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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

How do fish sleep?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (25343points) August 29th, 2010

I have never really been one to keep fish as pets. My parents always had fish, but I never paid much attention to them. A little bit of background: As some of you might already know, last year we installed a pond in our yard and we have koi. Someone gifted my husband a fantail goldfish to add to the pond this year, saying that he would be just fine. He seemed to enjoy the pond itself, but the koi kept attacking him and trying to eat him. So needless to say, this fish now lives in a tank in our bedroom.

It took him a few weeks to heal up, but he seems very happy now. The thing is, every now and then I will catch him sort of aimlessly floating around in the tank. Not upside down, per se, but on his side or with his head pointing down. I always panic and think he is sick or dying.. but usually within moments he will “snap out of it” and start swimming around, business as usual.

Could he be sleeping??

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12 Answers

Austinlad's avatar

They have to find a secluded place in order to get aquatic night’s rest.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Austinlad his tank is pretty empty…. does that mean he ISN’T sleeping at all??

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

For the most part, I don’t think they’re ever really 100% asleep. It seems they sort of put their brains on autopilot, and float around aimlessly for awhile. This sounds like exactly what your fish is doing. This is just what I have observed from the couple of fish I’ve had in the past. I could very well be wrong.

Frenchfry's avatar

I have observe my fish i have had in the past. I think when they go hide by the rocks and don’t move. I think they are sleeping. It might be in my mind. Good question.. You got me curious.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Frenchfry there is an algae eater in the tank with him, and that fish will go hide in the rocks and appears to be asleep. I have just never actually seen the goldfish hold still. He just does that weird floating thing (and freaks me out every single time), but last night it occurred to me that he might actually be asleep. :)

BoBo1946's avatar

How do fish sleep?
Talis Maisey Edwards from Carmarthenshire (Age 5–14)

Answer:Yes fish sleep. But it’s not sleep as we know it. They don’t have eyelids to close, they sometimes do it during the day, they don’t show the characteristic brainwave patterns like REM sleep seen in humans, and some, including most sharks have to keep swimming in their sleep.

AstroChuck's avatar

With dead gangsters.

Austinlad's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie, I’m so sorry, but I made apparently a very poor pun—aquatic as in “a quiet.”

Hawkeye's avatar

With an open eye.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

I would say he was sleeping. I used to watch my goldfish all the time, and they would always do that and I kept them for 3 years.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Your fish is indeed sleeping I would say. Its a bit odd he floats face down tail end up though. Could be early signs of a float bladder issue but i dont really think so. Most fish, when they sleep will lay down on the rocks or on a decoration. I havent observed very many just sleeping wherever in a tank. My clownfish used to swim up to the top of the tank, next to the glass, and just sleep at the water level. Odd little thing..

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I actually found it on google when so many jellies seemed uncertain, and it said that some types of fish will just float idly while asleep.
Kind of reassuring, now that I know my fish doesn’t have some kind of brain damage. :)

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