Are Captive Bred Fishes The Only Way?

Lasse

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@JasP Can you give me 1 (and only 1) example there overfishing for the aquarium trade has been shown? I know the full story about the Bangai cardinal so you do not need to mention that species. You are allowed to take with freshwater species

Sincerly Lasse
 

mort

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@JasP Can you give me 1 (and only 1) example there overfishing for the aquarium trade has been shown? I know the full story about the Bangai cardinal so you do not need to mention that species. You are allowed to take with freshwater species

Sincerly Lasse
I remember reading about achilles tangs when the first trouble in hawaii began and was surprised by the amount that were taken for food, yet this wasn't seen as a problem. I thought the same when I saw a bbq full of convict tangs. I know this is not part of the captive breeding discussion we are having but it is an important part of wild stock levels. We also see most of the aquaculture involving food fish species.
 

najer

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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.
Yes, well worth the money, some export countries are kind of in turmoil at the moment.
I have wild caught as well and a few other tank breds, in my opinion marines need captive breeding! ;)
 

A Toadstool Leather

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The wild vs captive bred argument has some interesting trade-offs. Wild caught fish if caught sustainably and properly provide incentive for people to conserve the reef. However captive bred fish are more ethical for alot of people and have less health issues from strees or disease.

I think wild caught fish are fine as long as good practices are used. However corals are so easy to propagate that I have a hare time believing wild coral specimens are necessary.
 

A Toadstool Leather

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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
Cyanide fishing was a huge problem where I live too. Thankfully its been illegal for decades now.
 

mort

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The wild vs captive bred argument has some interesting trade-offs. Wild caught fish if caught sustainably and properly provide incentive for people to conserve the reef. However captive bred fish are more ethical for alot of people and have less health issues from strees or disease.

I think wild caught fish are fine as long as good practices are used. However corals are so easy to propagate that I have a hare time believing wild coral specimens are necessary.
Since I like playing devils advocate for a change and whilst i don't necessarily disagree, to get this interesting topic flowing, are captive bred fish more ethical? Just because they haven't come from the wild shouldn't make keeping them any different. Any animal has the same rights if your strictly being ethical and its like saying that a tiger raised in a zoo is fine but one brought in is not. Just because it hasn't been free doesn't mean its any less cruel (and again just playing the devil, I know fish and intelligent mammals are not the same thing and its not really fair to compare them but....)

Do captive bred species have less health problems? I don't think you'd hear anyone argue that they come in with less disease due to the conditions in which they are raised but that doesn't mean they are more resistant. I'd actually argue the opposite. When I was a kid I was allowed to be mucky, so puddles were splashed in, I was covered in mud and investigated everything meaning my immune system was developed from introduction to bacteria and pathogens. When these fish are raised they don't come into contact with diseases so build up no immunity. In my time running a shop we had problems with a couple of batches of tank raised clowns and after lots of investigation we discovered it was because the clowns were raised with antibiotics. That may have been good for the suppliers but not so great when we had to introduce them to other species.
Wilds on the other hand will have lived a life where the are exposed to everything. The chain from sea to tank may have more disease issues but it doesn't make them more of a problem in all cases.

For stress i'm not sure how you would quantify this. I've read research on tangs where cortisol levels, the stress hormone, was monitored and it showed that even in small tanks this level dropped quickly after introduction meanings it fair to assume it wasn't overly stressed. I'm not sure why captive bred specimens would have lower stress compared to their wild counterparts after a short time in a tank. It takes a long time for natural instincts to fade so captive bred fish will behave similarly to the wild. As an example my captive bred dottybacks and clowns used to shoal when they were small which wouldn't happen in the wild as they wouldn't ever meet in such large numbers, but they quickly matured and began to beat all hell out of each other which would cause stress I'm sure. I'd also bet that a group of those captive bred yellow tangs would have similar aggression towards one another than a wild group.
 

Lasse

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@mort

I´m with you to 100 % according to immune response and stress levels. Aquacultured fish does not automatically means less health problems. According do bacteria diseases – most of the deadly bacteria’s is always present – it’s the number and the fishes immune system that decide illness or not. As an example – the well-known Spring Disease among pond fishes is caused when the water temperature rises to fast in the spring. The bacteria activity and number rises directly according to the temperature but the fish’s immune system does not respond fast enough.

There is also huge health problems with many freshwater species in that part of the hobby – most freshwater fishes is breed in captivity.

I know a lot of studies about stress among fishes – they adapt rather quickly as you state.

But there is one very good thing with farmed fish – they are us to eat dead food. I have always loved pipefishes but I have never had the time to cultivate artemia or other pods in order to slowly adapt them to dead food. Therefore – I have not try to get them. 2 weeks ago. I got 2 farmed pipefish – small but they eat and it seems like they will survive in my aquaria.



Sincerely Lasse
 

A Toadstool Leather

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Since I like playing devils advocate for a change and whilst i don't necessarily disagree, to get this interesting topic flowing, are captive bred fish more ethical? Just because they haven't come from the wild shouldn't make keeping them any different. Any animal has the same rights if your strictly being ethical and its like saying that a tiger raised in a zoo is fine but one brought in is not. Just because it hasn't been free doesn't mean its any less cruel (and again just playing the devil, I know fish and intelligent mammals are not the same thing and its not really fair to compare them but....)

Do captive bred species have less health problems? I don't think you'd hear anyone argue that they come in with less disease due to the conditions in which they are raised but that doesn't mean they are more resistant. I'd actually argue the opposite. When I was a kid I was allowed to be mucky, so puddles were splashed in, I was covered in mud and investigated everything meaning my immune system was developed from introduction to bacteria and pathogens. When these fish are raised they don't come into contact with diseases so build up no immunity. In my time running a shop we had problems with a couple of batches of tank raised clowns and after lots of investigation we discovered it was because the clowns were raised with antibiotics. That may have been good for the suppliers but not so great when we had to introduce them to other species.
Wilds on the other hand will have lived a life where the are exposed to everything. The chain from sea to tank may have more disease issues but it doesn't make them more of a problem in all cases.

For stress i'm not sure how you would quantify this. I've read research on tangs where cortisol levels, the stress hormone, was monitored and it showed that even in small tanks this level dropped quickly after introduction meanings it fair to assume it wasn't overly stressed. I'm not sure why captive bred specimens would have lower stress compared to their wild counterparts after a short time in a tank. It takes a long time for natural instincts to fade so captive bred fish will behave similarly to the wild. As an example my captive bred dottybacks and clowns used to shoal when they were small which wouldn't happen in the wild as they wouldn't ever meet in such large numbers, but they quickly matured and began to beat all hell out of each other which would cause stress I'm sure. I'd also bet that a group of those captive bred yellow tangs would have similar aggression towards one another than a wild group.
These are all great points. However I know little about fish keeping since I only have one fish. I have never even bought medications or set up a qt.

People regard captive bred as more ethical due to the fact that the animal ever experienced the drop in quality of life associated with being put in captivity. Despite my past point I believe its important to move onto captive bred fish. The oceans are getting less healthy by the day it seems. At least most wild corals are collected by snipping off a piece of a larger colony.
 

mort

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These are all great points. However I know little about fish keeping since I only have one fish. I have never even bought medications or set up a qt.

People regard captive bred as more ethical due to the fact that the animal ever experienced the drop in quality of life associated with being put in captivity. Despite my past point I believe its important to move onto captive bred fish. The oceans are getting less healthy by the day it seems. At least most wild corals are collected by snipping off a piece of a larger colony.
Even with your limited experience of fish your views are just as important as anyone elses and I think you summed up what the majority of people believe perfectly.

Again though do fish have a drop in quality of life? It's hard to answer that question because of anthropomorphism. Does a fish really care it's trapped in a tank? In a tank you get a life without predators, easily found food etc making life easier than on the reef. I do understand your point and it's one I actually share. Ethically captive bred fish sit much better on the conscience.

I also believe that captive bred fish should be an aim but only if the quality of the species is maintained. There is no point being able to mass produce a far inferior specimen as it's not a way of preserving the species in my opinion. I also believe that we need to gain the knowledge of how to keep and breed these fish whilst we can as we may learn new things about how they cope with change and promote new ways of conserving them.
 

mort

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@mort



But there is one very good thing with farmed fish – they are us to eat dead food. I have always loved pipefishes but I have never had the time to cultivate artemia or other pods in order to slowly adapt them to dead food. Therefore – I have not try to get them. 2 weeks ago. I got 2 farmed pipefish – small but they eat and it seems like they will survive in my aquaria.



Sincerely Lasse
Unfortunately this isn't always the case. When the captive raised mandarins were first brought over here there were plenty of people who found they stopped accepting frozen foods. With the two pairs we had (and if you saw them they were a very different colour to wild caught at the same size for so reason, probably feeding, so was confident they were 100% captive raised) 1 went of feeding but the other three were fine. It never accepted frozen food again but happily took live food. I've had the same thing happen with seahorses, both imported and self bred plus read seveal time about fan blennies from ora doing the same. I'm not sure if it's the stress of moving that affects their feeding or something else but being captive bred and raised on substitute foods doesn't always guarantee easy feeding albeit it does make it much more likely.
 

A Toadstool Leather

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Even with your limited experience of fish your views are just as important as anyone elses and I think you summed up what the majority of people believe perfectly.

Again though do fish have a drop in quality of life? It's hard to answer that question because of anthropomorphism. Does a fish really care it's trapped in a tank? In a tank you get a life without predators, easily found food etc making life easier than on the reef. I do understand your point and it's one I actually share. Ethically captive bred fish sit much better on the conscience.

I also believe that captive bred fish should be an aim but only if the quality of the species is maintained. There is no point being able to mass produce a far inferior specimen as it's not a way of preserving the species in my opinion. I also believe that we need to gain the knowledge of how to keep and breed these fish whilst we can as we may learn new things about how they cope with change and promote new ways of conserving them.
I hope we continue the quality if the species we rear. Many freshwater fish habe had some terrible mutations bred into their lineages. Im always worried the same will happen to saltwater.
 

kalare

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I hope we continue the quality if the species we rear. Many freshwater fish habe had some terrible mutations bred into their lineages. Im always worried the same will happen to saltwater.
Already has. While some people love designer clowns, they are not natural at all, though the patterns are not what I take issue with. They are so inbred, that most clownfish, even the standard pattern ocellaris, that you find in stores are deformed. Head shaped wrong, huge under or over bite..etc etc.

I also agree with OP, I think a balance of captive bred and sustainable fishing would be great. To those that would argue that captive is the only way to go because it's cruel to take a fish off the reef, I wonder, why is a captive bred fish any less "captive" than a wild fish? If you take two lions from the wild, mate them, take the cub and put it in a pen, does it feel any different from a cub you take from the wild and then put it in a pen? I have around 50% captive bred fish, and I would love more, but eliminating wild caught altogether seems a bit drastic. I love my fish, and I definitely am guilty of anthropomorphism saying an fish is "happier" in one place than in another is a huge stretch with absolutely no science behind it.

I also wouldn't discount local issues. Reef conservation is a huge issue, and in places where locals are taught that they must preserve the reef not just for the environment, but also for the livelihood and the prosperity of the county, the reefs are always in better conditions. People are going to want to preserve something that impacts them directly, if you tell them to conserve something just for the hell of it, with no return on their own work, it doesn't work out so well. I've been diving all over the world in South East Asia, French Polynesia, South Pacific, Indian Ocean, America and Australia, and without a doubt, the areas where there was a direct positive economic impact that could be seen from reef preservation to the local population always always always had healthier and more diverse reefs.

Just as an aside, I've also been to all the main Hawaiian islands, and most of the less touristy areas have great snorkeling and good reefs. This has of course declined in the last 15 years, due to increased tourism. Absolutely not due to fishing for ornamental marine trade. Hanauma Bay was touted as one of the best spots around for years, well it's completely dead now and has been for over a decade, all due to tourism. All you can see here now is droves of tangs eating all the algae from dead reef. I wonder what the effect of the ornamental marine trade actually is with regards to activism to save reefs? I'm willing to bet that those that become interested in reef tanks and marine fish, and truly take it as a hobby, are magnitudes more likely to become reef conservationists in some way, shape or form. Perhaps in that respect, the hobby is actually better for the reefs than it is worse. Perhaps not...who knows.
 

A Toadstool Leather

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Already has. While some people love designer clowns, they are not natural at all, though the patterns are not what I take issue with. They are so inbred, that most clownfish, even the standard pattern ocellaris, that you find in stores are deformed. Head shaped wrong, huge under or over bite..etc etc.

I also agree with OP, I think a balance of captive bred and sustainable fishing would be great. To those that would argue that captive is the only way to go because it's cruel to take a fish off the reef, I wonder, why is a captive bred fish any less "captive" than a wild fish? If you take two lions from the wild, mate them, take the cub and put it in a pen, does it feel any different from a cub you take from the wild and then put it in a pen? I have around 50% captive bred fish, and I would love more, but eliminating wild caught altogether seems a bit drastic. I love my fish, and I definitely am guilty of anthropomorphism saying an fish is "happier" in one place than in another is a huge stretch with absolutely no science behind it.

I also wouldn't discount local issues. Reef conservation is a huge issue, and in places where locals are taught that they must preserve the reef not just for the environment, but also for the livelihood and the prosperity of the county, the reefs are always in better conditions. People are going to want to preserve something that impacts them directly, if you tell them to conserve something just for the hell of it, with no return on their own work, it doesn't work out so well. I've been diving all over the world in South East Asia, French Polynesia, South Pacific, Indian Ocean, America and Australia, and without a doubt, the areas where there was a direct positive economic impact that could be seen from reef preservation to the local population always always always had healthier and more diverse reefs.

Just as an aside, I've also been to all the main Hawaiian islands, and most of the less touristy areas have great snorkeling and good reefs. This has of course declined in the last 15 years, due to increased tourism. Absolutely not due to fishing for ornamental marine trade. Hanauma Bay was touted as one of the best spots around for years, well it's completely dead now and has been for over a decade, all due to tourism. All you can see here now is droves of tangs eating all the algae from dead reef. I wonder what the effect of the ornamental marine trade actually is with regards to activism to save reefs? I'm willing to bet that those that become interested in reef tanks and marine fish, and truly take it as a hobby, are magnitudes more likely to become reef conservationists in some way, shape or form. Perhaps in that respect, the hobby is actually better for the reefs than it is worse. Perhaps not...who knows.
I feel like fish breeding in general has gone the way of dog breeding where healthy stock is secondary to certain desirable traits. I feel like sectioning off areas away from tourists would ensure more healthy reefs. They do nothing but distrupt the wildlife and damage corals.
 

Bouncingsoul39

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Already has. While some people love designer clowns, they are not natural at all, though the patterns are not what I take issue with. They are so inbred, that most clownfish, even the standard pattern ocellaris, that you find in stores are deformed. Head shaped wrong, huge under or over bite..etc etc.
This is from breeders refusing to cull fish and follow good breeding practices. It's really a bummer that people don't notice it and buy from these breeders anyway keeping them in business and able to continue with the bad practices. One of the worst for this is Sea and Reef. Their clowns have so many issues.
 

cmcoker

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I feel like fish breeding in general has gone the way of dog breeding where healthy stock is secondary to certain desirable traits. I feel like sectioning off areas away from tourists would ensure more healthy reefs. They do nothing but distrupt the wildlife and damage corals.
You mean like this?

I agree.
 

Tony Thompson

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Great to see more people joining in this discussion. I believe the original debate that was started by Aqua Box, was intended to show the equal importance of a number of areas around the subject of sustainability. I try to support and raise awareness of a number of what I believe to be sustainable choices. Captive Breeding is just one.

I would never wish to see a hobby where 100% of the animals in the trade are captive bred. I think both aquaculture and wild sustainable harvest play vital roles. But I would like to see, a greater awareness and understanding of the role captive breeding can play in the industry and the greater choices that it can provide hobbyists. At the present time, especially in Europe, the awareness and availability of Captive Bred Species is extremely low compared to wild collected animals. One of the reasons for this, I believe, is that a large proportion of retail customers just don`t` see the justification in paying a premium, for what they see as just another fish. The only way I can see to help support captive breeding programs and give wholesalers and retailers the economic confidence to stock captive bred animals, is to make fellow hobbyists understand the choices and what benefits each choice may offer. IMO simply waiting for the prices to come down will inevitably put off investment by breeders and that choice will have gone.

What I beleive compounds the issue is something I commonly come across in the hobby. MYTHS or MISREPRESENTATION OF THE SCIENTIFIC FACTS. I am no expert, I am a novice reef keeper, so what I like to do is read journals, publications and research documents. I then pass on the links to this information to my group members.

There are many myths surrounding Aquaculture of Marine Ornamentals. The most common ones I come across on the negative side, involved in breeding and comparison to the present culture of Poecilia reticulata (Guppy). I am a great lover of the common guppy. IMO one of the best freshwater fish to study in your home aquarium. Infact I still have a few Poecilia wingei (Endlers) in my office. Unfortunately comparing these fish to the current state of Marine Aquaculture is rather misleading. Guppy farming and breeding is a hobby within itself. Cross breeding of Cousins and Aunts and Uncles is carried out specifically and intentionally to produce a particular trait in the offspring. The only area that I am aware of in Marine Aquaculture is Clown Fish, particularly Percula and Ocellaris. Although a pioneering driving force in marine aquaculture this part of the trade has become an entity in itself. Due, maybe, by a lack of financial incentive from retail customers, it seems to have driven the breeding facilities to produce an animal that has no competition from wild caught animals. These markings and colours are only available through aquaculture. Therefore the customer has no option but to pay the market price if he wishes to own one.

The breeding stock of Biota and I believe many other facilities are in fact wild caught specimens. Specifically selected for their overall condition and health. Once the breeding program has reached a certain point. The original breeding stock is released and new stock is acquired.

Another negative subject that comes up is Lack of Immunity to disease. Once again I believe a very misunderstood topic. First of all comparing fish immune systems to that of mammals is very misleading. Fish have a very particular system of immune defense. The vast majority of this immunity is passed on through genetics. It is passed on by their parents through thousands of years of evolution, not simply by being exposed to infection and disease to test out who is the strongest. This aspect of biology is far toO complicated for a novice like myself to disseminate here. Therefore I have included the following link to an excellent article of which I had come across the abstract to. The paper is by

JAQUELINE D. BILLER-TAKAHASHI and ELISABETH C. URBINAT, Titled Fish Immunology. The modification and manipulation of the innate immune system:

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0001-37652014000301484

On the positive side of what I believe to be MYTHS.

Captive Bred Fish show less aggression to conspecifics. In my opinion the nature of these animals has been developed over thousands of years. Mostly designed for the purpose of survival and re production. These aspects surely could not be totally eliminated in just one generation. The same care and understanding for specific species is still extremely important for a hobbyistrs to understand before they commit to housing these animals. This misunderstanding I believe may also be compounded by the generally juvenile age of Captive Bred Fish. Juvenile and adult behaviour in species can be markedly different. especially one an individual comes into prime breeding age.

To conclude, I would like to ask that an effort be made offer a bi partisan spirit to all like minded sustainable aquarists. If we truly want our hobby to continue into the distant future we all need to work together by eliminating the myths on both sides.

Once again thank you Aqua Box in bringing this topic up for discussion. Happy Reefing to you all.
 

rock_lobster

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I honestly dont see any advantage of captive bred fish unless of course the species is endangered but then it should be used to replenished the natural habitat rather than sold to aquarist for a very high $. Dont see how it could be more ethical as all fish should have equal rights lol.
 

Lasse

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Another negative subject that comes up is Lack of Immunity to disease. Once again I believe a very misunderstood topic. First of all comparing fish immune systems to that of mammals is very misleading. Fish have a very particular system of immune defense. The vast majority of this immunity is passed on through genetics. It is passed on by their parents through thousands of years of evolution, not simply by being exposed to infection and disease to test out who is the strongest. This aspect of biology is far toO complicated for a novice like myself to disseminate here. Therefore I have included the following link to an excellent article of which I had come across the abstract to. The paper is by

JAQUELINE D. BILLER-TAKAHASHI and ELISABETH C. URBINAT, Titled Fish Immunology. The modification and manipulation of the innate immune system:

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0001-37652014000301484
Its not the whole truth - fish have also an acquired immune system but its true that they have a better innate system compared with mammals but even that need triggers to be activated. It seems like you have experiences from freshwater and if its that way - you know that things can happens if you mix fishes that comes from different aquaria with different microbiota.

I´m not either with you when you state that
Captive Bred Fish show less aggression to conspecifics
. I have been working with wild and bred Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi chiclids to for many years - i have not seen any differences in aggressions even after 3 or more generations.

Do not misunderstand me now – I´m not against captive bred fishes – not at all. I could not be that and be honest to my own professional life. I bred cichlids in the late 70:ties – I begun to work at my first fish farm 1985 and so on. But in this hobby – we need to see the whole picture as OP have state.

One thing that’s not had been discussed here yet - which species (fishes) is most ethical to have in captivity. There is an ethical concern about where the fishes comes from – the wild or captive bred – a concern that IMO is more to silence our own conscience than protecting the fish. The real ethical question for me is instead – should I take a species that is in nature lives in a very small spot of the reef or should I take the ones that swimming more freely over a large area? A clown lives in his anemone, a coral goby stay in their coral, a prawn goby stay in its hole, most cardinals stay in the same aggregate of fishes in the same small spot and so on. Some reef fishes may be the best fishes of all to have in our small boxes of glass because their natural behaviour are to live at the same small spot for the whole life. I try to have small, stationary species in my aquaria or species that adapt their territory according to feeding behaviours.

Sincerely Lasse
 
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Tony Thompson

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Hi Lasse, you seem to have mis read my statement about aggression. I listed this as a myth. I stated that conspecific aggression is not limited by the fact of captive breeding.

I also bred Tanganyika Chiclids from 1984 for many years. Mainly Tropheus Sp. I was then a member of the British Cichlid Association. Nice to see a fellow enthusiast.

With regards Immune sytem in fish, I have included the scientific research paper. The point I am trying to make is Captive Bred Fish have exactly the same mechanisms ref Immune defense as wild Specimans.

Ethics is a part of philosophical debate, that I am ill prepared or motivated to debate. I will leave that to each individual to explore.

I must also agree with you about, Gobies, I love my captive bred (Elacatinus Sp. Oceanops, Figaro and Macrodon. I would realy like to start a breeding program for Eviota Sp. I also think species such as these are excellent candidates for the home aquarium.

Best wishes, Tony
 
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