Fish scales

Ever wondered why fish have scales and why they can come in so many different colours, shapes, and sizes? Well it is for a number of reasons...


The primary reason that fish have scales is to act as a protective barrier. Scales are protecting fish from all sorts of harmful objects such as bacteria, parasites and fungus, as well as protecting their otherwise soft bodies.


Scales overlap with a bony structure, they allow fish to move easily in water. Water slides over their scales causing no resistance as the fish speeds through the water. However the hardness of the scales determines the movements of the fish, the harder the scales the more protection a fish has, yet it is slower in movement, whilst a fish with softer scales had greater speed and movement and can be very flexible in the water. 


Scales can also help to determine a fish's age, if you were to look extremely closely, you would be able to see growth rings on the scales, this is an indicator of their age. 


There are a few fish that do not have scales including the catfish and manta ray. They have adapted and evolved scale alternatives over thousands of years.


If you want to find out more about how to care for your pet fish, read more here.