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Fish colors

Ttw

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5 Year Member
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209
Location
Goodyear, Az. USA
When fish are collected in the wild their colors are often extraordinary. After a few generations in the home aquarium these colors fade. Feeding diverse foods has not really helped, at least in my tanks. Does anyone have a successful way of maintaining the wild colors?
 

MacZ

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Location
Germany
What have you tried besides food?
How did you manage the generations? Any inbreeding? Any linebreeding?

When we still bred Rift Lake cichlids we would switch the males every generation so no related animals would breed with each other. Then again, we rarely went over F3 or F4 before we sold all specimens of a species including the breeders.
 

rasmusW

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321
Great question…
I have thought of this myself.
Could it also have something to do with water chemistry? Maybe there is a higher degree of irons for like red colors or something similare?
So the crusteans and insects the fish live of would ofcause also obtain these varying degrees of minerals.

I guess it could also has to with fish density. -in which “survival of the fittest” principels would fit. Making the males more vibrantly colored in order to scare off competitors and win in the females.

These things would ofcause take some generations.

I’m absolutely just guessing…

I thought of something similare when i saw Toms pictures of cacs and aggies from Rio corrientes. They both have much red in them (as far as i recall).

Looking forward to hear what others have to say here.

-r
 

rasmusW

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321
ye!
i recently saw a documentary on either "cave paintings" or "medieval color dyeing" (-nice remembering, brain...:rolleyes:)
anywho.. one of the iron rich clays they used was called something like cenepe.. (-again, nice remembering, brain...)
-i googled it but can't find the exact name.
this though, led me to think of the newly discovered nannostromus "super red"/cenepa.
i guess the name mainly refer to the catch location, but this area could also be rich in this type of clays.
the also newly discovered hyphessobrycon sp. amaya, is also very red and as far as i can deduct from a map it's collected in the same region.. -i could be wrong, though.

-r
 

MacZ

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Location
Germany
i recently saw a documentary on either "cave paintings" or "medieval color dyeing" (-nice remembering, brain...:rolleyes:)
anywho.. one of the iron rich clays they used was called something like cenepe.. (-again, nice remembering, brain...)
-i googled it but can't find the exact name.
Good I studied medieval history.
Carmine, colkothar, kermes or cinnabar? Those are the ones you find in medieval manuscripts. Or iron gall ink.
Cave paintings used red ochre.
 

rasmusW

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321
yeah! hmm.. not sure which of them it is. sorry.
it just resembled cenepe/cenepa.

-r
 

MacZ

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1,439
Location
Germany
Cinnabar, then, if you go by phonetic rules.
In the end all of them are iron-oxide or iron-sulfite compounds from different sources (minerals, earths, lice, snails)
Cinnabar is a mineral.
 

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
121
The Cenepa is a river between Ecuador and Peru (there was a territorial conflict there in 1995). I don't think the word has any other meaning. Laterite is an iron-rich clay found in the Amazon and other tropical regions, it is usually quite red in colour.
 

MacZ

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I don't think the word has any other meaning.
I agree, and if there is any meaning I presume it's from an indigenous language and as such not connected with the names for red pigments, as those mostly come from indo-european or asian languages.
 

rasmusW

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321
The Cenepa is a river between Ecuador and Peru (there was a territorial conflict there in 1995). I don't think the word has any other meaning. Laterite is an iron-rich clay found in the Amazon and other tropical regions, it is usually quite red in colour.
yeah! i read that too. that's why i said, i think the main reason for the naming is due to the catch location.
but i guess this laterite, could have something to do with it then... -atleast it could support my theory.. hehehe

-r
 

Ttw

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
209
Location
Goodyear, Az. USA
I manage generations by trying to pick the best looking parents as breeders. Since almost all the fish I have were collected by me there are not a lot of fish to enrich the gene pool. But this does not seem to be genetic since the color changes occur fairly quickly. I think it is environmental and diet. From observations of my fish the change is greatest in predominantly blue fish. These often came from water with lots of blue-green algae. Feeding spirolina has not improved the color. No evidence for any of this. Just my thoughts.
 

MacZ

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Location
Germany
Since almost all the fish I have were collected by me there are not a lot of fish to enrich the gene pool. But this does not seem to be genetic since the color changes occur fairly quickly.
How quickly? You write "a few generations" above.
From observations of my fish the change is greatest in predominantly blue fish. These often came from water with lots of blue-green algae. Feeding spirolina has not improved the color. No evidence for any of this.
That's interesting. Most blue colouration comes in the form of iridescence, so the scales have surface structures that reflect light blue-greenish. Actual blue pigment is extremely rare in animals. So question is: Pigment or iridescence?

If it's iridescence the lights and tint of the water might also factor in as influences on genetic expression.
 

Mazan

Active Member
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121
Interesting, the blue iridescence does not seem to be lost with many generations of captive breeding eg in electric blue acaras, rams, jack Dempseys....
 

Mazan

Active Member
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121
Well I tried to look up to see if iridescent colouration can be affected by diet or other environmental factors, so far did not find anything definitive in fishes (but need to look more carefully) but did find this:

Dietary protein level affects iridescent coloration in Anna's hummingbirds, Calypte Anna.

Could it also be a sexual selection thing - in the wild there is more competition for mates so they have to be more colourful, I am not sure how many generations it would take to lose this in captivity where competition for mates is not such an issue?

Also: "Blue is an unusual colour in fish in that it is a result of black pigment deep in the skin, with irridocytes in the middle layers of the skin. The irridocytes interfere with the light to give a blue colour."

So the black pigment could be affected as well or instead of the structural part?
 
Last edited:

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
121
Also in this paper:

Condition-dependent expression of pre- and postcopulatory sexual traits in guppies​

"Surprisingly, we also found that the total area of iridescent coloration was significantly larger in food-deprived males than their well-fed counterparts. One possible explanation for this latter finding is that a reduction in the area of orange coloration makes the surrounding iridescence patches appear larger and more prominent".
 

Ttw

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
209
Location
Goodyear, Az. USA
Not all the fish lose their color over the same time period. In some it has taken several generations while others lose colors significantly in F1.
Interesting information on color vs iridescence.
 

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I'm clueless. If I say something you can safely ignore it.
Apistomaster wrote on anewbie's profile.
I see that The Wet Spot Tropical Fish currently has the fire red A. agassizi you are looking for. Here is the link:
I've always had good experiences buying from them on line.
Hallo,
I am Hanzle from Holland and keep apistoos for 40 years. Had my own aquarium shop from 1984 till 1988. Always s great fan from apistoos and hyphessobrycon which is s great combination in a Community Aquarium. Perhaps.....in the near future I start breeding apistoos again. Have a 400 liters Community aquarium for hyphessobrycon wadai and apistogramma biteaniata.
I want to get a 55 gallon slightly planted tank with many caves and I am thinking of getting 2 electric blue acaras, 3 blue rams, a apistogramma, 3 angelfish, and some corrydoras. Will that work if I keep the temperature at about and 80 or less?
I have kept fish for quite a long time but never cichlids. I want to find out more about them.
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