Fish in a popular aquarium in Australia began to show signs of depression after the facility was closed to the public in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to marine biologists from staff at the Cairns Aquarium in Queensland, Australia, some fish become lethargic and are not interested in their environment without human visitors having to make contact through glass.
Others decided to hide in the dark corner of their aquarium, and one fish in particular, an Queensland grouper named Chang, stopped eating for several weeks.
After the Cairns Aquarium in Queensland, Australia closed in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of fish began to show signs of depression. Some hide in the dark corners of their aquariums, and others stop eating, sometimes for weeks
“Many people don’t realize that animals can look outside the tank and see people, they really enjoy human interaction,” Paul Barnes, a curator and marine biologist in Cairns, told ABC news.
According to Barnes, fish are curious animals who appreciate seeing and discovering new things both in their aquariums and outside.
“Only people who pass the exhibition are a form of stimulation for these animals,” Barnes said.
“They like to see faces, different colors that people wear.”
To help fish overcome their depression, the aquarium management decided to hire additional divers to swim with them and accompany them.
Fish are partly susceptible to depression because of how similar their neurochemistry is to humans, with similar fluctuations in serotonin and dopamine.
Aquarium management is very concerned about the mental health of fish, they hire additional divers to swim with them and accompany them
“We have these leopard sharks, and they almost like to be hugged or hugged like puppies,” Daniel Leipnik, CEO of Cairns, told AAP.
“We usually have two divers, we now have three. So there is some human contact that takes place, just to create that extra impetus. ‘
Pisces are very sensitive in part because their neurochemistry resembles humans – “so similar that it’s scary,” said Julian Pittman of Troy University in the New York Times in 2017.
Feelings of depression may be due to fluctuations in serotonin and dopamine, similar to what people experience when they are depressed.
Pittman even uses fish to test the effects of antidepressants, which he said can measure how active fish are in an aquarium.
When the treatment is effective, the fish swim to the top of the tank and start exploring, sometimes within minutes, but if the drug doesn’t work, the fish remain almost immobile in the bottom corner.
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