Fish Habitats Affect Violence

A new study reveals that crowded, unstimulating living spaces lead to increased aggression and violence among fish.

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A recent report published in Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science has found that aggression among fish increases when they are confined to barren, overcrowded aquariums. Conducted by Case Western Reserve University biology professor Ronald Oldfield, the study tested the influence of a number of environmental factors, such as number of competitors, amount of available space, and degree of habitat complexity, on the behavior of the Midas cichlid. Oldfield found that violent behavior was significantly reduced in larger, more enriched aquariums, and that tanks of typical fish hobbyists were not sufficient for optimum welfare.

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