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Jessica K., LVT
Jessica K., LVT, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Pet
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Experience:  Licensed Veterinary Technician since 2000, mom to 20 rescued cats and one human!
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i had two large goldfish for over a year now. one took a turn

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i had two large goldfish for over a year now. one took a turn for the worst about a week ago, and died this evening. the other one seems to be affected by it. Are goldfish that intelligent? would it now be cruel to just keep one goldfish, ie will it be lonely?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Jessica K., LVT replied 5 years ago.
Hi there...I went through this with my goldies a few years ago, so I know just what you'ree talking about. Goldfish are social creatures, so they can be affected by the death of a "friend"...

From http://network.bestfriends.org/groups/friends_of_fish/news/archive/2007/03/18/memory-like-a-goldfish.aspx:

Myth: Goldfish do not need the company of other goldfish (they're too stupid to be "lonely.")
Reality: Goldfish are a social species and should be kept in groups. While it is arguable that fish do not have the required mental capacity to feel complex emotions like loneliness, goldfish do become stressed by the exposure and vulnerability that social species experience when isolated from the group. You may notice pacing, lethargy, and repetitive behaviors in a lone goldfish, a common sign of neuroticism and discontentment. In addition to the stress from being kept in such an unnatural state, goldfish who are kept singly often tend to be less active and more shy; interaction with one or several other fish encourages physical activity, and the security of group living tends to make them more bold (and thus, interactive).

It may help your fish to get him a new friend or two! Of course, there may be some problem that caused the one fish to die that may affect the other. It would be wise to consult a vet about that, test the water and make sure everything in the tank is OK...I wouldn't want you to lose your other fish as well!

For the record, I thought once Floaty died (the fish had some swim bladder issues from time to time), Sinky (the one without the problems, ha ha, aren't we creative?) would soon follow. But, he lived five more years after Floaty went, three of them alone in his tank, and the last two we moved him into our friend's larger tank with new friends, where he thrived. He was over 14 years old when he passed away.

I hope this helps you! Best of luck with your fishie buddy!
Jessica K., LVT, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 568
Experience: Licensed Veterinary Technician since 2000, mom to 20 rescued cats and one human!
Jessica K., LVT and 4 other Pet Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Hello,

Before you go buy a companion for your remaining fish, you want to make sure nothing more than loneliness is going on. Some additional information will help us determine that.

What symptoms did the goldfish that died exhibit?

What are you seeing in the living fish?

How big is your tank?

What type of filtration do you have?

Have you tested the water ? If so, what were the exact results (in numbers, not simply 'safe' or 'unsafe'? If you haven't tested the water, you can either buy a test kit and do it yourself, or most pet stores will test it at no charge if you take in a sample. Let me know the results?

Thank you.

Anna

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Jessica K., LVT
Jessica K., LVT
Retired Licensed Veterinary Technician
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Licensed Veterinary Technician since 2000, mom to 20 rescued cats and one human!