Sunday, November 09, 2008

My frankenfish



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.

9 comments:

kevin forgot said...

i used to have these goldfish that were totally hardcore. they lived for about 5 years (i got them used/pre-owned but not certified) and i forgot to feed them all the time. they were total troopers.

B SiDeS said...

Hi!! It´s my first time that I post here. I´m from Spain. Beautiful fish XD,(pink and orange?...cool!!). Long time ago, I had a fish, but he died young(Scarcely he lived a few months)Since the traumatic death of my fish (I was 8 years old), I have not returned to take over to none.

Bye!!
*enjoy your life

Catherine said...

we tried being fish owners. First Audrey's died, so Elliot shared his with her. Then our snail had babies. Then the snail died. And last night the other fish died. All in the course of a month.

Kelly O said...

Having fish is HARD. Your tank has to build it's own healthy little ecosystem from scratch, and it's not as easy as just adding water and then fish.

About all the death, I tell my kids that little beings have little lives. I consciously try not to shield them from death and to let them know that it's okay to be sad. I don't know if they really get it, though. If a fish dies, you can just get another one.

ep said...

I used to get really into the fish tank, having angel fish and an assortment of tetras, etc. But it's a lot of work. Right now we have some catfish, neons and guppies. And a huge snail population, from the last time I dropped in one of those 3-day feeders. Apparently if you get a goldfish, they'll eat the snails, but then you have to scoop the goldfish out and give him his own world, which would be another tank to worry about...

Heartbeat said...

holy crap, they inject dye into them?! i had no idea. we have the same fish. they are wacky, but beautiful.

heather said...

what a predicament!

our tank took a while to stabilize too. after the first 20 or so, we quit naming the fish.

Renaissance Woman said...

WOW...that is interesting stuff! Who would have thought people would actually stick a needle into a small fish to make it a certain color. Random...but they still need a home, especially after surviving all of that! So good for you giving them some love. I'll keep my fingers crossed for the year mark to be moved.

spleeness said...

I love it that you posted a pic of these guys online. Poor fish, I'm glad they're getting some love even if they're complete degenerates. It's not their fault. And at least you're spreading the word, yo.