I recently bought two new fishes that are quite pretty and weird-looking. They're jellybean parrot cichlids, and apparently fish enthusiasts find them to be controversial, for good reason.
For one thing, they're not actually a separate species of fish. They're usually hybrids of cichlids that have had physical deformities emphasized through selective breeding. Their mouths are small and perpetually open, which can make feeding them difficult. Their spines are bent and their bodies are bulky and unwieldy, so they tend to be relatively defenseless against more aggressive fish.
Equally cringe-inducing is that their beautiful colors — mine are orange and pink — come from dye injected into them when they're young. Only about 20% of the fish survive the dying, and diseases are passed from fish to fish through communal needles. (That makes them sound like junkies, doesn't it?) The process shortens their lives from a possible 50 years to 10 years, though since I haven't had a fish make it even one year, it's premature for me to worry about that.
I didn't know all this when I bought them, but they are neat-looking fish.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Posted by Kelly O at 10:31 PM