Cichlidiot (cich·lid·i·ot)

Fishkeeping for the masses

  • cich·lid : Any of various tropical and subtropical freshwater fishes of the family Cichlidae, many of which are popular as aquarium fish
  • id·i·ot : A foolish or stupid person
  • All original content is © 2006-2007 Cichlidiot.

GloFish®: No Dyes

Posted by cichlidiot on January 16, 2007

As a fishkeeping hobbyist, one of the comments I often hear when friends come by to visit my house is “Why don’t you have a saltwater aquarium?”  This question inevitably pops up because some of the fish I keep, especially the cichlids, are rather drab in color.  While there are some exceptions, such as the variations of Symphysodon aequifasciatus(Discus), most freshwater fish (especially cichlids) tend to have less intense coloration than their saltwater cousins.  In the not-so-distant past, the only way to achieve the intense coloration of saltwater fish in a freshwater environment was to buy dyed fish, which would surely bring the ire of animal rights advocates.  Apparently, this isn’t the case today.

The company behind GloFish®, which is essentially a bio-engineered fluorescent Zebra Danio (Danio rerio), have developed the technology that allows these rather ordinary-looking fish to fluoresce through a process that involves the injection of a particular gene in fish eggs.  Furthermore, since the injected gene now becomes part of the genetic makeup of the fish, offspring from GloFish® will also possess this fluorescence.  Originally, these genetically-altered fish were supposed to be used in detecting pollutants in the water, but have now made inroads in the aquarium hobby as well.

I am certain that a great number of young budding aquarists will be attracted to these fish® as an alternative to keeping saltwater fish because of their similarly intense coloration.  Personally, I’m not so keen on the idea of keeping such fish.  While I’m sure my family would appreciate more color in our fish tanks, there are a lot of naturally-occurring freshwater fish species that have nice colors.  Besides, I believe there is a lot more to fishkeeping than having a number of brightly-colored fish swimming around in one tank.  Based on conversations I’ve had with some friends in the hobby, I think the natural progression of interest in this hobby moves from having colorful fish to being able to observe their natural behavior, hence the interest in maintaining specific biotopes to promote, among other things, breeding for intermediate fishkeepers.

Nonetheless, I would say that this development is generally good for the aquarium hobby, since, at the very least, it will get more people interested in fishkeeping.  I’m also all for cleaning up the environment, and since a portion of every purchase of GloFish® goes to the laboratory developing these fish for their intended use, I wouldn’t mind if these bio-engineered fish become highly popular.

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One Response to “GloFish®: No Dyes”

  1. Freshwater said

    you can buy cheap freshwater fish aquarium here

    http://astore.amazon.com/buy.cheap.freshwater.fish.aquarium.shop-20

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