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Copy of Habituation of Betta Splendens

Jocelyn Ramirez Ali Amiti

Jocelyn Ramirez

on 13 June 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Habituation of Betta Splendens

What triggers an aggressive response in a Betta fish?
The frequency of stimulus exposure (reflection)
[This variable is only varied two ways due to time and care restraints]

Time length of response (aggressive behavior)

Breed of fish
Age of fish (approximate)
Amount of time reflection is shown
Type of fish tank
Accessories in fish tank
Type of food
Amount of food
Sanitation of tank
Betta Fish, otherwise known as Siamese Fighting Fish, are a species naturally found in ponds, slow-moving creeks and rivers in Southeast Asia. Male Betta fish are highly territorial, resulting in aggressive behavior. This aggressive behavior is displayed by flared gills, tail beating, flared fins, color change, biting, and territorial circling. Habituation, a decrease in response to a stimulus after repeated presentations, occurs in male Bettas when visually exposed to each other or their reflection after a long period of time. Due to the costly nature of their displays of aggression, habituation functions to minimize energy used by the Bettas in response to an innocuous stimulus.
2 male Betta fish
2 fish tanks
Tank pebbles
2 tree tank accessories
Fish food
1. Retrieve two similarly-aged male Betta fish, two fish tanks, tank pebbles, and fish food from a pet store
If we expose two different Beta fish to their reflections in different frequency, then the fish exposed at a higher frequency will have a faster habituation rate because of increased occurrences that prove the stimulus unharmful.
2. Set up identical environments for the fish and keep them in separate bowls
3. Feed both fish the same amount and type of food in the morning
4. Clean the fish tanks weekly
5. Expose the first fish to its reflection for five minutes
6. Make qualitative observations regarding the details and degree of the fish’s aggressive behavior each time
7. Time the total number of seconds the fish exposed to stimulus shows aggression with a timer and record data each time
8. Expose the second fish to its reflection for five minutes.
9. Make qualitative observations regarding the details and degree of the fish’s aggressive behavior each time
10. Time the total number of seconds the fish exposed to stimulus shows aggression with a timer and record data each time
11. Repeat steps 3-10 for three days
12. Graph data and trend lines for both fish
13. Conclude whether habituation occurred and if one Betta had a faster rate than the other by analyzing regression lines3
14. Repeat experiment with different Betta fish
The data above shows the timed aggressive response of Timothy (the Betta that was presented with stimuli daily), and Samson (the Betta that was presented with the stimuli every other day). The mirror, or stimuli, was only presented to the fish for five total minutes, thus explaining why the time each day is 5 minutes. The fish' response each trial was the full time that the stimulus was exposed. Day 8 had a time of 4:24 min, which was an error due to being distracted by the food that it had not finished in the tank. After this error, we made sure to feed the fish after the trial.

The graphs to the left represent the data above. Trend lines were graphed and equated to determine whether any habituation occurred. As mentioned, there was an error in Timothy's data for one trial (marked by symbol on graph), and thus was not included in the equation of the trend line. Because both trend line's equation is y=5, we see that there is no slope and therefore that there was no change from the beginning trial to end trial. This lack of change means that the Betta fish did not habituate to their reflection.
At the start of our experiment, we hypothesized that the frequency that each Betta was exposed to its reflection (every day or every other day) would impact the resulting aggressive behavioral response of the fish. However, as we conducted our experiment, the data did not match up with what we expected. After daily exposure to his reflection, Timothy's reactive aggression did not decrease at a faster rate than Samson's; neither fish showed signs of habituation to their reflection as they both showed aggressive responses for the full 5 minutes each time they were exposed (apart from the occurrence of the outlier, previously mentioned). The data we collected does not support our hypothesis nor what our background suggests in regard to the habituation of male Bettas. The absence of a habituation rate, shown by our data and graphs, leads us to conclude that the aggressive territorial behavior exhibited by male Betta fish is a fixed action pattern, rather than a behavior that can be habituated.

We originally planned to conduct a T-Test comparing the baseline group of the initial timed responses to the final timed responses. However, because all of our data points are the same, a T-Test was not possible. Our data has no variability and thus did not allow for any real statistical comparison to be made.

The errors we made in the conduction of this lab were mostly to do with inconsistencies in maintaining the controlled variables. As stated earlier, our outlier occurred most likely due to the fact that Timothy was fed directly prior to the exposure to the mirror, thus introducing a distraction that caused his aggression to stop earlier than normal. Controlled variables are a crucial part to the creation of a successful experiment and if we were to do this study again, we would spend more time and effort making sure feeding times, exposure times and cleaning times were more consistently planned out- as well as more diligently adhered to. Also we would be sure that our background research was from more reliable resources. Our research should have told us that Betta's aggressive response to their reflection can not be habituated, and would have led us not to make the assumption in our research question that there would be a habituation rate.
Thank you!
"Betta Behavior." Betta Fish Center. N.p., 2009. Web. 24 Feb. 2013.

Rapp, Michael J. "All About Betta Fish: Care, Behavior and Tank Setup." HubPages. HubPages Inc., 8 Feb. 2013. Web. 24 Feb. 2013.

Baard, Lauren. Differential Habituation of Male Betta Splendens to Qualitatively Different Stimuli. Rep. Colby College, 1 Jan. 2006. Web. 24 Feb. 2013.

"Siamese Fighting Fish." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siamese_fighting_fish#Behavior>.
Base line group of Betta fish' initial timed response
By: Jocelyn Ramirez Ali Amiti
Betta Fish Experiment on Aggression
the results of our experiment we found that both betta fish still were aggressive no matter what test was performed. Also, that the red betta fish especially was more aggressive towards the blue betta. The results also show that betta fish can not live in the same tank together or they will try to kill one another.
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