Why Choose Captive Bred Fish?

A 20,000-gallon tropical reef aquarium

A 20,000-gallon tropical reef aquarium stands along the wall behind the reception counters at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada.
From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Although captive-bred fish are often slightly more expensive than wild fish, this can often pay off in the long run. For instance, buying a captive-bred fish means that the fish that would be brought in from the wild to be kept as pets are left in the wild. Because divers bring in fish regularly, the amount of fish in the wild regularly goes down faster than it would naturally. This can cause many species of fish to go extinct when they would have survived if we had left them in the wild and bought captive-bred fish.

Types of wild caught fish and methods of capture

It is mainly saltwater fish that are in danger, as many commercial fish farms breed captive freshwater fish. The fish

are not the only ones in danger, many corals and invert species are also being caught or possibly even destroyed. One of the more popular practices to catch wild fish is called cyanide fishing, and it uses cyanide to suffocate the fish until they pass out. Cyanide can also have harmful effects on the habitat, such as bleaching the coral or even causing death to corals, depending on the amount of cyanide used and the exposure time of the coral to the cyanide. The long-term

effects of the cyanide on the fish that survive this method are unknown.

Advantages of captive-bred fish

Additionally, captive-bred fish have spent their whole lives in an aquarium and are much more accustomed to living in a glass container and are much easier to feed than their wild counterparts. They are also much less aggressive than fish in the wild. Species that are caught in the wild have to go through quite an ordeal to get to the local pet store, which cause many of them to die from stress. Captive-bred fish have a much higher rate of survival since they only have to travel from the local pet store to your aquarium. Wild-caught fish may also have potentially deadly diseases that come from parasites and pathogens that are not found in an aquarium. Captive-bred fish are much more likely to be healthy and disease free as long as they are kept in the proper conditions and are not placed in an aquarium with a diseased fish that was caught in the wild.

In conclusion

Captive-bred fish means that once-wild fish were caught, bred, and then raised under the care of experts in special facilities over generations, although some species can possibly be bred in your aquarium. To see how you can help the spread of captive-bred fish, please contact your local aquarium.

Ready For Fish

Ready for Fish

Or so I thought

  • Editors Note: This post was updated 04/16/2012 and added a picture of the author’s own 10 gallon tank instead of the stock picture that was there.
  • Whether I was actually ready for fish sort of depends on your particular definition of “ready”. A lot of stuff has happened since I last wrote, I went through many ‘changed my mind’ moments, rethought through things, spent money I needed to, wasted money I shouldn’t have because I was in too much of a rush, and had a couple of humbling moments where I had to stop and admit that I don’t remember as much as I used to know and that I needed to take the time to “relearn”.

    Because relearning things is not beneath me, except in my own selfish pride/ego/whatever.

    My Christmas gift

    One of the things that’s changed is that on Christmas, I was given a 2 Gallon Fluval SPEC Desktop Glass Aquarium

    2 Gallon Fluval Spec Desktop Aquarium

    2 Gallon Fluval Spec Desktop Aquarium

    A closer look at what was inside it at the time:

    Closer look at the Fluval Spec

    Closer look at the Fluval Spec

    The nice thing about the Fluval is that it (like many others) is all built in (minus a heater) and it uses LEDs for lighting.

    I keep mine about 76 degrees Fahrenheit so evaporation happens quickly.

    My mistake

    I replaced both the betta bowl and the fish bowl with a Aqueon 17755 10 Deluxe Kit Aquarium.

    Or at least I would have if I had exercised one iota of sense. No, instead I bought just a tank, then added everything else little by little.

    My 10 Gallon Tank

    My 10 Gallon Tank

    This is what was in my tank.

    What a mistake that was. I should have not been in a rush and just saved up the cash. I still need a hood

    Now the hood I showed you up there is a nice little florescent hood, but I’m thinking about maybe just a glass or plastic cover and a LED light strip like the Marineland LED Aquarium Light

    Anyway, my apologies for making this look more like a sales catalog than a post, but if you need any of that stuff, those are the links that will take you there.

    Like I said, I changed a bunch of stuff around and I’ll tell you about that next time.

    – Jeffery

    It’s a small, small world

    It’s a small, small world

    Or so the song goes, but for my fish tank, it’s gonna be a small world.   “How small?”, you might ask.

    This small

    A 2 gallon fish bowl.  Maybe 2.5 if I fill it all the way to the top.

    This is the bowl that was at the house. Remember, I don’t have an aquarium, stand, test chemicals, etc.  So I’m looking to do an entire setup on very little money.  This fish bowl was generously(?) donated to the cause.  Well okay, I was told I could use it when I asked if I could have it.  That’s pretty close, right?

    What do you keep in a drop of water?

    Crushed dreams mainly.  On a serious note, I started to think of all what I could do with it.  The majority of what I would normally keep pretty much went out the window.  Not daunted by the task, I started giving it some serious thought.

    If you’re new to the hobby, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about.  Well, when it comes to fish tanks, smaller is not better, bigger is.  Often people want to start out small, see how they like it first and then take the plunge.  That’s a great theory, and works for a lot of things, but not fish.

    A bigger tank takes less work and is more forgiving of errors.  Think of it this way: if you put two drops of food coloring in a typical mug of water (about 12 ounces) and two drops of the same food coloring in a 5 gallon bucket of water, which one would you notice the color change in?

    The mug of course.

    For contaminates, or adding too much of a chemical, or temperature change (like in winter when you may lose heat), the small tanks will be affected first, while the larger tanks are buffered against the changes for an extended period of time (in a temperature change) or a much smaller, less costly loss of fish (with contaminates or chemicals).

    Yes, bigger tanks are much more costly to set up and sometimes maintain (depending on what you have in them), but compared to the amount of money you could lose to a mistake, carelessness, or ignorance, the extra buffering power is well worth it.

    That being said, nano reefs (very small reef setups) are fairly popular.  I had one in a 10 gallon tank for a while.  But really, unless you are experienced, you’re better off going as big as you can (within reason of course).

    Not quite what I meant by a ‘nano reef’

    It looks bigger than it is.

    So one of the first things I thought of was, Sea Moneys.  Seriously.  If you’ve never heard of them they are a hybrid brine shrimp that can still be found in some stores with fanciful creatures drawn on the packages that look nothing like brine shrimp, hybrid or not.

    Sparing you the math, for a two gallon aquarium it would take 21.3333 packets of water conditioner (included in the kit).  That’s a whole lot of money for brine shrimp.  They supposedly are larger and live longer than plain old brine shrimp, however….

    In my next post, I’ll see if I can finish catching you up to where I’m actually at in my thoughts.

     

    – Jeffery

    Fish Breeding: My Ultimate Goal

    Fish Breeding: My Ultimate Goal

    Something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time is to get into fish breeding.  Well fish, invertebrate, and the favorite invertebrate: corals.

    Why fish breeding?

    Although there is the possibility of making a little extra cash (for a lot of work), mainly it’s because of the advantages of tank raised, farm bred animals.

    They are used to being in an aquarium environment, generally healthier, eat more of a variety of foods, disease and parasite free, and stress less because they never went from big ocean to little bitty tank (relatively speaking).

    Oh sure, depending on the aquarium keeper some of those things could not apply.  A careless, or inexperienced, person could do something to introduce a parasite or disease, or an aquarium pest that eats the livestock during the night.  But the careful person, who takes the proper time, steps, and educates themselves can avoid most if not all of that.

    The other thing that drives me in this is just in the devastation in the oceans.  Coral reefs are dying, collection methods can be harmful to either the reef or the fish they are capturing.  Tank raised may not only be a great way to reduce the environmental impact, but the day may come when tank raised may very well be all we have left.

    My personal feeling is that wild-caught should only happen on rare occasion to help keep the genetic diversity going in the captive bred system.  Every once in a while adding to the gene pool can be a good thing, but overall that shouldn’t be the norm.

    Feeding them

    Anyway, one of the biggest problems is feeding the little buggers.  They are SO picky.  I hadn’t quite decided what to start breeding first, but I thought about what to feed them.  Obviously live foods would be good (mandatory) and brine shrimp (Artemia) (newly hatched nauplii of course) is often what is fed.

    Brine shrimp trivia

    Did you know that brine shrimp do not live in the ocean?  I didn’t know that until I started researching live foods.  So how do those baby seahorses get all that nutritious brine shrimp in the wild?  Do they saddle up, grab the covered wagon and make the perilous journey from the ocean to the salt lakes where the shrimp are?  Then after giving birth and letting the young eat until they are old enough, they pack up camp and wagon train back to the ocean to live until the next mating season?

    I don’t think so.

    Though that would be awesome to watch.

    What they really eat

    So I started researching copepods, rotifers, and others.  These are more along the lines of the nutritious fare they’d get in the wild.  Of course I can’t afford to buy a steady supply of these critters at this point in time.  So what’s the alternative?  Give up you say?  HA!  No.  No my friends, I’m not that smart.

    What fish food eats

    I looked into raising my own.  Some of them eat other critters, many of them eat algae.  Yep, the very scourge of fish keepers everywhere is now what I would have to deliberately grow in order to raise the feedstock for my livestock.  Sounds more like fish ranching than fish breeding.

    So I looked into raising my own algae, to feed my own copepods, rotifers, and the other foods that aren’t coming to mind at the moment.  Not only are there several different types of algae, and each one of these little living fish snacks eat only certain kinds of algae (in the wild), but each algae has it’s own different requirements.

    So now I’m looking at several different tanks of algae for several different tanks of live foods for several different tanks of fish and invertebrate.  Oh my aching head.

    Why go to all the trouble?

    It’s not that I’m a control freak, but I want quality control.  After all, making sure that I have the foods they need, when they need it, regardless of how much cash I have in my pocket is beyond important, it will mean the difference between life or death for whatever I’m raising.

    And having the most nutritious foods makes for healthy livestock.  And it’s important that they not just survive, but thrive.

    So I’ve bounced around with various ideas, modified versions of ideas, thrown away and revived ideas, etc.  I need to start on the best possible path, not just the one that gives the fastest-yet-poorest results.

    I have other issues to overcome as well.  Like it’s been several years since I’ve been in an environment where I’ve been able to have an aquarium, so I no longer have any of my stuff from my reef-keeping days.

    I miss my 85 gallon tank.

    But those issues are for another post.

    – Jeffery

    Setting Up Your Aquarium ~ Tank Selection

    There’s only so many ways to set up an aquarium. Some ways are very hard, if not life threatening, for the fish and other ways are much more gentle with greater chances of success.

    One of the first things that must be decided is how big of fish tank someone is going to have. Many people want to start with a small tank and see if they can learn how to do it right before purchasing a large tank.

    Though this sounds reasonable, it is actually a bad idea. A smaller tank has less water volume than a larger tank does and though that may seem obvious, a person often is not thinking about how a large volume of water is a good thing.

    If a person set up a glass of water and a bucket of water and added three drops of food coloring to each, the water in the cup will change colors, but you won’t notice any difference in the bucket of water. It’s the same way for the fish tanks. Any kind of change will be very noticeable in a small tank but may not show up at all in a large tank.

    A change in temperature affects a small tank very quickly whereas a larger tank will barely notice. Adding the necessary chemicals to adjust the pH of the water in a small tank can be disastrous if a mistake is made, but a larger tank will lessen the damage.

    A person needs to get the largest aquarium they can comfortably fit. Another thing that needs to be considered as part of that fit is making sure you have enough room on the sides and back of the tank for the cords and accessories. There needs to be enough room to get in and clean it as well.

    The choice of stands is not quite as critical and the style is more open to a person’s taste and budget. The stand needs to be made for that sized aquarium, but whether it comes as a cabinet with doors to hide the supplies and equipment, or is in the classic frame style is up to the purchaser.

    How I Got Started Keeping A Marine Tank

    Boy was that some time ago.  A guy I was working with, whose name is Tim  was (and still is as far as I know) really into the hobby.  We were talking about it off and on and I was getting more and more interested in it.

    For those of you who read my previous article on how I got into keeping fish in the first place, you know that I had already come into knowing what I was doing the hard way for keeping a tropical freshwater tank.

    Now this other guy at work named Scott had a 75 gallon tank from when he had a marine tank and it was sitting there doing nothing.  Having gone through (or was going through, I forget) a divorce, he sold it to me cheap.  I got it, the stand, and accessories for under $100 dollars.  It was the deal of a lifetime and I snatched it up.

    I still made mistakes, I still didn’t know a whole lot.  It took forever before I got a protein skimmer. Over time I had a bare bottom tank, then a sand bottomed tank and finally a plenum.  At one point I had a bright blue anemone that was large enough to fill a 10 gallon aquarium all by it’s little lonesome.

    Tim told me about a magazine and so I started buying it and reading up on it.  At this point my interest was virtually unstoppable.  I read almost every article in that magazine every time I bought it, I even had a subscription to it at one point.

    Over a few years I probably invested $1000 – $2000 dollars into that tank.  $30 here or $40 there before I finally had to give up the hobby.  After I lost my tank (I’ll save that for another post)  I kept a 10 gallon tank (which did very very well) and a small 2 gallon tank that came with a biowheel.

    Now I can’t have one at all, sigh.  Anybody interested in posting some pictures of their tanks here?  Seriously, let me know.

    Maybe next time I’ll tell you how I lost my 75 gallon tank.  I still cringe.

    – Jeffery

    How I Got Started In The Fish Keeping Hobby

    How I got started in the fish keeping hobby isn’t quite the way a lot of people might expect. You see, I had no interest in keeping fish. Nope, not at all.

    I grew up with animals. We always had a cat and a dog. At one point I had a hamster and later a tarantula. We had a cockatiel and a canary (at different times) and a fish tank.

    The cat and dog were a constant, the other things were around for brief periods of time. The fish tank was 15 gallon and on a metal stand. After I moved out of the house, I lived in an apartment where pets were not allowed.

    This was a problem because I was used to having animals around. Finally one day in sheer desperation I asked if fish were okay. They said yes because they weren’t considered pets. So I got the fish tank and stand from my parents (it had been out of commission for a long time at this point) and went about setting it up. Thankfully, it still held water and the stand was a bit rusty, but still sturdy.

    Now I knew only a couple of things about fish at this point because I really hadn’t paid a lot of attention when my parents had them. I knew that I had to put stuff in the water to get rid of the chlorine. I knew I had to float the fish in it’s bag for a half hour or so to let the temperature adjust. I knew that to feed them, I put in a pinch of food a day, just like Mr. Rogers did on ‘Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood’.

    Yessir, I was practically an expert (ahem).

    I bought some Neons because they were colorful, around 10 or so and dumped them unceremoniously into the tank and that was that. And after adjusting to the shock…they sat there. Smack dab in the middle of the tank, and keeping fish instead of a cat or dog was exactly like I thought it’d be…really dull.

    Eventually it began to dawn on me that I was overfeeding them. I couldn’t resist giving them a big pinch of food because those little pinches seemed too skimpy and I knew I couldn’t and wouldn’t change my ways.

    Off to the pet store I went. I walked in, looked at the algae eaters and said to myself, “I don’t have an algae problem”. So I asked the guy working there about bottom feeders and he took me straight to…you guessed it, the algae eaters.

    After patiently explaining that the problem was NOT algae and I need a bottom feeder to eat up the excess food so it wouldn’t foul the tank, a bright light went on and he took me to the perfect fish…the Corydoris.

    I had never heard of this little catfish before and it looked pretty weird. It was flat on the bottom and kind of a round elongated top, the kind of shape you see when a 3rd grader is drawing a whale. The guy at the pet store assured me that it was docile towards other fish and would happily eat the food that fell to the gravel.

    So I adjusted him to the tank using my highly sophisticated methods (it’s a miracle any of the fish survived) and sooner or later there he was with his little nose twitching as he used his whiskers to find all that food I dropped. It was great, I didn’t even have to change the amount I was feeding them…actually I probably should have gotten two corydoris…..

    But this is what turned me into an enthusiast: One day I was looking into the fish tank watching the neons cluster with the corydoris sitting motionless on the bottom and then the most amazing thing happened.

    That cory cat came straight up off the bottom of the tank just like a helicopter. He went zooming, and I mean zooming, all over the tank right through the middle of those neons sending them scattering everywhere.

    Then he came to a dead stop a few inches above the bottom, floated down and lay there still as stone. Eventually the neons regrouped in the middle of the tank and all was as if it never happened.

    I was stunned. I couldn’t believe what I had just witnessed and I was beginning to think I had imagined it. About twenty minutes later that cory cat once again came straight up off the bottom of the tank and went zooming all over the tank again, going right through the middle of those neons sending them scattering everywhere, came to a dead stop a few inches above the bottom, floated down and lay there still as stone.

    It was at this point I learned that some fish have a personality. From that point on, I was hooked (every pun intended).  I had a few more episodes with keeping a freshwater tank, maybe next time I’ll tell you how I got into the saltwater end.

    – Jeffery

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