• Hello guest! Are you an Apistogramma enthusiast? If so we invite you to join our community and see what it has to offer. Our site is specifically designed for you and it's a great place for Apisto enthusiasts to meet online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your fish and tanks and have a great time with other Apisto enthusiasts. Sign up today!

"WILD" or "NEW", what is really the goal?

tjudy

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
:D OK!!!! Here we go...

What is really driving the fish market today amongst the 'serious' hobbyist (please note I do not say 'advanced'; and am of the belief that the truly advanced hobbyist has trade the 1000 gallon fish room for a ten gallon goldfish tank on the kitchen counter.. :p )?

I am going to make a case for the hot thing right now is the word "WILD", not necessarily the word "NEW".

There seems to be a lot of wild fish and plants coming in that are not new or rare species. There are a lot of wild P. scalare for sale these days (and I understand that the breeders want them for outcross). An F1 P. scalare from a wild parent would accomplish as much genetically as a wild fish crossed into a captive line, and would likely be easier to breed. So why are they still coming into the country in droves?

Wild tropheus are popping up on dealers' lists with a greater regularity than juviniles, especially color forms that have actually been around for a long time (like kaisers).

There is an auction for 2 PAIR of F1 Pel. taen. 'nyete' on AB for $25... wow!!! No bids... what would happen if I posted a wild pair at the same price ($12.50 for the pair)?
 

Cichlids1

New Member
5 Year Member
The kitchen counter!!! I never thought of that. I did manage to get one in ours and our daughters bedroom. Just when I thought I was running out of space...

It's all about buzzwords on Aquabid. And, in my opinion only, there are a lot of characters out there to do no more than make a buck. Look close out there and you'll see things like: Wild Half-Black snakeskin guppies, New Species - Blue/Red Green Terror, Grade A++ (I have yet to see the book that has this scale in it), etc. A lot of people out to make the sale and nothing more.

On the other hand, there are also some very respectable and knowledgeable hobbiests there too. I have met many of them, made purchases, swaps, etc. Being 'Wild' or 'New' isn't the top factor in my decisions. Are they in general good health and shape, that is my biggest consideration. Don't get me wrong, I do like 'New' and 'Wild'. After all, this hobby is all about discovery :)

I have some wild Peruvian angels. I went with the wilds for 2 reasons. First, I wanted silver angels of which I have been unable to find decent looking specimens and the picture the person sent me showed some excellant fish. Second, the price was right. I would have preferred domestic. I'd probably have a few thousand of them by now. The wilds have been a little tougher for me to spawn.

You see 'Wild' and you immediately think new or fresh genes. What a lot of people fail to realize is it also means new parasites, bacterial infections, etc. The good sellers, and buyers, have a quarantine and treatment process for all new arrivals. I would say half the buyers out there are rather green in the hobby and barely acclimate them, let alone quarantine and/or treat them.

Ummm...I think I've went off on a tangent and forgot what point I was trying to make. In a nutshell, for me Wild is not mandatory...nice, but not mandatory.
 

tjudy

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
:D

Most of my tanks are my boys' rooms. That five year old and 8 month old are incredible little hobbyists!!!

Cichlids1 knows what 'wild' gets you... good and bad. Wild is not a (should not) be the deciding factor is a fish purchase, but I think that a lot of people will buy a wild fish over a tank raised fish if they are the same price.

The original point on the other thread was conservation, and the effect that colecting (or not collecting) has on wild populations. Neil made the point that a few wild fish brought in to supplement wild stocks is a good thing.... I agree.

My point is that right now in the hobby there are more people who will buy wild over captive raised when given the choice, and that creates the motivation for over collection. I geniunely believe that most hobbyists do not know about the dangers of overcollection, but that ignorance is caused not by a lack of caring, but rather by a lack of understanding.

About half of my breeding fish are wild. I do not have any wild breeders that were readily available as captive raised fish when I was looking for them. I got my wild P. t. 'nyete' a week before that auction went on!!! I would have bought the 2 pairs of captive fish for the price fo one pair of wild (I am a school teacher.. 8O .. big bucks I have not... :roll: )

Here is a quote to ponder:

"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, love only what we understand, and understand only what we are taught."

- Baba Dioum / Senagalese Conservationist
 

Cichlids1

New Member
5 Year Member
There used to be an online group of people at http://www.acn.ca that was very involved in conservation (Aquatic Conservation Network). From reading some of their past writings, it seems some were involved in reintroduction of Mandagascar Cichlids. They were maintaining a good line of stock while others worked on habitat restoration. They were also attempting to do the same with some other red-listed species from the African Lakes. I haven't followed them for a while, and their site looks like it is undergoing a rewrite. There were some good pros and cons discussions of wild fish collection, mainly amazonia. Such as the collection business gives the natives employment, which in turn gives them a stake in their environment (The jungles and river systems), and that is helping prevent habitat destruction. They don't want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. And on the other side, our excessive consumption of almost anything new can lead to a type locality extinction before the scientists even have a chance to describe the new species...the knife cuts both ways.


Good topic...I'm sure there are some very strong opinions and arguments for both sides.
 

tjudy

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Heiko Bleher used to tell a story about a village in the Amazon that made a living collecting baby parrots to sell to the USA market, until the ban on imports shut them down. Apparently the people of the village decided to eat the parrots instead. I think that the story was told mostly for effect, but the point is the same... if there is a monetary reason to conserve, then the resource will be conserved.
 

aspen

Active Member
5 Year Member
>>'if there is a monetary reason to conserve, then the resource will be conserved.'

i believe that too. it is really tough to understand a person trying to feed his family, when he is deep in the rainforest of brazil, and has no job. in fact. i cannot comprehend myself being in that situation. it is frightening actually. i'd rather be homeless in downtown toronto begging for quarters.

why wild? well that question is answered differently by all of us. i don't buy wilds, i am just really starting out, and prefer the more brightly coloured man made morphs swimming in my tanks.

the question is, why are the wilds considered to be better genetically than tank bred fish? breeders may be finding the nicer colours of fish by selectively breeding them for that, but what is wrong genetically with tank raised fish? imo, they should be more suited for captiity than wilds, do you agree? is the the beeding criteria simply a nice colour? are tropical fish breeders doing a good job selecting fish to breed?

i love discus, and people often ask, what is the best strain for beginners, what strain breeds better, etc. my feeling is, that a healthy discus with a good body shape nice finnage and thick and of good size, is worth more to me, than a pretty morph that is small and not healthy looking, that has been bred past f5, as many pretty morphs have.

rick
 

tjudy

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
:)

I think Aspen has the right idea. From a genetic standpoint there is little difference between wild and a few generations from wild; especially if the breeder is not really trying to selectively breed specific colors or body shapes.

I definitely agree that tank raised fish make better tank breeders. I think of rams, or even Dicrossus, as examples. I have had wild Pel. pulcher that proved to be very finicky compared to the 'Florida Strain'.

Anybody else besides me blink and have more species than they can legitimately handle? The offer of a 'new' species is like buying candy to some people... whether they have the experience to 'figure out' a new species or not. That happened to me in a BIG way during the huge Tanganyikan influx of the late 1980's. :oops: It is an embarassing era in my hobby... the number of wild fish that died on my watch is staggering...
 

Peter Lovett

New Member
5 Year Member
All my apistogrammas are wild.

Why is this,

1) I can guarantee that the fish will not be inbred.
2) They will show there full range of behaviour.

I am lucky that my wild fish come from a very good wholesaler which has its own lab so that when a fish dies it is dissected and the cause of its death established and treated. So that by the time they are for same they are pest and disease free.

If I ever sell any fish I make sure that the male and the female come from different broods by different parents. I never buy less than 5 fish 2 male 3 female.

I would however be very willing to buy tank bread fish if they could give the same guarantee.

I do not know how much genetic variation there is in a population of Apistogramma but inbreeding have a detrimental affect on
 

tjudy

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
:)

Peter is a very consciensous fish supplier to guarantee non related pairs. That is very seldom the case. When I buy tank raised I try to buy a half dozen juviniles from two different sources. This can be tough for some rarer fish. Once I found out later that the parents of both sets I bought originally came from the same source!!!

Inbreeding is an interesting topic. From a genetic standpoint, with the exception of some specific traits that are governed by a single gene (not all that common actually), inbreeding does not cause that many problems.

The creation of sex cells is goverened by a set of processes that guarantee a high level of variability in the cells that are produced. The act of sexual reproduction adds another level of randomness to the process. Even when the two individuals are siblings, it is actually a very rare event that creates a genetic problem.

Here is the point... there is little danger in seeing a 'degredation' of genetics from inbreeding within a few generations of wild fish. If at anytime you outcross to an unrelated individual you are effectively going back to a 'wild' breeding. Many hobbyists look at the differences between captive raised strains and wild fish as some type of 'degredation'.

It is not... the genes that are being expressed by the captive fish have always been there. Those genes are present in the wild fish too. So why the differences? Selection... In the wild some gene combinations are not suited for some environmental pressure or another, but in captivity those pressures no longer exist. We become the selective pressure. We do not select for the same things that nature does.

Are there exceptions? Sure. Occasionally a pair of fish will both carry a recessive gene for some really odd or lethal trait that all of a sudden shows up in a quarter or half of a spawn. That possiblity is increased by inbreeding, not caused by it. Those genes cuold come together in a wild spawn, or an outcross, as well. I had a pair of Whites Tree Frogs that wer etotally unrelated, and the female was wild... about 25% of their offspring were amelanistic (not quite albino). Albinos appear in wild populations. Many other 'bad' genes appear in wild populations. Choosing to breed only wild does not guarantee that you wil not have them show up.

I am not overly concerned about the crossing of siblings. I do, however, believe that continuous line breeding can result in a reduction in genetic variability in the strain; I also know that the variability can be reintroduced by a timely outcross. :wink: The genetic variability is the key. That is what needs to be maintained.
 

Cichlids1

New Member
5 Year Member
Have there been any studies on sibling breeding in the wild? I'm thinking if you're living in a puddle during the dry season, your choice of mates is rather slim. Also I would think that when the collectors swish their nets through an area and scoop up a bunch of apistos the odds would be good that they are from the same or closely related parents. If this is the case, then by purchasing wild fish there are no guarantees that your fish aren't already siblings that have been created by othr sibling crosses.
 

tjudy

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
:D

I do not know of any studies on sibling breeding in teh wild... but there are several examples of feral animal populations that have been started with the escape/release of a very small number of individuals. This would mean that the gene pool of the population started very shallow.
 

aspen

Active Member
5 Year Member
genetic testing of cheetahs, has shown that all of the world's population came from a very small number. there was a die-off at a certain time in history, and very few were left, and these few have propogated to the numbers there are today. (i love the discovery channel.)

of course there is sibling match-ups in the wild, but there is also a lot of non-sibling match-ups. in the simpler creatures (like fish), this is less of a problem apparently, than say in humans, where the chance of genetic foul ups is much higher. but... in a wild population, you also have a lot of culling, and relatively few even make it to adulthood.

there is also the chance that fry move from one set of parents to another, and are accepted and raised. that greatly complicates wild fish studies. genetic testing is expensive, and trying to track a wild population of apistos would prove quite daunting. they must be ery elusive in the wild, i can barely catch them in my tank.

>>'Anybody else besides me blink and have more species than they can legitimately handle?'

i limit my number of tanks and fish. i want to have a nice hobby, i don't want a part-time job for low to no pay. i own 13 tanks, from 5- 90 gal, but only 3 tanks have water and fish in them at present. (q-tank is now empty.) limiting the number is as much work as setting them up- moving 'unwanted' fish is a job in itself, but a necessity. careful planning means that my tanks tomorrow will be nicer with better specimens and more interesting mixes than my tanks of yesterday or today. fishkeeping is far too addidictive to let it get out of hand. in fact, it is realy easy to keep only one species, and spend all of your time on that one, and have a nice hobby.

rick
 

Neil

New Member
Ken says:

Being 'Wild' or 'New' isn't the top factor in my decisions. Are they in general good health and shape, that is my biggest consideration. Don't get me wrong, I do like 'New' and 'Wild'. After all, this hobby is all about discovery
I have the same attitude! I think that wild fish, when taken care of properly can be very nice, but that doesn’t happen all the time. The trade-off is that captive bred fish can be mismanaged in their genetic integrety.
I think the key is to find a source for your fish that you can trust to give you animals that are sound, regardless of whether they are “wild†or “newâ€Â.

... if there is a monetary reason to conserve, then the resource will be conserved.
I assert that, if there is a MOMENTARY reason to conserve, then the resourse will be conserved. The foresight of most people is predicated by the quick buck, but it is also related to other deeper issues, like "the cause for the day" type thinking. What is really inevitable needed to keep our hobby kinetic and lasting is not only a commitment to perserve the resources by enviromentally-minded action, but also but the continuing, but careful collection by those individuals that live via that resource. Not buying anymore wild fish will kill the resource, because those who collect may "eat the parrot" or just overcollect to make ends meet. Buying too many wild fish, decreases the incentive for aquaculturists and breeders to come up with ways to provide some of the fish for the hobby. I think that balance is the way to longetivity. The Yin and Yang of the hobby, so to speak.
Neil
 

Neil

New Member
Oops! I got sidetracked lst night and almost forgot my final point.

I am not overly concerned about the crossing of siblings. I do, however, believe that continuous line breeding can result in a reduction in genetic variability in the strain; I also know that the variability can be reintroduced by a timely outcross. The genetic variability is the key. That is what needs to be maintained.
Much of this conversation is predicated on the fact that degredation of a wild species occurs after numerous "inbreeding". Apistogramma, as well as many of our other beloved Dwarf Cichlids do not lend themselves to heavy mass production and furthermore, are difficult enough to breed and raise for the majority of hobbyists. So this is rarely even a problem. Don't get me wrong, I have seen problems in heavily line bred cacatuoides, for example, but here is the key. How many people do any of us know that has maintained a Dwarf Cichlid species for more than 3 generations? I could probably count those I know on one hand. With this in mind, there seems to be kind of a natural selective force that moderates much of the degredation of most of our species. This may change, but it doesn't seem to be an extremely relevant issue now.
I choose to add wild fish and others captive-raised fish into my breeding programs, because I am actually trying to keep my nicer species continuously in my room for years. I consider this to be a difficult goal and don't see alot of others in this country doing it. Probably because of the draw from the current rages and lack of room, as was mentioned before.
As Ted says, new blood is really the key, not specifically wild. But, to a large degree, I don't even think that this is a terribly large consideration for the majority of our fish. Discus, yes - but apistos, no. Maybe with resources like this forum that will change, so the discussion is warrented.
Neil
 

Richgrenfell

Member
5 Year Member
Back when I was working with discus, I did not keep the babies to regenerate my breeding stock. If I needed new breeders, then I went out and bought some. All fish that did not meet my expectations were culled. The same goes for any fish that I breed. If i can get the species that I am after as wild individuals then I do. As someone in this thread has previously said, sometimes that is not possible. If i am buying tank raised, then I usually have quite a few questions, as to where the parents came from, and if the breeder knows the lineage. If they do, then I want to know how many generations we are at. If they are more than F2, then I don't buy them. Extended in-breeding produces sub-standard fish in my opinion. it may take a while for the defects to show up, but it happens sooner or later. Even if the fish are not showing any defects, i feel that it is my responsibility to make sure I don't introduce genetic defects to the open market. I do not allow such fish to leave my fishroom. almost every time a hobbiest ends up with fish that are sub-standard, it is because someone irresponsible allowed it to happen. I once bought some bettas (sight unseen I might add) that were guaranteed to be pure steels. I spent the next 6 months culling out a vast array of color variations and finnages.

Rich
 

tjudy

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
:)
it may take a while for the defects to show up, but it happens sooner or later
There is a common misconception that inbreeding creates defects. The genes that cause these defects exist in the wild stock. An actual change in DNA to create a new gene is extremely extremely rare. What inbreeding can do is increase the frequency that a 'defect' appears in offspring.

When we cull aggressively for color pattern we are reducing the genetic variability in the gene pool. This also has the effect of increasing the frequency of specific genes... that is the purpose of selective breeding. We are trying to reduce the variablity to a point where a fish strain 'breeds true'.

A problem is created when we try to selectively breed for wild type charactersitics. 'Selectively breeding wildtypes' is an oxymoron! It cannot be done.

How many people do any of us know that has maintained a Dwarf Cichlid species for more than 3 generations? I could probably count those I know on one hand. With this in mind, there seems to be kind of a natural selective force that moderates much of the degredation of most of our species. This may change, but it doesn't seem to be an extremely relevant issue now.
I think that the 'natural selective force' in Neil's statement is not anything natural at all. Natural selection pulls the genetic variability in wild populations in different directions that are constantly changing. This results in what appears to be a very stable gene pool. Gene pools only appear stable because the environmental conditions that affect them change so rapidly back and forth that what we see is an 'average effect'.

See Dr. Endler's (of the Endler's livebearer fame) excellent studies on the color variation in wild guppy populations. He showed that the frequency of male coloration could be changed within a year of the addition of a new limiting factor to the population (such as a new predator)! In populations where there were no predators, there was a lot of variability in male color patterns. Dr. Endler then introduced predatory gobies and/or killifish to the population. Within a year the male color variations were down to only 2 or 3 from the original 10! Dr. Endler went on to show that if this now reduced variability population of guppies were transferred to a new habitat (that had no guppies and no predators), the variability returned to the population within a couple years. 8O WOW 8O That means that the variability was still in the population!

Here is the point... If we choose an ideal phenotype to select for in our captive breeding programs, then we are going to reduce genetic variability. Are we basing that ideal phenotype on a few photographs of some exceptional individual fish, or on the desire to maintain as much genetic diversity as possible? The variablity of coloration is wild fish populations is astounding. I think anyone who has ever imported a full box of Apistos or westies has observed this variabiltiy first hand. I do not think that we should be so quick to cull a male cockatoides with reduced red or female P. sub. 'matadi' with less black. If we do, then we are causing the 'degredation' of captive strains... that degredation will not happen naturally.
 

Richgrenfell

Member
5 Year Member
There is a common misconception that inbreeding creates defects. The genes that cause these defects exist in the wild stock. An actual change in DNA to create a new gene is extremely extremely rare. What inbreeding can do is increase the frequency that a 'defect' appears in offspring.
I disagree, a small gene pool can definately cause defects. How do you explain genetic defects in people that have inbred? Also, I do not breed selectivly for color pattern, finnage or anything else. I cull fish that have obvious defects such as fused fins, or reduced swimbladder. In the world of discus, aggressive culling is a must (at least in my experience). All it takes is one finicky discus know it all to receive a fish of yours that is not up to par and your name is mud. I still did not cull for color patern, but i did cull agressively for shape and body structure. Like I said before, in my opinion, extended inbreeding causes defects, but that is just my opinion. This opinion was formed by my own observations. I think I may do an inbreeding experiment and take detailed notes....anyone else game?

Rich
 

tjudy

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
:)
I disagree, a small gene pool can definately cause defects.
A defect is the physical manifestation (phenotype) of the combination of genes (genotype) governing that specific physical trait in an individual organism. Inbreeding cannot create a new gene. Only a mutagen or random mutation in an organism's genome at a very early stage of embryonic development can do that; and that is extremely rare.

Clamped fins and swim bladder problems that are caused by genetics are result of a combination of genes that result in the expression of that defect.

What a small gene pool does is increase the frequency of two 'negative' genes coming together to create the expression of the defect. The genes are not new...

Here is an argument that might show up on this thread: "If these defects are caused by recessive genes, why don't they show up in the normal 1/4 or 1/2 of the offspring like albinism or veiled fins would?" The reason is because almost all physical traits are not caused by a SINGLE GENE.

We use single gene traits (mongenic) to explain the basic genetic principles. The truth is that most physical traits are governed by 3, 4 or sometimes many more genes. This throws the standard 'Punnett Square' method of predicting crosses out the window. It is possible for a cross to involving these polygenic traits to only produce a couple 'defects' in any batch of offspring, because that 'defect' might be the result of only one combination of genes out of a hundred possible combinations.

This thread is FUN!!! :D
 

Neil

New Member
Ted,
Great points, Ted. I figured you would be having a good tome with this thread.

I think that the 'natural selective force' in Neil's statement is not anything natural at all.
When I said, "...there seems to be kind of a natural selective force that moderates much of the degradation of most of our species.", I probably should have left out the word natural. But my concept here was refering to the fact that in the natural order of things there are things that are easily screwed up by our intervention and there are other things that we can't screw up quite as easily. Until Dwarf Cichlids are obtained and bred in large quantities repeatedly, there will only be the occasional problem with genetic integrety.

When we cull aggressively for color pattern we are reducing the genetic variability in the gene pool. This also has the effect of increasing the frequency of specific genes... that is the purpose of selective breeding. We are trying to reduce the variablity to a point where a fish strain 'breeds true'.
Spending too much effort to breed for one trait seems like a wasted effort to me. Much of what draws us to a species of fish is different from what draws someone else. Sure there are qualities, but just because a fish has alot of red on the belly does not necessarily mean anything more than that. I don't know how many times I have had a fish not exhibiting the best color, produce that quality more universally than the real showy fish. I usually use qualities relating to breeding performance once I have already found a species that I like. Then when I can I add an injection of new blood from a wild or another CR, but don't necessarily have to have the perfect fish. The code for the perfect fish is in every one of them, but only relates to what you like anyway.

Neil
 

Richgrenfell

Member
5 Year Member
I just LOVE this place! Where else can you talk about fish and get a lesson in genetics too! :roll: OK Ted, so I kinda piped up without really knowing what the heck I was saying! The point i was trying to make, was that I do my very best to see to it that defective fish do not leave my fishroom. From what I was told, fish that have been extensively inbred will usually be full of genetic defects. I guess i should probably have looked a little more into why they became that way instead of just speaking up off the cuff huh? :D I am a wiser fishkeeper and I thank you very much!!

Rich
 
Top