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Old 11-21-2003, 09:05 PM   #1
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Why are saltwater fish more colorful than freshwater?

Why are saltwater fish most always more colorful and more bold looking than freshwater fish?

This many sound like a silly question, but I'm wondering what the answer is. Both live in sunny, warm water. Maybe somebody has some good reads on this topic? Thanks.
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Old 11-21-2003, 09:09 PM   #2
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Hmm havent read anything in relation to colors of the fish but IMO i would have to say that SW is more of a colorful enviroment with corals etc... With that in mind i would think that fish would try to blend and addapt to their enviroment.
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Old 11-21-2003, 09:49 PM   #3
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I think it also has to do with the way saltwater reflects/refracts light and colors versus freshwater.
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Old 11-21-2003, 09:55 PM   #4
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this is a very interesting question. i'd be interested in seeing more thoughts on it. i agree with gooeyferret that it must have something to do with the ability of the fish to camouflage with all those colorful plants and coral. freshwater fish have a lot fewer colors to blend in with. i wonder if there are any other reasons, though?
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Old 11-21-2003, 10:03 PM   #5
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lmw80, when you take the fish out of the water and photograph then in your hand they look the same.

As far as camouflage, I can agree with that somewhat. There is still seaweed and sand that is similarly neutral to FW. It's not as though the fish completely chameleon-like though, because you see many fish in the same area with very different and bright coloring. Yellow, blue, white, red, black, green, orange. Land animals, other than many tropical birds seems to blend in far more than SW fish, I'd say.

Is there any way to mirror this post on the SW forum?
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Old 11-21-2003, 10:07 PM   #6
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ask reefrunner or some one else too move this too a SW forum, you wil have a better chance too finding an ansewer, BTW good question.
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Old 11-21-2003, 10:36 PM   #7
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Actually I think its a matter of opinion. I personally don't think SW fish are more colorful overall. Think about apistos, bettas, gouramis, kribs, salmon, etc, and you'll realise theres an awful lot of very colorful FW fish. Conversely, theres an awful lot of boring colored SW fish; sardines, many adult damsels, sharks, smelts, etc. I do think some SW fish have more intense coloration, but the variety of color in both are extremely varied.

What I think the difference is, is most of the aquarium SW fish sold are reef fish, who live in areas with lts of color (think of corals and anenomes); if you include most of the other SW fish from different areas, you'll see overall there isn't a lot of colorful SW fish.
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Old 11-21-2003, 10:52 PM   #8
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I agree Alli, that's a splenderiffic point.

And it's almost as though it's another color "pallet", a different color theme for FW animals, as well. Super brilliant and contrasty colors exist in FW and yet they are somehow a little different, in a neat sort of way. SW stuff seems painted, FW stuff seems airbrushed.

Some may speculate that since animals adapt to their surroundings (bright corals in reef territory) then you tend to find animals that end up being a little brighter since they are around brightly colored corals and stuff (I know, what makes the corals brighter?)

However, that's a bit of an evolutionist's speculative viewpoint and assumes at least partially that at one time, these fish were not bright and colorful??? Poop.
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Old 11-21-2003, 11:02 PM   #9
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Don't get me wrong, it's not about which I like better. I love FW fish. I know there are dull SW and vibrant FW. Show me a fish like this or one of those scrumptious little hot pink fish in FW and then I might believe that SW aren't more colorful.

[img]ftp://sati%40ourglasshouse.com:p00p33@66.98.134.33/public_html/holly/04-12-03_spotted_mandarin.jpg[/img]
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Old 11-21-2003, 11:06 PM   #10
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good points allivymar, theres nice bright and dull colors in both worlds, but i dont think SW would lose a color contest too any FW fish.
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