Re: NANFA-- Natives should get TV exposure
Wed, 20 Sep 2000 00:07:03 EDT

Whoops, accidentally hit the SEND button (this ain't my night). What I was
going to say in reply to your message Rob, is that you are correct in your
statement that a lot of the people from the tropical regions from which these
pet store fishes come from regard many of these fishes as either worthless (I
read an account of a NANFA member's trip to South America; not sure of who it
was right now, that said customs inspectors upon finding out that he was
taking some of their native fishes said "Let them have them; they are
worthless" or were wondering what he'd want with them) or game fishes (like
the Oscar).

As far as keeping fishes in the same tank which aren't found in the wild
together, I am guilty of that myself (got some goodeids from central Mexico
with some darters, a minnow, and a stickleback from Michigan. In biotope
terms this would be blasphemy, but I didn't have enough aquariums and I had
to move some fish around due to some aggression between some other fish; this
was the best arrangement I could make. I also like to "mix and match" to a
certain degree too, not in the particular way I just described since that was
not by choice, but I think that certain groups of fishes like Mexican
cichlids and sunfishes look good together. I do like biotope setups too
though; I would sometime when I get the room, like maybe a central Mexican
biotope, or Michigan creek and ditch tanks ( the 2 habitats my Michigan fish
come from).

Re: man-made selectively bred fishes' colors- This is something I've thought
about for a long time too- a lot of the popular tropical fishes' colors are
through selective breeding, like the Oscars and many others. The same color
schemes keep coming up all of the time; xanthic and albino fishes kind of
lose their appeal when every basic fish type in the pet store has those
color schemes. It starts to make all of the different types of fishes look
sort of uniform after a while, regardless of how different they are in basic
body shape. The few albino and xanthic fishes you do see in the wild are
cool when you find them because you know they weren't some man-made inbred
strain; they were naturally occurring. Most of those same man-made strains of
xanthic tropical fishes wouldn't look like that in the wild; they'd never
survive! And if more people knew about that, I think that tropicals would
lose a lot their seeming superiority in the eyes of most people. Especially
when they see that a lot of natives have fantastic colors in the wild.

Native fish enthusiasts definitely aren't your typical fish keeper, and have
a different perspective on what constitutes a "legitimate" fish to keep, as
well as where you can get it (i.e. collecting) and are generally more DYI
than most people. We certainly aren't mainstream, and the only way we will be
is if we were to make native fish interests mainstream as a result of our

<< I agree completely with that, and I also will add to it and say, that many
people don't realize that the fish they get in a pet store are "native" to
some part of the world, and to the locals there, could be percieved in much
the same fashion that our local people percieve our local fish. Also, I want
to add, and say that often the tropical aquarium is a "mish mosh" of fishes
that don't even live together in the wild. Many are also "man made" fish
produced through different breeding methods. I will bet that if many of the
tropical fish enthusiasts saw many of their beloved fish as they are "in the
raw", "un-plugged" in their native environment, and if they knew where they
came from, that they probably would not have the same appeal as they do when
presented in the store. This is where I believe native fish enthusiasts have
a much deeper thought perception, and have "graduated" beyond the realm of
mainstream thinking!!!!.... HA! >>

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