Lake Malawi Species • Color Enhancing Hormones

Discussion regarding only Lake Malawi species.

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Postby bulldogg7 » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:29 am

There's some documentation on testosterone used in trout farming changing fish to males and producing some hermaphroditic and sterile fish. Surely it can't be harmless for cichlids.

http://www.infish.com.pl/wydawnictwo/Ar ... %20w02.pdf
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Postby 24Tropheus » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:07 am

Oh well I guess you guys are going to find out anyway. A bit of research reveils...........

Hormones may be administered by feeding, injection or immersion, of which the first two are favoured. Clearly the timing of administration of the hormone during development is crucial. The work of Yamamoto (1969) revealed that androgens, such as 19-nor-ethynyltestosterone and the synthetic analogue methyltestosterone, were the most effective in accomplishing masculinization. Oestrogens, such as oestradiol-17b and ethynyloestradiol, were very effective for feminization. Close to 100% masculinization of cichlids Oreochromis niloticus has been obtained within two weeks by administration of dietary methyltestosterone at 5mg/kg (Pandian and Varadaraj, 1987). This regime produce fertile males which could be used for breeding but were also commercially better as a crop than mixed-sex fish. Even lower concentrations of 1 mg/kg administered for six weeks (Bye and Lincoln, 1986) yielded male rainbow trout which were authentic males with effective sperm ducts. Higher concentrations of hormone yielded male trout which were incapable of being stripped of milt and thus the acquisition of milt from such fish required sacrifice and dissection.

It is I think a nasty for profit practice from commertial fish farming, with potential major probems to the long term health and breeding of ornamental cichlids that are largly unstuddied and unproven I think. (At first it was I think used just to ID Malawi cichlids as the male colouration and female colouration could be quickly shown using a single fish). Really someone should studdy it, as the practice, I find it abhorant, seems to have become common for profit.

I am not sure wheather the practice is actually illegal anywhere and may be impossible to enforce a ban in any one country.
I did find this in one article but I found no evidence backing the claims.
"In the United States the use of male hormones (testosterone) in fish foods is highly illegal, and for good reason. Long-term use of steroids in fish food has been associated with skeletal deformity, increased susceptibility to infections, and pathological changes in the liver, kidney, and digestive tract. Females that are fed sex steroids will “color upâ€Â
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Postby 24Tropheus » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:56 am

I guess in the UK it might be illegal to use steriods on cichlids, as it is illegal here to cause unnessarcery suffering to any pet (animal in our care), including fish. Animal welfare act I think. But proving that suffering is caused might be hard. Also just like dyed fish etc I think one can import and sell them without fear of prosecution, even though it could be proved the suffering is given financial suport by the importer. :(
A rather sad loop hole in our laws yet to be fixed I think.
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Postby Number6 » Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:24 am

24Tropheus wrote:I did find this in one article but I found no evidence backing the claims.
"In the United States the use of male hormones (testosterone) in fish foods is highly illegal, and for good reason.
it is not illegal in the US. It is a practice that I know of being actively used and one can fund aquaculure articles and even active US patents for fishfood with hormones (including testosterone).

Like any drug/chemical/hormone, quantity matters!
My WC cichlids are gonna be caught on rod n reel!
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Postby tripnbili » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:35 pm

Wow, this is some crazy stuff. Feel so bad for these fish. I stopped in that LFS today and at least half of those fish have lost their color....look unhealthy....and just plain sad
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Postby 24Tropheus » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:37 am

I guess I should point out that US patents for fishfood with hormones (including testosterone) does not make their use legal or ethical on ornamental cichlids. You can have a patent for stuff that it is illegal and unethical to sell or use (depending on local laws) I think.

Can you buy this stuff for use on ornamental cichlids in you LFS? If not, why not?

I would urge any shopkeeper or dealer to find out from there supliers exactly what is being used on the fish they sell to customers and find out the exact legality and ethics of selling them (labeled or unlabeled) to customers.

If it is legal and ethical, then, I guess, those who sell them could sell the food the customer needs to keep them coloured up.

I would guess this varies according to local laws.

All the best James
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Postby 24Tropheus » Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:44 am

Tanks 180, empty revamping 100,65,60g Tropheus/tang communities 75g revamping. 29gx3 shelly communities, 29g Trigs breeding. 20gx2 shelly tanks. BCA member 207. Try it you might like it.
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Postby the_evil_dickfeldi » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:51 am

I once bought an OB peacock....Thought it was a blue varient male...A few weeks later it changes to orange and is holding eggs! :o Which were hybrids themselves, on a side not(Jacob/OB mix)

She was a healthy specimen though :) Still, buyer beware, fully-collored male peacocks coundn't be so cheap!

Just my 2 cents.
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Postby Xanrae » Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:38 am

I think it`s sad what people will do just to make a buck. I feel for the fish, like the painted glass fish that`s injected with dye, just to be more appealing to customers.
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Re: Color Enhancing Hormones

Postby Mellywell » Mon Mar 07, 2016 10:19 am

I'd like to reopen this discussion if anyone else is interested.
I've been searching for a high quality Eureka Red Peacock since October. My tank is established. Its been a while since I've visited this forum, however a lot of my 20 year old + frontosa's have been passing due to old age in the last 2 years and my largest 9" loach. So they've been replaced with Haps and Peacocks along the way.
I can not ad anything to my tank smaller than 3". They would just be slaughtered or eaten. So a larger Eureka is what I've been searching for.
ALL OF THEM in the area from Muskoka-Orillia-Barrie-RIchmond HIll- Mississuaga- Newmarket and Toronto are Hormone enhanced.
So yesterday I bought one. He had been at the store for 3 weeks so they guy told me that they have faded, not sure if we were looking at real colour or not. For me however the shape of the body and head were more important than colour and this male was fitting the bill.
The aggression from my other fish towards him and an enhanced OB peacock I brought together (I always introduce more than one fish at a time to spread the beatings around) is like nothing I've ever seen. They should be charged with assault.

I feel so bad. Like I purchased a puppy from a puppy mill. Seems the same to me. Unethical practice.

I'm shamed.
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Re: Color Enhancing Hormones

Postby Robinhud » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:17 pm

High water quality and better matched water conditions do pretty much the same thing. In my experience if stores would spend more time on taking care of the fish and set up there system properly in the first place there fish would be colorful.
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Re: Color Enhancing Hormones

Postby noki » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:05 pm

Robinhud wrote:High water quality and better matched water conditions do pretty much the same thing. In my experience if stores would spend more time on taking care of the fish and set up there system properly in the first place there fish would be colorful.


Not sure if you mean Mbuna, but it is normal for young Aulonocara and Haps to have female color, and you get one or two early male color ups. One alpha male colors up, and there usually is a beta waiting for a chance. Somebody buys the male or males that show some color, then the next in line color up.

Really, a lot of these hormoned fish are hardly bred for quality in the first place, they don't care that much. They add hormones and the fish lights up in some way.
...
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Re: Color Enhancing Hormones

Postby noki » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:10 pm

Mellywell wrote:I'd like to reopen this discussion if anyone else is interested.
I've been searching for a high quality Eureka Red Peacock since October. My tank is established. Its been a while since I've visited this forum, however a lot of my 20 year old + frontosa's have been passing due to old age in the last 2 years and my largest 9" loach. So they've been replaced with Haps and Peacocks along the way.
I can not ad anything to my tank smaller than 3". They would just be slaughtered or eaten. So a larger Eureka is what I've been searching for.
ALL OF THEM in the area from Muskoka-Orillia-Barrie-RIchmond HIll- Mississuaga- Newmarket and Toronto are Hormone enhanced.
So yesterday I bought one. He had been at the store for 3 weeks so they guy told me that they have faded, not sure if we were looking at real colour or not. For me however the shape of the body and head were more important than colour and this male was fitting the bill.
The aggression from my other fish towards him and an enhanced OB peacock I brought together (I always introduce more than one fish at a time to spread the beatings around) is like nothing I've ever seen. They should be charged with assault.

I feel so bad. Like I purchased a puppy from a puppy mill. Seems the same to me. Unethical practice.

I'm shamed.


How large are your older fish? If the juvenile fish are big enough to not get swallowed, they are generally ignored. Adding sexually mature fish causes problems, since they are seen as competitors. If you fish are too large, you may always have big problems adding fish.

Also, about the color of the Eureka... they hormone female fish too, so you can't be sure.
...
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Re: Color Enhancing Hormones

Postby Mr Chromedome » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:04 pm

Robinhud wrote:High water quality and better matched water conditions do pretty much the same thing. In my experience if stores would spend more time on taking care of the fish and set up there system properly in the first place there fish would be colorful.


Stores are not the ones hormoning the fish, it is the commercial breeders/shippers who are doing so. And often it is added from a very young age, so the fish are pretty messed up sexually long before they get to the store.
Happiness may be the door to Heaven, but Pleasure is not the Key. - attributed to Confucius
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Re: Color Enhancing Hormones

Postby Fogelhund » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:05 pm

I've seen Stanozolol at some Fish Farms in the past.

As far as potential harm, without a study, it appears to me as thought he mortality rate for such fish is higher than normal.
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