Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why Fish Keepers And Breeders Should NOT Create Hybrid Or Mutant Fish


So... a question about hybrid fish recently came up in the AquaticLife Yahoo Group.

Here's the question and my answer.

-----Original Message-----
From: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [AquaticLife] My hybrid fish

Hey guys remember back 3 months ago when my fire mouth and pink convict mated and had off spring?  Well the guys are almost grown up.. and yes I know Lenny and others, it's bad to create hybrids but this was an accident.

These guys are beautiful, they're pink with a black dot and some stripes.

I posted the new pics I just took on them. Also I'm willing to let go of some of these guys.



-----Original Message-----
From: Lenny V. aka GoldLenny
To: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Tue, May 25, 2010 6:41 pm
Subject: RE: [AquaticLife] My hybrid fish

While it probably doesn't matter to most folks if an individual fish owner allows cross-breeding to happen, I DON'T think it's a good idea for that fish owner to distribute them. I'm not a cichlid *enthusiast* so it's probably NOT me that you will hear the most complaints from.

But your offer to give or sell some to others... now that's the downside of hybrids... when their creators start distributing them around and then folks somewhere down the line allows them to cross-breed once again, especially if it's a breeder that then sells these hybrid-hybrids. It can really muck things up years down the line for folks that are trying to keep their fish lines pure.

Unlike the AKC (American Kennel Club) and other recognized animal clubs around the world, which track the lineage of registered animals, nobody tracks the lineage of fish so a new buyer of what they think is a very nice looking pure bred fish ends up getting hybridized genetics that results in any offspring, that they thought would be pure, actually being a bunch of mutts.

Now, that said, there's nothing wrong with a mutt... whether it's a dog (some of my best dogs over the years were GAM's --- Great American Mutt), cat, fish or whatever as long as the person buying it knows it's a mutt... but with fish, often times, they have no way of knowing.

Personally, I'm of the mindset that there are SO MANY different types of fish out there, especially with cichlids, that I do not understand nor have a clue why the Dr. Frankenstein mindset exists with some mass breeders (not you) who do in-breeding, cross-breeding and then more in-breeding, in order to intentionally create some of the intentional deformities or "mutant fish", like fancy goldfish for example.

This is also the complaint from most cichlid enthusiasts about the Parrot Cichlid which is now being mass in-bred to create a few of these mutant looking fish out of a hatch of hundreds and most of the rest of the hatch is culled (killed) because their birth defects do not match what the Dr. Frankenstein's were looking for. The same thing happens with fancy goldfish.

If this type of activity was done with any other pet, with breeders intentionally breeding dogs or cats with intentional birth defects like bubble eyes, brain like growths on the tops of their heads, missing legs or other missing body parts, gross deformities, etc., people would be outraged but in the fish hobby, some people seem to want to collect these mutant and deformed fish.

Maybe there's a little Dr. Frankenstein (or devil) in everybody... MUAHH-HA-HA-HA HA!!!!

Lenny Vasbinder
Fish Blog - http://goldlenny.blogspot.com/
(Links to any articles referenced in above reply are listed on the right
side, alphabetically under Labels and also under Archives by Year, Month)

-----Original Message-----
From: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
On Behalf Of Deenerz
Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 8:56 PM
To: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [AquaticLife] My hybrid fish


You put that wonderfully!

I may have to quote you in the future.


-----Original Message-----
From: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
On Behalf Of Donna R
Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:40 PM
To: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
Subject: RE: [AquaticLife] My hybrid fish

Thanks for saying it Lenny!

-----Original Message-----
From: Lenny V. aka GoldLenny
Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:51 PM
To: 'AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com'
Subject: RE: [AquaticLife] My hybrid fish

Quote away! I actually made a few minor revisions/amendments in my original post, so you might want to quote this new one.

Heck, I might have to do a new article for my blog. Then you can just post a link! ;-) I'm sure I'll add even more thoughts when I do my blog article.

BTW, I just did a couple of new blogs in the past week, but one of those was actually an old article that I had written on another forum back in 2005/2006 and finally got around to transferring it to my blog, my "TOP TEN LIST - Fishless Cycling" (with help from contributors on that forum). I did it as a kind of contest where other forum members could contribute and I picked the TOP TEN funny but serious reasons to fishless cycle.... it's called Edu-tainment! (Enter-cation just doesn't sound right! LOL)

Lenny Vasbinder

-----Original Message-----
From: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
On Behalf Of jaiko
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 5:16 AM
To: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
Subject: RE: [AquaticLife]

Good post Lenny. The problem is i have too many and no space for them (what can i do with these guys?) i don't believe in euthanasia.

I also belive that hyvrids should not be made as you do. but sometimes
nature can not be control by us mortals.


From: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
On Behalf Of Lenny V. aka GoldLenny
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:06 PM
To: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
Subject: RE: [AquaticLife]

I agree with you on the euthanasia part once the fish have hatched, other than culling obviously deformed fry, which is why it would have been better to NOT let them hatch in the first place if you don't have space for them.

I've intentionally vacuumed up eggs on numerous occasions for fish that I did not have room to grow out... like whenever my goldfish scatter eggs all over during their mating spurts. I don't have room to grow out a bunch of goldfish so I have to vacuum up the eggs. I think Amber has to remove clutches of eggs from her Apple/Mystery Snails when her tank has enough of them already.

Now, if you have pure bred fish or snails and you want to get into selling them, or even giving them away for free and you have the space and time to grow out the fry, then it's fine to do that but if you let hybrids hatch, then you just have to accept that they are yours or at least only given to someone who is responsible and explicitly KNOWS that these fish are NOT to be distributed any further... but you may not have control of this person once you give them the hybrids and that means that you could be responsible for hybrid fish getting let loose in the wild or being mixed with pure bred fish causing all of their offspring to be mutts.

IMO, it's just a situation that is best avoided in the first place.

Lenny Vasbinder

-----Original Message-----
From: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
On Behalf Of Deenerz
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 8:19 PM
To: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [AquaticLife]

Someone has to say it.
You may not believe in euthanasia but if there is someone in your area with a cull fish. Aka a fish that eats unwanted fish.

I was thrilled when my first pair of convicts spawned in about 2 seconds after getting out of the bag I brought them home in. But shortly after that I had 100 + babies swimming around the tank. Removed the parents for a day and let the other fish handle it and all was back to normal.

Barring that your hands are full.

Donna's advice is a great for the future spawns.


-----Original Message-----
From: Donna R
To: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wed, May 26, 2010 6:00 pm
Subject: RE: [AquaticLife]

You can stock an African tank with natural predators like Synodontis Multipunctatus to handle the fry patrol the way mother nature intended.

Unfortunately now that they were created and even raised they may need to remain your responsibility.

-----Original Message-----
From: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
On Behalf Of bill 1433
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 9:30 PM
To: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
Subject: RE: [AquaticLife]

Yes, I'm afraid I must agree with others here who suggest culling, you have little choice and later, as the fish grow out, it could be quite a blood bath if not handled properly. Fights for space as well as food will be rampant and not a pleasure to watch. With the room restrictions you have mentioned from the apartment side of it, there's no way to go.

A 75 would only take up the difference in width coming away from the wall,if your 40 is a standard 48 x 13 x 16 or 18 inches high. Or with just another foot in length, if you could possibly handle the width, a standard 100-gallon at 5 feet, 21 or 22 inches high, and 18 inches in width would be the best but even this size could not accommodate all sixty of them at maturity.

The only bright spot may be that is highly likely that these fish may be sterile to some extent and may not breed within themselves. I seem to remember reading some place that when species cross like this that is a normal condition. I was also wondering, and again may have missed the forwarding comment from you, after this spawn, what happened to the parents?


Monday, May 24, 2010

TOP TEN LIST - Fishless Cycling

So... I started this "article" way back in 2005 in another forum but I decided to move it here to my blog. I hope you enjoy it!

After I recently posted about the NUMBER ONE reason to "Fishless Cycle", was to give yourself a break from daily PWC's, constant water testing, stress and strain from the constant worry if your fish were going to live or die, etc., I decided to start a TOP TEN LIST.

I will edit this first post to make the LIST complete so now I need your suggestions for the:

TOP TEN LIST, as of July 1, 2006, for why you should Fishless Cycle:

10. A 99 cents bottle of Ammonia is much cheaper than losing ALL of your fish and the cost to replace them.[^](GoldLenny)

9. Gives you time to get parameters stable (ie. if you are going to have any PH swings they are going to be right from the start), and to find out how it all works without fish lives on the line (like if you have rocks, will they leech? That first month gives you a chance to find out without fish dying.[:O](Hailey)

8. Gives you time to really research stocking, and decide what you want. Most people decide on one stocking list and then find something else they like better, maybe even two or three times before settling on one.[:X](Hailey)

7. Can introduce a much higher bioload right from the start (starting your tank with, say, 10 fish instead of 3...makes it a lot more interesting.[](Hailey)

6. Because a month of time spent cycling is better than a month of money saving for more fish.[^](Krazy_Keeper) ...and you dont have to deal with constant ich in the begining.[:O](TrixR4Kids364)(TIE... lol...I'm running out of room.[^])

5. You won't have to worry about a bunch of overzealous PETA members setting up a picket line in front of your house and then throwing a bucket of rotting fish guts on you when you try to leave the house.[](GoldLenny)

4. Gives you time to make sure you didn't get any defective equipment (leaky tank, spazzy heater, etc).[B)](Hailey)

3. To give yourself a break from doing daily, twice daily or even every four hour PWC's (25% partial water changes) and the stress and strain from the constant worry if your fish were going to live or die from day to day.[xx(](GoldLenny)

2. Faster (much faster...a few weeks as opposed to a few months).[](Hailey)


1a. You get to play Mad Scientist! MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!![8D](CoolTow1, with amendment by GoldLenny.[}])

And since we now have a TIE for the Number One answer...

1b. Because you might just get a compliment and a "smiley with some tongue" [] from one of the Mermaids out here![](GoldLenny, thanks to Jillian_05[])

So post your suggested TOP TEN reasons in the comments section below and I'll combine them to complete the above list. If you have something better, please add to the thread and I may edit this list from time to time. I'll edit it every Saturday if new answers warrant going into the TOP TEN LIST.

And if you do not know what "Fishless Cycling" is, here is a good article:
http://web.archive.org/web/20080324030809/http://www.aquatic-hobbyist.com/profiles/misc/fishlesscycling.html (may take a minute to load since this is an archived page)

And if you are stuck with "Cycling With Fish", here is a good article:

Here is the original link to a once VERY GOOD website, http://www.aquatic-hobbyist.com/ that has shut down for some reason. At least their articles are archived on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine (above link) http://www.aquatic-hobbyist.com/profiles/misc/fishlesscycling.html

I know a common complaint is people not being able to find the 10% Ammonia Hydroxide (clear ammonia) at their local stores but I recently saw online that Ace Hardware sells their own brand for around $2.00 a quart. Here's their online link to buy it by the case... but the stores sell individual units. http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1307957&cp=&fbn=Brand%7CAce+Hardware&f=Brand%2F19262%2F&fbc=1&kw=ammonia&parentPage=search&searchId=18414252422
Also read ALL of the articles on this page:

http://faq.thekrib.com/begin.html and ask lots of questions here in the forum until you understand these beginner tips.

Also read this MONEY SAVING and FISH SAVING page of tips on Filter Maintenance and Cleaning -

Thanks and HAVE FUN with this one!

Lenny V. a/k/a GoldLenny

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Transferring One Aquarium To Another Aquarium

This is an article I've been meaning to do for a long time, about transferring one tank to another tank with minimal loss of the total ecosystem and making it as easy as possible to do. To simplify the start of this article, I am copy/pasting email posts that I answered in a recent thread on the AquaticLife Yahoo Group.

-----Original Message-----
From: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
On Behalf Of Lainey A.
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2010 5:54 PM
To: AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [AquaticLife] Transfering tanks

I have to transfer my 37 g high tank to one that is less deep because my plants don't like the depth and I feel that I have tried every thing there is to try. My concern with this is - since this 37 is heavily planted, I can't vacuum too much and when I go to transfer all that filthy gravel to the new tank, I am worried about the water quality and that the fish will be harmed by it.

Should I rinse it? I realize that would harm any beneficial bacteria, but I think this gravel is going to have just as much bad bacteria as good.

I want to get the fish out of the tank, then remove the plants and this will stir up a major mess.

I forgot to mention that the gravel was expensive plant-growing gravel which is why I'd rather not have to replace it. I am afraid it cost something like $55 per bag shipped. But the plants do very well in it, and they don't do as well in the cheap Petco gravel I have in another tank.

Not sure what to do after that.

Thank you for any ideas...


-----Original Message-----
From: Lenny V. aka GoldLenny
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2010 7:31 PM
To: 'AquaticLife@yahoogroups.com'
Subject: RE: [AquaticLife] Transfering tanks

Remember, that in a planted tank, you do not have nearly as many nitrifying bacteria as in a non-planted tank, since the plants are using up the nitrogenous compounds (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate are all nitrogenous compounds) as soon as they are released by the fish or decaying detritus. Further, unless one has a UGF (under gravel filter), the majority of the nitrifying bacteria will be in their main filter media, not in the gravel. There will be some nitrifying bacteria living on the top surface of your gravel, that is exposed to oxygenated water but any of the deeper gravel will have very little nitrifying bacteria.

Now, that said, there are a LOT of other bacteria, critters, etc., that make up an ecosystem that might or will be living in your current substrate, to help break down any detritus, so you want to minimize the ecological issues as much as possible.

Are you planning on using a new substrate in the new tank or the current substrate? That is the first BIG question. From your post, it looks like you are going to try and use the current substrate.

If this is the case, then you need to put some of the current tank's water (up to 50% or less, just enough for what you need in the holding tub), the fish, decorations and filter system in a holding tub/tank while you make the rest of the transfer.

Put most of the rest of the water in the new tank, leaving a couple of inches in the old tank with the substrate and plants.

What kind of substrate? Just gravel or do you have a more expensive plant helping substrate below the gravel? I kind of need to know this before continuing but I'll continue anyhow.

Next, pull up your existing plants cutting the roots as far away from the plants as possible when you have to cut roots. Put them in a separate holding tub since the root balls will have lots of dirt in them. If you don't have a separate holding tub, put them in with the fish and the dirt will setting to the bottom or be filtered out. The water will just be murkier in the fish tub.

Now, you are down to just your substrate. Depending on how your substrate was set up and hoping it is all the same kind of substrate and not a layered substrate... place a colander in the tank and using a slotted spoon or spatula or a kitty-litter box cleaner works well also, lift up the substrate and place it in the colander until mostly full. Lift the colander and let the murky dirty water drain and you can even slosh it around a little to get even more dirt/detritus out of the gravel. Place the colander in your new tank and slowly pour the gravel out onto the bottom. Repeat this as needed until you have transferred all of your gravel or as much as you need. The water will be murky but with no filter running, it will settle down... after you finish re-planting all of your plants which would be the next step.

Once the new tank has the substrate and plants in place, give it a little while for most of the murkiness to settle down. Once it has, then you can transfer the decorations, filter system and fish from their holding tub to the new tank. Once this is done, running the filter system will help to remove any murkiness that is still lurking.

DO NOT MESS WITH YOUR FILTERS DURING THIS PROCESS. In fact, it would have been best if you haven't fooled with your filter in the past week or so. If you did, hopefully you did proper filter maintenance (SEE MY ARTICLE ON THIS TOPIC) which preserved as many of your N-bacteria as possible and they should have recovered a full colony by now.

If your filters are really funky right now, then disregard the above and do proper filter maintenance, based on my article, to preserve as many N-bacteria as possible.

The reason I say this is that the plants might or probably will go into shock for a while and will not be using up the nitrogenous waste as much so your N-bacteria in your filter system will be relied upon much more and any N-bacteria you have will double their colony size every 24-48 hours so you will have to check your ammonia/nitrite levels daily for the week or two after this transfer to make sure you are not having cycling issues.

After you transfer your fish from their holding tub/tank to the new tank, also transfer as much of that water as possible into the new tank. This way, the new tank's water parameters will be the same as the tank they originally were in since up to 50% of that tank's water went into the holding tub/tank and most of the rest of the water went into the new tank before the substrate and plants. Then the fish and water from the holding tank went into the new tank so most of the new tank's water was just the water from the old tank. Hopefully, you won't have to add more than another 25% of new water to the tank which would be the same as when doing a 25% PWC under normal circumstances.

Minimizing any additional stress to the fish and plants is recommended during this transition.

Normally, turning off the lights is recommended when transferring fish but the plants will probably need the lighting to help them recover so you can turn on the lights but if you see the fish acting too stressed, then turn them off.

I should also add that if you are moving a non-planted tank from a smaller tank to a larger tank, now would be a good time to lessen the thickness of your substrate.  Many people, when first setting up an aquarium put in 2" to 3" of gravel on the bottom but in a non-planted tank, this amount of gravel is WAY TOO MUCH and just creates a haven for holding more detritus, making it much harder to keep the aquarium clean.  In non-planted tanks, you really only need enough gravel to cover the glass bottom... maybe 1/2" to 1"... just enough to mask the glass bottom and hold any detritus in between your weekly gravel vacuuming and 25% PWC's (partial water changes).  This much thinner layer of gravel makes it SO MUCH easier for you to vacuum compared to a 2" or 3" thick layer of gravel.   If you think you may want to add live plants one day, save your extra gravel and fill clay pots with a decent plant substrate, topped off by the gravel, as needed for your first plant endeavors instead of going with a thick layer of gravel on the bottom... just in case you decide you do not have an aquatic green thumb.  I still use clay pots in my 65G goldfish tank, mainly because too much gravel in a goldfish tank is just too much work at keeping clean and also because the fish are constantly uprooting the plants and it's easier for me to replant them in the clay pots and I can still vacuum the rest of the gravel really good while leaving the clay pots alone for the plants to use any detritus in them as plant food.  It works!

I think that covers it all and since I've been meaning to do a blog article about this topic, I'll probably use your Q & A in this thread as the basis for my blog article. Thanks for bringing this up!

Lenny Vasbinder
Fish Blog - http://goldlenny.blogspot.com/

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