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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Painted and Dyed Fish

By David Lass


While I have no problem with genetically modified fish, or fish that are the result of hybridization between two or more species, I am completely opposed to dyed, painted or tattooed fish. I am enough of a realist that I know full well that these monstrosities – there – I said it – are too firmly entrenched in the hobby/industry to ever hope that they would be done away with.

To begin with, I don’t think that any of these fish are any nicer looking than the way they occur in nature. Also, I simply find it repulsive that people will buy, and stores will offer for sale, parrot cichlids dyed red with a heart tattooed on them for Valentine’s Day, or dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day. In some stores I have seen Osphronemus gouramis with store names tattooed on them, or hearts and such. In addition to the fish being abused, I would bet lots of money that the customers who bought these fish have no idea of how huge they will get.

And that is part of the problem. There are very few true hobbyists around today. Fish are thought of as expendable, part of the décor of a house, not a wonderful hobby to become involved in. Bemoaning this fact with a friend who is almost as old as I am, he made the comment that fish are an “impulse purchase”, and that most people look upon fish as roses or any other cut flowers. This attitude is best summed up by a woman who I overheard talking to the owner at a good store where I wholesale my fish. The woman was buying some “blueberry” tetras, and the store owner told her that the colors would fade in a few months or so. “That’s OK,” the woman responded. “I don’t expect them to live that long.”

‘Twas ever thus.

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