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Postby CichlidWhisperer » Sun May 04, 2008 5:32 pm

Rather it'll continue on the way it is now, with most lfs selling average fish (including hybrids and other man made morphs) while the more concerned hobbyist looks elsewhere for their "pure", natural fish.


If this is true, why are people so upset about the breeding and selling of fish that will be kept as pets?
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Postby lloyd » Sun May 04, 2008 5:37 pm

[quote="CichlidWhisperer"]Makes me think that maybe there should be two grades...[/quote]

we already have two grades...normal....and cull.
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Postby Darkside » Sun May 04, 2008 5:43 pm

CichlidWhisperer wrote:
Rather it'll continue on the way it is now, with most lfs selling average fish (including hybrids and other man made morphs) while the more concerned hobbyist looks elsewhere for their "pure", natural fish.


If this is true, why are people so upset about the breeding and selling of fish that will be kept as pets?


Obviously this is the condition that forces them to take the precaution in the first place. I don't think it can be changed, but with the ability to educate people on "proper" fish keeping practice why not make the effort?
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Postby CichlidWhisperer » Sun May 04, 2008 5:50 pm

Darkside wrote:...but with the ability to educate people on "proper" fish keeping practice why not make the effort?


And that is just it... Different people have different ideas of what "proper" fish keeping practice is. It is not a matter of effort, but a matter of disagreeing on this issue. There is a tremendous amount of people judging others because they have different views on this matter; I don't think there needs to be people insisting that they are right and others are wrong when it is a subjective issue with a lot of different view points. I don't think anyone is wrong in their opinion on this. I am happy to say we live in a society where we are allowed to disagree with one another!
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Postby Darkside » Sun May 04, 2008 6:04 pm

CichlidWhisperer wrote:
Darkside wrote:...but with the ability to educate people on "proper" fish keeping practice why not make the effort?


And that is just it... Different people have different ideas of what "proper" fish keeping practice is. It is not a matter of effort, but a matter of disagreeing on this issue. There is a tremendous amount of people judging others because they have different views on this matter; I don't think there needs to be people insisting that they are right and others are wrong when it is a subjective issue with a lot of different view points. I don't think anyone is wrong in their opinion on this. I am happy to say we live in a society where we are allowed to disagree with one another!


I don't entirely agree, with this topic differing opinions seemed to be formed from differing levels of education and involvement. "Opinions" by nature cannot be either wrong or right because of their personalized nature. There is no reason to argue their merit because of their intrinsic subjectivity. The problem here is a far deeper moral issue that is attached to not only fish keeping but farming practices and biotechnology. "Man made" fish are bred for a specific purpose, and this purpose usually goes against natural design, same as with pigs in the pork industry and more significantly with GMOs.
The issue here isn't with the creation of synthetic fish, but with their distribution and as is the case with GMOs its not possible (and the public may not want to know or lack the tools to understand) educate every buyer on the type of fish they're buying. Most won't care if they buy hybrids, painted glass fish or even GMOs (those glow in the dark fish now being produced in asia). If back-crossed hybrids are released back into the common market place there arises a moral issue that the fish now being sold are being misrepresented (i.e. yellow labs). This means that the lfs or chains are selling to hobbyists mislabeled fish (perhaps through ignorance, maybe on purpose) and that this is unknown (to some) hobbyists. Its morally objectionable to sell a lie, so where along the line do we try to regulate this behavior?
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Postby CichlidWhisperer » Sun May 04, 2008 7:17 pm

Darkside, I agree with almost everything you said, and I think it at least in part supports the idea of different labels on fish as "pet" or "pure", or whatever is chosen to properly tell buyers what they are buying. I have to admit, I am questioning some of my fish which I bought to be one species from a reputable LFS. I am questioning the species, not because I personally insist on a "pure" fish, but because I want to know what it's temperament will be once it matures (and also, my innate curiosity in knowing what it is.) I have two fish in my tank right now who seem to have personalities uncharacteristic of the fish they are supposed to be and I am worried about aggression issues between them. Furthermore, I bought some synodontis thinking they were petricolas and they were Lucipinnis (in this case I was happy because I wanted them to remain small.) But in paying the price I did for them, it would have been nice if they were acurately labelled.

I do think fish sellers have the moral responsibility to label their fish properly or at least put the generic "Africans" label on them. This is not specific to fish though.. All sellers have the responsibility to represent their products legitimately. Unfortunately, our reality is "buyer beware."
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Postby 24Tropheus » Mon May 05, 2008 1:22 pm

No matter how you try and get round it we practice eugenics on our fish. (Without selection you soon get problems) Bringing in natural selection etc just clouds the issue. We can not get it to work in our tanks. I know, tried for long enough. :wink: . Just breed from fish that exhibit the traits you like, not those pre set by some standard. My traits are no clear abnormality, no clear behavior oddity, breed in the most natural way I can given the species. If I have the choice I select for the ones that look and act most wild type (whatever that may be) No way is this the way for everyone.
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Postby wmayes » Tue May 06, 2008 11:52 am

I took this exactly from the other topic when I responded there and then realized that the discussion had been relocated. Please forgive me for whatever else has been covered in the thread prior to making the post here. I'll do my best to catch up and edit this as I see fit:

Yes, CWhisperer, in the wild any species of fish may diverge and become two distinct species. This, however, occurs usually between seperated populations NOT between different colorations of a species. It can also occur where a species traits present them the opportunity to take advantage of more than a single ecological niche - I.E. the one species can then seperate into different species designed to take up only a single niche of the niches it occupies.

Furthermore this process takes thousands of years and, as such, species are very resilient to change in the short-run. This is where colorations are taken into account. Fish will typically NOT mate with a specimen that has imperfections in their color when presented with more suitable mates. This is the same across all types of animals - humans do it, chimpanzees compare every individual to a kindof "perfect example" that is built into their brain and if an individual differs to much from that perfect example they will refuse to pair with them, birds do it, etc. This fish is imperfect not only in our eyes but also in nature, evolution, and the fishes eyes.

The fish is pretty though just not what everyone looks for ;)
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Postby why_spyder » Thu May 08, 2008 5:26 pm

DJRansome wrote:If I'm going to make more fish whether I want to or not, where possible I'd like to replicate the conditions of healthy specimens living in a healthy environment in the lake. I'm told a healthy female on her own will chose the healthiest male of her own population if one is available. Most often this means bright colors and fabulous fins, without bars or beards or mustaches.

I necessarily have to limit the choices, and I'm not as smart as the fish, but the best I can do is try to provide bright colors and fabulous fins, without bars or beards or mustaches.


I agree whole-heartedly with this. By selecting the standardized males/females, I can aide in the "natural process" of mate selection even though the fish are in artificial environments. By not using males/females that are abnormal, I'm actually helping to keep the norm - as it would probably occur in the wild. And yes, sometimes abnormal ones spawn - but there's a good chance the offspring from that spawn wouldn't. By selecting the normal to begin with, you are actually saving time, energy, and lives... :thumb:

Number6 wrote:Fish clubs should post a list of recognized species and breeds and if they accept breeds then they should post a breed standard... same as the AKC, CKC or any other hobby where animal husbandry has become organized and tracked.

Of course, that would allow me to call ugly OB peacocks as a "lower quality specimen" so perhaps you won't support my idea on this front :lol:

DJransome... great post. :thumb:


I would love to see a club/group start a showing standards for species of Cynotilapia - that might make it easier to help people with unknown variants of Cyno's (though with so many geographical variants out there - its just easier to buy from a breeder and use the name they provide :P ).
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Postby dogofwar » Sat May 10, 2008 1:39 pm

Most aquarium keepers value the characteristics of bright color and large size in their fish.

Fish that appear less colorful or smaller than max size are deemed "poor quality" based on a set of man-defined values.

In nature, there is a range of colors and sizes of fish in a given population. Less colorful or smaller examples of a species aren't necessarily poorly adapted to their natural environments. They might even be better adapted.

Reconciling what's "natural" and what's appealing to aquarium keepers is just not possible.
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Postby Number6 » Sat May 10, 2008 3:48 pm

dogofwar wrote:Reconciling what's "natural" and what's appealing to aquarium keepers is just not possible.
I don't agree here... I wouldn't say that the majority of aquarium keepers always want bigger and prettier, else there would be NO market for little brown Tanganyikan cichlids...

shell dwellers are a prime example... so far, and without exception in my experience, every fan of shell dwellers I have ever met value two things along... straight faces and living in shells. For that group of cichlids, reconciling the norm of the species and what aquarists want sounds bang on.

Not all cichlids are Haps. ;)
My WC cichlids are gonna be caught on rod n reel!
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Postby bmills » Sun May 11, 2008 9:58 pm

I have been watching this thread for a while, and with great interest. Firstly congratulations to all on an interesting and well-conducted discussion.

I thought I'd throw in the following opinion, and I'm being deliberately a little provocative but not intending to cause any offence.

Fish-keeping is essentially an aesthetic pursuit. The starting point for someone's interest in keeping fish is appearance. The physical appearance of the specimens, and the enjoyment of the aesthetics of their behaviour. The appearance of a functioning mini-biotope in one's home.

While we cichlid-keepers enjoy a group of species that are very characterful relative to other aquarium-fish, nevertheless aesthetics is the starting point for the hobby. If it were not so, we would not keep fish in glass display tanks, and rather would house them in conditions that controlled external stimuli and stresses much better (eg in large, densely planted and/or aquascaped black plastic tubs).

Aesthetics provides two related goals for aquarists.

The first, especially for those interested in fish breeding, is to continue AND better the blood-lines that are kept. One way of achieving this is to breed a species using as a benchmark the natural 'best-of-breed', that is, an objective based on the morphology of the very best specimens observable in the wild. Another is to create new appearances through articicial strains and breeds - in my opinion an undesirable outcome due to the second goal I'm about to suggest.

The second aesthetic goal is one which references the biotype back to the fish's location of origin. The question to be asked is whether what is seen in the tank relates to what would be seen if one donned a snorkel and flippers and took a dip in Lake Malawi or Lake Tangankika. (Clearly this rules out, for me at least, any liking for artificially created strains and breeds, however superficially beautiful or not they may be).

Using Number6's little brown Tanganykans as a real example we can see how these goals interact. A serious hobbyist keeping these will want the most beautiful little brown Tanganykan fish they can possibly have (or be breeding toward this goal) while remaining true to type. And they will want them enjoying a life and displaying their behaviours in a biotope that makes sense, and relates to Lake Tanganika. Those two things will be the basis for the hobbyists prolonged enjoyment in the tank they have created.

Coming back to CichlidWhisperer's views, I do understand that people can grow affection for any fish - especially cichlids which have such character. Indeed I have great affection for my 16 slippery little suckers - some of which, I should add are not perfect specimens! I also firmly believe that every living thing deserves a humane existence. It's not a fish's fault if it is hybrid, scungy or even deformed - though one must be realistic and understand on the other hand that such specimens are likely not to have a humane existence in the wild...

But where I diverge, and the reason I have started with aesthetics, is that I don't think that character is the primary goal. It seems self-evident to me that having healthy, beautiful fish that make sense both within themselves as 'true-to-form' specimens in a consistent tank environment is what the hobby is all about. Hence the two goals I suggest above, which can be simplified into the phrase "providing the best possible environment for the best possible fish".

And that is kind of where I end. Undeniably most cichlids are fish to which one can become very attached, and which one can value as pets due to their wonderful behaviours. But if one can become attached to a cichlid that is bred to be a magnificent specimen and a fine example (physically and behaviourally) of its species, and that thrives in an environment that makes sense for it, then surely that is a fantastic outcome and one that aquarists should aspire to.

PS : In relation to the comparison with dogs. People get dogs for all sorts of personal and psychological reasons. It is far easier to interact meaningfully with a dog, and to anthropomorphise a dog's behaviour, and to derive all sorts of benefits from a dog not related to their appearance or genetic purity. Nevertheless, there are clearly breed standards, and also attempts to breed out undersirable conditions (eg. deafness in dalmatians, hip dysplasia in Alsatians, white boxers with a litany of problems...). So even for an animal where aesthetics is a far less important issue, and where hybrids are very commonly accepted, there is an acceptance that some degree of visibility, planning and control over the genetic makeup and characteristics of the various breeds is a desirable outcome.

Apologies for the long post - an indication of my interest in, and respect for, the views put on this thread.

Cheers from Sydney.
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Postby Toby_H » Sun May 11, 2008 10:40 pm

impressively well put...
The happier you make your fish the happier they will make you

Minimum requirements means minimum happiness for all
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Postby Darkside » Mon May 12, 2008 12:24 am

"Aesthetics" is a decent descriptor, but man is that a loaded term.
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Postby Number6 » Mon May 12, 2008 9:03 am

Excellent post bmills.
My WC cichlids are gonna be caught on rod n reel!
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