Discussion in 'Fish Discussion' started by Aqua Box, Oct 12, 2017.

Are Captive Bred Fishes The Only Way?

Nowadays it’s not uncommon to see a hobbyist say, ‘I’m only stocking my tank with captive bred fish.’ Of course, their heart is in the right...
  1. S-t-r-e-t-c-h

    S-t-r-e-t-c-h Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Ocala Reef Club Member

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    I don't really have any empirical data to cite and obviously it would depend on the species, but my guess would be 1/2 to 1/3 that are collected ever actually make it into a home aquarium.

    I've never worked for a wholesaler and admittedly it's been about a decade since I worked in the industry at all, so my opinion on this may be outdated...
     

  2. mort

    mort Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I've seen this with other species like moorish idols who settle at a pretty large size. The benefit of this is that their diet isn't yet fixed like adults making them easier to keep.
    from a study I read removing fish at this stage had no real impact on populations due to the massive natural mortality rate.
     
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  3. mort

    mort Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Sums it up perfectly. It might sound ridiculous to most of us but if the resources aren't seen as valuable then they won't be maintained.
     
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  4. Joey Bekius

    Joey Bekius Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I once met a guy who used to keep morish idols. He would buy, one care for it six months, and than it would die. He had wondered why they were dying, seeing he was doing everything right. He did a bit of research and found out that they had cyanide poisoning. This is caused by people using cyanide to catch fish in the ocean, and then it stays in the fish and kills them later on. This is why i’m slightly nervous about buying fish that are from the ocean
     
  5. Aqua Box

    Aqua Box Aquarium Design, Installation, and Cherry Fish R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor Gold Sponsor Article Contributor

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    I would love to see those numbers as well!

    Of course, even shooting from the hip it's not hard to see that unless a commercial breeder can get their production numbers up quite high (e.g. ORA) the scales will still be tipped in favor of sustainable wild collection. Getting fishes to sellable size alone takes months, some species close to a year, so all the energy being consumed by a breeder to get to sellable size adds up quick. Hence the numbers game to tip the scales.

    I've had this discussion with many breeders, ichthyologists, and industry professionals over the years, many of whom initially opened my eyes to this. Several of their presentations are linked at the bottom of the article, be sure to check them out.
     
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  6. Aqua Box

    Aqua Box Aquarium Design, Installation, and Cherry Fish R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor Gold Sponsor Article Contributor

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    In no way am I arguing against aquaculture. I never have, and never will. We work with many breeders worldwide to help them establish broodstock and link up with other like-minded industry professionals to aid them in their goal.

    The article was intended to open a dialogue regarding the differences. To hopefully get some people to stop the tribalism that's become commonplace regarding this topic. Similar to many of the points you make regarding outsiders opinions.

    I love every point that you make, and wholeheartedly agree. I highly recommend checking out the links at the bottom of the article if you have not done so yet.
     
  7. mort

    mort Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Whilst cyanide is still a huge problem unfortunately with idols this is a pretty common experience without cyanide playing a factor. With these and many species like obligate corallivores we simply can't match a wild diet and its more likely there is a deficiency which causes the death. Shipping also pays a part and those from higher standard fisheries like Hawaii and Australia have a much better survival record.
     
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  8. Tony Thompson

    Tony Thompson Active Member R2R Supporter UK Reef Club Member

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    Very interesting perspective. Thanks for raising the awareness regards Captive Breeding of Marine Ornamentals for the reef hobby. I understand the comparisons you have tried to highlight and respect your opinion.

    Unfortunately you seem to make some very broad assertions. Firstly you seem to have shown no hard data or serious calculation to back up some rather ambiguous data sets. Also surely the data would remain ambiguous due to complexities and detail of each individual breeding program. I really do not think now is the time to take a step back in the progress of our hobby towards a sustainable future. Great strides, effort, and commitment have been made over the years to increase the availability of Captive Bred Species within our hobby.

    I am sorry I do not know your name as I am new to this type of communication media. I did however notice you are maybe, involved in the commercial industry of quarantining marine animals. Does this maybe suggest a bias, as does the recent presentation along the same lines by a representative of Cairns Marine.

    May I put forward the idea, that not all reefers who decide to keep captive bred stock are doing so out of some crusade to cut their carbon footprint. I personally believe that Captive Bred Fish are a premium product. The animals have been bred in a captive environment similar to the one they will be finally housed in. Captive Bred Fish should generally be free of any parasites and require less stringent quarantine procedures. Due to the limited stress involved the fish should also be in better condition. They will be conditioned to recognize readily available aquarium foods, as a meal. The list of positives is expansive and fortunately the negatives are very limited. I choose to use all captive bred fish. Once I made the decision to go for captive bred animals it seemed very unwise and unnecessary to use anything else.

    Compared to the USA, it is very difficult in my native England to source an purchase Captive Bred Specimens. I along with a growing number of hobbyists, retailers and wholesalers are making great efforts and commitments to change that and increase the choices available to hobbyists in the UK. If you are indeed concerned about the comparison of Carbon Footprints within the Marine Ornamental Trade, could you please assert the same amount of effort and commitment in your research methods and data collection as I am sure this would make for a much more subjective and positive, discussion.
     
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  9. Aqua Box

    Aqua Box Aquarium Design, Installation, and Cherry Fish R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor Gold Sponsor Article Contributor

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    Hi Tony, thanks for your comments.
    In case you missed it above, we are the last people to encourage taking a step back in progress of aquacultured fish:
    I suppose it could since you are making broad assertations yourself here ;)

    Professionally breeding marine fishes was my career for about three years. I successfully bred twelve species of fishes, and loved every minute of it.

    We're proud to say that since Aqua Box's inception, we have offered sixteen species of captive-bred fishes, not including another four species of clownfish, and numerous breeds of clowns within those species. We currently have some of the world's first captive-bred flame angels available.

    Furthermore, offering animals to the trade is a minute part of our business (<10% overall sales). We are first and foremost system designers and installers, as you can see in our Portfolio here.

    Cairns Marine is the pinnacle of marine animal collection around the world, and their role in Provision Reef shows us how deep they are willing to go to protect wild reefs. I cannot think of a better representative to hear out from that side of the trade then them.

    However, this is also why I included the unbiased views of Luiz Rocha, an Associate Curator and Follett Chair of Ichthyology at the California Academy of Sciences. I highly recommend watching his presentation.

    Absolutely!

    Now, how about aquarists that want to have an impact on reef conservation without donating directly to a non-profit? For this I direct you here and here, which discusses the threats natural reefs would face if wild collectors are forced into alternate careers should theirs end. People protect their livelihood. If it is no longer their livelihood, who's going to protect those local reefs? Project Piaba has shown this in the freshwater world, and while our salty side would need significantly more research for data collection, it's not difficult to connect the dots.

    If captive bred fishes are hitting wholesalers, they suffer the same ailments that wild fishes do unless kept separate (rarely). Unfortunately, we have found we must run captive bred fishes through the same treatment that we do for wild caught fishes to ensure our clients are receiving healthy animals.
    Overall I could not agree more :) Conditioning captive bred fishes is a dream, most of the time. Although we are currently faced with many breeders pumping out animals (excluding clownfish) at tiny sizes, which end up in our hands for months at a time as we don't want to be offering animals that are destined for a powerhead's prop nor an overflow weir's mouth. This will be overcome, but hobbyists must continue to support these amazing efforts in the meantime.

    Excellent! We make great efforts and commitments stateside, and worldwide, as well.
    I agree wholeheartedly that presenting sound data would make either side much easier to grasp. But that currently does not exist. So yes, I am stretching at times, but again, when looking at the larger picture it is not difficult to connect the dots. For now, I intend to keep people thinking outside the tribalistic views so commonly regurgitated, and support breeders and wild collectors.

    I understand this can be a tough idea to grasp, and I was once dead set that aquaculture is the only way. But once you look at the larger picture, it becomes clear that we should be supporting the best in both worlds.

    Will that happen? Unlikely. I do believe 100% aquaculture is the future. But is that the right path? Is that what will protect the reef's long-term?

    - Austin
     
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  10. flsalty

    flsalty Active Member

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    I think the captive fish only stance is more of a feel-good thing than a responsibility thing. For me it is an economic thing. Am I willing to spend 50 bucks on a $12 fish? No.

    I used to breed FW in my home. Is it economically feasible for me to do that with SW fish? No.

    What I would like to see is more work done on ethical collecting practices.

    I would also like to see less anthropomorphism of fish. A fish is not swimming around in an aquarium longing for the good old days when it was in an ocean waiting to be something's food.
     
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  11. Lasse

    Lasse Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Reef Tank 365 Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    Some reflections

    CO2 footprint from wild-caught fish

    To calculate the CO2 footprint from transports – this tool can be useful.

    To calculate the footprint from other activities around the “production” of wild caught fishes from source to wholesaler you need to know the energy mix of involved in the handling, energy consumption in the different facilities, the average time a kilo of fish is in different facilities, the average time between caught and final customer and so on.

    To calculate the CO2 footprint from farmed fish

    The major thing here is the energy mix in the country of production. You need to know that and the average energy consumption for production of one kilogram fish in the right size for customer and also the CO2 footprint from the feed in use.

    For the US with an energy mix of 65% from fossil fuel – I doubt that this calculation would favour farmed fish. The same with UK with nearly 50 % fossil fuel (difficult to say exactly because non-fossil sources increase rather fast).

    However – for my own country – Sweden with an energy mix of 98 % non-fossil sources – I think a calculation could be rather interesting.

    Sincerely Lasse
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
  12. Tony Thompson

    Tony Thompson Active Member R2R Supporter UK Reef Club Member

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    Good morning from North Yorkshire, Austin. First of all thank you for your detailed response. Unfortunately I came across your discussion late last night around 1 am UK time, after a long time trying to encourage fellow reefers to support the efforts of those wishing to increase the choice of Captive Bred Marines in the UK. If I had waited until I had a hearty Yorkshire Fry up and a large mug of coffee, I think my response would have been much more constructive, ha ha.

    Although I personally chose to use only captive bred fish and cultured corals, my aims cover a much wider perspective. I spend the majority of the time trying to encourage fellow hobbyists to respect the live animals that they choose to accept responsibility for. This includes passing on academically recognized scientific research within the field of marine biology and chemistry that has a relevance to marine aquariums. Conservation and environmental issues and the support for ethical and sustainable collection.

    I too, agree that a by-partisan approach across the industry and the hobby is the only way we can effectively tackle these issues. Unfortunately I see many people within the hobby using any conversation that debates the negatives of captive bred stock, to dismiss the positive effects. The most common one being economics. The most common points I come across are increased retail price for captive bred and support in the way of employment for indigenous peoples.

    On a point of price, surely the price of the vast majority of species is extremely low, considering the economical impacts of sustainable capture, quarantine and transport. I for one are sometimes troubled that these wonderful creatures can very easily be viewed by some, as a sort of cheap disposable product. In the same argument surely paying a small premium for your animals would also have a bigger impact on supporting those locally employed in the capture and processing procedures. If we are really concerned about the livelihoods of those involved in sustainable collection, then why are so many within the hobby unwilling to recognize the value of their labour.

    I agree with you that some captive bred species are released far to early onto the retail market. At this stage of their lives they are still putting a lot of their energy into growth. I actually think that if sold on too young these animals would require even more detailed care than most of the other fish available in the store and some are just not suitable for the novice reef keeper. Baby mandarins are one such animal. These animals where released onto the retail market the size of a guppy. making sure that they would have the correct environment and observation in feeding could create some serious problems.

    I agree that Cairns Marine are one of the shinning lights in the sustainable part of the industry, however once again I find that in parts of the world where captive breeding supply is in its infancy, comments and presentations that highlight a negative impact of captive breeding are not helpful to either party and may be used by some hobbyists to totally dismiss the idea of aquaculture.

    With regards quarantine of captive bred fish. I source my fish through the wonderful, Laura Carlin at Eco Marines wholesale in the UK. Laura is dedicated to supplying both sustainable caught and a small quantity of captive bred fish to the trade through Kevin Gaines at Biota. In order to encourage my LFS`s to offer a wider choice of sustainable products I Pre order my fish with a payment deposit. The LFS is instructed not to decant the animals once they arrive but to contact me so that I can collect and quarantine myself. I believe this greatly reduces the need for more stringent quarantine procedures and though I can not totally dismiss the need for quarantine it does give me a lot more confidence that the fish is parasite free.

    Thank you for the links, I am aware of the great work published by Luiz Rocha. Now that I have had time to clear my head and my eyes, ha ha, I am also aware of the excellent work you have carried out personally and within your company. I actually shared the presentation by Cairns Marine along with your excellent Macna presentations from both 2016 and 2017 to my group.

    On a lighter side, when you mentioned connecting the dots, you remind me of my youth and those dot to dot puzzle pictures, that you would complete with your pencil. I think sometimes if you try to complete dot to dot pictures without following the numbers you can actually make far to many assumptions and end up with a completely different picture than the one that was actually intended. Ha ha.

    May I conclude by clearly stating that I support, all ethical and sustainable practices and in no way condone or condemn the choices of fellow aquarists and professionals as long as the health and well being of the animals in their care are given due consideration. My main aim is to broaden those choices and to promote and raise awareness of their existence. To support all those in the industry and hobby that have a respect for this amazing resource that we are lucky enough to be able to observe and enjoy in the confines of our homes.

    Great speaking to you Austin, much respect and best wishes from over the pond.
     
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  13. Lasse

    Lasse Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Reef Tank 365 Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    Hi Tony – that was much better :)

    The economical point of view is rather easy to dismiss – just look at development in the fresh water part of the hobby. Farmed fishes are more inexpensive compared with wild caught fishes for most species. You can also see that exactly this happen with Clown Fishes in Europe for the moment.

    However I´m not sure that the development of designed clown fishes is what I want from hobby in the future.

    The Fare Trade argue and economic justice for the countries there the resource come from is more difficult to argue against because it’s a reality and a true concern.

    I´m in no way dismiss farmed saltwater fishes but I do not think it is the holy grail for the hobby as the situation is for the moment.

    On the other hand – to only buy sea farmed corals (farmed in their native country) is one of the best things to do in all aspects IMO.

    Sincerely Lasse
     
  14. mort

    mort Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Are captive bred species better though? I ask as I'm not that old but remember a time when guppies, mollies etc were near bomb proof and today that certainly isn't the case. It's all well and good to say a captive bred specimen is more acclimated to aquarium life and feeding on substitute foods but for the majority of the species we keep, getting them feeding and settled in an aquarium isn't a problem.
    If we look at the captive bred yellow tangs that were produced recently, can you honestly say they are a better quality fish than their wild counterparts? I know the hlle has faded and these were a first generation spawn (which I applaud and understand we need to go through these learning curves in order to get it right, plus I'd have been proud to have one) but how long does it take to perfect and how big an affect does it take.
    I worry that with multiple generations of captive bred species that we will go down the guppy route and ruin them. I'm not a fan of fish manipulated by breeding like stubby or long finned clowns. I get that these fish essentially pay for the research into other less commercial or harder to produce species but the economics of life means these are the most produced, which at least to me isn't for conservation but for profit.
     
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  15. Tony Thompson

    Tony Thompson Active Member R2R Supporter UK Reef Club Member

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    God dag, Lasse, and thanks for the comment. I must agree, I think I may be a lot more congenial and objective once I have had a good nights sleep. Best wishes to our Nordic Cousins. Best prepare for winter as the signs are it may be on its way.
     
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  16. Tony Thompson

    Tony Thompson Active Member R2R Supporter UK Reef Club Member

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    Hi mort. I must agree I am not a big fan of designer clowns. For the life of me I cant see what is wrong with my beautiful little standard Ocellaris. I would not swap her for any designer clown. I do however have a Biota captive Bred Coral Beauty that in my opinion is a fine example of a qualty Captive Bred Speciman. Best wishes to a fellow UK reefer.
     
  17. JasPR

    JasPR Active Member

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    Mmmmm, a remarkable stretch in my opinion. Carbon foot print is a pop sexy phrase. But impacting a food chain directly is not pop culture, sexy or even profound-- yet it IS a direct impact on the structure of a reef. Over fishing/collecting can have long term direct effect. Taking breeder size fish off the reef should be illegal. Taking every individual of a species off the reef is irresponsible. Nope, being condescending to people who only want captive bred fish is --- well-- condescending! Lets stick with the direct threats-- and over collecting is number one. I once left the hobby as I did not want to be part of a "raiding of the reefs". I came back in after a 10 year hiatus. I try, whenever possible, to buy captive bred and captive raised. To each their own
     
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  18. mort

    mort Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I've seen the biota coral beauties and they looked really nice. It was a real shame that more people didn't support them over here. I believe aquaculture should be supported when possible and when it's from the country of origin that makes it even better.

    I ran a shop until 5 years ago and unfortunately price is king. I offered captive bred mandarins when they were first offered and they stayed with us for months simply due to the price. We had everything I could get from ora and started the shop with tanks full of bangaii, clowns, dottybacks and some seahorses that we bred in store. So I'll always support and respect captive bred but find its more of a minority thing. I've been stuck with Dottys, cardinals, clowns and seahorses that I've bred (even rarer species) to the point I gave up breeding them.
     
  19. najer

    najer Valuable Member

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    *Flexes fingers*, hate when something interests me enough to have to type lots! ;)
    A handful of captive bred, not raised, from a reputable (?) wholesaler, flame angels hit Europe a few months ago, we think mine was the first to hit a home tank.
    Yes I paid more than twice the price of a wild caught, she could swim through 10 mm egg crate, super dinky!
    I don't know how to quote bits of quotes so forgive me, a few interesting points.
    I do think they are healthier than wild caught, mine went into my tank straight from the wholesaler, via lfs, it didn't hit their water.
    I don't quarantine fish.
    From the minute she went in she has naturally hunted and grazed, she does enjoy being fed as a treat and then goes back to hunting and grazing, the natural instinct is there?!
    Tang, blenny and fox face all also graze and hunt most of the time! ;)
    Also as mentioned above, the higher price also makes me hope I contributed to the future developments!
    She is special to me! :)

    [​IMG]DSC03748 by sshipuk, on Flickr
     
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  20. Tony Thompson

    Tony Thompson Active Member R2R Supporter UK Reef Club Member

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    Hi, I beleive the new batch of Flames are a lot bigger. whether we see any in the UK is another question. Although TMC are making a real effort with regards Captive Bred availability.
     
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