You can train your fish to do tricks (no joke)

Animal Welfare Specialist
Cathy has worked in the animal welfare field for more than 25 years. As a Director of Public Relations for local and national animal welfare agencies, Cathy developed and managed public relations programs, wrote press materials, and prepared staff to handle media interviews on animal issues.

So your fish does nothing, but swim around the tank all day. Maybe that’s because you didn’t know that fish can actually learn to do tricks, if given the right training. 

According to the R2 Fish School, tropical fish can learn tricks based on marine mammal training techniques. Using their kit, fish have been trained to play soccer and basketball and swim through weave poles, like dogs in agility. Watch the video above to see some playful fish in action.

Can you train your fish to play soccer?
Can you train your fish to play soccer?

My family has always had fish tanks in the house. During this time, I recall one fish that always responded to my husband’s gestures towards the tank. He could touch his finger to the tank and the fish would swim over to it. He could do this all over the tank and no matter where he put his finger, the fish would follow. He never trained him to do that, it just sort of happened. But it doesn’t really surprise me that fish might have the potential for some additional training. Don’t they always swim to the top of the tank when you open the lid? They have learned you are about to feed them. 

The R2 Fish School, which has been featured in Discover Magazine and National Geographic for Kids, is a complete kit to teach your fish tricks. Each kit includes an extensive collection of fish training tools, as well as an illustrated manual and DVD that provide step-by-step instructions. You can see “Comet”, a trained fish, shooting hoops, kicking field goals, playing fetch, and more at

Just recently, R2 Solutions, the manufacturers of the R2 Fish School, earned first place in the Global Pet Expo 2009 Best New Products Showcase under the Aquatics category, so it may be gaining a following.

For other questions about fish training, visit their frequently asked questions page to learn that fish can learn through positive reinforcement food training techniques and that it only takes two 15 minute sessions a day to teach your fish a trick in about a month.

Honestly, who knew?

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