Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by running_dog, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. running_dog Honored Member

    Maybe not... fish are very food motivated, probably bored of their tanks so really keen to work, have limited experiences so new objects are interesting, and distractions are totally controllable... I think once you manage to explain the idea of learning to a fish it could learn very fast.
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  2. Dogster Honored Member

    WOW... Well now I REALLY want a fish...LOL:ROFLMAO:
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  3. Teddy Weddy Well-Known Member

    I wish i had Clicker trained our Goldfish Fred, He died last year after having him for 7 years! :( I wish i knew sooner!
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  4. sara Moderator

    So I bought a Betta yesterday, I am going to let him settle and get used to eating, then I'm going to attempt clicker training!
  5. Dogster Honored Member

    Haha, AWESOME!!!!!! Keep us posted!!!!! OMG, I really want to know how it goes!!!!!:LOL:
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  6. running_dog Honored Member

    LOL :ROFLMAO: Now I'm really going to have to work hard on that goldfish!
    I tried with a light today (we had to have a break for a few days as we had people staying in that room) the goldfish didn't seem to get the idea so quickly with a light :rolleyes:.
    At least the fish is getting a lot less scared of my fingers :).
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  7. charmedwolf Moderator

    I might try this with one of my Bettas. He's always happy to interact with me.
  8. Dogster Honored Member

    Keep us posted Rdog!!!! (Maybe I should get a fish.... lol:ROFLMAO:)
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  9. sara Moderator

    OK so after a little more than a week of using the light every time I feed my Betta, he now goes to the spot I feed, every time I flash the light... By Jove! I think he's got it! LOL I'm not sure what to do next... maybe get him to follow my finger? Flash the light then put the food in different spots, so he learns it's my hand he's got to follow?
  10. running_dog Honored Member

    Great Sara! I'm so happy you've followed through with training the fish :). What you do next might depend what you want to do with your fish next, targeting or freeshaping? I think maybe you need to teach cause and effect - when the fish does a particular action it gets food. What you suggest about feeding in different areas would be a great basis for teaching the fish to target or follow your hand. Or what about capturing it doing something that it does naturally or giving it an object to interact with?

    This is where I have got to...

    I've switched from the goldfish to working with my 2 white cloud minnows for the last week, they are in a tank where I go more often so they get more time. They naturally seem to do a "swim in a circle" occasionally and I wondered whether it would be possible to capture that. One of them does a kind of "go hide" that I might be able to capture. But how on earth do I give a cue to a fish??????

    The minnows now tell me when they want to work as they come to the side of the tank and look at me. I've just been flashing the light for them when they are in that area as that is also the area of the hoop I want them to target (and hopefully will eventually swim through). I made the hoop out of that ring you find under a bottle top and a piece of plastic coated wire. I only put the hoop in the tank for them when I want them to work.

    At the moment one of the fish is very good at swimming about an inch below the hoop and I can't seem to get her any closer... I'm wondering whether to drop the hoop an inch and seeing if she swims a little closer. She isn't afraid as once she brushed the hoop on her way to grab some food. I've noticed that when the food is thinning out she thinks it is worth while to swim under the hoop a couple more times just in case. BUT is it the area of the tank or the hoop she is targeting? Do I move the hoop so she learns it is the hoop not the area of the tank she needs to target?

    I do think it has improved my understanding of the minnows - I now know they don't like working on a morning and they like best to work in the late afternoon and evening. Because I'm noticing them more I've found that they like their water pump switched off at night. As or the training I keep realising that I've missed things out that I should have done first or differently. It is certainly making me think never mind making the fish think! I'm wishing that first I had tried flashing the light when they were together then for the part of the tank they were in, that way I could more likely get them both doing what I want. I might yet go back to that.
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  11. running_dog Honored Member

    A couple of things...

    I forgot to take the hoop out yesterday and now the fish don't swim near it. I guess that means they were targeting the hoop rather than the location. It also means I've got to start all over again with that. As I've lost that round I've started to work on "go hide" instead.

    As for cues I have decided to mark points on the glass of the tank with a permanent marker pen. Maybe by putting my finger tip on the appropriate point I'll be able to give cues to the fish. The marks are for me to make sure I give the same cue each time. For now I've put one mark beside the ornament where the fish does "go hide" and one beside the hoop.
  12. sara Moderator

    I think the cue is the object you're putting in the tank, mostly. Obviously for an object you leave in there, you need another cue, and I think what you decided on is brilliant!

    I started putting the tip of my finger in the top of the water, waiting until he showed some interest in it, then clicked. He always goes back to the place I was feeding him when I click, so I might just leave it at that, and use my finger to teach him he needs to do something.

    you're right about them being more interested in training at certain times of day. my Betta is much more active just after the sun comes up.

    I think I need to name him... I've never named fish before, but if I'm going to be training him, I probably should! LOL
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  13. southerngirl Honored Member

    How do I get my Betta, Bubbles interested in my finger? Also what are some tricks I could teach my turtle, Shamrock, he's smaller than the size of my palm.
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  14. running_dog Honored Member

    I think there are a couple of ways to work with your fish to target your finger.

    The goldfish became very interested in my fingers when I hand fed them - obviously at first you release the food when the fish swim close to your fingers as you hold them just above the water surface, it takes a while for the fish to get confident enough to approach so you have to be patient and make sure you are in a comfortable position first. Then you submerge your finger tips holding the food and release when the fish come close, then you only release the food when the fish touch your fingers. It took about a week with the goldfish.

    The other way is to condition your fish to understand that a flash of light or a click (if you rest the clicker on the same surface as the tank they can feel the vibrations) means food. Then you can shape your fish to approach and eventually target your finger.

    The first way is probably the easiest in your case, but I think you will learn a lot more and be able to teach a lot more by using the second method. It depends what you want to get out of the training.

    As for the turtle. I don't have a great deal of experience with turtles... but when we went fishing for bluegill we had 7 or 8 painted turtles homing in one float and a couple of them followed it close in shore. So I'm thinking that depending on your turtle you would be able to use a ball or float as a lure and teach it that interacting with the ball gets it food. If you use a float on a line you have the advantage of being able to jig it around at first to get your turtles interest - and then reward that interest. Once your turtle has the idea maybe you could teach it to score a goal? Even just pushing a ball round his tank is going to look quite impressive. You could also use a float as a lure and teach your turtle to swim into something, through a hoop, between poles or even maybe teach him to weave. I don't know how clever turtles are :confused: you might need to capture things he does naturally rather than try to teach him "artificial" tricks.
  15. running_dog Honored Member

    It sounds like you might be able to use your finger as a target stick which should be useful!

    If he goes back to the place where you were feeding him before it means he'll know that what he does to earn food is not always directly related to food, I don't think my fish have got that idea yet so I'm going to have to take a step back.

    I'm hopeless at naming fish, at the moment I think of my minnows as Black fin and "the pale sickly one". The goldfish (3 tank and 2 pond) are imaginatively known as Comet, Half comet, Common, Gold, and Twin (the other Twin died 2 years ago but the survivor was stuck with the name).
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  16. sara Moderator

    Stupid betta has now built a bubble nest where I drop the food... he's going to have to get fed somewhere else now.

    It's kinda fun training fish! They're way smarter than I've ever given them credit for!
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  17. running_dog Honored Member

    One of my minnows (Black fin) swam very deliberately through the hoop yesterday but hasn't shown the least interest since :(.
  18. Caiti Experienced Member

    I'm so glad I found this thread! I used to own aRyukin goldfish named Celia. I trained her to do a bunch of tricks. But she died a little less than a year ago. :(

    I currently own three bettas and two goldfish. This thread has inspired me to start training again!
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  19. Tâmara Vaz Experienced Member

    KKK!!That's so cool!!!
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  20. running_dog Honored Member

    The minnows are doing alright, it would be hard to demonstrate their "trick" as they take their time to perform and people would think they were just going to swim there anyway. I know their behaviour HAS changed.

    It is funny though, just like with dogs, fish need proofing, they extemporise on tricks to see what "counts" and most of the "problems" with "getting" a trick go back to poor timing and unclear criteria.

    Kennel up (swim into ornament) - proofing, hand signal
    Target finger - shaping approach to finger, they are still wary of my finger so their approach is also rewarded by me taking my finger out of the water. But even though they've only had 3-4 sessions on this it doesn't take long for them to start zooming in.
    Get the snail (headbutt one of the many snails)- They do this naturally, they seem to like knocking them off the glass (the snails just slither away afterwards) and I thought it would be fun to be able to point to a snail and have the fish head butt it. So far they've had one session shaping approach to snail. I think they already like this one :LOL:.
    Swim through hoop - back to square 1 (see "PROBLEMS" below)
    Pay attention (wave hand across front of tank) - something I've always done to remind the fish I'm still paying or help them to notice a hand signal!

    I would never have believed how much proofing a fish needs!
    light on/off
    pump on/off
    time of day
    I even need to proof them to a camera being on the side near the tank
    It is a difficult stage for the fish because they need to understand that that they are not always rewarded for a particular behaviour because sometimes I am asking for something different - that is really why I am training so much at once, they had got to the stage where they expected food whenever they swam into the ornament and I made a mistake and really knocked Pale's confidence/motivation when I didn't reward her when she offered "kennel up" :(. She likes get the snail though :)!

    I'm starting to do training sessions where I ask for more than one behaviour giving different cues at different times. They've handled it pretty well so far.

    Blackfin is getting the idea of swimming into the ornament WHEN I SIGNAL. He swims past a few times looking at me then goes in, it takes a few minutes but he DOESN'T offer this if I am NOT signalling. Now he has started going in different entrances once even swimming through the hole on top which I've never seen them use before - as if he is trying out exactly what gets rewarded.

    The swim through hoop trick has discovered many of my training inadequacies. I was confusing them by waiting too long hoping they would swim closer and so I ended up marking just when they turned away - so they actually learned to turn away from the hoop rather than approach it. In fact the first trick I unwittingly taught them has been to NOT swim through the hoop :rolleyes:.

    So we are back to square 1 on this one. But it is a better square 1. I have marked the side of the tank near the hoop position with four vertical lines either side. When the hoop is in the water the fish are rewarded for swimming past the first of these lines while they are facing the hoop. Gradually I hope to get them to swim past the next line and so on until they reach the hoop. I'll probably put diagonal lines in as well leading into the hoop, it just makes it easier for me to be consistent with my criteria

    I've noticed that since starting training the minnows are less territorial and territorial incidents that do occur are less severe. I guess they were bored. So click to calm probably would work for fish :rolleyes:.

    Sorry for the essay! Maybe I'm over optimistic, I can't prove any of this yet, still training fish IS fun!

    How are you other fish trainers getting on? Real world friends (rather than DTA) just keep telling me I'm mad :LOL:, I went to work and told them my fish had swum into a tank ornament... maybe I am mad, but I don't even care :cool:.
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