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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I actually was answering another post and wrote this (well this has slight revisions.)

It is simply my opinion and I am not meaning it to judge or offend anyone, so please don't take it that way... discussion is great, but not disrespect.

I really have issues with people commenting about fish being "poor quality" or "poor examples." Each one is simply beautiful to the right person and they all have their own personality. Since when do we judge living creatures as if they were some sort of "prize." OK, so some people do it with dogs and other animals, but that is simply not how I see them. I really do see them as part of my family. I do not "collect" them either for that matter. And, if one dies, I am upset.. Not because I lost the money I spent on it, but because it was a life and one that I cared about. No, it is not the same as a human life, but it is a life and it makes the world a better place. And no, I am not a right-to-lifer either, but simply love animals and what they give us is more than simply something pretty to look at that should be "ideal." Ideal is something made up that others are supposed to follow??? I don't think the ideal fish is the one in the book for that matter either... individuality makes them much better!

OK, so I said my peace... I hope no one takes it personally, it is not meant that way, simply something I have been wanting to say for a long time.
 

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I think it all depend on what your trying to get out of the hobby. Personally, I'm on your side, but then again, im in it for a nice piece of living artwork in my house. Im not trying to develop a new strain. Dog breeders are obsessed with the "quality" because if it wins a show its pups are worth much more $. I would assume that that fish breeders want recognition for new strains, and more money for unique strains and things, much the same way that dog breeders do.

As for poor quality, there is some merit with all of it. A fish that does not look healthy likely is not healthy, and it could be a carrier of a disease, or it could just die. Your right, a fish is a fish, but I will not risk the health of my tank for some questionable fish from a non reputable fish store. And a fish that does not look like the breed standard may have some inbred characteristics, or hybridization. As for a pet, it doesnt matter, but it may be an indicator of a breeder that doesnt care, and I dont support that. A dog is a dog, but I'll be long dead before any puppy mill sees 1 dollar of my money.
 

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CichlidWhisperer said:
Since when do we judge living creatures as if they were some sort of "prize."
Every day and in every single way... we do this from birth and we do it till death...
studies of infants prove that even at "days old" we will stare at a pretty human face for far longer than we will at an "ugly" face... they must have used my photo for the latter! :lol:

I would even suggest you do it. You just haven't admitted it to yourself...

ask yourself... if you saw a male peacock with smaller fins, sort of brown... for $7 and a great looking one in the same tank with large showy fins and a great splash of vibrant color for $8... which one are you taking home? (assuming you can only buy one of course).

Be honest... you even said it yourself... you think your fish are great looking... what your beef seems to be is simply that some people use tougher criteria to id the $8 fish than you do...

In fact... some of us will plunk down $100 or more for a fish that makes you drool!
 

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I was going to not comment, but I I feel there is a point that you two are missing. Now I am not saying you are wrong in any way. But there is much more to whole quality issue than making money. Infact have the drive to make more money is one of the worst things that can happen to a species. The reasons we have poorer quality individual is directly because of the drive to make money. The breeders who are out for money want to sell every puppy and continue to make more regaurdless of the quality. Money should be the last thing on the mind of a breeder.

Wining shows is great (I show both dogs and horses), but it is not so that I can charge more for my puppies. Its a valedation from the experts of those communities world that my animals are in the absolute best condition and as close as possible to the "perfect specimen" Animals that are built (phyically and geneticly) more perfectly are healthier than those those that have defects. Every species of animal is shaped the way it is in order to do certain things. Specimens that are less physically perfect will not be as efficient or successful at those tasks. Should all the ones that don't make the grade be destroyed? Absolutly NOT. However they should not be used for breeding as that will perpetuate the problems.

Example: I have two dogs at the moment that are full littermates. One is my top show dog. His brother is not the right height (3/4in under the standard minimum) and cannot be shown. Does this make him any less of a great pet. Not at all. But I neutered him prevent his genes from going any further. I do agility and obedience competitions with him because he is still a fabulous animal, but just not meant for the show ring (the whole purpose of the show ring is for the selection and recognition of top quality breeding stock, nothing else).

With fish its is the same way. Because of the drive for the big distributors to simply make a buck, they very rarely cull any (it means less fish to sell). So in many LFS and definitely the big chain store (also only out to make a profit) everything that comes in gets sold. The problem for hobbyists is that you really can't spay and neuter your fish. Poorly bred mass produced and sold fish are diluting the good quality starins. The more low quality fish out there, the less and less do the fish look and act like their profile say they should. Eventually many species will not longer be able to be caught in the wild and we will have to rely on aquarium strains for our hobbies. Unless we are being very strict on quality and pure breeding, then in the end we will have a hobby full of mutts. They will neither look like nor act like they are supposed to and the lines between species will begin to blur.

One more point (and I promise this is the last one) is that physical imperfection is often accompanied by genetic imperfection. With multiple genes being responsible for multiple traits, unless we test the entire genome of every single fish, the only way to reduce the possibility of genetic defects is to watch for the physical ones. Even things as minor as even spacing of stripes and bars may be tied to defective genes that also play a role in the chemical balance of a fish. Very rarely are physical abnormalities isolated issues. The companion internal issue may not cause any significant problem for the individual fish, but in a few generations it could be. This is why females will almost always chose the more perfect looking male to mate with (when given a selection). She will also chose the largest male, because he has survived longer and has proven the quality of this genetic make up. On some preprogramed level she is looking for the best genes. In our tank, we are artificially limiting the selections of males, so the female will take what we give them. If we only provide imperfect mates for her to chose from she will spawn with the best she can get. Males on the otherhand will mate with anything that moves so again it is up to us to provide him with quality females. In the wild fish that aren't quite up to it will get get weeded out by natural selection. Yes there are imperfect fish that get to breed in the wild. But their numbers are so small in comparision to the whole size of the populations that is has very little impact on the whole.

Its just like the issue with hybrids. They can be beautiful fish ( I have several myself), but when they happen they should not be put back into the general population. If you hang out in the unidentified forum a lot you will see many people very angry at the fact that they bought a fish as one thing and it turns out to not be. You may be very up front about the family tree of you r fish, but you can't possible keep tabs on every fish you ever distributed and all of their ofspring, etc. It only takes one person down the line somewhere to sell it as a pure sepcies to seriously mess things up if it somehow finds its way to a mass breeder who just pops it into their breeding tanks and sells its fry as pure whatevers. They make thier money by praying on the uninformed person at the pet store. They don't care if 3 generation from now you start to get weird things show up in fry, or if the fish dies at an early age from some internal annomoly, they still made their buck on the original fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This post started from a different post:

http://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/view ... c&&start=0

In response to the last post by Number6 on that page:

I think you make some interesting points. And I am actually enjoying the discussion very much... Challenging your ideas makes you thik even deeper into them...

As for ideals.. I think the ideals we speak of are man-made. Fish have ideals as well and they select for them in ow they choose to breed. So if all were perfect, our ideals (being in theory based on what is "a wide sample taken" from the lake. Assuming we, as humans get it right and do figure out the average, this might be the ideal. But it is far fetched and rather man-centric to think we have gotten it right all the time. Furthermore, ideals set forth for judging, such as in dog shows, are very precise and do not accept much of a range of variation.

I agree with your assessment of "pure/impure". The only reason I wonder on such things is prediction of the future. The biggest reason I want to know what I have in my tank is to try and know how they will change, partially physically, but also in temperment.

Saying the wild sustains abnormalities and welcomes them is definitely an overstatement. But, the diversity of the cichlids, and other animals, we see is due to mutations that either provided a benefit and thus were selected for, or did not cause harm and thus were sustained. It is a wonderful world we live in due to such diversity.

By the way, we have two dogs... We think the one is a Boxer-Yellow Lab and the other a Gordon Setter-Border Collie... They are both shelter babies and we could not love them more. The only reason we even tried to assign breeds to them is our need to label everything around us, not theirs.

In response to your post on this new page:

I definitely do judge others, people, animals, inanimate objects. It is simply human nature. I don't have to admit that to myself. I will even admit I do it at times based on others set standards instead of own. But, I try and choose fish, friends, and to as much extent as possible everything based on my personal preferences and not simply because it is "the best" as jsdged by others. A lot of what I have said is my ideals. Something to try to live up to... Our world is far from perfect and I belong to our world....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Malawilover, I really disagree with you. You are talking about dog shows, but it is too close to **** theories (and I do not think you intend it to be or mean it in that way at all.) But, what if you apply those statements to humans????

What about hybrid humans? Should they be taken out of the gene pool as well?????

I know we are talking about fish, but the argument holds... Is one fish really superior to another of the same species based on slight color variation or is one dog really genetically superior to another based on it's head size???? Sorry, but I disbelieve in this.
 

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CichlidWhisperer said:
As for ideals.. I think the ideals we speak of are man-made. Fish have ideals as well and they select for them in ow they choose to breed.
Man made is not really what you mean then... man-identified or man-defined perhaps?

The species description (by intent) is to define the "fish chosen" norm.
What gets cut off is the man-defined part...
 

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CichlidWhisperer said:
What about hybrid humans? Should they be taken out of the gene pool as well?????
Yes, hybrid humans should be taken out of the gene pool. I have never heard of such a thing though in my life. What other species have humans hybridized with?

I know we are talking about fish, but the argument holds... Is one fish really superior to another of the same species based on slight color variation or is one dog really genetically superior to another based on it's head size????
Yes, one fish can be judged/perceived/viewed as superior to another species based upon colour variation, finnage, shape etc. Yes, one dog really can be viewed as being genetically superior based on it's head size, body size, shape, in field capability... etc.

Everything, and everybody is judged in some manner in this world, and certainly fish will continue to be judged upon standards of that species. Most fish clubs have shows to judge these fish, and a very large majority of aquarists will continue to judge their fish, and select the nicest for breeding. I'm thankful that is the case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hmmm... I think that is a better way to state it.. Man-defined it is.
 

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CichlidWhisperer said:
Malawilover, I really disagree with you. You are talking about dog shows, but it is too close to person theories (and I do not think you intend it to be or mean it in that way at all.) But, what if you apply those statements to humans????

What about hybrid humans? Should they be taken out of the gene pool as well?????

I know we are talking about fish, but the argument holds... Is one fish really superior to another of the same species based on slight color variation or is one dog really genetically superior to another based on it's head size???? Sorry, but I disbelieve in this.
Depending on what the purpose of that animal is, yes it does matter.

Before the movie 101 Dalmations came out in the 50's (I think it was the 50's) deafness was quite rare in the Dalmation population in this country (something like 1 out of 200-300 births). In the 10 or so years after that movie that rate became 1 out of 10 puppies born with either partial or complete deafness. This was a direct result of people indescriminately breeding the dogs to make a buck, because every little kid wanted one. Now the Dalmation Association of America is working very hard to repair the genetic damage by requiring breeders to have their breeding dogs tested and usually every puppy as well for hearing problems. Dogs that are found to be deaf in one or both ears were fixed right away to prevent the defective genes from doing any more damage. Devistating heath issues in other breeds can be traced to the same kind of thing.

Now the part that may get me beat up.

The huge increase in the occurance ans increase severity of many of the disorders we have today are soley because people who would not have survived to reproductive age 100 years ago, are now reaching adulthood and having children because of advances in medical care. I am in no way saying we should start euthanizing people with disorders. I also don't think we should always euthanize all culled fish. You can cull without killing. I am also not saying the government or some authority should step in decide who can and who can not have children. People need to use their brains. I personally know several couples who made the choice to adopt rather than have their own biological children, not because they couldn't but because of their family histories came to the realization that if they had children there was a greater risk of retardation, birth defects, etc. The fish only have instincts. If we must remove them from natures control, they we have to take the place of that governing force. Animals that would have never survived to adulthood in the wild are being helped along by special diets, lack of predators and medications.

one thing in your reply I have to correct. Currently there are no hybrid humans. To comare with the fish the hybrid produced by the crossing of an O. lithobates with a Sc. fryeri would translate to a current human mating with a chimp. All races of humans are still the same species **** sapien sapiens. The different races are simply color variatints created by different conditions at different locations. And don't we still refer to people whose oparents come from different races as "mixed race" and not considered white or black or asian etc. And are their not social pressures in many cultures to only marry and reproduce with in your own race? And are people not still punished in some soceties for breaking these societal boundaries?
 

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Fogelhund said:
Everything, and everybody is judged in some manner in this world, and certainly fish will continue to be judged upon standards of that species. Most fish clubs have shows to judge these fish, and a very large majority of aquarists will continue to judge their fish, and select the nicest for breeding. I'm thankful that is the case.
Exactly! Do we not want to date the most attractive person with the best personality we can find to match or compliment our own. Why is it not ok to judge your fish on the way they look, but its ok decide who you are going to date based (in the begining atleast ...I know personality changes some things) on looks. Do we not want our children to be attractive and smart and healthy so they can go on to get the pest possible mate and so on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK.. I am going to try for the most part to stay off the subject of humans. I have never said that a disabled or deformed dog is one that should be breed by choice, although it should be cared for humanely and in a loving home. I am simply saying that based on color or for the most part head size, a dog is not deformed or disabled. I said for the most part head size, because I am sure there are certain diseases and deformities that can alter head size and I am not including these.

I am talking about healthy individuals. I would not buy a diseased fish, although I did take care of a cat with a chronic disease (asthma) and my mother has taken care of multiple cats with diabetes, thyroid problems, and other ailments.

You are right, there are no true hybrid humans and I stated it that way to get a response. But, lets not forget that we are talking about stating one animal is superior to another based on color.

As far as the concept of humans goes, I wish we could trust that all humans to have common sense. I have no idea how to give them that common sence either or what to do about those without it. I know of a very, very intelligent and well educated couple who choose to continue to have children (they have 4 and want at least 4 more), in spite of all the boys being congenitally deaf. Because they get cochlear inplants, the parents feel their children are not handicapped... I really do wish they would adopt children instead (so many children need good homes), but it is really not business and not my choice.

In any case, I wanted to comment on how amazing this discussion is... I am truly enjoying hearing peoples views. One of the things that I think is truly outstanding about it is that this is such a touchy subject and yet all participants have kept it on a mature discussion level!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Who is to say that physical beauty is the best way to judge someone. Don't intelligence, kindness, and other below the surface traits matter? Yes that is judgement too, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what the ideal beautiful woman is to one man is not the same to others and I hope is not soley or even mostly based on physical beauty.

I know for myself, I have a first impression and my view of that person changes as I get to know them.

Thankfully we are all individuals and can be appreciated as such. Lets appreciate our animals and fish as such too????
 

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CichlidWhisperer said:
OK.. I am going to try for the most part to stay off the subject of humans. I have never said that a disabled or deformed dog is one that should be breed by choice, although it should be cared for humanely and in a loving home.
I agree with you 100% here. Its not the dogs fault and every dog should have a have home.

I am simply saying that based on color or for the most part head size, a dog is not deformed or disabled.
We are not say that either, just that should not be used as breeding stock. It does not cause them to be any less a good loving pet, just unsuitable for reproduction

I am talking about healthy individuals. I would not buy a diseased fish, although I did take care of a cat with a chronic disease (asthma) and my mother has taken care of multiple cats with diabetes, thyroid problems, and other ailments.
Diseased is very diferent. A disease is something you get as a result of an outside force (bacteria, virus, etc - even things like cancers have some sort of trigger) We are speaking of imperfections in the genetic makeup, present from birth and cannot be cured. My dogs heigh issue is not a disease or a deformity, but it is an imperfection based on the standard for his breed. The standard having been created to keep the breed in the best possible form to do the work they are specifically bred to do. Wrinkles on a blood hound are an example. There are strict guidelines (like actual measurements) in the standard for the wrinkles. They are required fo retention of the scent to allow this breed to do its job. Too little and they can't trap as much scent to much and it hinders their movement both of which prevent the animal from doing the job it was developed for.

You are right, there are no true hybrid humans and I stated it that way to get a response. But, lets not forget that we are talking about stating one animal is superior to another based on color.
If that color is one of the defining aspects of that species, then yes. If you were a breeder of Golden Retreivers, would you still use a dog that was born dark brown in your breeding program just because both his parents were "normal" Goldens?

In any case, I wanted to comment on how amazing this discussion is... I am truly enjoying hearing peoples views. One of the things that I think is truly outstanding about it is that this is such a touchy subject and yet all participants have kept it on a mature discussion level!
This one is going very well. Its awesome. Lots of good points and counter points that have been well thought out and delivered. I wish everyone was always this mature when "hot topics" come up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
First of all, you are stating that disease is something you get as a result of an outside force. That is an incomplete definition. There are certain diseases that are caused by pathogens, like the flu or HIV. There are certain diseases caused by environmental factors, like asbestosis or mesothelioma. There are certain diseases that are caused by genetics, like Down Syndrome or Tay-Sachs. Then there is the gray zone, various cancers, heart disease, ect. which definitely have both envronmental and genetic factors.

At what point do we draw the line for what we should select for?

I totally disagree that a dog who is slightly shorter than "the breed standard" should not be breed. Ny the way, how tall are you? The breed average for a human male is 5 ft 10 (I may be slightly off, but the exact number is not the issue, or is it?)

I simply have to say I disagree with you here.... You are entitled to your opinion and i am entitled to mine. No need to beat it to death.
 

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A fishy example:

You find an Amphilophus labiatus that doesn't have those uber over developed lips that the species is known (and scientificly described because of) for. Would the fish make a great wet pet despite the lack of enlarged lips? Absolutely. Should you breed it? No.

Even though I would enjoy an example with lessened lips as I see them as ugly, much like nuchal humps ... those lips were evolved for a feeding purpose. One in the wild would never survive becuase it can't eat the prey it evolved for. In the extreme case we ever need to repopulate the species in the wild, this sort of 'deformity' would lead to failed efforts.

Color in fish a lot of time (but not all) serves a specific purpose. Camoflague (sp.?), breeding ... not keeping the colors to the scientificly described standard could lead to problems such as hybrids and again, in extreme cases, lead to a failure to reintroduce the species. The reason female apisto's only color up for breeding is becuase their bright yellow would get them noticed by fishies that would eat them more. So breeding out the dull colors to replace them with yellow species would be just as bad as breeding less colorfull ones that wouldn't color up, the pattern on the colored up fins is how they comminucate with the fry.

Obvious if you aren't breeding fish, it's a mute point and I've been known to take less colored specimens that had more personality. But if breeding a species, I tend to pick the ones that are closest to the described specs of that species, which are usually the prettiest.
 

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CichlidWhisperer said:
There are certain diseases that are caused by genetics, like Down Syndrome or Tay-Sachs.
Technically things like Downs, and Tay-Sachs are officially dissorders (syndrome is a popular synonym) and not diseases. It the layman on the street taht has broadened the term disease to cover all of them.

At what point do we draw the line for what we should select for?
It all depends on what you goal of the mating is. If you want a certain result you are going to select for it in the breeding stock. If you don't have a criteria for the offspring then you don't have to. However, you also can't say that just because you are not interested in a specific trait that is completely ok for you (I am only saying you to make the grammar work not poking my finger at you) that flood the pools of of my potential breeding stock with animlas that no longer meet the standard and expect me to have no problem with it.

Every person is entitled to their own opinion on the issue, but no one has the right to force others to accept it and or to deal with it. People who allow those who may not know any better to perpetuate something that is detrimental to the species in any way (phisical or not) ar doing the same disservice as those how knowing pass off an imperefect specien labled as perfect.

Humans are different when it comes to the height (and many other tratits). We do not have a for specific purpose. Humans did not evolve to do a specific task. There is no heigh requirement to do our jobs. Though we are different heighs, we can still work at a desk just the same. A dog the size of a chihuahua cannot hunt lions and a komondor who is the wrong color and size cannot blend in to a heard of sheep completely unnoticed. You could not use an Alaskan Malamute to bull your sled if he has a short silky coat. He would freeze.
 

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Beautiful people pick up easier at the bar. Beautiful fish pick up easier as well. When we don't apply selective pressure in our own aquariums, we're not being true to nature. Who wants to own an all brown male peacock? Arguing this is a moot point because some people anthropomorphise their pets and become attached to their "personalities" and others keep them for their physically or behaviorally attractive features. Either you keep your fish as pets, or as specimens and most would like their pets to be excellent specimens (examples) of their given species.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Malawilover:
The definiton of disease from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms : sickness, malady

The definition of disease from Stedman's Medical Dictionary:

An interruption, cessation, or disorder of body function, system, or organ. Syn: illness, morbus, sickness
A morbid entity characterized usually by at least two of these criteria: recognized etiologic agent(s), identifiable group of signs and symptoms, or consistent anatomic alterations.

And yes Down Syndrome is a disease and Tay-Sacks Disease is a disease as it's name states!

Dwarfpike, I think you make a good argument with the lips. Where do you draw the line though? I guess it is a matter of what the purpose of the animal is. If they needed to go out in the lake and find a mate there, then breeding to be most attractive to a mate would be important. The fish we breed in captivity are for the most part for peoples fish tanks though (excluding those for food).... I want fish I find attractive and personable. Some people find those parrot fish attractive (I for one do not.)
 

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Cichlidwhisperer - it is a very slippery slope as the saying goes. Perhaps it's becuase I'm an old pessimist, but I think we will at some point need to repopulate most of our species becuase of how fubar'd we are making our planet. So I tend to keep fish with this in mind.

parrot cichlid = http://www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/s ... php?id=518 = pretty, especially the last pic, but not everyone likes green.

fake parrots = icky. But even them, not even everyone agrees they are deformed!! They are popular due to color and their deformity. Which shouldn't be encouraged. But because they are a trispecific fish (made from 3 differant species) that is a whole differant arguement. I agree with you though, in fish their 'personality' (nothing more than awareness of their surroundings really) is more important than color. But like most humans, given two fish with equal personalities, I'll pick the redhead, erm I mean the one I think is prettier. That being said, an ugly fish that amuses me is far superior in my estimation than a dumb, pretty one that just sits there.

But then I keep cichlids for their interesting behaviors.
 
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