The very question ‘do fish fart?’ cries out for a comedic line to follow it. However, though I searched, and believe me I waded through hundreds of funny and not so funny fish jokes, I just couldn’t find one. So moving on!
Whether or not fish fart is definitely not a common question, but it is one that always guarantees looks of bafflement followed by I wonder? Once mentioned it is not something that you can just forget about so I guess we’d better give you the answer.
Do Fish Fart? The answer to this question depends greatly on what your definition of a fart is. If it’s that a fart is the byproduct of gases produced by digestion being expelled solely through the rear end, then the answer is no! However, if it’s simply the expulsion of air from a fish, then the answer changes to a possible yes.
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Air Expulsion Farting In Fish
Many fish keepers will state that they have seen their fish fart and that it came from their nether regions. However, this is not strictly true, and what they have actually seen is air escaping from the mouth or gills.
This occurs after fish have been to the surface to gulp air, which they do to inflate their bladder for buoyancy.
Following the air inflating the bladder, there will also be a deflating. This is when air bubbles will be seen escaping from the fish and can easily be confused with a fart.
Since this process is not one that results from digestion, there is debate over whether it can be classed as a fart or not. Is it a fart? Isn’t it a fart? We’ll leave it up to you to decide!
Exceptions To The Farting Rule
There are two, that are currently known of, exceptions, that are accepted by most researchers and scientists, to the fish don’t fart rule. These are the Herring and species of Sandshark which it is believed actually do. Sandsharks gulp air into their stomach and discharge it out the back door, if you know what I mean, to attain desired depth in the water. Whether this is a true fart, again we’ll leave it up to you to decide.
Herring, on the other hand, are a completely different story. Research has shown that this fish creates a mysterious underwater noise through their stern. It is commonly referred to as farting or more politely breaking wind and is always accompanied by a fine stream of bubbles.
However, again this expulsion of air is not related to digestive gases. Rather it is the Herrings way of creating a high-frequency sound as a means of communication using air. It is nonetheless far closer to our idea of a fart as like the Sandshark it comes from their rear end.
Why Don’t Fish Fart?
If experts are to believed, and they usually are, the digestive gases of fish are consolidated with their feces. They are then expelled in gelatinous tubes which, wait for it, fish sometimes eat again! Pretty disgusting, huh? But really not the point, as the point is its why fish don’t, from a digestive point of view, fart.
Other Strange Fish Toilet Facts
As if the ‘do fish fart, or don’t they’ conversation isn’t weird enough, many fish also have other strange toilet habits. Here for your toilet wondering pleasure are just a few of them.
1 Saltwater fish (mainly) urinate through their gills!
This is due to their immense intake of salt in the water and needing to excrete it.
2 Parrot Fish love to poop on divers as they swim over them!
No one knows why this is, it is just something that divers have observed whilst swimming with them.
3 Parrot Fish (yes again) poop sand!
This is due to their constant chomping on coral which means they also intake a lot of sand.
4 Tambaqui Fish help the ecosystem when they poop!
This is because they eat seeds which they cannot digest and have to poop back out. They can swim three miles before pooping them back out and ‘planting’ them in a new location.
5 Sperm Whales use feces as a means of defense!
I know, I know, the Sperm Whale isn’t a fish, but it is interesting how they defend themselves by deploying an explosive cloud of feces.
Conclusion: Do fish fart?
Whilst there may be no complete agreement on the issue of whether fish fart or not, it is certainly a fun discussion to continue having. After all, somehow farts are always fun and I’m guessing will continue to be for quite some time.
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I have been working in the tropical fish industry for over 30 years now and I’m still learning. Everyday is a school day in this hobby. In my spare time I play golf very badly!