Do fish seek sometimes sunlight?

albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)October 10, 2012

Since our water temperature has dropped to 50oF some of the larger sarasa rise higher in the water where the sun hits the pool and drop lower in the water when there is shade. I remember something from grade school about sunlight and vitamin D and got the silly idea to wonder if the fish seed the sunlight for vitamins.

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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

That is an interesting question. The thought came that maybe fish either don't need it or they get it some way other than the sun since there are many, many fish that live at depths that never get the slightest hint of light, let alone sunlight. It also would seem that since UV is what stimulates vitamin D production and UV doesn't penetrate water very far it wouldn't benefit any but the surface fish. That made me wonder just why we need that vitamin in particular. So I went surfing.

There are a number of hits on the subject "do fish need vitamin D". There are some references to aquariums and glass cutting down UV that made me determine I might get some benefit from additional Vitamin D in my own diet (I have a medical condition that requires me to get a lot of light)and digressions about eating fish but there were interesting articles about the lack of a need for Vitamin D and C in fish. It seems if the water is rich in Calcium and Phosphates, they don't need Vitamin D.

One short but informative site reads:

"Is vitamin D redundant in an aquatic habitat?
Rao DS, Raghuramulu N.
National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India.
Certain fish are very rich sources of vitamin D as compared to most of the higher vertebrates which have insignificant amounts of this vitamin. Not only the teleosts, which possess a calcified skeleton, but also the elasmobranchs, which lack calcified skeleton, contain extremely high concentrations of this vitamin, leading to the speculation that the function of vitamin D in fish may be different from its known classical functions in terrestrial animals. Interestingly, the two most common calcemic hormones associated with Ca and P homeostasis in higher vertebrates are either missing [parathyroid hormone (PTH)] or inactive [calcitonin (CT)] in fish. In fact, these hormones appear to have developed after transition of life from water (Ca-P rich environment) to land (environment poor in Ca and P). Thus, living in an aquatic environment with a continuous rich supply of Ca and P, do fish need vitamin D? If so, does it need to be converted to its polar forms? Additionally what are the functions of vitamin D and its metabolites in fish? Since fish stand between the invertebrates and higher vertebrates in evolution, they serve as a unique model for the study of the evolutionary and physiological significance of vitamin D. Investigations have demonstrated that the source of a high amount of vitamin D in them is primarily through their food-chain (plankton). In addition, it appears from the studies in fish that vitamin D perhaps had no physiological function in the calcium-rich aquatic environment, and its metabolism was essentially for catabolic purposes. During the course of evolution, when life started on calcium poor terrestrial environment, vitamin D became functional and its metabolism, an anabolic one, was concerned with calcium homeostasis."

I have to conclude your fish are not trying to get sunlight for vitamin D and while I guess it is possible there are other reasons, the most likely are that they like the warmth or the light makes them feel more lively.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 3:53PM
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I have definitely noticed my goldfish moving to the sunny spots in spring or late fall when the water is cold. It is probably for warmth.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 6:00PM
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kashka_kat(z4 WI)

Same here. And when it's broiling hot in July and August, they seem to go in the shade or deep down to the bottom more. So that to would suggest that they are responding to the temperature, They probably feel better at a good moderate temp neither too hot or too cold. Seems like all cold blooded animals do that - like alligators sunning on logs in the bayous, snakes sunning on rocks in the desert, etc.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 5:46PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

Again I have an observation that causes me to speculate or conjecture the some fish seek light sometimes.

We a couple of Black Moors in an aquarium. The sun is low enough that the sunlight through the window will hit the lower front corner of the aquarium for an hour or so each afternoon.

When it is quiet in the house and the sunlight hits the aquarium the fish will seek out that corner and just lie on the bottom there.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 4:06PM
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Good I noticed my fish doing this in the pond, but I figured it was just them enjoying whatever warmth they get from the sun on the water....sheesh, can't wait for spring...wanna enjoy sitting by the pond again!!!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 12:47PM
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my fish definately sun themselves in the warm sunlight
in early spring.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:59AM
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