Can Fish Hear Music? You’ll Be Surprised by the Answer

Hearing and enjoying music is considered to be the ability not only for a human being. We know that many organic farms play music for their cows to make their milk even tastier and healthier. We also know that classical music is played in the world’s best wineries to make the wine better and more expensive, of course.

So, do fish hear music? Can they enjoy Mozart or Beethoven? Will they be calmer and happier if you play them some music? Today we’ll find that out. Actually, we are skeptical about this when we start our article, but we are also skeptical about cows listening to Tchaikovsky and producing tastier milk, to say the truth. So, let’s see.

Here’s how we’ve investigated this phenomenon:

  1. Can fish at all hear something? Do they have ears?
  2. How do fish react to music? Do they like it?
  3. Have there been any experiments with fish and classical music?
  4. Should you play some music to your fish?
  5. What music should you choose to play to your fish?

Let’s get started!

Do fish at all hear at least some sounds?

You may know that human ears percept different vibrations and transform them into sounds. This is the ability of most animals. Some animals can hear better, while some others are not good at hearing.

Fish also have ears, but these ears are hidden inside their heads. Can you imagine a fish with ears outside? Kind of a creepy creature it would be. So, their ears are hidden, but they still can hear and percept different vibrations.

Here are some scientific facts about fish and their ears:

  • water is a good substance for sending sound waves, so fish don’t need big ears to hear everything;
  • hearing is an extremely important life-saving ability for fish, all fish react quickly to any loud sounds;
  • most fish don’t produce any sounds but some unintentional ones, so they can hear but they can’t communicate at all;
  • fish use their hearing ability to successfully gather in schools and swim together without anyone losing their way;
  • actually, fish have a couple of organs that serve as hearing organs, so they have literally more ears than you and me;
  • some fish are known to sense the sound vibrations with their entire bodies, it helps them hear predators when they are miles away.

So, fish actually can hear. Now you know that fish have inner ears and some other organs that help them hear everything that is going on in their surroundings. But what about music? How will they react to a rock song playing in your boat, for example?

This is a hard question to answer. We tried to ask some fish but they didn’t want to talk with us. So, we needed to go online and find some scientific researches that dealt with fish and looked at the ability of fish to hear the music and other sounds and to react somehow.

Can fish hear and react to music?

Yes, fish reacts to music. Actually, fish are attracted to one type of sounds and are scared of other sounds. Unfortunately, scientists couldn’t find any common sounds that would attract all fish. But they still described the nature of sounds that appeal to many fish species.

Though they also say that some fish species are afraid of any sounds but natural ones. For example, they can distinguish between natural waves sounds and electronic waves sounds and they will be afraid of any artificial voices and sounds.

Here are some facts you should know:

  1. Fish can distinguish between different types and sources of sounds. It means they will hear that the music you play in your room is not a natural sound and it can scare them.
  2. Fish never enjoy any unnatural sounds and usually percept them as a threat. So if you play heavy metal music to your fish every morning and think they like it, you are wrong. They hate you for that.
  3. Fish are attracted to many natural sounds like waves, sounds of dolphins, sounds of whales, crabs walking on the bottom of the ocean, etc.
  4. Fish will always be stressed if they hear loud sounds that are natural or not natural. They will try to hide as soon as they hear any loud sounds.
  5. Fish will never love music even if it’s classical music. They don’t know that Mozart was a cool guy and made wonderful music, they hate everything that is unnatural.
  6. Your fish will not be happier and will not live long if you play loud music to them near the aquarium too often. They are sensitive and percept these vibrations as stress.

Also, you should know that water is a very good substance for spreading sound waves and vibrations. So, when you play some music near your aquarium, you are actually making your fish stress out. This means they will get some health problems eventually if you keep doing that.

But still, there is one way to use calm music that is good for fish. Do you know what this is?

How can some fish benefit from music?

We know some cases when fish was listening to calm classical music for some time before it was sent to an aquarium with other fish. Especially, it’s important when a fish is taken from its natural habitat and is placed in aquariums. The reason for this is simple – fish can get used to different unnatural noises and experience much less stress in the future.

So, if you catch some fish from the sea or ocean, you may have the habit of placing them in a quarantine tank and playing some cool music. This will help your fish reduce the stress that it will experience when placed in a big aquarium with other fish. But so little is known about this effect that it’s barely a presumption that was only checked twice or something like that.

What about playing classical music to fish eggs?

There is one more thing a lot of people are interested in (surprisingly for us). They keep asking whether they should play some good classical music to fish eggs. They are sure that classical music will help newborn fish be healthier and grow into healthy and beautiful fish in an aquarium.

We would say it doesn’t make any sense. The fish that was born in captivity will not experience any stress from the aquarium and some artificial sounds. So playing some music and letting the fish get used to it is unnecessary. We also think that this can be harmful.

You should always check whether it’s possible in nature. If you want your young fish to be healthy and beautiful, you should provide them with all the conditions that are as close to the natural conditions as possible. Can you imagine a pianist playing one of Bach’s pieces on the bottom of the sea?

Can music influence the health of your aquarium fish?

This is a big question and we should discuss it thoroughly. You may think, well, now these guys will tell me that playing Bach to my fish will improve their health. No, that’s not what we are going to tell you.

Playing loud music (of any nature) near your aquarium is a very bad idea. Fish are very sensitive and they can get problems with their health if they hear very loud music for a long time.

Here are some reasons for these problems:

  • stressing out – your fish will be under stress until you stop playing loud music;
  • huge vibrations – the fish can even lose their hearing ability if the music is too loud;
  • bleeding – their ears may start bleeding because of a very intense sound around them;
  • fear factor – fish will be scared much and it will cause unexplained changes in behavior;
  • loss of appetite – your fish can stop eating just because it’s stressed out a lot;
  • immediate death – once you play Iron Maiden to your fish, it can die because of huge stress.

All human-made sounds are bad for fish – remember this and try to keep silent in the room where you have your beautiful aquarium. Fish need silence and they need to be calm. They don’t like any sharp changes in the way they live.

We could say you can make them adapt to hearing some music making it louder every day. But there is a rational question – why do you need your fish to be music lovers?

Final words

Unfortunately, sometimes people make fatal mistakes when they try to make fish in their aquariums live a happy life. They turn on some music near the aquarium to amuse their fish and to let them dance or something like that. But this kind of party may finish with the death of your fish or at least with huge stress.

Fish only love natural sounds and they will never be attracted by human-made sounds. So, don’t waste your time, and better keep silent in the room with your aquarium.