Just because fish doesn’t have visible ears and inside a tank, doesn’t mean that they cannot hear you or not responding to music. As a matter of fact, there have been several studies showing that fish like yoyo loach, goldfish and other species are capable of telling the differences between music genres and composers.
Goldfish can Identify Bach!
In an experiment, scientists have trained goldfish to eat from food ball while playing Bach in the background. Eventually, they have switched the music to Stravinsky and the goldfish did not touch the football after. This shows that fish can identify the difference between music composers and had associated Bach with the rewards they’re getting from food ball.
How they can even Hear?
Some might stick to their belief that fish can’t hear because they do not have ears. But in reality, fish have various organs intended for sound perception. Different fish species may be able to hear using cilia or the fine nerve hairs, otoliths, bladders, accelerometers or the combination of the said organs.
Brief Explanation of how Sounds Travel in Water
Another common misconception that people have is, sound doesn’t travel well in water. If you have tried sticking your head underwater and heard someone calling your name, you know about it but can’t hear it clearly as sounds are muffled by water. On the other hand, sound waves are actually travelling in water pretty much the same way how they are travelling in air.
The only explanation why we are perceiving sound to be muffled underwater is the fact that water is denser than air. This level of density is reducing the sound’s intensity, causing the sound to become muffled.
But because of the reason that fish have organs for sound perception that adapts specifically for underwater hearing, they don’t have the same problems like humans have when hearing underwater.
Why Fish may Respond to Music
Fish has to hear underwater for the purpose of survival. Majority of their species can actually see only in close range due to limited vision brought by underwater light rays. With this in mind, hearing may help them a lot to avoid the danger of becoming the food to their predators.