What Do Fish Do For Fun? How You Can Encourage A Playful Environment

Contrary to popular belief, fish are playful creatures, and studies have shown that fish love to play, even if it’s not in the typical sense a cat or dog would entertain themselves. Fish have the ability to become bored and even depressed if they are not stimulated. 

An empty aquarium without any plants or attractive decorations will bore fish, and when fish are bored they may not develop their instincts and skills as they would in their natural environment! Toys can stimulate fish and even reduce their stress levels. What do fish do for fun?

What Do Fish Do For Fun In Their Aquarium?

Whether you’re a new fish keeper and just got your aquarium up and running with a few fish, you can learn a lot by observing them! By quietly sitting and watching, you will notice your fish entertaining themselves in many different ways. 

Let’s look at what your pet fish will do in their aquarium for fun:

Fish Have Fun By Developing Close Friendships

Did you know that fish enjoy companions and close friendships like humans do? Reputation and socializing are just as important to fish as they are to us. Fish have the ability to remember and recognize their owner, as well as the other fish in their tank. 

They will build close and complex social networks. They know when you watch them and can alter their behavior accordingly. You can learn about the social status of each fish just by watching them interact with each other. 

They nurture their relationships with affection and have many different ways to communicate with each other. 

You may notice your fish rubbing against each other or chasing each other throughout the tank. This is their way of playing just like children, and you may find it fascinating and entertaining!

Fish Have Fun By Interacting With Objects In Their Tank

Some biologists have documented fish playing with numerous objects in their aquariums, including their thermometers! Fish love interacting with the objects in their tank, and it dramatically entertains them. 

Fish prefer toys that are easy to bite and push around, lightweight, and of course, aquarium safe. Adding numerous toys to your fish tank is the perfect way to introduce a little fun and entertainment into your pet fish’s daily lives! 

It’s also a good idea if you switch the items up every once in a while, allowing them to become interested again and enjoy exploring around the tank and getting to know their surroundings.

Fish Have Fun By Learning How Objects In Their Tank Work

Fish are fast learners, and they enjoy learning! They can learn how to build nests, use specific tools, and some can even outperform their tankmates with their learning abilities. 

Fish will dig holes and build hills in their aquarium. They may even play around with bubble wands and air stones, so if you have one of these, it may be great to look at, but you may even notice some of your fish playing around with it!

Some fish has also figured out ways of obtaining food, such as squirting water out of their mouths to capture insects on the surface of their tank. 

Fish can use tools such as rocks to open shells. Some fish could even learn how to create burrows and chambers under their bedding, using it to lay eggs, shelter, or hide food from predators. 

Others may even bury themselves under coral and sand for protection or sleep, and some fish may even steal another fish’s shelter out of spite! 

Your Fish Will Have Fun If You Interact With Them

Many people, especially fish owners, tend to underestimate their fish’s learning and playing capabilities. 

By playing and interacting with your fish correctly, they will not only have fun and become entertained, but it will help you to create a strong bond between you and them. 

You can stimulate your fish’s brain by giving them toys like caves and toys to hide in and play with. You can even train them to do impressive tricks such as jumping out of the tank’s water or swimming through hoops! 

Keeping your fish entertained and active will ensure they stay happy and healthy for longer.

What Do Fish Do For Fun

How Can You Encourage Your Fish To Have Fun?

You can encourage your fish to have fun by doing several things, including interacting with them. Boredom could cause your fish to become stressed; some may even become aggressive and pick fights. 

Let’s look at all the ways you can encourage your fish to have fun and release some stress:

Make Sure Your Fish Are In A Suitable-Sized Aquarium

How many fish you have in your aquarium will ultimately determine the size it should be. When an aquarium is too cramped with too many fish, some fish may become territorial and bully others. 

Nipping at tail fins and chasing each other indicate that your aquarium is too small. Fish may also become sickly or diseased as they feel trapped inside a tank too small.

Of course, your fish don’t need a massive amount of space but make sure the tank is suitable for the amount of fish you have to minimize the risk of stress and agitation. If you’re unsure, try a fish stocking calculator like AqAdvisor.

Make Sure Your Fish Has Some Tank Mates

Some types of fish do better when they are kept as a school or in pairs. Although a goldfish may be perfectly fine to live alone, others, such as neon tetras or bettas, will enjoy socializing and having a few tankmates. 

Remember, fish are highly social creatures and love hiding in plants and chasing each other around. 

However, when you decide to keep a few fish, make sure to do your research, as some fish are not compatible and may become territorial, causing chaos in your aquarium!

Provide Your Fish With A Balanced And Interesting Diet

You can tell a lot about the mood and health of a fish by taking note of its appetite. Happy and healthy fish will always rush to your hand or the surface of their tank when fed. 

Make sure to have a variety of foods, consisting of a few treats or snacks, to keep them entertained during mealtimes and to encourage them to try new types of food. 

A healthy and fixed feeding schedule may also help to keep your fish happy, as they will soon realize when dinner time comes, and they might even put on a show for you to show how excited they are to get their food or treats!

Get Some Fish-Friendly Toys In Your Aquarium

Proving your fish with toys in their aquarium won’t only make for a beautiful and well-decorated aquarium, but your fish will enjoy it immensely! Like floating logs, Ceramic logs are beautiful decorations for a fish tank. 

They give off a wonderful aesthetic and give your fish endless opportunities to play around. They can swim over them, through them, or even hide for fun, as ceramic logs will have several holes inside them. 

This activity will keep your fish excited and busy and build their confidence as they navigate their way through them and find new ways to explore them! You can even encourage them more by placing small snacks and dried fish food inside the holes for them to find.

You fish will enjoy any other decorations in their tank, including water bubbles, water wheels, and several aquarium plants. It will entertain them for hours, and you may learn a few things by looking at them, navigating their way through them, and figuring them out!


So, what do fish do for fun besides just swimming around? Turns out a lot of things! Many fish love socializing in schools, playing with objects, eating, and even interacting with their owners. Try a few of our suggestions and we’re sure you’ll see a more playful side of your pet fish emerge.

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