Biology Question #3988
Lisa Pearce, a 20 year old female from Gympie asks on November 7, 2007,
Whenever I drop a piece of cork, plastic or metal into a container of water, it always floats on top or sinks to the bottom. Some substances sink very slowly, but they always end up at the top or bottom. Fish quite happily ‘float’ at various levels. This is common in nature with different species being top, middle or bottom dwellers. How do fish manage this without having to use lots of energy swimming up or down all the time?
viewed 13491 times
answered on November 7, 2007
Fish are able to change their floatability, also known as buoyancy because they have an internal organ called a gas bladder. According to the Wikipedia page on fish gas bladders, fish can increase or decrease the amount of gas in these organs thereby changing the height at which they float in the water, without having to swim.
Add to or comment on this answer using the form below.
Note: All submissions are moderated prior to posting.
If you found this answer useful, please consider making a small donation to science.ca.