|Byron ||03-01-2012 12:12 PM |
Hybridisation of aquarium fish is a practice that is discouraged by most aquarists and all biologists. Unless there is a specific reason, which I won't go into here. But crossing different species within the same genus, termed interspecific hybridisation, is not supported by the hobby.
This practice has caused considerable problems with rift lake cichlids, and some other species too. The following excerpt verbatim from Aquatic Community explains why.
A lot of fish species are today under threat of extinction in the wild and keeping them alive in aquariums is one way of preserving them for the future. This should naturally be combined with powerful environmental projects as well in order to preserve their natural habitats, but in the mean time captive breeding can be used to prevent species from vanishing from the planet. There are already numerous African cichlids that only survive in the hands of dedicated aquarists since they have become completely eradicated from the wild. Against this background, it is easy to see why hybridization can be a problem. If we have a rare African cichlid and allow it to breed with another species, we do not help preserving the rare species.
The situation becomes even more problematic when aquarists sell their hybrids as non-hybrids. Let’s say you want to help preserve a certain African cichlid by devoting time and energy to breeding it in captivity. If someone sells you a hybrid, claiming it to be a true purebred species, you will waste a lot of time and energy, and you may even dilute the gene pool further by crossing what you believe is a non-hybrid with specimens that actually are non-hybrids. Sooner or later, such as in the next generation or in the generation after that, you will end up with fish that look nothing like the African cichlid species you thought you were preserving. Some people erroneously believe that all hybrids are sterile, but this is very far from the truth, especially in fish.
Another problem has to do with rules and regulations regarding collection and import of live fish. When a species becomes endangered in the wild, it is common to ban harvest and marketing of that species in order to prevent the few remaining specimens from being removed from their natural habitat. Once a ban has been enforced, the aquarium hobby has to make do with specimens that have already entered the hobby. Using these specimens for hybridization is naturally not desirable.
Even fish that are not endangered in the wild can be hard to obtain, since your country or state may have a ban against it. Australia is for instance very strict when it comes to the import of foreign species, since Australia has experienced a tremendous amount of problems with invasive species from other parts of the world. Just as in the situation described above, the hobby then has to make do with specimens that have already been imported and using these specimens for hybridization can cause the species to vanish entirely from the local hobby.