Observation of a Living Fish

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1. Observe the movements of the fish for a few minutes while your fish adjusts to being moved. 

2.  Lift the beaker and look at the fish's belly.  Compare the coloration of the ventral (belly) side to the dorsal (top) side.  This type of coloration is a form of camouflage called countershading.

Describe how you think countershading works to camouflage the fish. Hint: in water, sunlight comes from above. Sketch your fish and use shading to show its coloration.

3.  Observe the fish as it opens and closes its mouth. What happens to the operculum when the mouth opens?

4.  The opening and the closing of the mouth tells you how many "breaths" a fish takes.  Count how many breaths your fish takes in one minute.   Compare this number to to five other fish in the room and record the data below.

Your Fish ______       Fish2  ______       Fish3  _______       Fish4 ______       Fish5 _____

5.  What is the average breathing rate of the goldfish?  Average:   _____

6.  Examine the eye of the fish.   Is the eye protected by an eyelid?  _________   (Hint: does your fish blink?)

7. Fish have a system called the lateral line. It is used to detect vibrations in the water. Tap the glass gently and record how the goldfish responds.

8  Examine other goldfish near your table.  Do they all look the same?   What are some of the color variations among the goldfish in the room?

9.  Examine the fins.   As the fish swims, which fins seem to be moving the most?

10. Fill out the chart below to describe each fin's function. (You may need to reference your notes or textbook.)

Name of Fin How many present? Function

11. Sketch your fish in the space below.  Label each fin.

12. Consider a way to determine if your fish would respond to light. Describe your experiment below.

Other Resources on Fish

Fish Temperature Lab

FIsh Anatomy Coloring

Fish Crossword

Slides and Notes on Fish Form and Function

Rosie Red Minnows are a cheap alternative to goldfish