ensure good health.  They should also have plants, ornaments, and a good filter.  Don’t overpopulate your aquarium with a lot of ornaments and stuff or other fish.
  • Put Them in an Active Area:  Make sure that you place your aquarium in the place where you spend the most time.  It should also be a happy place.  The living room is the best place for your aquarium so your fish can see you more and make recognizing and bond with you easier.
  • Feed Them:  When it is time to feed them, make sure that it is you that is feeding them.  You can offer them blood worms by putting your fingers just inside the tank so the fish will come up and takes it from you.  If you are the only one feeding them they will recognize their owner.
  • Talk to It:  Some people would think you are crazy if you sit and talk to your fish but that helps the fish to recognize you and bond with them.  They are sensitive to voices and will start to recognize yours.  It will make them more active and help to keep it from being bored.
  • Don’t tap the Tank too Much:  Tapping on the tank can disturb the fish and they can become anxious.  If you want, you can place your finger on the aquarium and move it around without tapping.  The fish will receive these signals and gives you and your fish a way to connect.
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  • Fish have good social intelligence
  • There have been studies done that show that fish can recognize their owner and even bond with them.  
  • Although the fish have smaller brains, they are smart brains.
  • It has been found that while we enjoy peering into their world the fish also enjoy looking into ours.
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Hi! I'm Anna and I´m a certified cynologist (KAU, ACW). Expert, blue cross volunteer, owner of Chinese crested kennel "Salvador Dali" and breedless friend called Fenya. "I can't imagine my life without dogs and I totally support the idea #AdoptDontShop".