Are Beta Fish Always Aggressive?

That's the question asked by a MODG Natural Science student

Kaylee Henderson, VOX Reporter

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MODG Natural Science students think up and conduct their own experiments on animals and plants. One student, Marcus Halberg, completed an experiment this year that was “absolutely perfectly conceived” according to Natural Science teacher Margaret Hayden. “The experiment was well conceived because, while so simple, it answered this very real question,” she said.

Marcus explained that his experiment was “on the aggressiveness of Beta Fish. The goal of the experiment was to see if Beta Fish are aggressive towards their own kind under any circumstances.”

When asked what made him decide to do this type of experiment, Marcus replied, “I had always been interested in the aggression of Beta Fish, and I thought that this was a cool opportunity to learn about them.”

“This experiment has helped me to understand the great amount of time and effort that researching even a small field like Beta Fish takes,” Marcus said, regarding  how the experiment changed the way he saw Natural Science.

 

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Marcus began his Beta Fish experiment in early October and concluded it in late January, taking about 12 weeks, including two weeks in which the fish did not have any contact with the other fish.

When asked how he went about completing this experiment, Marcus said, “I went about my experiment by obviously getting all of the needed supplies (two beta fish, two small fish tanks, etc.). I then separated them from view of each other. Every day I would put them in view of each other under different circumstances, such as one had been fed while the other had not, as well as both being fed and neither being fed in a couple days. The results were very interesting.”

Marcus’s hypothesis about this unique experiment was that “Beta Fish are aggressive towards their own kind under all circumstances.” His conclusion differed. Marcus found that the fish were “much more aggressive when hungry in well-lit tanks. While in dark tank when fed, they were not aggressive at all.”

“This experiment has helped me to understand the great amount of time and effort that researching even a small field like Beta Fish takes.” ”

— Marcus

As to whether or not the experiment was a success, Marcus commented, “Yes, … because I found a result which helped me to better understand the behaviors of Beta Fish.”

As with any experiment, there are bound to be problems and setbacks. Marcus found that the fish were “much more aggressive when hungry in well-lit tanks. While in dark tank when fed, they were not aggressive at all.”

Marcus said there were some setbacks, but not any major ones  “just a few small adjustments concerning feeding times and the frequency of feeding them.”

. And what did he learn most from this experiment? To that question, Marcus replied, “…obviously the aggressiveness of the Beta Fish, but probably more so the time and dedication it takes to be a researcher.”

As to the day of the presentation, Marcus told VOX that he “wasn’t really excited or nervous…. I didn’t really think my experiment was all that special.”

The Natural Science class had a different opinion. Science teacher Mrs. Hayden said that upon hearing Marcus describe his experiment,  “the classroom grew dead quiet; even the chat, which had been active with comments, stopped.”

The entire class was in awe of what Marcus had done and what he had achieved. She talked about Marcus’s experiment, explaining that “…Marcus’s project really sought to learn something about the cause or conditions needed for a particular normal behavior.”

Science teacher Mrs. Hayden said that upon hearing Marcus describe his experiment,  “the classroom grew dead quiet; even the chat, which had been active with comments, stopped.”

When asked about the responses of his classmates, Marcus responded, “It was a nice surprise. I was [kind of] surprised that they liked my experiment so much.”

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