Are Captive Bred Fishes The Only Way?

I8A4RE

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I prefer only purchasing captive raised fish. There are many reason's why, but for me, most importantly is captive raised fish acclimate a lot easier and maricultured fish belong in their natural environment.
 

mcarroll

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Nowadays it’s not uncommon to see a hobbyist say, ‘I’m only stocking my tank with captive bred fish.
I wish it were true that this was "common", but I've never seen anyone do this. Nobody. A quick search does reveal one thread from this summer (All Captive-bred Tank?) which is heartening! But it doesn't seem common. Folks still mostly buy on price, avoiding vendors that charge more. How wild fish can continue being cheaper than a fish bred in (e.g.) Tennessee is almost maddening. ;)

Are there other "all captive" examples you know of?
 

mcarroll

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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wholesaler and admittedly it's been about a decade since I worked in the industry at all, so my opinion on this may be outdated...
What a Fish Goes through Before we get Him

It's not likely that the situation for wild-caughts has changed much since catching them with poison went out of style. (Didn't say it stopped...said "out of style".)
 

Tony Thompson

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I wish it were true that this was "common", but I've never seen anyone do this. Nobody. A quick search does reveal one thread from this summer (All Captive-bred Tank?) which is heartening! But it doesn't seem common. Folks still mostly buy on price, avoiding vendors that charge more. How wild fish can continue being cheaper than a fish bred in (e.g.) Tennessee is almost maddening. ;)

Are there other "all captive" examples you know of?
Hi Mcarroll , Yes all of my fish are captive bred marine Fish, as are a number of my group members tanks. Although it is much more difficult to source captive bred marines in the UK compared to the USA.




 

clover128

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Carbon footprint is just a crap marketing term. The point that you seem to completely ignore is just that THE ANIMALS ARE BETTER LEFT ON THE REEF. Period. Full stop. Every fish that is captive bred and goes into someone's tank is a fish that gets to stay on the reef and live out its natural life instead of dying in some well meaning but inexperienced hobbyist's quarantine tank. From a purely business perspective, you're right, buying fish from a breeder and captive breeding in general at this point doesn't make sense due to the high cost. It will make more sense as technologies develop and prices come down. It's still in its infancy, it will get better. Governments of first world countries are only more likely to limit collection going forward as we are seeing in Hawaii. It only takes a small twist of mind for an island nation to think that tourist jobs and that tourist money is better than wild fish collection for a hobby. If you are betting on wild caught fish for the hobby in the long run, that's a risky bet. The smart people are getting behind captive breeding.
I agree that the article is written purely from an energy/carbon footprint perspective. But I disagree about carbon footprint. That is all too real.
 

eatbreakfast

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The point that you seem to completely ignore is just that THE ANIMALS ARE BETTER LEFT ON THE REEF. Period. Full stop. Every fish that is captive bred and goes into someone's tank is a fish that gets to stay on the reef and live out its natural life instead of dying in some well meaning but inexperienced hobbyist's quarantine tank.
The rate of attrition of fish in the wild is incredibly high. For the tens to hundreds of thousands of eggs pr pair of spawning fish only a handful reach the point of reef recruitment. A fraction of that number make it past a year, due to predation, disease, injury or starvation. Once niches in the reef are occupied new fish are not able to settle, they are doomed until the established fish are removed. Sustainably captured ornamentals make it possible for new fish to settle. If collection is sustainably done it is net neutral in it's environmental impact. To think that reef fishes are living their lives in some sort of fishy utopia is ridiculous. Everything bigger is trying to eat them, everything smaller is trying not to be eaten. That is compared to perhaps an inexperienced aquarist doing everything to keep them alive, there is a world of difference between the two.
 

bigblue

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A great thread and a lot of information that need to be more widely shared.
I was writing a post about the potential pitfalls of having wild-caught and captive-bred conspecifics in the same aquarium. There are basically two areas of problems to assess: health and behavior. Researching if anyone had ever addressed that issue (I could not find anyone that would go further than the health factor), I stumbled onto this thread.

Everyone is making very valid points, but I'd like to caution about generalization. Like everyone’s own aquarium, each situation tends to be unique.

For one, when addressing the endangered status of a species, Governmental and Non-Governmental organizations take into account a number of factors that aims at giving a global picture of the health of a species but rarely of a specific community unless it is endemic to one particular area. In 2012, the European Union published a report on “Monitoring of International Trade in Ornamental Fish”. The “reporters” note (from line 436 to 440) : “Few species of freshwater fish have been listed in the Appendices to CITES to date, and even fewer freshwater ornamental species. Hence species-level trade data on a global scale are not generally available for this group. Ornamental freshwater fish species which have been listed include the Asian Arowana Scleropages formosus, the Cui-ui Chasmistes cujus, Seven-line Barb or Giant River Carp Probarbus jullieni and the Pangasid catfish Pangasianodon gigas which are listed in CITES Appendix I.”

The fact of the matter is that initiatives such as CITES and IUCN Red List do not have sufficient funding to survey every area of the globe. They rely on local authorities and partners to collect data and assess the status of a species, so it basically depends on the will of a government to fund or not the surveying of one area (see Brazil). Anyone interested in this topic should at the very least read the conclusion of the report.

Then we start adding terms such as sustainable and/or responsible to fisheries, but here as well, they are quite controversial for no one really knows but for a few exceptions. You’ll find some truly amazing and successful initiatives in Asia, South America and Africa, but they are so few that it is hard to assess their impact on the Ornamental Fish Trade (OFT) and the concerned ecosystems. These efforts are very important and should be better documented. I have been working with Indigenous Peoples in an effort to preserve their land and cultural identity and I would like to caution anyone to be very careful when sampling a community in a particular area: "locals" involved in extraction industries are often migrant workers and not indigenous to the area (see Laura Simmons' video in the link provided). The efforts to preserve are much more complicated than saying "I'll give you 50 or 100% more per fish if you harvest them responsibly." The native will adhere most of the times, the migrants, that's another story ...

Finally, we can assess our GHG impact as much as we want, this is really not the issue at stake. If we start comparing the cost of flying a 737 from Bali to Los Angeles with the one of running a breeding facility, then I am afraid we are on the wrong side of history. The key word in my opinion is “responsible”. And I like very much your presentation, Austin. And I do not see you focusing on GHG, but instead on what fishermen and breeders do well, along with the all supply chain. So how do we make sure that the industry rally behind a clear and transparent certification system that the hobbyist can rely on?
 

bigblue

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Here is a post I am writing about behavioral differences between wild-caught and captive-bred specimens of the same species. Perhaps you guys can add to it based on your own experience. Thanks.

The debate over wild-caught vs. captive-bred has been running for a long time in the aquarium hobby. The social, economic and environmental impact of each practice have their pros and cons. We’ve seen tropical fish overharvested and making it to the endangered list. Some will argue that if properly managed, fisheries provide local communities a much-needed source of income. Aquacultured fish may possess a smaller genetic pool, less vibrant colors, they might be more prone to some diseases but they are better adapted to the aquarium environment. I have been curious to learn, beyond the above considerations, how different are captive-bred species from their wild cousins in terms of behavior within the confines of an aquarium?

The differences can be subtle. Pete Giwojna, a renowned seahorse expert, sees seahorses as very emotional creatures that respond to different situations by displaying brighten or darken colors. Stress is the major factor that affects seahorses’ coloration. “They are very sensitive to noise, vibration and human traffic” writes Giwojna. This is less “of a concern with domesticated seahorses, which are very social, highly gregarious animals that are very much accustomed to the human presence. They will thrive in a high traffic area such as your living room or den or family room.” Pete has been acting as Technical Director for Ocean Rider in Hawaii, one of the most successful seahorse conservation program in the world. A large part of the seahorses bred there return to the wild, while some are domesticated for aquariums. The greatest difference though is their relationship to food. Wild-caught seahorses will only accept live food, while captive-bred are usually fine with frozen food.

What can happen if a wild-caught and a captive-bred specimen of the same species are put together in a tank? It depends on the species you may say. I have never experienced it but Gabriel Quinzaños has. Gabo has been breeding and manufacturing food for Discus for over a decade in Mexico. He shared with me that aquarists mixing wild-caught and tank-raised Discus might face two problematic issues: the first is behavioral and the second biological: “it’s a recipe for disasters. A tank-bred and wild Discus are completely different. In the wild, these fish have many predators, the alpha is constantly under threat. In a tank, the alpha is the apex. How they will behave towards each other depends on how one has been inbred and how much time its wild relative has had time to adapt. But the biggest issue is health-related. Most likely, one might carry a pathogen the other is not immune to. That is true for some bacteria and most parasites.”

I received an email from Pete Giwojna asking him directly about behavioral differences between wild-caught and captive-bred seahorses or what would happen if one were to put both in the same aquarium. He answered: “I never recommend keeping wild seahorses with captive bred-and-raised seahorses, sir. The cultured seahorses are well adapted for aquarium life, whereas the wild-caught seahorses are not.
The cultured seahorses are accustomed to artificial seawater and artificial lighting, are accustomed to living in close proximity to numbers of other seahorses, and thrive on a staple diet of frozen Mysis.
On the other hand, seahorses in the wild are accustomed to wide open spaces with plenty of room to roam, pristine water quality, natural sunlight the natural seawater, and a wide variety of choice live foods. It can be very difficult to wean them away from their dependency on live foods and they find captive conditions to be stressful.
That's a problem because stress weakens the immune response and makes the wild seahorses vulnerable to pathogens and parasites that they would ordinarily be able to shrug off. As a result, they often suffer from a variety of diseases when kept in the aquarium under stressful conditions.
And when such pathogens and parasites take advantage of an impaired immune system and overwhelm the affected seahorse, there is a danger that they can also spread to the cultured seahorses in the confines of aquarium.”

If you have experienced both captive-bred and wild specimens of the same species, I’d love to hear from you.
 
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