12-14-2006, 01:47 AM
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Here I have seen the leafy seadragons and weedy seadragons in person in only 2 places. The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago keeps a few, and the Minnesota Zoo where we got married has a few. They are said to be extremely difficult to feed and keep well fed, and are indeed now protected. Here in the USA a permit is needed to own/posess one, and it is strictly enforced. If you try to order one from the internet, everyone must have the proper permits to keep them. The imports are getting tougher on them all the time, as is law enforcement.
After seeing them in person, I wish it could have been in their wild habitat. They are incredible animals, and they fascinate me. I found out about the legality of it all when our store tried to purchase them. We wanted them as display only, and still were not allowed.
After talking to people who take care of the ones I saw, they are, indeed, a difficult animal to keep long term, but once settled in well, they tend to thrive if needs are kept up with.
Thanks for posting those pics!!!!
As for the zebra plecos, I've traced the expense behind them because I have wanted one for a long time but could never afford one. It is in part because they are endangered, but also because people are greedy, and others niave enough to let them get away with it. In captivity they are becoming plentiful, and because they are endangered everyone is breeding them. They are not difficult to breed if its done right. I have a friend who breeds them, is getting $300/fish right now, and that's selling them at 2 inches or less. I refuse to pay the price and have been content with waiting for it to drop before getting one from him.