Ask the WWM Crew
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1. Injected, tattooed, and amputated fish.
It's a shame that fish are subjected to these inhumane procedures since the dyes eventually fade anyway. High mortality rates, disease, and reduced lifespan plague these fish.
A non-dyed specimen; this is theusual color morph of the Parrot Cichlid.
Â· Flowerhorn: Another Cichlid hybrid sometimes subjected to tattooing and tail amputation.
Â· Painted Glassfish, Disco Fish (Parambassis ranga): One of the first fish to be injected with dye; numerous health- related problems including but not limited to Lymphocystis.
Â· Fruit Tetra, Mixed Fruit Tetra, Blueberry Tetra, Strawberry Tetra, Rainbow Tetra (Injected and/or dipped Whiteskirt Tetras (light form of the Blackskirt Tetra - (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi). Dipping involves placing the fish in a series of caustic baths.
Â· Blueberry Oscar, Strawberry Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus): Injected.
Â· Any albino/light-coloured fish is at risk of dyeing/tattooing, including but not limited to: Molly (Poecilia spp.),Cory catfish (Corydoras spp.), Tiger Barb (Puntius tetrazona), Red-finned/tailed Shark (Epalzeorhynchos spp.), Rams (Microgeophagus spp.), and Loaches (Botia spp.).
Â· Parrot Cichlid (all types): Possible parentage: Amphilophus labiatus, Amphilophus citrinellus, Heros severus, and/or Vieja synspila.
Â· Flowerhorn: Possible parentage: (Amphilophus citrinellus x Cichlasoma trimaculatum, and/or (Herichthys spp.)
The pricey Flowerhorn's value seems to
rise in tandem with the size of its nuchal hump.
Â· OB Peacock, Marmalade Peacock (Aulonocara spp. x Maylandia estherae)
Peacock Cichlids (Aulonocara spp.) are often
hybridized, since the females look very similar.
Many livebearers, including Mollies, Platies, Swordtails, and Guppies, have been inbred and hybridized to the point where they barely resemble their wild counterparts. Of particular concern are Endler's Livebearer/Guppy Hybrids (Poecilia wingei x Poecilia reticulata). Endler's Livebearers are possibly extinct in the wild; unless aquarists prevent hybridization with Guppies, this species will cease to exist.
Â· Butterfly Goodeid (Ameca splendens)
Â· Hump-backed Limia (Limia nigrofasciata)
Â· Four-eyed Fish (Anableps spp.)
Â· Red-Tailed Goodeid (Xenotoca eiseni)
Â· Porthole livebearer (Poeciliopsis gracilis)
Â· Halfbeaks (Nomorhamphus, Dermogenys, and Hemirhamphodon spp.)
The Wrestling Halfbeak, (Dermogenys pusilla):
a fascinating top-dwelling livebearer.
Â· Dwarf Gourami, Powder-blue Gourami, Neon-blue Gourami, Sunset Gourami, Flame Gourami, Red-Robin Gourami, Cobalt Gourami (Colisa lalia)): Intensely bred; often plagued with Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus (fatal). Best avoided or purchased from local breeders. Alternatives: Colisa labiosa and Colisa fasciata.
Stay well away from the imported
Dwarf Gouramis typically sold at retailers.
Â· Bubble-eye/Telescope/Celestial Goldfish (Carassius auratus): Swim bladder problems, reduced swimming ability, buoyancy problems, reduced vision. Grossly deformed eyes subject to physical damage/bacterial infections.
Â· Fancy Guppy (Poecilia reticulata): Delicate; males are poor swimmers because of their large tails. Alternative: Endler's Livebearer (Poecilia wingei): Pure strains are best acquired from trusted breeders.
Â· Balloon Molly, Balloon-belly Molly, Pot-belly Molly (Poecilia spp.): Deformed spine and/or swim bladder, reduced swimming ability, buoyancy problems, reduced lifespan.
This Black Molly (above) will likely
live longer than its Balloon-belly brethren (below).
Alternative: The original Zebra Danio (Danio rerio).
5. Hormoned Fish
These Cichlids are often subjected to hormone treatment:
Discus (Symphysodon spp.)
Peacock Cichlids (Aulonocara spp.)
This juvenile Peacock Cichlid is beginning to colour up, sans hormones.
The use of hormones is not all bad. Hormones can be used to induce spawning in endangered and/or difficult-to-breed species, decreasing the demand for wild-caught fish.
6. Big Fish
Â· Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus): 57-132 cm/22-52 in.
Â· Iridescent Shark (Pangasius spp.): to 130cm/51 in.
Â· Giant Snakehead, Red Snakehead (Channa micropelets): 50-130 cm/20-51 in. Not legal/available in the U.S. Juveniles have an attractive red stripe. Infamous for flexing its muscles and cracking aquaria (it literally is a tank buster).
Â· Tiger Shovelnose Catfish (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum): to 104 cm/41 in.
Â· Arowana/Arawana (Osteoglossum spp., Scleropages spp.): to 100 cm/ 39 in.
Â· Pacu, Red-bellied Pacu (Colossoma spp., Piaractus spp.):45-91 cm/18 - 36 in.
Â· Giant Gourami (Osphronemus gorami):45-70 cm/18-28 in.
Â· Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus): 24-46 cm/9-18 in. Very common in stores (and on Kijiji, after they have outgrown their tanks).
Â· Common Plecostomus (Pterygoplichthys spp.): Many species; usually exceeds 30cm/12 in. Also a popular Kijiji listing (almost rivaling Convict fry) after they have grown a foot or so. Alternative: Bristlenose Catfish/Bushynose Catfish (Ancistrus spp.): to 12 cm/5 in.
Â· Red Devil (Amphilophus labiatus): to 24cm / 10 in.
Â· Midas Cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus): to 24cm / 10 in.
Big Shoaling Fish
Most of these fish should be kept in groups of six or more:
Â· Bala Shark, Silver Shark (Balantiocheilus melanopterus): to 35 cm/14 in.
Â· Clown Loach (Chromobotia macracanthus): 30 cm/12 in.
Â· Silver Dollar (Metynnis spp., Myleus spp., Mylossoma spp. ): 13-26 cm/5-10 in.
Â· Tinfoil Barb (Barbodes schwanenfeldii): 20-35 cm/8-14 in.
Â· Goldfish (Carassius auratus): 10-59 cm/4 - 23 in. Groups of two or more are okay.
Â· Oto, Midget Suckermouth Catfish (Otocinclus affinis): Wild caught. Often starved upon arrival at retailers. Requires soft green algae. High mortality rate.
Â· Chocolate Gourami - Requires extremely soft water, precluding normal biological filtration. These wild-caught fish have an extremely high mortality rate.
Knifefish require careful feeding, a powerful current, and strong filtration.
Â· Knifefish, Ghost Knife, Clown Knife (Chitala chitala)
Â· Black Ghost Knife (Apteronotus albifrons)
These Mormyrids require special feeding and very clean water:
Â· Elephant Nose (Gnathonemus petersii, Gnathonemus rhynchophorus)
Â· Freshwater Dolphin (Mormyrus tapirus)
Â· Baby Whale (Pollimyrus spp.)
Some fish are difficult to keep, and some are just difficult:
Â· Chinese Algae Eater (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri) - Can grow up to one foot, and doesn't eat much algae (often prefers to suck the slime coat from its tankmates).
8. Feeder Fish
Along with Goldfish, Guppies, and Rosy Red Minnows,
White Cloud Mountain Minnows are often sold as feeders.
9. Sick/Neglected/Inhumanely-kept Fish
Betta splendens is often rescued.
Bettas do not belong on walls, in lava lamps, or as wedding centrepieces. They require a heated, filtered minimum 20-litre/5-gallon aquarium.
10. Over-collected or Threatened Fish
Â· Ruby Barb, Black Ruby Barb (Puntius nigrofasciatus): IUCN status: Conservation Dependent. Although easily bred, many specimens are still wild caught, especially colourful specimens from heavily exploited wild populations.
Â· Cherry Barb (Puntius titteya): IUCN status: Conservation Dependent. Both captive-bred and wild-caught; the more-colourful wild specimens are becoming increasingly rare but still sought after.
Â· Celestial Pearl Danio, Galaxy Rasbora (Danio margaritatus): IUCN Status: Not Evaluated. An immediate hit with aquarists after its introduction in 2006, wild populations were quickly decimated.
Â· Celebes Rainbow (Telmatherina ladigesi): IUCN Status: Vulnerable.
Â· Red Rainbowfish (Glossolepis incisus): IUCN Status: Vulnerable.
Â· Boesemanni Rainbowfish, Boseman's Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia boesemani): IUCN Status: Endangered, mainly due to collection (of mostly males) for the aquarium trade.
Â· Zebra Plecostomus (Hypancistrus zebra): This pricey fish is overexploited in the wild. Captive-bred specimens are occasionally available.
Â· Asian Arowana, Red-tailed Golden Arowana: (Scleropages formosus): Considered lucky by some cultures, illegal trade in protected wild-caught specimens still occurs, but captive-bred fish (often microchipped) are becoming increasingly available.
Â· Spotfin Betta, Peacock Mouthbrooder (betta macrostoma): IUCN Status: Vulnerable.
Â· Dwarf Botia (Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki): IUCN Status: Critically Endangered.
Â· Bala Shark (Balantiocheilos melanopterus): IUCN Status: Endangered. Populations were severely depleted by the aquarium trade. However, now virtually all aquarium specimens are captive bred.
Â· Barred Danio (Devario pathirana): IUCN Status: Critically Endangered.
Â· Long-faced Loach (Acantopsis octoactinotos): ICUN Red List Status: Vulnerable
Fish to Keep
Â· Butterfly Goodeid (Ameca splendens): Extinct in the wild due to habitat destruction.
Â· Red-tailed Black Shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor). Extinct in the wild.
Â· Endler's Livebearer (Poecilia wingei): Possibly extinct in the wild due to habitat destruction.
Do not keep Endler's Livebearers with
Guppies (Poecilia reticulata); they will hybridize.
Â· Lake Victoria Cichlids: The introduction of the Nile Perch combined with habitat destruction has devastated the Cichlids of Lake Victoria. Tragically, hundreds of species have disappeared even before scientists could properly classify some of them. This is where aquarists play an important role, by keeping and breeding captive-bred Cichlids like Haplochromis spp. and Astatotilapia spp. and preventing hybridization.
Â· White Cloud Mountain Minnow (Tanichthys albonubes): This classic and extremely popular aquarium fish was believed to be extinct in the wild until recently, when small populations were found near Guangzhou, and Hainan Island (China) and Quang Ninh province (Vietnam). Ironically, it's such a prolific breeder, that this critically endangered beauty is often sold as a feeder-fish.
Â· Blue Notho (Nothobranchius patrizii): Like many annual Killifish, this critically endangered species is not usually available in stores. Aquarists who obtain/hatch eggs from other aquarists help guarantee the continuation of this species.
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