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Matmatmat

Interesting write up I was shown:)

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This is copy and pasted from a Facebook group. I like it , but then im a bit biased....

Hybrid cichlids are bad! Or are they?

By Hung Viet Nguyen in Brisbane Reptiles & Fish Forum

There is a lot of myths about hybrids out there - some are true, some are just terribly exaggerated. It's easy for people are confused when all they are told is 'hybrids' are bad, without really a detailed answer - perhaps besides a 'why are hybrids bad? Because they're hybrids!'.

Right, so let's dive right in. This is in FAQ format, to make it more... interesting.

*Note: hybridization here is regarded as breeding two different species of cichlids. Also the focus is on Central American Cichlids, but really do apply to others as well.*

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I heard hybrid cichlids are bad, is that right?

What would be the reason behind that?

Well, hybrids are... hybrids, and that makes them automatically bad. Right?

No, nothing is inherently bad or good or whatever, simply because it is what... it is.

Okay so nothing is bad simply because it is what it is, but I have better reasons!

Okay... go ahead.

Hybrids are infertile!

Only partially true there. Hybrids can often be infertile, but not always. It is a chance thing. After all, if all hybrids are infertile, then flowerhorns would not even exist, being the progeny of different hybrids and all. Besides that, linebreeding can also lead to infertility. Many linebreeding projects come to a halt because the fries are so internally deformed that they're completely infertile - remember, linebreeding is just inbreeding done over many generations - the appearance of deformities is completely stochastic, but sooner or later deformities will appear. No Electric Blue Jack Dempsey for example, can ever successfully produce viable fry with another Electric Blue Jack Dempsey - there is zero chance. Therefore two things, hybrids are not always infertile and breeding of 'pure' cichlids can result in infertility as well.

Well, besides infertility hybrids are genetically weak!

Not true. Besides the infertility chance (which 'normal cichlids' have anyways), they're no 'genetically' weaker or stronger than linebred cichlids. There is a chance that they may have deformities - but there's always a chance that any offspring of any animal would have a deformity. Take the kinked spine in Elliotis for example, that's something common in Elliotis across Australia, and that has got nothing to do with hybridization. Also linebreeding often results in the accumulation of deformities, many are not recognized until too late. Many cichlids breed are aquarium strains, which tend to be very inbred. So even if you find two 'bloodlines' you may not really get that much genetic diversity anyways - hybridization in fact can create better 'genetics' in the offspring, especially if they're closely related species, when considering that with many species we've gotten to the point where inbreeding has resulted in such common deformities across all aquarium strains of a species (again, Ellioti).

Okay... but they're unnatural!

Nope, nothing unnatural about hybridization. Hybridization occurs in nature.

Yeah but it's rare, and are as such 'removed' before they can propagate.

Nope, Brassicas are common 'wild' hybrids.

Those are plants.

Hybridization occurs commonly amongst corals. They hybridize ALL the time. Hence why it's very rare for there to be a 'species' of coral categorized - corals are almost always regarded in terms of 'genera' since they are basically all hybrids. And yes, corals are animals. Same goes for different genera of jellyfish.

Yeah but not in like proper animals, like fish and dogs and cats and stuff.

There is no such thing as 'proper' and 'non-proper' animals. Animals and animals. But okay, 'proper' animals. Let see, the tiger muskie (tiger muskellunge) are natural Esox (pike) hybrids. Grizzly and polar bear hybrids are found in the wild. Where the range of two related species mix, hybridization will sooner or later occur, and contrary to popular belief, there's no set rule that say they won't spread (i.e. tiger muskie).

Okay so it's natural for hybrids to occur. But in the fish industry, they're very damaging!

How so?

They can be easily confused with other cichlids if not labeled properly!

The same goes for all cichlids. Midas and red devils are often mistakenly labeled, and they have different dietary requirements. Thorichthys species have different temperaments and diets, and are also often mislabeled. Herichthys species as well, they can be VERY different. A H. cyanoguttatum grows much bigger than a H. carpintis, and require very different care. It is a common problem for the entire industry, not just with hybrids.

Well they're not popular anyways, they're worthless!

Flowerhorns, blood parrots and red texans are VERY popular. So are firecons, really (not in Australia tho). These animals though tend to be bred by very specialized breeders, and often sold directly to individuals who know of the breeders. Otherwise they won't turn up as often on your everyday sales pages. In terms of pricing, a single flowerhorn and blood parrot can go for much more than a 'purebred' cichlid. Even a great looking 'purebred cichlid' can only really net a bit over $100. A flowerhorn can go for over $1000, ten times the amount of a 'purebred'. So yes, people actually do want hybrids in fact. So please don't say 'no one wants hybrids' ever again.

That's with the more common hybrids. 'DIY' hybrids are not the same.

Yeah, true, but the same can be said with 'DIY' linebreeding - you may result in heavily deformed offsprings that no one wants, or amazing offsprings that resemble the wild type or look amazing. Same with 'DIY' hybridization.

Yeah well 'DIY' hybrids are worthless.

If the ideal of the owner is to experiment and have fun, then they're not worthless - just their creation is worth something to the owner. If they create something nice, all the better. It's not guaranteed that they will obtain something nice, but the chance is there - so they're not worthless, not in terms of entertainment value, and sometimes not in terms of monetary value. Many red texans are 'DIY' hybrids actually, and so are firecons. They're popular and are worth money (firecons in Amereica, but red texans apply everywhere). Both started out as 'DIY' hybrids.

Well okay so they're becoming more popular! They're damaging the purebred cichlid industry. Soon enough we won't have any purebred fish anymore!

The fish keeping industry changes all the time - cichlids was not always popular. Different types of fish were popular at different times, trends change over time. Cichlids removed some other common type of fish off the popularity chart as well y'know.

Well they pose a threat to wild species of cichlids!

How so?

Their release into the wild can cause harm to wild cichlids!

Yeah, but the same applies to 'purebred' cichlids.

They make us care less about 'wild type' cichlids!

That's a good thing - we won't try to catch as many of those wild cichlids from the wild, focusing instead on what we have in the industry instead. So really hybrids... help save wild cichlids? Yeah that sounds about right.

Well I don't like flowerhorns!

You don't have to, just keep whatever fish you want.

Yeah but popularity of flowerhorns will reduce the diversity of cichlids on the market.

Not necessarily - if there's other people like you who prefer 'purebreds', then the diversity of 'purebred cichlids' will be maintained, so no worries there. On the chance that so few people are interested in 'purebred cichlids' that there's not enough diversity for them... well then that would mean 'purebred' keepers would be in the minority and it would be very selfish of you to not let the majority have their way. So either 'purebred cichlids' will be maintained just as well as always, or hybrids will be the 'in' thing and you'll just have to deal with it.

Yeah but!

Hybrids are truly not worst or better than 'normal' cichlids in general, bar the higher chance of sterility in offsprings. But look, if by this point you're still really against hybrids then I have nothing else to say, all I can say has already been said. If you truly hate hybrids that much then well... I can't change your mind, so let it be I guess.

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Yes I'm clearly all for hybrids. But that is not to say that what I say is incorrect. Anyone who reads this can fact-check if they want. If they can show me that I'm wrong anywhere, I'll gladly admit my mistake and change it. Otherwise, I maintain what I write.

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Edited by Matmatmat
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