Angelfish are one of the most popular aquatic pets due to their striking appearance and color variations, yet their high intelligence is what makes them even more interesting.
While most people think that fish aren’t especially smart, you have probably noticed that your angel likes to interact with you and can distinguish you from other people.
Which raises some questions!
So, do angelfish recognize their owners? Yes, angelfish do recognize their owners and can remember a human face for months or years. Not only that, but angelfish also develop a bond with their people. Obviously, this bond is a bit different from the one you would have with a cat or a dog, but it is a bond nonetheless.
I know this is rather short, but it will do if you are looking for a quick answer. Continue reading if you want to know how your angel’s brain works and what are the ways to train your angelfish to recognize you.
Can An Angelfish Recognize Its Owner?
While angelfish are highly intelligent, fish in general, aren’t typically considered being especially smart. However, recent studies have shown that we have underestimated the capacity and brainpower of fish.
All of us have two eyes, a nose, and a mouth on our faces, and we can recognize and differentiate each other based on subtle facial differences. That’s thanks to our complex brains that have the power and ability to process these differences.
Other mammals and even some birds have this ability! But do angelfish?
Angelfish, like most other fish, have quite small brains relative to body size compared to other vertebrates. But while small, the brain of an angelfish is very complex and has a great capacity for memory, intelligence, and learning among other things.
While it seems unbelievable, angelfish, in fact, can recognize human faces. But not only that, an angelfish can identify you as its owner in a group of people!
The angelfish’s ability to distinguish and recognize faces is a very big deal because no one thought that their small brains have the capacity to do so.
However, thanks to researchers and studies, we now know that despite being small, a brain of an angelfish can form complex patterns and store information for months or years.
The high intelligence enables the angelfish to not only see human faces but to also store information for later.
Thus, every time you go to feed your angelfish, it will see you, store information about you, and consequently, recognize you every time you go near the tank.
Furthermore, your angelfish also has the ability to distinguish you from other people and will be able to recognize you even if you are hosting a party in your living room.
Can Angelfish Bond With Their Owners?
Now that you know that your angelfish can recognize you and easily pick you up in a police lineup, be on your best behavior whenever you are near the tank! But is it possible that your pet fish has some feelings for you and that you share a special bond?
While most owners feel like they have a bond with their angels, many believe that it’s one-sided and that they are just the person who drops the food into the tank.
However, studies have shown that fish can memorize their owners and show affection by jumping, rapidly swimming, flipping, and asking for food.
At some point, you have probably noticed this sort of behavior and that your angel has become excited the moment you entered the room.
This behavior may seem a bit surprising, considering that you can’t interact with your pet angelfish the same way you would with a dog or a cat.
But even if you can’t pet or cuddle with your angel, it knows that you are its caregiver who besides providing food ensures a happy and healthy living environment.
How To Train An Angelfish To Recognize You?
When properly cared for, it doesn’t take long for angelfish to recognize and memorize their owners! But, if you got a new angel you may want to speed up the process a little bit.
Since they are very intelligent, you can easily train your angel to recognize and bond with you.
Here is what you should do:
1. Choose A Healthy Angelfish
It is extremely important to choose and take a healthy angel home!
Unfortunately, angelfish have a high mortality rate due to their susceptibility to diseases. Most commonly seen culprits are highly contagious angelfish virus that is carried by recovering survivors and parasites such as gill flukes.
Low-quality pet shops are breeding ground for internal parasites and bacteria, and unless angels aren’t quarantined they will be exposed to them.
Thus, make sure that you find a reputable pet shop that is invested in keeping their tanks clean and angels healthy before you decide to purchase a pet fish from them.
To avoid losing your new angel, look for ones that are active and have intact fins. A healthy angelfish should move around and feel the presence of people around it.
2. Provide The Best Living Environment
Once you bring an angelfish home, ensure that you have the perfect living environment for it.
Angels tend to grow a lot, hence you will need a larger tank that will allow your fish to grow into and swim freely.
Also, angels like to have hiding areas, hence the tank should be properly decorated. Add plants, live ones are always better than fake plants, driftwood, rocks, and other decorations to make the tank more appealing for your new angelfish.
We have created a couple of articles that will help you with providing the best living environment for your angelfish possible. We highly recommend reading them!
- The right tank size and tank shape for angelfish
- How to keep angelfish hardy and healthy
- Can I keep a single angelfish in a community tank?
3. Place The Angelfish In An Active Area
Angelfish have a social nature, so they don’t have to be in a quiet place. Instead, place the angelfish tank in a room where you spend most of your time.
Generally, a living room is a good location, since it’s the place most people spend a lot of time and interact with other people. This way, your angel will be able to see you more and learn to recognize you more easily.
4. Feed Your Angelfish
Feeding is an important aspect of caring for angelfish and it will give you an opportunity for one-on-one interaction.
Try to offer your angel food by putting your fingers close to the water and wait to see if it will swim and take the food from you.
This type of feeding will help spark a bond and make it easier for your angel to remember and recognize you.
5. Play With Your Angelfish
Playing with angelfish includes anything that makes your angel swim with excitement.
Depending on your angel’s personality and likes you can get it to play with a ball in front of the tank, or place your finger and move it around the tank without tapping on it.
Of course, for the angelfish this will be more hunting than playing, still, you are interacting with your angelfish. (Source)
6. Take Care Of Your Angelfish
If you notice that your angelfish isn’t swimming around, seems anxious, or is having a health problem, help it right away!
There is no better way to get your angel to recognize you than taking care of it when it is feeling blue.