General Aquaria Discussion • Hybrids

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Hybrids

Postby SherLar » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:47 pm

My wife has become fond of blood parrots, and would like to acquire a couple. However, she's aware of the stigma and prejudice attached to hybrid fish. My question is: why the stigma? I don't understand the big deal. We would never own or endorse such fish as balloon mollies, or dyed/tattooed fish, as the fish are in pain or the practice is cruel. But not all hybrids are suffering. So, if they aren't suffering, who cares if it"s not a pure strain?
Do you honestly believe that the fish which you now call pure strains haven't been hybridized at some point? We have 5 dogs, miniature sheep, miniature goats, pigs, horses, cattle. . . All supposedly "pure-breds" and all registered and papered as such. But, as any reasonably intelligent person knows, at the dawn of human civilization, there were very few canid species, and all modern dogs evolved from them through selective breeding. The same can be said for nearly every other domesticated animal. And, now it seems that if 2 registered dogs accidentally breed, a new breed name gets stuck on them, a new society is formed, and people pay exorbitant prices to obtain an exotic new breed.
Why are fish so different? Why is it wrong to breed in desirable traits from 2 or more species while breeding out undesirable traits? I was told by one fellow aquarist, while his nose was in the air, that fish don't hybridize in the wild. Hah!! Really?!? Tell that to the guy whom, while at a local small lake, caught a hybridized bluegill/largemouth bass. It wasn't stocked by human hands. Nature took her course, - as it will, and does - and created a new species. Both are of the freshwater sunfish family, but of 2 very different and separate species, yet they managed to reproduce.
So, I ask again: why is it so wrong to trade, buy, or sell hybridized fish? I really am curious. If there's a valid and reasonable answer, I may even subscribe to the notion myself. As for any fry that I find in my tanks, regardless of species, they usually get dumped in the water garden as a treat for my oscars. But, it isn't for any ethical reason, nor is it from snobbery; I simply don't want the hassle of dealing with fry, and we like to watch the oscars devour them.
Be that as it may, being the person she is, my wife will probably get her blood parrots (with no scientific name), and, quite likely, the pencil-necked fish snob will hand deliver them to her.
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Re: Hybrids

Postby DJRansome » Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:57 pm

For many of us the wonder of fish keeping is that the same fish we see swimming in our tanks are swimming somewhere in the world, in the wild.

Found via Google, about blood parrots. Does the purchase of them create demand and encourage additional harm to fish?

Because this hybrid cichlid has various anatomical deformities, controversy exists over the ethics of creating the blood parrot. One of the most obvious deformities is its mouth, which has only a narrow vertical opening. This makes blood parrots somewhat harder to feed and potentially vulnerable to malnutrition. Some cichlid enthusiasts have called for their removal from the market and organized boycotts against pet stores that sell them

As a result of hybridization of the parent species, the fish have several anatomical deformities, including a beak-shaped mouth that cannot fully close, which they compensate for by crushing food with the throat muscles,[1] a deformed nuchal, and compressed vertebrae. Some commercial foods have been developed specifically to be easy for blood parrots to ingest, and recently some blood parrots have been selectively bred to be able to completely close their mouths.[citation needed] Blood parrots sometimes can have deformed swim bladders, causing an awkward swimming pattern; and unusually large, and often deformed irises.


Those that dive Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika state that they have not observed hybridization in the Lakes. A fish seeking a mate will swim until they find their own species. There is some suspected or confirmed hybridization in Lake Victoria due to human pollution and "non-native species introduced by humans" predation and loss of individuals within a species.
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Re: Hybrids

Postby SherLar » Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:23 pm

Thanks, DJ. That answers my query regarding blood parrots very well. I'll try to discourage the wife from getting them because of it. It still leaves me wondering, however, why all hybridization is so frowned upon. Obviously, no sane, rational person wants their pets to suffer. It's almost certain, however, that not every (in fact, not even most) hybridization will result in deformed fry. Our Giant Schnauzer is a rare - and apparently - valuable species. I will guarantee you though, that nowhere is there a pack of them running in the wild. To me, it seems quite simple: if you prefer only pure species that can also be found in the wild in your tanks, then that's all you should have in your tanks. It's certainly an individual's choice as to what they acquire.
As for me, since it would be impossible to recreate any fish's truly natural environment or habitat within the confines of any aquarium that would comfortable fit within my 240 sq ft fish room, I prefer to be a bit fanciful. While I would be hesitant to sell or trade a hybridized fish - unless to a like-minded individual - I would have no trouble adding an interesting specimen to my tanks, whether it occurs naturally in nature or not. I have no wish to propagate the breeding or sale of any animal that may live in perpetual suffering, anxiety, or agitation.
6,500G Koi pond; 220g Indoor water garden;
150g long American cichlid tank;
125g Undecided (Cycling)
90G Malawi cichlid tank;
90G Community tank
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Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:03 pm
Location: Central US

Re: Hybrids

Postby Mr Chromedome » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:30 pm

Your Giant Schnauzer is not a species, it is a breed. It is one bloodline of a species that has been greatly modified to produce different breeds. It is still the same species as a Chihuahua, or a St. Bernard. There are a group of genes in dogs that are extremely elastic, and make such manipulation possible.

Fish of some species have multiple breeds, but overall with Cichlids the problem is hybridization between actual species. In the wild, closely related species are often separated by geography or habitat. There are/were species in Lake Victoria that remained separate because they lived at different depths. In aquaria this is virtually impossible to reproduce, so we avoid keeping those species together because they will interbreed with proximity to one another. The very fact that we cannot perfectly replicate their natural habitat in our aquaria is why we have to be more cautious about mixing species.

The problem with tolerating hybrid stock is that it often resembles the natural stock of one or the other parent species. Add this fish to a pure breeding population, and you no longer have purebred specimens. If that species is extinct in the wild, you have now made it extinct in aquaria, as well. This is one of many reasons for trying not to produce hybrid stock.
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Re: Hybrids

Postby DJRansome » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:43 pm

For the Rift Lake cichlids in particular, again it's remarkable that they naturally evolved into so many species so quickly. Enthusiasts like to preserve the separate species.

Keepers of other fish species (goldfish, guppies, etc.) are much more tolerant about hybrids.
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Re: Hybrids

Postby SherLar » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:22 am

I'll defer to the experts in this. I've no idea whether or not I've had hybrids in my tanks, as I typically relocate them to the water garden to visit the oscars as soon as they're large enough to catch, and will continue to do so, if for no other reason that I just don't have time or inclination to deal with them any other way. As I'm coming to love cichlids more than any other type of fish, I'll do my best to preserve the blood lines. And, as my wife is an animal advocate, she'll forgo adding blood parrots to our fish room (it may be the only point I've won during our relationship). Thanks for your input DJ and Chromedome.
6,500G Koi pond; 220g Indoor water garden;
150g long American cichlid tank;
125g Undecided (Cycling)
90G Malawi cichlid tank;
90G Community tank
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Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:03 pm
Location: Central US

Re: Hybrids

Postby Fogelhund » Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:00 pm

DJRansome wrote:
Those that dive Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika state that they have not observed hybridization in the Lakes. A fish seeking a mate will swim until they find their own species.



That would be false. There are quite a few instances of hybridization in the lakes, including fish we consider species now, that were created due to hybridization. At many locations, you can also observe hybrids, though often these aren't bred with, or end up being absorbed back into the gene pool
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Re: Hybrids

Postby DJRansome » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:10 pm

Fogelhund wrote:That would be false. There are quite a few instances of hybridization in the lakes, including fish we consider species now, that were created due to hybridization. At many locations, you can also observe hybrids, though often these aren't bred with, or end up being absorbed back into the gene pool
I was excluding fish we consider species now, that were created due to hybridization, but I was not aware that "new" hybrids have been observed. Thanks, I will try to find more information on that.
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Re: Hybrids

Postby Aquariguns » Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:57 pm

Im in the club that doesn't mind the hybrids - -as long as you know what you are buying. Hybrids should never be offered for sale with naturals. As far as blood parrots go, I have one and it is a fantastic hearty fish with a ton of personality. If you or your wife likes the fish, and you are keeping it for your own personal enjoyment and not breeeding or passing it off as something it is not, I say go for it.
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