Can Goldfish Hear: The Science Of What Makes Them Respond To You

Goldfish are a popular pet, and many people wonder if they can hear. The answer is yes – goldfish can listen to, but not the same way humans do. 

Unlike humans, goldfish, however, do not possess any ears. So, how are they supposed to be able to hear a sound?

This article will discuss how goldfish hear and what types of sounds they can detect. 

How Can Goldfish Hear Sounds?

The inner ear and the lateral line are used by goldfish to hear sound.

The Inner Ear

The primary auditory system of goldfish includes the inner ear, which is visible through two small openings on either side of their skull. The fish’s inner ear is positioned inside its head. 

It is made up of tiny bones that move in reaction to vibrations in the water and throughout the fish’s body. The goldfish’s brain interprets the movement of these bones as sound by dislodging sensory cells in the inner ear.

How Can Goldfish Hear Sounds - Inner Ear and swim bladder

The Swim Bladder And Sound Transmission

Sound pressure waves can compress the gas in the swim bladder. The swim bladder contracts and changes volume as a result of this. If the sound is retransmitted as it reaches the tiny bones in the ear, the hair cells in the inner ear are activated.

The Lateral Line 

The lateral line extends from the head to the tail along both sides of a fish’s body. It’s used to detect water movement and vibrations. 

How Can Goldfish Hear Sounds - Lateral Line

Sound waves force water to move when they travel across it. Cells placed along the lateral line can understand this movement. This allows the goldfish to hear the sound and figure out where it’s coming from. So they can determine the source of the sound by using their lateral line.

The Hearing Ability Of Goldfish And Human – Know The Difference

The Hearing Ability Of Goldfish And Human

The hearing abilities of goldfish and humans are not the same. Because goldfish can’t hear the way we do, they can sense low-frequency sounds and vibrations. 

Also, goldfish have a different range of hearing than humans. For example, they can only hear low-frequency noises with a range of 50Hz to 3000Hz, whereas we can listen to sounds with a frequency range of 20Hz to 20,000Hz. 

This indicates that goldfish can detect sounds that are accompanied by vibrations, such as tapping on a window. And they can hear high-pitched sounds, such as whistling.

Can Goldfish Detect The Source Of Sounds?

Yes, goldfish utilize their lateral line to determine where the sound comes from. However, the inner ear does not assist in the sound source. This is why it’s crucial to avoid rapping on the glass or making loud, jarring noises or movements close to the aquarium. It can cause your goldfish to become stressed and scared of you. 

Excessive noises might stress out your goldfish, so keep the aquarium in a tranquil environment.

Can Goldfish Hear Music?

Can Goldfish Hear Music

Goldfish can hear music! And not only that, they differentiate between different genres and composers. Numerous research has been conducted to investigate this notion.  

A Japanese study by scientists confirmed the theory that goldfish can hear music thanks to their lateral lines picking up vibrations in the water and their internal ears. As a result, all of their sensory organs can listen to the various components of music.

Can Goldfish Hear Each Other?

Can Goldfish Hear Each Other

Goldfish are unable to communicate with one another by sound. So goldfish use body language. The term “talking” refers to using a voice box by mammals. Because goldfish lack a voice box, they cannot understand spoken language.

 Instead, they interpret what the other fish says with their eyes and sensory organs. Unfortunately, loud noises can cause a goldfish’s sensory abilities to deteriorate, resulting in lifelong hearing loss.

Do Goldfish Hear Noises Within The Tank – Like From Filters Or Aerators

The sounds and vibrations produced by the aquarium equipment in the tank can be heard by goldfish. For example, filters and aerators generate noise and vibrations in the water detected by the goldfish’s lateral line. 

Filters make a lot of noise beneath the water, plainly audible. Although this may appear to distract and stress a goldfish, it is essential to remember goldfish are not delicate creatures, and they have evolved to live with constant noise in their natural environment. 

For this reason, you should never worry that your filter makes a lot of sounds. Because goldfish can cope with these continual sounds at modest noise and vibration levels.

What Causes A Goldfish’s Hearing To Be Damaged?

Goldfish are really sensitive to loud sounds. 

It has been found that they can suffer damage due to the hair cells in their ears by intense low-frequency sounds. 

It was discovered that hearing loss occurred in their lateral and internal ear after producing a low-frequency 170 dB for two days with no rest period.

Is It Ok To Tap On The Tank?

You might be tempted to tap on the tank’s side to test your goldfish’s hearing. However, this is not something you should do! Tapping on the tank’s side – or making a loud noise near it – will generate intense vibrations that scare your goldfish.

Because startling your fish can be pretty stressful, you should never tap on the side of your tank. You should also refrain from producing excessive noise in the vicinity of your aquarium.

Final Words

Even though goldfish lack ears, they can hear sound and even detect where it originates from.

Because the fish have an inner ear and a lateral line to aid in hearing, this is the case.

Isn’t it true that nature has a way of surprising us? So it’s really fascinating to learn how goldfish interact and hear. 

I am now confident you’re ready to converse with your goldfish! 

Hopefully, this article has clarified how goldfish hear and the science underlying each issue.

Sujit Modak

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