Goldfish Hearing – Do They Hear Sound


By Jamie Boyle

People often wonder, do goldfish have hearing? The answer to this question is yes! Many people are often curious whether goldfish can smell, taste, touch, how they eat, do they sleep and can goldfish hear. Goldfish can hear but it’s not like us how we have ears in through which we are able to hear sound. On goldfish they don’t have ears on their outer body like us, instead they have hearing from within their body.

Your probably wondering how do we really know they can hear? Well if you go to a tank and you tap on it you will see them dart away as they become frightened and scared. They heard it! Goldfish hear through an inner organ which is located within the head of the goldfish. It’s not the same as in humans as we have a main sensory organ called the cochlea and goldfish do not have that. Now with goldfish since they have no cochlea, they have something different within called the otolith which is a hard stone. Now remember when I mentioned above about tapping on a golfish aquarium or tank that the goldfish can hear this, well the otolith is what actually detects sound.

Goldfish hearing is all heard through vibrations which sound vibrations are transmitted through the water and the otolith detects it. It’s pretty neat understanding the anatomy of fish and how they react and hear things.

So goldfish can hear to answer everyones question. I know I did some research on the cochlea and we hear very much the same actually. There is fluid within the ear that has small hairs that move with sound or vibration in which then the brain comprehends into sound. It’s pretty neat actually and goldfish hear through the water in which vibrations goes through the fish’s body to the otolith, neat to know how sound is perceived. Just don’t tap on fish tanks really as it can kill fish through vibrations. It can cause fish stress and other things to occur, they can hear so don’t do it just to test the hearing theory and care for your goldfish.



12 comments on “Goldfish Hearing – Do They Hear Sound

  1. kate smudges on said:

    I discovered fish have hearing last summer – when I went to feed them in the pond, I’d call ‘Fishies’ and they’d all come over and wait for food. When I’m playing my violin, they are also more active. I like to think they are enjoying it.

  2. A wildlife gardener on said:

    I don’t have any fish in our ponds, Jamie, as they are ponds for the wildlife…frogs, toads and newts as well as the pondlife. The frogs, however, can certainly hear my footsteps as I approach the ponds and if I want to photograph them or take a little video, I have to sit at the margins of the ponds and wait for quite some time before they pop up again and get used to my presence πŸ™‚

  3. The Goldfish Guy on said:

    Wildlife Gardener,Yeah I kind of figured you never had any fish in your ponds. You have way to many frog eggs if there were. As fish will eat these and reduce the amount you have.Your pond is full. Hard to imagine or think how many potential frogs you may have.Yeah my goldfish and koi are the same way. I need to be very quite coming to the pond so that I don’t startle them. They will hear the footsteps through the ground with vibration. Definitely need to tip toe. Once I’m there, they get used to me and then I can hand feed my fish.You are an excellent photograper, you should think of a career in that. Your pictures look amazing.Have you ever thought of putting goldfish or koi in your ponds?Sincerely,Jamie BoyleThe Goldfish GuyKoi Fish Pond Information

  4. The Goldfish Guy on said:

    Hi Kate,Yeah they can definitely hear. I know you can actually train a fish to come feed by gently tapping on a rock close to the pond. Every time they hear the sound they will come automatically to feed. I know I actually hand feed my goldfish and koi.Your fish probably associate the violin with feeding time. They probably do enjoy the sound, music to their ears :)Do you have just goldfish in your pond or do you have any koi as well?Sincerely,Jamie BoyleThe Goldfish Guywww.WaterPlantsForPonds.com

  5. LaraG on said:

    Since we fed them a short time ago, one of our goldfsih is struggling to stay underwater. He keeps floating to the top. We think he may have air in his gut. What can we do? He is our 9 year old sons’ and he is scared the fish is dying.

  6. The Goldfish Guy on said:

    Hi Larag,What your floating goldfish has is a swim bladder problem caused by too much gas causing him to float. What you need to do is feed your goldfish peas, just squeeze it out of the shell and feed it in tiny pieces to your fish. Swim bladder or floating goldfish is another symptom of constipation. By feeding peas, it will help.Just make sure in the meantime that the water quality is perfect and safe for your goldfish. Try and keep your goldfish away from a strong current like air stones or the filter, it will cause more stress for your goldfish and take him on quite a ride. If you have a tank divider try and section him off so your goldfish won’t have to fight these currents and begin feeding peas. Swim bladder can be kind of tricky so I hope this works for you and your sons goldfish survives. Peas are known to treat swim bladder so start feeding it right away.Any other questions please feel free to ask.Sincerely,Jamie BoyleThe Goldfish GuyDid You Know That Just Using Aquarium Salt Can Treat Fish? Salt is a great form of healing wounds and treatment.www.WaterPlantsForPonds.com

  7. Anonymous on said:

    I do believe that goldfish can hear, but can they also recognize? Because what I have notice everytime I go near my fishbowl to check them or feed them, they start to swim as if they are giggling, and for me I feel like they are happy, but when it is my husband who go near the bowl, they tend to swim on the other side. And what’s more making me happy is everytime I clean or scoop their poops or other small dirts with a net, they even go inside the net unlike when I first bought them in the pet store they would swim away.

  8. Jamie Boyle on said:

    Oh for sure goldfish probably do recognize you. When feeding them they will become almost tame and they get more and more comfortable with you. If you do most of the work like feeding and maintenance on your goldfish bowl, they are more likely to be used to you then your husband. I know when I walk by my many fish tanks they all swim following me as I walk as they think I am going to feed them. It’s neat!I guess we know who your goldfish favourite person is eh πŸ™‚ (you)Thanks for visiting my goldfish blog!Sincerely,Jamie BoyleThe Goldfish GuyNeed Help Setting Up Your New AquariumAquarium Care Guide Information

  9. Andy Guljas on said:

    im getting a goldfish soon.. and im wondering if i will kill it by playing an amplified guitar

  10. Phedra on said:

    I just got my first fish ever about a month ago. They are gold fish that look like they swallowed a golf ball. They are so cute! I know they can hear because they hear me talking to them. I call out "Hey Little Fishies" when I go to feed them and boy, they come really fast!My biggest problem was learning how much to feed them. Everyone tells me "a pinch" but that's hard to determine. A small hand would pinch way less than a large hand. I ended up using a 1/4" teaspoon and feed them one scoop 3 times a day but they still act like they're starving!! I'm glad to know they can hear me for sure!!

  11. I wish fish could talk, then I'd know what is bothering them. My fishes left a message on the dirty glass I could swear it wrote F V C Y O YU.

  12. shovana on said:

    i πŸ™‚ this discussion was really good to read..but i am afraid my fishes have constipation..its the 3rd day today for my 2 gold fishes and dey have been pooping..they come to the surface when noone is there and when anyone arrives they go to the bottom..please tell me what do l need to do.
    Regards πŸ™‚

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