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The world's most intelligent fish

Introducing the world's most intelligent fish - he can play football, basketball and even limbo dance under a bar.

Comet the goldfish has been trained by his owner to perform the astonishing range of aquatic activities on demand.

And that's not all - watery genius can also play fetch with a hoop, slalom around a series of poles and push a rugby ball over a set of posts.
The world's most intelligent fish
Swam dunk: Comet prepares to shoot a hoop

The world's most intelligent fish
Catch of the day: Comet's owner used a training technique called positive reinforcement to teach the fish tricks


Owner Dr Dean Pomerleau, 41, used a training technique called positive reinforcement to train two year old common goldfish Comet to carry out the tricks.

But there's nothing fishy about his claim - in fact, he says anyone can do the same with their own pet.

Fish training expert Dr Pomerleau said: "There is mounting evidence that fish are more intelligent than people give them credit for.

"With the correct tools and the basic promise of a food reward, fish can very quickly learn complex tricks - like the limbo, slalom or playing fetch.

The world's most intelligent fish
Nice try: Comet has been trained to push a miniature rugby ball over a set of posts


The world's most intelligent fish
Gold ring: Comet's owner adapted training methods previously used on dolphins

Now people in the market for a dog might want to consider a fish instead." Positive reinforcement is a training technique where the fish is rewarded with food when he successfully completes a task.

Dr Pomerleau added: "We've used techniques that we've customised for pet fish, but are based on those used to train dolphins and other marine mammals.

"The basic idea is to reinforce successive, increasingly accurate approximations of a desired behaviour.

"In training an animal to press a lever, for example, simply turning toward the lever will be rewarded at first.

"Then, only turning and stepping toward it will be rewarded.

"With a little time and repetition, the animal will learn to perform the complete behaviour to receive the reward."

The world's most intelligent fish
Pipe dream: Dr Pomerleau has teamed up with pet product firm R2 to design a special kit to help people train their fish

Dr Pomerleau already holds the official world record for having the fish with the largest repertoire of tricks, with a three year-old calico fantail named Albert Einstein.

But four inch long Comet has already learnt Albert's array of tricks and is set to take the crown of the world's most intelligent goldfish.

The world's most intelligent fish
Hooked: Using food as a reward, Comet quickly learned complex tricks

Dr Pomerleau, from Los Angeles, California, has teamed up with pet product firm R2 Solutions to design a special kit to help people train their fish.

The kit features an array of training tools including goal posts, slalom poles and tunnels for your pet to swim through, as well as an instructional DVD.

R2 Solution president Russ Ronat said: "When people see the tricks, after the initial disbelief, they want to learn how its done and teach their own fish too.

"Not only is this product fun, but it also has great educational value."

The world's most intelligent fish
Flat fish: Comet limbers up for a spot of sub-aqua limbo
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