My own two cents regarding sensitive or difficult species.
The Pteranotropis are really neat species. I'm trying to get Sailfin
Shiners to establish in my greenhouse pond. So far none of the luck like
I had with the Coastal Shiners that bred in there last season. I'm
guessing I got them maybe a bit late in the year and they were already
spawned out. Hopefully they will spawn next year after wintering over.
If not- it will be a toss-up between retrying or maybe going for a
different theme. Maybe try some hardy Mexican livebearers that can
handle 50 degree water in the winter- if such fishes exist.
Back to the issue of keeping species that are considered rare but not
officially protected by law. If a species is easy to propagate there is
no reason why we should not encourage someone with dedication to keep
and breed it. Most fish species are very prolific because females often
release hundreds of eggs in a single spawning. Just a small group can
give rise to a huge population in a very short time.
However, when a species is difficult to maintain and the wild population
is small enough to merrit concern for the future well being- the risk
may outweigh the benefits of captive breeding. Then again maybe not.
Succeeding with a difficult species may just be a matter of finding out
what the optimum husbandry requirements are. If a breakthrough can be
achieved- it could help save the species in the future. Better for the
pospects of success and the viability of the wild population that such
experimentation take place before the numbers are down so far that it
would jeopardize the population even if a few specimens were removed for
a breeding project.
Rather than threatening sanctions against people who keep Bluenose
Shiners- maybe we ought to offer recommendation that only those who are
seriously interested in captive breeding as opposed to someone who just
wants a few unusual fish to add flash to a community tank - attempt
them. As others have said- there are plenty of other fish that are much
better suited for that purpose.
If I had my druthers- I'd rather go with the Bluehead Shiners- they look
much prettier and might even be a little sturdier than welaka- though
I've heard they are somewhat difficult to breed also.
My own personal suggestion- maybe a colony tank or pond approach might
work. Put the fish into the most spacious and naturalistic setups as
possible and let nature take it's course. It works with alot of other
species. A small pond might work the best since it gives plenty of room
and also exposure to a natural seasonal cycle which might help condition
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