Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   captive-bred vs. wild-caught fish (

sovrappensiero 08-05-2010 06:06 PM

captive-bred vs. wild-caught fish
I did a quick forum search and nothing came up on this topic...but I just found this forum yesterday so please if this question has already been asked feel free to point me in the right direction.

I was just wondering if there are any good sources on which species are most often sold as captive-bred? I'm just re-starting my aquarium after several years, and I am trying to decide which fishies I will eventually add to my riverbank paradise. :-D I do not want to buy any wild-caught fish if possible; the only exception to this might be if it is a species that naturally occurs in abundance and has no risk of becoming endangered. That being said, I still prefer the "natural look" (i.e. no glow-in-the-dark tetras or anything like that) and I want my fishies to coexist happily and as close to life in the wild as I can. I think a South American (non-discus) biotope is what I'd like to base my tank on.

I looked on the fish profiles on this site but while it does give the species' origin I have not seen information on status as either wild-caught or captive-bred. Could anyone help me either a). find such a resource or b). suggest South American fishies that are captive-bred? (or tell me I've lost my mind because none of them are)

Thanks in advance! :-)

zof 08-05-2010 07:00 PM

Thats a good point it would be nice to know which species are most commonly captive bred, it might be kind of hard though because some might be a mix, but I have a feeling most of the common fish you can find will be captive bred since most of the time the unique colorations are brought out through selective breeding. Among these would probably be most the common live bearers such as platys, mollys and guppys. As I know most of the wild caught of these lack much coloration.

You might look around for places that sell fish online and also profiles like ours and see if breeding conditions are offered there, as if it sounds like they easily and readily breed the ones you find in the stores will be more then likely captive bred.

I know one hard to bred fish is the Otocinclus Catfish, people often bring up how stressful a process it is for them to be captured, which is why alot of people have a hard time getting brand new ones to stay alive. But I can deal with it and they are one of my favorite fish in my tank.

Bluetangclan 08-05-2010 07:37 PM

With freshwater, you are looking at about 90% ballpark of freshwater fish are bred in farms in the US and Asia. In fact wildcaught fish are fairly expensive especially when you get out of the trash fish catagory and go into the various cichlids both new and old world. Pretty much with only one or two exceptions, anything you get at petsmart or petco is likely captive bred. Breeders like getting wild caughts to add to their breeding programs to diversify the genetics of their pure breeds.

Byron 08-06-2010 12:14 AM

This info (wild caught or commercially raised) is included in most of the profiles here, at least the ones I have revised or added, as I have been including it specifically. It can have an impact on water parameters so it is important. I usually put this under the water parameter section, or sometimes in the origin section if it seems more relevant--e.g., the Red Tailed Shark is extinct in the wild, so obviously all available fish are commercially raised (or from breeders). I think this is included in all the characins, cyprinids, anabantids.


sik80 08-06-2010 05:31 AM

interesting topic and someting i've been wondering about myself. i try to be an environmentally and ethically concious consumer if possible and was wondering about how my fish hobby impacts on nature. its good to know that most fish are captive bred.

my lfs said they order fish in from singapore, which i assumed is captive bred stock

sovrappensiero 08-06-2010 08:55 AM

Thanks! Bryan, I did notice upon further perusal that the info is there for several fish in the fish profiles! I guess I just picked the few that don't have that info when I was looking the other day (I did browse kind of quickly).

I didn't know the Red-Tailed Shark was extinct in the wild...that makes me feel really sad. Glad you mentioned it, though, because I looked it up for more info. Seems as though modifications to its natural environment via the creation of dams in Thailand in the 1970s may have caused a severe decrease in population from which it was not able to recover. Maybe over-fishing because of their popularity in aquariums contributed. I also read that some have tried to re-introduce it to areas in the Philippines but it seems to have been unsuccessful. I read this on ( - I don't know for sure it's all accurate because there are no sources listed.

Just added for anyone who might come across this and be interested (or know the real story and correct me). Which would probably be no one since the post is called "wild-caught vs. captive-bred". Oh well.

Byron 08-06-2010 12:58 PM


Originally Posted by sik80 (Post 440517)
interesting topic and someting i've been wondering about myself. i try to be an environmentally and ethically concious consumer if possible and was wondering about how my fish hobby impacts on nature. its good to know that most fish are captive bred.

my lfs said they order fish in from singapore, which i assumed is captive bred stock

The Singapore is probably commercially-raised fish, it is a large industry in SE Asia, they have the warm climate and can raise fish in outdoor ponds cheaply. Many SA fish are bred in SE Asia. Many fish are also bred in Europe, and you in the UK would have better access to those than we in NA.

Many species are still only wild-caught. Personally I will always acquire wild fish if at all possible, for a couple of reasons. They are usually better colour and condition, and they are often (usually) hardier and thus less likely to come down with various health problems. Of course, with my ideal soft acidic water, I am in the enviable position of being able to do this with no water issues. In fact, it is commercially-raised fish that are somewhat adapted to slightly harder water than give me more trouble.

Most SA countries now have fairly strict laws governing collection and exportation of fish. They can be caught only at certain times (after the spawning/fry season). The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature has a red list of species at risk, etc. Most SA countries comply. Asia is a bit different story I gather. But as noted in the prior post, changes to the landscape (damming of rivers, etc) has done far more damage to fish stocks than aquarium collectors.

SmallFry 09-26-2010 10:05 PM

Sorry to resurrect a thread, but I had the same question/concern (how I found the thread).

Edited: Misread something.

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