Fun Facts About Fish!

A catfish swims, looking towards the camera.

If you spend much time on sanctuary grounds, you likely know that residents have complex and fascinating personalities and quirks. However, while fish are exploited both within the pet trade and agricultural industry, there are few sanctuaries set up to properly care for fish so you likely haven’t seen many, if any, in that setting. Because many folks have likely never met individuals living out their lives in sanctuary before, we have created a series of resources compiling fun and fascinating facts about residents to share with supporters and the general public. Fish are amazing beings who deserve to be better known!

10 Fun Facts About Fish

  1. First, let’s bust the myth that fish have super short memories. A number of studies support the fact that fish actually have great memories. In one such study, rainbow fish exhibited the ability to recall specific routes a year after they had been introduced to them, even though they hadn’t been around them for the interim.
  2. Fish can also use their good memories to navigate complex mazes!
  3. Did you know that fish learn from each other and important information can actually be passed down through generations? Basically, one family of fish can have cultural traditions (certain behaviors, feeding techniques, preferred locations etc..) unique to their family that is passed along to the next generation and so on.
  4. Fish have preferences in who they hang out with! When presented with the option to hang out with new fish or fish they had previously been introduced too, they choose to hang out with their known peers.
  5. Fish communicate with one another through a variety of ways, depending on the species. Some use sound, movement, color, smell, and bioluminescence. Some even use electrical impulses! Fish may seem different but they have rich experiences and lives and much of this is facilitated by how they communicate with others.
  6. Fish talk?! Well, depending on the species, fish may rub bones together, grind teeth, vibrate their swim bladder, or flex their muscles a certain way to make noise and communicate specific things to others.
  7. Some species of fish even use tools. Really! Certain species, like the black spotted tuskfish have been observed using rocks as a sort of anvil upon which to open mollusk shells.
  8. Did you know fish can get the blues? It is true. There have been a number of studies that have revealed that fish can have a glass half full-glass half empty approach to new experiences, depending on their previous ones.
  9. Many fish have a great sense of spatial awareness. Think of having a map in your head of the layout of your house. Many fish have the same. Of course, their home area looks a little different! 
  10. Smile! We also know that at least some fish can recognize and remember different human faces.

Hopefully this gives you and your visitors a better idea about the complex and fascinating lives of fish. Did you find any of these fun facts surprising? Or would you like to see a verified fun fish fact added to this list? Let us know!

Fun Facts About Fish Infographic

Looking to share this information in an accessible way with other sanctuaries and supporters? Check out and share our infographic below!

Fun Facts About Fish 2 by Amber D Barnes


How Do Fish Communicate With Each Other? | Science ABC

Fish Tool Use Documented in the Wild – (2016) | Nature (Non-Compassionate Source)

Are Fish Far More Intelligent Than We Realize? | Vox (Non-Compassionate Source)

Fish Have Feelings, Too | NOVA (Non-Compassionate Source)

Breakups Really Suck, Even If You’re A Fish | Vox (Non-Compassionate Source)

Fish Can Recognize Human Faces, Study Shows | Science Daily (Non-Compassionate Source)

Non-Compassionate Source?
If a source includes the (Non-Compassionate Source) tag, it means that we do not endorse that particular source’s views about animals, even if some of their insights are valuable from a care perspective. See a more detailed explanation here

Updated on June 22, 2021

Related Articles

Support Our Work
Please consider supporting The Open Sanctuary Project by making a donation today! We are 100% donor-funded and rely on the support of generous individuals to provide compassionate resources to animal caretakers worldwide.
Donate Now HERE