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Old 06-19-2014, 09:19 PM   #11
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I dont think anything you've said is offensive, its just information. I know nothing of the origin of saltwater (or freshwater) fauna, but assuming your correct in what you say, its very interesting knowledge to have. Im on this forum everyday or searching google for something aquarium related, but had never seen a statistic like that about reef animals, ciclids or any other aquarium animal. I think more info like this should be out there to inform people.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:20 PM   #12
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The only thing offensive is ur a cowboys fan!!! I joke of course
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:13 AM   #13
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I'd like to respond to your "rant" hopefully with some enlightening information As some on here know, I have been a part of the fish hobby and fish biz for a long time so sadly, I HAVE seen some of the changes that have taken place.
First off, Kudos to you for even thinking about this subject. The "ethical" hobbyist is not often heard from.
I'd also like to follow that with that this discussion is not about how the fish and animals being discussed got here on Earth. How you believe they got here is your opinion so please don't PM me trying to "correct" what I think.
Okay, to the meat of the subject:
There really needs to be 3 sides to this coin: the hobbyist side, the business side and the human side as they all are interconnected.
Let's start with the Human side. Mankind, for as long as there have been records, have kept wild animals as pets. For example, recent discussions flood my TV screen on the development of dogs. Whether we domesticated the wolf or not, dogs are genetically linked to them so without wolves, there would be no domestic dogs that we keep today. (My parents were dog breeders when I was just a little guy.) I recently looked at a poster of dog species and was amazed. Almost 50% of the types didn't even exist 25 years ago. They are the new creations to go along with man's needs for companionship.
Now let's dig into the "dark side" of the human race. Forests are being destroyed for the lumber to build things like houses, furniture and paper and anything else you need lumber for because man has over populated the planet. We are the only specie that lives above it's local environmental capacities. When we run out of our local resource, we look elsewhere for it to get it perpetuating the "need" for someone to take that tree down and do something with it. THEN, we have the food issue. How much if the Amazon forest was destroyed to become grazing land for cattle for export and crop land for soy beans for China? The answer will upset a lot of you here. The consequences of some of this was habitat destruction where the fish lived. And this is just one example. The country of Haiti was exploited and deforested which in turn let so much of it's land wash away after major storms that the reefs that encircled the island were destroyed. The pic of this from above was devastating to me as I was effected directly by this event. Again, this is just a small sampling of the effect that humans are having on the planet not just the livestock on the planet.

Next let's visit the business aspect of this coin: The fish business has come a long way since it's humble beginnings umpty ump years ago. Believe it or not, most of the freshwater fish you see in a pet shop are not wild fish. Probably only 25% maybe are wild stock. How do I know? Because most of the fish colors I see in stores don't exist in the wild. Let's start with the basic Guppy. If you see a really pretty single colored or Delta tailed Guppy, it was man made, not wild. Swordtails, if they aren't green montezumas, they are man made. Mollies, Not Green sailfin or Black sailfin, Man made. Angelfish, not Silver= not wild. Discus, Holy crap, I don;t think anyone even carries wild Discus anymore. lol ( J.K., I know some stores do but not that many.) The business of fish keeping has created the need to come up with "new" fish to keep customers coming back and these are not coming out of the rivers and streams and lakes so no problems with them. Right? Have you seen the Glofish? I don;t look kindly on this behavior but I understand it's creation. Albino fish, while the albino gene is a natural gene, there is a reason why you don't see many adult albino animals in the wild as this mutation makes them stand out against their background making them easier targets as food when young. There is a reason why the animals have the shapes and color patterns they naturally have. It's for their survival. So again, keeping the albino varieties is having no impact on the wild stock.
Let's get to the saltwater side, whether you subscribe to global warming/global climate change being man made or a natural event, the fact is that the earth is warming and it is effecting the inhabitants of both it's oceans and it's land. But the reefs are not just dying from this event. Pollution as well as overfishing of the basic food link in the chain are having more devastating effects than the "few" fish we take for our fish tanks. If you look at the effect that shark finning has had to the reefs, it far exceeds the reduction of fish stock due to collection for the hobby. And for what, SOUP? When the top predator is removed, the other members of the reef can have population explosions that actually kill the reef more than help it. So maybe collecting wild fish is not as bad as first thought? There are now over 35 species of fish that are being tank bred and most of them are perfectly suitable for the "nano" tank craze so again, these fish are not depleting the wild stock. Back in the 70s and 80s, I wouldn't recommend a saltwater tank to a customer that was less than 55 gals. The smaller tanks were just too difficult to keep fish alive in unless you had experience already ( which most people didn't back then.) A few of us also thought about the fact that most of the fish we were keeping in tanks would eventually have to be released or transplanted elsewhere as nobody was keeping huge tanks for fully grown Tangs, Angels, Groupers, etc back then except for marine parks like the Miami Seaquarium or Sea World type places. Now, you see homes with huge tanks thanks to shows like Tanked and Fish Tank Kings. ( 2 shows I don't watch often. BTW ) So the progression of buying a fish with the expectation of buying another tank for the fish as it grows is alive and well in the fish business. THAT has been going on since I was a kid. You bought a tank and fish that would outgrow it so that you would be forced to get another tank so you would have an empty tank that needed more fish in it..... etc. It was a business plan I suppose and it worked as it's still going on today.
But there's a dark side to the fish business as well. The opening of areas not available when I was in the importing business, have led to new fish discoveries which the "hobby" was primed for. But the dark side of human nature and the fish biz has already destroyed some of the stocks of these new fish. Celestrial pearl danios as well as many of the fish from Burma ( I'm old school. My books all call it Burma. lol ) as well as some of the rainbowfishes for example are in sever decline in their natural habitat due to the demand for these new fish coupled with habitat destruction. Once breeding programs get going, the need to collect them will be diminished and hopefully, it won't be too late when that happens. When was the last time you saw a wild barb or gourami, oscar, livebearer, etc. being sold in a store? The same will hopefully happen with these fish as well.
Okay, before this post gets way too long, the Hobbyist side:
As hobbyists, we hold a different look at things in the natural world. For starters, we can't just put water in a container and put fish in it and expect them to live. Opposed to just somebody looking to have a fish tank as an ornament, ( they are not hobbyists in my eyes) a hobbyist will learn about the water the fish come from, the natural tendencies of the fish as well as the proper decor the fish likes to live in as well as the foods it prefers to eat. All the things necessary to keep our pet healthy. Just because a fish we keep is tank bred and raised, it has the wild genetics of the fish which controls it's likes and dislikes. That part doesn't change. Whether in Freshwater or Saltwater, the hobby, and it's hobbyists, have played a continual role in the understanding of how the natural world works. Now, because of this new understanding, there has been mention in a number of programs I have seen of how the aquarium hobby may be the future of the wild stocks of fish and corals should natural occurrences destroy the wild stocks. Coral fragging was in it's infancy when I left the fish biz for a while. Ken Nedimeyer was fragging local (Florida) corals in the keys and a number of the coral farms copied his procedures. ( His was still in the ocean.) And fish were being experimented with to see the fesability of breeding large Angelfish in land based fish farms. A man made cross between the French Angel and the Grey Angel was created through this effort. The end result, they produced too many babies for a land based hatchery. But today, there are some of the larger Angels being tank bred or raised so there's a thumbs up for the hobby. Which brings me to my last point, unlike most freshwater fish, marine fish can have thousands of eggs in a spawn. While certain fishes who are demersal spawners, may only have a couple hundred eggs and mouth brooding species may only have under 50 fry at a time, fish like the larger Angelfish have approx. 300,000 eggs per spawn with butterfly fish having 50,000 to 100,000 eggs per spawn. These are paired fishes. With Tangs, which are schooling spawners, who knows how many eggs are being released per spawning? Years ago, I attended a lecture by the then head of the Rosensteil School for marine science ( part of the university of Miami) who said that "if we protected 20% of the world's reefs from any human activity, the fish living on those reefs could produce enough offspring to populate 100% of the world's reefs." So that brings me to this question: Is keeping fish in a fish tank really unethical? I don;t think so. I think keeping a large fish in a small tank is unethical. I think not learning about the fish you keep is unethical. I think not doing everything necessary to give your fish or pet the best possible care you can is unethical. I think creating living "toys" is unethical. But I don't think just the act of keeping the fish in a container, suitable to it's needs, is unethical. That's my view.

Thanks for reading this whole thing. I hope it helped.
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:52 AM   #14
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That was a good post I agree with everything you said
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:04 AM   #15
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Living in Hawaii, I know how collecting marine fish is important for the economy but as an aquarist, I know how harmful it is to the ecosystem. At the end of the day I support captive bred fish whenever possible. I myself would not as far as avoiding any wild caught fish as cruel as it may seem. I am also against creating strains of marine fish species. Designer clownfish may look unique but I feel it goes against the purpose of keeping a marine aquarium. Most people are attracted by the natural beauty of corals and fish. Designer clownfish in my opinion are like glofish. They are not like dyed fish but are still unnatural. In a fish only system, I suppose they are ok. I feel that the hobby suffers most when people release not native species. Plecos, Asian carp, and snakeheads are extremely destructive and breed rapidly.
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:10 AM   #16
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Thanks Andy Sager. I really appreciate the counter you provide to the movie Earthlings, which was cited as the catalyst for this conversation. I initially responded before I knew that was the genesis of the conversation. If anyone hasn't seen it, it is available in its entirety at its web site to stream.

To me Earthlings is a very one-sided sensational (starts out with Nazis and the KKK and goes from there) piece of propaganda made by people who take positions similar to PETA (recommended viewing by PETA). I find many of their positions extreme. This is not to say I support animal cruelty. I simply define animal cruelty less broadly.

I wonder how many here have ever read the PETA position on keeping pet fish? I have and it is extreme to say the least. It should still be on their web site if you haven't already read it.

The truth is animals don't necessarily have long and happy lives in the wild. Life "out there" is pretty cruel and most are not at the top of the food chain. Life in the wild is often eat or be eaten. That's if a disease or disaster doesn't kill them first.

Of course, it is the man made disasters that humankind has a responsibility to try to avoid, and we seem admittedly to have trouble figuring that out in many cases. But most of us still care in some form or fashion.

So there two extremes. One is don't keep any fish. The other is keep fish any old way you want and "no holds barred." (For example, dyed fish, bettas sold in vases)

And then we come to the great middle. That goes from responsible aquarists (something that the don't keep fish extremists think not only doesn't exist, but that can't exist by definition) to well meaning people who don't know better, but who are wiling to learn.

This is all good stuff to think about and I don't fault anyone for being concerned. But understand that the Earthlings movie is very well produced propaganda promoting one ideology. It is not balanced nor is it meant to be. It is meant to have maximum emotional impact to persuade people to the "humans can not keep or use animals in any way". This includes ways that most of us see as loving at best and benign at worst, like having a well loved and cared for dog.

In any case, there is no harm in examining our personal responsibility and our role in a larger picture. I'm only concerned about the extremism and sensationalism and one sided presentation of the movie. Yes, there are horrific things in it. It was intended to persuade through, among other things, horror.
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Old 06-20-2014, 10:09 AM   #17
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Thanks for everyone's opinions. On the wild collecting piece of it, sure we are taking a tiny percentile of fish,coral, etc but why help along the destruction of the reefs when you can opt to not support it, that's just my take. And I'm sorry but I don't believe that fish such as tangs and large angels needs can not be truly met unless they are in an extremley large aquarium. Large exotics like arrowana, arapaima, stingrays, and large (3'+) catfish should not be kept. I hate seeing those people on monster fishkeeping sights bragging about their new monster fish. The truth is species like these are better off left in the wild. Guys, please don't believe that I'm some PETA nutcase, I belive that PETA is far to extreme... I'm just exploring what's out there and what other people think. Also on the Earthlings movie I thought about this topic long before I saw that. I just saw it mentioned on another topic after posting this and thought it would be good to bring up.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:00 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallascowboys16 View Post
Thanks for everyone's opinions. On the wild collecting piece of it, sure we are taking a tiny percentile of fish,coral, etc but why help along the destruction of the reefs when you can opt to not support it, that's just my take. And I'm sorry but I don't believe that fish such as tangs and large angels needs can not be truly met unless they are in an extremley large aquarium. Large exotics like arrowana, arapaima, stingrays, and large (3'+) catfish should not be kept. I hate seeing those people on monster fishkeeping sights bragging about their new monster fish. The truth is species like these are better off left in the wild. Guys, please don't believe that I'm some PETA nutcase, I belive that PETA is far to extreme... I'm just exploring what's out there and what other people think. Also on the Earthlings movie I thought about this topic long before I saw that. I just saw it mentioned on another topic after posting this and thought it would be good to bring up.
To be honest, I didn't even watch the trailer. I didn't need to to understand the concern. I just reiterated facts that I knew either from experience or learned from the professionals, that are often misunderstood or skewed to one side.
I totally agree that keeping fish that will eventually grow too large for any aquarium you intend to have in the present or future should be banned. That does pose a problem tho for some in the hobby. For example, How do you justify buying that cute little red belly Pacu when it can, when properly housed and maintained, grow to over 50 lbs? ( I've heard from S. Americans that they grow to 75 lbs. in some areas.) Piranhas are a better choice as they don't grow as large but then there's the problem of them being let loose in waters they don;t belong in by misguided or tired aquarists thinking that it's better to release them then to kill them. A true hobbyist wouldn't do that. We need more hobbyists in the hobby not just fish keepers. But I digress............
Yes, buying a tank raised marine fish is a better choice, I believe, these days than a wild harvested one but not for the reasons you mentioned. Reef destruction in current days is not from fish collected for the aquarium trade. It WAS, years ago when cyanide and dynamite was used to collect fish. But those practices went out long ago. ( Search old (1980s? maybe) FAMA magazines for articles on Steve Robinson and introduction to net collecting in the Phillipines.) Most fish today are caught with nets of some form or less hazardous chemical anasthetics. Corals are traded under CITIES governing so habitat destruction from coral collection is avoided. Again, help the advancement of the hobby by buying frags instead.
Finally, PETA. I have to laugh. One of the warehouses I worked at was visited by PETA because someone reported that we didn't euthanize our fish properly. Their recommendation, the most humane way of euthanizing fish was to put them into boiling water!!! How humane is that I ask??? Hopefully, since that time, PETA has come up with better ideas because that one sure didn't go over real well with our staff veterinarian.

So all else I can say is EDUCATE yourselves to the whole story. Remember, there are always 3 sides to every story: Your side, my side, and the truth. ( My side and the truth are usually pretty close I've been told. lol )

Thanks for reading this.
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:46 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Andy Sager View Post
To be honest, I didn't even watch the trailer. I didn't need to to understand the concern. I just reiterated facts that I knew either from experience or learned from the professionals, that are often misunderstood or skewed to one side.
I totally agree that keeping fish that will eventually grow too large for any aquarium you intend to have in the present or future should be banned. That does pose a problem tho for some in the hobby. For example, How do you justify buying that cute little red belly Pacu when it can, when properly housed and maintained, grow to over 50 lbs? ( I've heard from S. Americans that they grow to 75 lbs. in some areas.) Piranhas are a better choice as they don't grow as large but then there's the problem of them being let loose in waters they don;t belong in by misguided or tired aquarists thinking that it's better to release them then to kill them. A true hobbyist wouldn't do that. We need more hobbyists in the hobby not just fish keepers. But I digress............
Yes, buying a tank raised marine fish is a better choice, I believe, these days than a wild harvested one but not for the reasons you mentioned. Reef destruction in current days is not from fish collected for the aquarium trade. It WAS, years ago when cyanide and dynamite was used to collect fish. But those practices went out long ago. ( Search old (1980s? maybe) FAMA magazines for articles on Steve Robinson and introduction to net collecting in the Phillipines.) Most fish today are caught with nets of some form or less hazardous chemical anasthetics. Corals are traded under CITIES governing so habitat destruction from coral collection is avoided. Again, help the advancement of the hobby by buying frags instead.
Finally, PETA. I have to laugh. One of the warehouses I worked at was visited by PETA because someone reported that we didn't euthanize our fish properly. Their recommendation, the most humane way of euthanizing fish was to put them into boiling water!!! How humane is that I ask??? Hopefully, since that time, PETA has come up with better ideas because that one sure didn't go over real well with our staff veterinarian.

So all else I can say is EDUCATE yourselves to the whole story. Remember, there are always 3 sides to every story: Your side, my side, and the truth. ( My side and the truth are usually pretty close I've been told. lol )

Thanks for reading this.
Thanks Andy, you probably know far more than me when it comes to this kind of stuff. I just don't believe in taking a fish that is meant for the ocean, the most vast expanse of water on our planet, and giving him 4ft to swim... I guess it's just a me thing, I don't know if I could look at my tang in a 6 ft tank if I ever had one and feel good about it! It's good to hear that the collecting of the fish is far less destructive than it used to be though. I enjoyed hearing your opinions and experiences on this type of thing. Many thanks, I just needed to talk about this a little.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:37 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Dallascowboys16 View Post
Thanks Andy, you probably know far more than me when it comes to this kind of stuff. I just don't believe in taking a fish that is meant for the ocean, the most vast expanse of water on our planet, and giving him 4ft to swim... I guess it's just a me thing, I don't know if I could look at my tang in a 6 ft tank if I ever had one and feel good about it! It's good to hear that the collecting of the fish is far less destructive than it used to be though. I enjoyed hearing your opinions and experiences on this type of thing. Many thanks, I just needed to talk about this a little.
I think this was a great thread and more like it should come up for discussions. THANK YOU for starting it. This is part of the reason I joined this site and am back in the teaching part of the hobby. There is a lot of misinformation and misguided (imo) opinions out there that need to be corrected or educated about. What is thought to be vs. what is actually happening seems to have been getting wider apart with the invention of the web based information sites and depletion of the local Mom & Pop shops. Time for us old geezers to set the records straight.

One last point, some of the fish you think are being unfairly housed in a 6' tank actually use less than that space in the vast expanses of the ocean. There are many fish on the reef that are similar to the South American Cichlids whereby they stake out a territory and they don't leave it. This same thing has been the core of many debates on the proper housing of betta fish. The argument there is that the wild form of the betta ( one that we almost never see anymore btw) lives in these huge rice paddies therefore they need huge tanks( compared to their size) with filters and whatnot to make them comfortable. The truth is that a rice paddy has more stagnant water than flowing water, and the fish find a hiding spot and stay there. In fact, all Anabantid fishes ( Gouramis, Bettas, etc) developed the ability to breathe atmospheric air BECAUSE they evolved in areas of stagnant water. This trait is also seen in other S. American fish like Arapimas and fish such as Tarpon so that they too can live in low oxygenated water. Getting back to the saltwater side, you mention Tangs a lot due to their roaming nature but they too roam due to a lack of food in any one area. In the ecologically sound format of the reef, large deposits of algaes are not present thanks to tangs, urchins and other algae eating organisms. The question then comes that if a Tang is given all the food it needs to be healthy in a 6' x 2' area, would it still need to roam? I get what you are saying but this is the other side of the coin. Clownfish and Damsels don;t need to roam, neither do dwarf Angels, Blennies, Gobies and Jawfish to name a few species. So is life in a fish tank really all that different for these fish?
The ocean is made up of different levels and most of the fish only live in a small area of it. There was a multipart program called Blue Planet ( I think it was that one) that discusses the different zones of the ocean and what is out there and where they are. It's a great program to watch if you see it on TV or the internet on a large screen. It might help you and others better understand the life of the fish in the ocean.

That's it for now. Class dismissed
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