Fish Biology (Diploma in Ichthyology)AC606

Keen to study Fish Biology by distance learning? Are you a fish fancier? Fascinated by life under the water? There are 25,000 different species of fish and almost 200 new species are discovered each year.

The study of Ichthyology is also important from a conservation point of view, as ocean temperatures change and habitats are created and destroyed. 

This course is fully supported by our expert tutors and is split into bite sized sections to learning can fit into your busy day even more conveniently. So Start Learning today!

Course Info

Distance Learning Support


At Start Learning we pride ourselves on our friendly and supportive tutors. Your tutor support will start as soon as you receive your course and will be valid for 12 months. All our tutors are highly qualified with extensive experience in supporting distance learning students. You contact your tutor via email and they are responsible for marking assignments answering your questions and guiding you through the course to ensure you are ready for your examinations.

Home Study Entry Requirements


This course is open to everyone. At Start Learning we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to expand their knowledge and study further, so we try to keep our entry requirements to a minimum.

Hours of Study


We recommended you spend approximately 110 hours of your time studying for the IACE Level 3 Standard Diploma in Fish Biology. The pace of study is completely up to you. To give an example, if you dedicate 2 hours a week to the course it would take you a year to complete but  if you could spare 4 hours a week you could complete it in six months.

Distance Learning Course Contents


Course Contents

Unit 1- Evolution and Speciation: The timescales involved in fish evolution - Rudimentary evolutionary lines in fish ancestry - The characteristics of the aquatic environment compared to the terrestrial environment - The basic influence such factors have on fish life - The distribution patterns in marine and freshwater environments -The term speciation - Speciation and the distribution patterns of fresh and marine water environments.

Unit 2 – History, Swim Bladder and Diversification: The basic concepts of early animal life - Historical aspects in the context of geological time periods - Different lines of fish evolution that emerged at separate times - The various factors that contributed to the primary extinctions of ichthyological history - Swim bladder evolution along with other adaptations promoted the survival of the bony fish - The common chondrichthian evolution as related to dentition - The diverse nature of the bony fish group.

Unit 3 - Bouyancy: The importance of buoyancy maintenance - The relevance of maintaining low density compounds within the body in order to reduce the likelihood of sinking - Lateral fins to obtain lift in the water column -The role of the swim bladder in promoting the dispersion and diversity of the bony fish - The role of the physoclistous swim bladder in enabling swim bladder buoyancy control to be achieved at great depth - The advantages obtained from using the physoclistous swim bladder arrangement - The physoclistous gas gland arrangement

Unit 4 – Fish Communication: Fish communication is multi faceted - Pheromones which are used in predator avoidance, recognition and reproduction - Stridulation as a method used for making sound - Swim bladder use in amplifying sound – Colour’s part in fish communication - The mechanisms involved with colour communication, such as chromatophore use

Unit 5 – Reproduction: The basic level of parental care and the conflicts of which parent provides care – Sex change to maximise fitness - Balon’s classification and the high level of diversity - Oviparity as egg laying – Guarding and non-guarders as methods of maximising reproductive success – Fish which bear young rather than lay eggs

Unit 6 – Migration: Fish migration is loosely categorised according to fresh and saltwater location - The terms oceanodromy, potadromy and diadromy as applied to fish migration - The eel as an example of catadromous fish and the salmon as an anadromous fish - The concept of amphidrophy - Why juvenile and adult life stages often have separate locations - The various navigational methods employed by fish.

Unit 7 – Breathing: Gaseous exchange is essential for survival - Gill structure and ventilation has an influence on the nature of the gas exchange between water and blood in fish - Cutaneous respiration and appreciate the normal limits of such a strategy - The heart as a basic pump, and appreciate the anatomical differences between elasmobranch and teleost hearts.

Unit 8 –The environment: The long history of fish evolution and the adaptability that this time span encourage – The Antarctic and Arctic habitats - The notothenioid antifreeze adaptation - The term endemic - The different deep-sea zones and the differences in fauna that they encourage.

Unit 9 – Senses: The lateral line as a sense organ and understand its relevance to survival - The basic mechanism of the neuromast - The acoustico-lateralis system as a composition of two senses - Electro reception occurs in a diverse amount of ways and understand the survival advantage it can provide - The basic revision of the visual senses. 

Easy Payment Plan


Full Price is £425

50% Deposit + Postage = This is paid when signing up for the course

25% First Instalment = This is paid 1 month after signing up for the course

25% Second Instalment = This is paid 2 months after signing up for the course

Call us on 0800 074 1222 or email us at

If you would like to set up a payment plan.

The deposit is paid at time of enrolment with a fee for postage and packaging.

For postage costs click here: HYPERLINK ""HYPERLINK ""Postage & Packaging





Diploma in Ichthyology from IACE (Institute of Animal Care Education) (Level 3 Standard)

Awarding Body Information


The Institute for Animal Care Education is an international organisation that aims to promote the quality of education within the animal care industry. It was founded in 1996 and fulfils the requirement for a governing body within the animal care sector focussed purely on high standards of education and the needs of the animal welfare industry. 

Assessment Method


This course is marked through a process of continuous assessment guided by your tutor following IACE guidelines. This means that your qualification will be awarded according to your performance on assessments rather than by taking an exam. 

Language of Course




Q: What are the qualifications required to enrol onto this course?
A:  No entry requirements

Q: How long do I have access to the personal tutor service?
A: The personal tutor service is available for 12 months from when the study materials are received.  At Start Learning we aim help our students to the best of our ability; therefore we are always delighted to answer questions and queries out with the 12 month period.

Q: Do your courses meet the latest syllabus changes?
A: yes, all our course materials meet any changes and will be updated free of charge if further changes are made.

Q: Is this Fish Biology course paper based or on-line?
A: Our Fish Biology course is paper based and comes in an attractive folder.

Q: I still have questions? / I would like more information?
A:  If you require more information please do not hesitate to contact Start Learning via email: or call us on 0800 074 1222 or 0141 218 4424.

We look forward to hearing from you.