Captive bred fish: Does it matter? Does it matter to you?

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Does it matter to you whether your fish are captive-bred or wild caught?

  • I only buy captive bred fish.

    Votes: 107 14.6%
  • It matters, but I will buy either captive-bred or wild-caught.

    Votes: 518 70.6%
  • I think wild-caught fish are the better option.

    Votes: 17 2.3%
  • I don’t care where the fish were bred.

    Votes: 92 12.5%

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anabechara

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I have only captive bread fish in my tank. Also the corals. Having that option I cannot justify having wild caught fish at all... just because fish are small doesn't mean they don't deserve respect and kindness.
 

Subsea

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After 51 years of Reefing, I do not quarantine and I have experienced hardier fish coming from the wild as opposed to fish that are pampered thru juvenile stage In hatcheries.

Herd immunity works with people & fish. Any thoughts on this @Paul B
 
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jhadaway

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I have been fortunate to keep 100% of the ORA fish I bought thriving since their arrival. The amount of problems I had from wild caught fish I could go on and on not to mention hundreds of dollars in dead or dying fish. I buy straight from ORA through Saltwateraquarium.com so I don't have to worry about a middle man. Haven't tried Biota just yet. I'm trying Dr. Reef for the first time now for the few fish I wanted that aren't available captive bred. The cost really hasn't been much more for the fish I purchased. Wild caught straight to the tank is a disaster waiting to happen (and it did, lesson learned). The QT process isn't for me and I'll pay an expert to do it.
It just seems if you can get them over wild caught, it makes sense in a lot of ways. The day may come when our wild caught choices become extremely limited. If we don't support the farms we will all be back to keeping goldfish.
 

Stigigemla

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There are so many arguments for and against captive bred.
One important thing that seems to be forgotten here is the value of the fish and nature for the people living near them. When we pay 10 or 100 times more than the food value for a fish or when good paying tourists come to look at them they get a value for the locals.
I believe the Aquarium and Tourist industrys are important factors to decrease the damage from dynamite and cyanide fishing. And locals in more countries are today proud of their nature. I personally am happy to see people proud of their nature at home just as i am.
I think it is important for those countries that we continue to buy fish from them.
And on their side effective control that no populations are harmed by overfishing.
I think we should avoid to buy any wild cought fish for more than 100 dollars or so.
That is a clear indication that the population of that fish is vulnerable.
 

Subsea

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There are so many arguments for and against captive bred.
One important thing that seems to be forgotten here is the value of the fish and nature for the people living near them. When we pay 10 or 100 times more than the food value for a fish or when good paying tourists come to look at them they get a value for the locals.
I believe the Aquarium and Tourist industrys are important factors to decrease the damage from dynamite and cyanide fishing. And locals in more countries are today proud of their nature. I personally am happy to see people proud of their nature at home just as i am.
I think it is important for those countries that we continue to buy fish from them.
And on their side effective control that no populations are harmed by overfishing.
I think we should avoid to buy any wild cought fish for more than 100 dollars or so.
That is a clear indication that the population of that fish is vulnerable.
Kudoes to this perception. Much of the sentiment on captive breed seems to be fear based. I try not to allow my emotions to overrule my logic.
 
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Karen00

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I always try to buy captive bred when possible. I definitely think it's the future of the hobby. Most of my tank is captive bred but a couple are wild caught and unfortunately they are types that aren't being captive bred yet. I also keep my eyes peeled for people taking their tanks down and are selling off everything or people who are simply switching up the livestock in their tank. My very first inhabitants were from someone switching up their livestock so I got a beautiful high fin goby/pistol shrimp pair.
 

KrisReef

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I heard the opposite. I've heard that captive bred fish are more susceptible to disease since they are raised in disease free facilities which makes them less hardy. Plus deformities from line breeding can/will happen. I'm not against captive bred fish, I buy them when I can, but I don't think you're as safe as you think you are by buying them. As soon as they hit the fish store and get mixed in with wild caught fish, the diseases can start. And in my mind, being captive bred, they don't have the immunity to fight and win this battle. Kind of like when the Europeans landed in America, they were carriers of all kinds of nasty viruses that killed the natives quickly since there was no natural immunity built up. The viruses had little to no effect on the Europeans since they were immune or mostly immune to them. Who knows, just a thought.
Yup, and I'm with the fishes. If they look nice and need a home I will not question their origin as a reason to buy or not. They can't help who their parents are.
 

Paul B

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Herd immunity works with people & fish. Any thoughts on this @Paul B
Of course, but many people will not like them. I think captive bred is the future of this hobby only because we are taking and killing way to many fish from the sea.

But as far as fish health and hardiness goes, I would rather "not" have a captive bred fish as they were not exposed to many, if any diseases so they won't have any immunity to anything.

Of course if all fish and corals were captive bred and none of us used NSW, it probably should not be a problem.

For now, only wild caught for me because my tank depends on immunity and not medications or quarantine for health. :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:
 

ISpeakForTheSeas

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I prefer captive bred and - like many others on this thread - believe it to be the future of the hobby for most individuals (though some will likely always prefer wild caught). However, it does need to become more affordable, and, honestly, I think making it more affordable is just going to take some innovation - in my opinion, we have the tech and expertise needed these days, but we need to figure out how to apply them better/more efficiently.

With regards to captive bred coloration, I would guess that most of the color concerns which people espouse likely come from the fact that many fish when young - too young for us to collect them from the wild - are translucent white/grey in color. When aquaculture facilities ship these super young specimens out, people see the lingering "pale" coloration (a product of the fish's young age) and think the fish is unhealthy, has a genetic defect, or has inferior coloration when compared to their wild counterparts when the reality is that they are just too young to have developed their natural coloration like the wild caught fish people see in stores.

The health concerns of captive bred fish are an interesting debate. They likely do have lower immune systems, as they are exposed to fewer potential issues in their breeding/rearing tanks, but - for most aquariums - I don't really see that being an issue (especially if the aquarist does a proper - read: effective - quarantine/prophylactic treatment process), as the fish should only be exposed to a small number of potential pathogens (our tanks likely don't have nearly as many bacterial/fungal/viral strains in them as the ocean does, so there's likely a lower risk of a life-threatening disease being in them in large enough quantities to cause issues). As mentioned by another poster, though, the captive bred fish - being adapted to aquarium life, likely not being sick on arrival, and likely being much less stressed by transit than their wild counterparts - may actually be easier for most aquarists to keep alive even if there are pathogens in their tank just because the fish is probably going to be in better health when they get it.

That said, though, the genetic defect part of the debate is definitely valid. Aquaculturists - like farmers and ranchers - need to be cautious about making sure they are keeping at least three separate broodstock lines for breeding multiple generations so that they can prevent issues caused by extreme inbreeding (farmers and ranchers basically space out the inbreeding enough to prevent most issues by alternating which line breeds with which offspring), and they'll likely also need to be willing to cull any fish that show serious enough defects (i.e. if the fish shows a serious health problem rather than an aberrant appearance, it probably needs to go).
 

areefer01

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I personally love the idea of purchasing captive fish, but not at the cost that's being presented.

Table talk conversation here but any idea of how much work it is to bring captive bred, or raised fish to market? So much effort into that IP it is mind boggling and I'm not even in that line of work but my head explodes just thinking about it. Suitable fish, finding pairs, larva, food, culling, when to ship, and more. All goes out the window if the fish decide they don't want to spawn. Then what?

I'm not sure cost is the right discussion to have here. Especially since I'm not seeing evidence that the main three players today are living the life like the Wolf of Wallstreet. We can shut all wild imports, fish and coral, and this hobby will survive. The only difference is we would have less ornamental fish selection.

I know you said you like the idea thus me saying table talk discussion. Cost point I think is incorrect due to the herculean effort they go through to bring animals to market. Of course I can be wrong and total off track :)
 

Sean Clark

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To take a fish from the ocean and put into an aquarium is mean!
So it is not "mean" to keep fish in tiny boxes if they don't know any different?
Ignorance really is bliss.
 

Sisterlimonpot

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Table talk conversation here but any idea of how much work it is to bring captive bred, or raised fish to market? So much effort into that IP it is mind boggling and I'm not even in that line of work but my head explodes just thinking about it. Suitable fish, finding pairs, larva, food, culling, when to ship, and more. All goes out the window if the fish decide they don't want to spawn. Then what?

I'm not sure cost is the right discussion to have here. Especially since I'm not seeing evidence that the main three players today are living the life like the Wolf of Wallstreet. We can shut all wild imports, fish and coral, and this hobby will survive. The only difference is we would have less ornamental fish selection.

I know you said you like the idea thus me saying table talk discussion. Cost point I think is incorrect due to the herculean effort they go through to bring animals to market. Of course I can be wrong and total off track :)
Very valid points. I try to look at it from the perspective of should it be done? I think so...but not for profit.

Table talk conversation here but any idea of how much work it is to bring captive bred, or raised fish to market?
Not in great detail, I'm sure we both can agree that the list you provided is not "all inclusive" and that it's an expensive venture. And my hats off to them for putting in the immense time and effort in experimenting with different schedules to rear a fish to a healthy specimen. However, in order for this to be a viable business model, you either have to change the hearts and minds of people by selling the idea that this statement is true:
To take a fish from the ocean and put into an aquarium is mean!
Or the prices of wild caught would have to be more expensive than purchasing captive bred.

If you've been paying attention, you've probably read or heard people speculating that in the near future we won't have the option of wild caught and the only thing we can fall back on is captive bread. We don't know if that is going to happen, but it can definitely be spun to promote sales for captive bred fish. Viewing it from that lens, whenever you hear or read someone spouting that information, you have to ask yourself, "What's their angle?", "what's the ulterior motive?". And I'm not talking about the parroted information constantly being regurgitated by the unsuspecting hobbyist, I'm talking about from the originator. Maybe the answer to both those questions is, "There isn't one". I tend to disagree with that though.

I'm not sure cost is the right discussion to have here. Especially since I'm not seeing evidence that the main three players today are living the life like the Wolf of Wallstreet. We can shut all wild imports, fish and coral, and this hobby will survive. The only difference is we would have less ornamental fish selection.
Captive breeding is in its infancy and the Wolfs of Wallstreet haven't hit their stride yet. You have to at least agree that they've actively discussed how to get more market share. That's business 101, and if you agree with that then you have to realize that they've set out to change the narrative in their favor, either through marketing, titans of the industry, influencers etc or all the above.
Cost point I think is incorrect
I would disagree for the sheer fact that just like everything in this hobby, prices go up for no real reason. And I always attribute it to the revolving door which is this hobby. People come and go and there's very little continuity. For example, a new hobbyist would read through all these threads with tanks packed with coral and fish, and then go look to see what it would costs only to conclude, "This is what I need to spend in order to have a thriving fish tank". Little do they know that almost 4 years ago (when I set up my current tank) prices were a lot cheaper, a purple tang was $32 from my LFS.
Screenshot_20221201-162040_Message+.jpg


Of course, it can all be explained by supply and demand, heavy on the demand because "New to the Hobby Guy" doesn't know what the cost should be and shells out the cash anyway. I know I digressed, my point being that the longer this goes on captive bred will be competitive and if I'm in the minority when I say, "That's unacceptable" then so be it.

If we can have a world where people shell out 5x for a captive bred yellow tang and still have to option to purchase a wild caught for $50 then disregard everything I said. But we know that's not going to happen.
 

areefer01

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Very valid points. I try to look at it from the perspective of should it be done? I think so...but not for profit.

No problem. I think we more or less agree with the exception of profit. Well I'm pretty sure you agree with profit as long as the pricing is balanced or reasonable or lessor disparity(?).

Not in great detail, I'm sure we both can agree that the list you provided is not "all inclusive" and that it's an expensive venture. And my hats off to them for putting in the immense time and effort in experimenting with different schedules to rear a fish to a healthy specimen. However, in order for this to be a viable business model, you either have to change the hearts and minds of people by selling the idea that this statement is true:

It isn't inclusive and a lot of assumptions on my part. I've been hoping for a good MACNA talk on it.

Or the prices of wild caught would have to be more expensive than purchasing captive bred.

True. In some cases otherwise unavailable fish (in the US) or expensive are now readily available and affordable. Cuban Basslet is a good example. Used to be North of $3,000 US but now $600. The Flathead Perch is another good example.

If you've been paying attention, you've probably read or heard people speculating that in the near future we won't have the option of wild caught and the only thing we can fall back on is captive bread. We don't know if that is going to happen, but it can definitely be spun to promote sales for captive bred fish. Viewing it from that lens, whenever you hear or read someone spouting that information, you have to ask yourself, "What's their angle?", "what's the ulterior motive?". And I'm not talking about the parroted information constantly being regurgitated by the unsuspecting hobbyist, I'm talking about from the originator. Maybe the answer to both those questions is, "There isn't one". I tend to disagree with that though.

I will say that I do not really dive into the source or originator aspect. That is interesting and I haven't considered that. I wonder how it is in the avian world / parrots and/or reptiles.

Captive breeding is in its infancy and the Wolfs of Wallstreet haven't hit their stride yet. You have to at least agree that they've actively discussed how to get more market share. That's business 101, and if you agree with that then you have to realize that they've set out to change the narrative in their favor, either through marketing, titans of the industry, influencers etc or all the above.

I agree it is business. Without a doubt. Fair point. I don't have a reply other than I haven't looked at it from that view point. It reads to me more of a small business being fueled by passion than anything else. But as I noted I probably have blinders on.

I would disagree for the sheer fact that just like everything in this hobby, prices go up for no real reason. And I always attribute it to the revolving door which is this hobby. People come and go and there's very little continuity. For example, a new hobbyist would read through all these threads with tanks packed with coral and fish, and then go look to see what it would costs only to conclude, "This is what I need to spend in order to have a thriving fish tank". Little do they know that almost 4 years ago (when I set up my current tank) prices were a lot cheaper, a purple tang was $32 from my LFS.
Screenshot_20221201-162040_Message+.jpg


Of course, it can all be explained by supply and demand, heavy on the demand because "New to the Hobby Guy" doesn't know what the cost should be and shells out the cash anyway. I know I digressed, my point being that the longer this goes on captive bred will be competitive and if I'm in the minority when I say, "That's unacceptable" then so be it.

If we can have a world where people shell out 5x for a captive bred yellow tang and still have to option to purchase a wild caught for $50 then disregard everything I said. But we know that's not going to happen.

I think my first yellow tang was $14. I don't have an answer for the last part other than what do we expect when content is created specifically for that. We are talking about fish but what about those 1/4" named SPS frags or a single LPS head of a 24k holy moly torch? Spending 150 bucks for a captive bred yellow tang seems a lot more reasonable. But to your point, no it isn't $14 nor is it $50. What is the right point for a fish I don't know but I do understand what you are saying. Hobbies are a bit odd for me be it sewing, wood working, cars, or fish. Hobbies are, in my opinion, discretionary income based. Not sure that helps but all things being equal we can enter them with a reasonable entry point and be successful with proper planning.

On that note though I did want to say that I can always count on you to provide a well thought out and peaceful post. Even if there are points we do not agree on or if you are thinking I'm out there - you always are respectful. So rare. Thank you.
 

Sisterlimonpot

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I've been hoping for a good MACNA talk on it.
A good macna talk would mean divulging trade secrets. I fear that what we get now is all we're going to ever get. It will never be like it was in the old days when people would share what nutrients were critical at particular points of fish growth.

True. In some cases otherwise unavailable fish (in the US) or expensive are now readily available and affordable. Cuban Basslet is a good example. Used to be North of $3,000 US but now $600. The Flathead Perch is another good example.
Those are great examples. Definitely a plus when it comes to breeding fish that are hard to capture or rare to see in the ocean.

We are talking about fish but what about those 1/4" named SPS frags or a single LPS head of a 24k holy moly torch?
I definitely don't want to derail the conversation to talk about corals. The biggest difference I see between the 2 is that anyone can grow and propagate coral with a certain degree of success. But not everyone can rear fish fry. And I don't think what's stopping the ones that would want to is money, space, equipment etc, it's the knowledge to do so.

On that note though I did want to say that I can always count on you to provide a well thought out and peaceful post. Even if there are points we do not agree on or if you are thinking I'm out there - you always are respectful. So rare. Thank you.
That should go without saying...
 

cancun

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What are my favorite kind of fish? Consignment fish, ie: fish that come from a good home/tank that's being shutdown. No shipping stress, generally disease-free, well-adapted to other tank mates, used to a wide variety of pellet and frozen food. I have a pair of clownfish, flame hawkfish, female lamarck's angelfish and white tail bristletooth tang - all acquired in the last year and all model citizens for the most part (yes, we're looking at you clownfish).
Absolutely! I have great luck with fat healthy fish that came from a well established tank. My LFS charges extra...but it is worth it. I love captive bred, but unfortunately my tank was pretty much stocked before I could get a captive bred specimen. I only buy fish from my LFS, and they just started getting some different varieties in.
 

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I'm all for captive bred fish...with the exception of the matted filefish. Stealth Ninja corallivores with no appetite for aiptasia? When almost all other filefish are so much lovelier and more personable? Ugh.
I have one now and its been somewhat of a struggle
 
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