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Big Fish Campaign
February 9, 2012
9:18 am
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Matt
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Think we're going to officially support this UK-based campaign which aims to raise awareness about those species commonly-sold as juveniles but which grow huge, as well as convincing shops not to stock them in the first place. It's being led by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

To be clear, the organisers are not looking to force changes to existing trade laws.

So how does everyone feel about the issue in general? Is it ok for SF to support this (we'll be the only non-zoological entity doing so apart fom a certain UK hobbyist magazine)? Are there any other species you'd like to see included other than those on the poster?

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February 9, 2012
11:06 am
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Colin
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Are there more species on the list or just the 6 on the side of the van?

February 9, 2012
12:17 pm
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Mark Duffill
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Like I said to you the other day Matt I do think it is a worthwhile campaign and I think it will be good for SF to be involved, I dont think you will ever convince those hardened aquarists (I use that term loosely for some) that think it is there god given right to own these fish even if they cant offer them the home they require, it should however be a good tool to help educate newer fishkeepers to the dangers of these fish. It has been fairly common place for shops to happily sell the juvenile fish without warning but refuse to accept any responsibilty when the owners can no longer cope with the fish which is just wrong.

I still think this is another issue that could so easily be controlled with licensing, if you hold the required license and can show that you can house and keep such a fish responsibly then there isnt an issue and you can only sell the fish to someone else with the required license and this could also be used to control invasive species etc

February 9, 2012
2:50 pm
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Matt
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There's no official species list and when I asked they said they're primarily concerned with the ones that people take into public aquaria and zoos constantly, i.e.,. those 6 species.

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February 9, 2012
3:26 pm
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Plaamoo
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I'm surprised the common plec is not included. It would top the list here I think. Good idea IMO. Agree with everything Mark said.

February 9, 2012
6:01 pm
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Eyrie
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In principle, I'm in favour. What would be involved for us, other than promoting the campaign on the website?

Mature, sensible signature required for responsible position. Good prospects for the right candidate. Apply within.
February 9, 2012
6:11 pm
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Colin
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I totally agree too but think that licensing is just a no go unless DEFRA steps in and just bans (or licenses) the import of said species.

I work in an area of the environment where licensing plays an important role in the protection of native species (specifically bats, badgers, great crested newts, otters etc) and licensing doesnt always work even with species specially protected at European level in our own back gardens - ain't going to work with pet species then. There are no staff to enforce anything in the first place and then when they do intervene you get the debacle that happened six years ago which was with the english guy who "came clean" with his Myxocyprinus and they had them destroyed...
see, http://www.practicalfishkeepin.....hp?sid=910

I think the key here is the responsible selling by shops and the (self?) education of modern fishkeepers. Some websites however promote the keeping of "monster" fish and I wonder just how many individual predators and big fish have been condemned because of this behaviour?

I guess the big six on the poster are pretty commonly up for re-homing but there are many, many others that are likely - as Jim says - even common plecs!

How about oscars, arowanas, clown loaches etc or these new "sexy" fish being portrayed in TV fishing adventures? I have been asked to import Hydocynus three times since Xmas... and I won't! I have also been asked for Arapaima this year!!!

I think that shops have to be the key here and only sell big fish to people who they have deemed to have the right set up. Quite happy to see

Personally, I am happy to see five out of the six on the display poster - i do like my Osphronemus species though LOL

February 12, 2012
12:14 am
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poshsouthernbird
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I think it would be great to support it /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> It's all about raising awareness which for me can only be a good thing. BIAZA tried a similar campaign a few years ago but it didn't seem to get very far, would be good to see it make some progress this time. Speaking personally I'm keen to support it on the injaf site once I get a bit further with web design. I don't have a problem with people keeping big fish if they can do it properly so I'm not hugely in favour of bringing the law into it, that'll only start a 'black market' for certain species. Better to look long term and really raise awareness of what some of these fish need, dispel a few myths and get the message out there. Won't be an overnight miracle but with the right support and shops etc. getting on board there could be some long term good to come of it. I had the chance for a chat with Jules from planetcatcfish at Aquatics Live - he quoted some horrendous figure about the number of RTCs imported annually, many many thousands. Where are those fish now? They're sure as heck not all in the accomodation they need, even assuming any of them are still alive.

Would be nice to see the same ethos trickle down through the hobby, I live for the day when everyone actually understands the needs of a goldfish /wink.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=";)" border="0" alt="wink.gif" /> So maybe this will help make people think more carefully (eventually!) about the needs of all big fish, not just the uber big ones.

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February 14, 2012
7:21 pm
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Senor Bastardo
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QUOTE (Colin @ Feb 9 2012, 06:54 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
I totally agree too but think that licensing is just a no go unless DEFRA steps in and just bans (or licenses) the import of said species.

Agree with you. I seriously wonder why import of these huge species are not banned. Sure there are som people which probabaly could give them a decent home, well tough! It´s not a god given (or Vishnu or Allah or Manitou for that matter, though not sure about Manitou) right to keep huge fish in your home.

I mean if gorillas weren´t endangered could you keep a gorilla in a minute cage, no!

February 15, 2012
12:47 pm
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Matt
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Have to agree it's odd that the common plec, arowana, clown loach, etc., aren't included.

As for Arapaima and Hydrocynus...

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October 22, 2012
9:29 am
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Matt
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We're going to put together a series of articles in support of the campaign, and was thinking to begin with some 'Reasons Why Big Fish are Unsuitable for the Home Aquarium'-type pieces. So far I've come up with the following subjects to expand on:

 

- adult size and why 'big fish' fail to reach their potential in the home aquarium

- life history, with a focus on migratory species

- behaviour, with a focus on predatory/territorial species

 

Is there anything else people would like to see, or any suggestions to add to the above? Feedback and ideas greatly appreciated,

and if anyone wishes to get involved and contribute an article or blog it would be superb.

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October 22, 2012
12:37 pm
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Colin
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Just yesterday I posted this picture on a FaceBook page because people were discussing the fact that some Arapaima have become available in an unnamed shop in England...

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c213/cornuta/arapaima.jpgImage Enlarger

 

Perhaps an article on why people want them would be a good idea (if provocative?)

 

Also how about diet? An article on that would be useful as most of these "Predatory Monster" keepers are still too quick to consider feeder fish as a staple diet or offer no variety?

October 22, 2012
4:31 pm
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poshsouthernbird
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Matt said
 

- adult size and why 'big fish' fail to reach their potential in the home aquarium

 

This is the key bit for me, the 'fish grow to the size of their tank' myth is so firmly ingrained in Joe Public's mind that it even catches otherwise intelligent people out Confused  I put together an article for my web project on this (you probably won't remember but Matt kindly pointed me to some info about cortisol levels when I was asking about the 'science' behind the myth on here ages ago).  It's not quite in the league of some of the articles etc. on here but you're more than welcome to use any of it if it's any use?  

 

http://injaf.org/articles-guid.....ir-tank/ 

 

I think pictures are great, they really help hammer the message home, although I'm sure some people still think fish are some sort of bonsai being.  That one of the araipama is quite something!  

 

To go back to what I posted earlier, it would be nice if the campaign could have a 'trickle down' effect and get people thinking about all the bigger fish, not just the ones in the campaign.  The commonly kept ones like common plecs, clown loaches, silver sharks, goldfish etc. - would be great if they could benefit from the publicity too as I suspect the numbers of these fish being kept in too small tanks is considerable.  So something that helps people relate the campaign to the fish they might have at home would be great Smile

 

Maybe something about 'through life' commitment would be helpful, someone from Bristol Zoo (http://www.practicalfishkeepin.....p?sid=4951) worked out how much a RTC would cost to keep for the duration of it's life - maybe work that in to something?  There needs to be some means of helping people to understand what they are taking on when they get a fish, if they were buying a dog they'd probably have some idea that it would live for X years, dog food will add £X to the shopping bill, vets fees etc. - most people 'get' this (although I know some don't!).  But so many don't 'get' it about fish, they don't think about how long they'll live because 'everyone knows' fish don't live very long (I can feel myself getting on a soapbox now, lol!), they don't think about how big they'll get, how much they'll eat, how much water/power/plants/vets/kit they need.  Maybe mock up some pics of kittens/cats or something to show 'when you bought your RTC it was a little 'red tailed kitten' (baby RTC next to kitten) but now he's all grown up and Aslan has moved in (full grown RTC next to lion)' - to show growth potential for a fish compared to a fluffy pet.  If I had any sort of talent with graphic design I might have a go at that myself!  Maybe I should try it!  I'm going to redo my goldfish with bowl pic soon so will post that here if that's any help Confused

 

EDIT - on further thought I'll not be lazy and I'll have a crack at a fish/cat pic (I'll ask a friend who's rather better at graphics than me to help!) - will post back if we manage to come up with anything remotely credible.

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October 22, 2012
5:01 pm
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Matt
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Colin said 

Perhaps an article on why people want them would be a good idea (if provocative?)

Also how about diet? An article on that would be useful as most of these "Predatory Monster" keepers are still too quick to consider feeder fish as a staple diet or offer no variety?

Good suggestions both, with the others that should set us up for half-a-dozen articles or so. I also recognise that pic!Laugh

@ Sue, although we support the campaign 100% there's nothing to stop us expanding to include other species based on our collective opinion.

I was certainly planning to mention silver sharks and clown loaches in the 'size' article, and stuff lilke Hydrocynus and Hydrolycus spp. in the life history/feeding ones. We can also maybe put together a list of 'big' species for permanent hosting on the site?

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October 22, 2012
6:13 pm
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poshsouthernbird
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Sounds good :)  I agree that the trade in the campaign's species are a big concern and anything that makes anyone think twice about them is great, people need to be able to relate these big fish to something they are more likely to understand, pics certainly help with that.

Jeremy Gay did an article about 'is there such a thing as a chav fish?' a while ago, might be interesting reading? http://www.practicalfishkeepin.....p?sid=4994  No massive conclusions drawn but some of the comments are interesting, the one from Rubberduck which says "The trend you find with a lot of these people is they think they're at the top, when in fact they really have little or no idea what they're doing or keeping. It just looks good to them." is possibly quite close to the mark - get a big fish, it will make people agree with you that you're an expert?  Although nothing could really explain to me why anyone would want hydrocynus ...

I've C&P'd some of the species we came up with when we putting stuff together about tank busters to go with our page about the campaign (I think pretty much all the links are to the KB here!):

And the 'stealth tankbusters'

I'm sure there are plenty more, I'm not familiar enough with the tropical side of things to get much further than the ones I see cropping up on various forums all the time.  Some of the other big cichlids perhaps, jaguars etc.  And freshwater rays maybe, motoros for example Smile

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October 24, 2012
11:21 am
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Matt
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Thanks Sue, I'll get to work this week.

I saw that 'chav' article when it was first published and think the same I did then as I do now, i.e., that singling out a particular social demographic as being the main perpetrators is not only wrong but quite patronising and uninformed as well.

The personality of certain folk and the fish they're attracted to keeping may be related but I don't think it has anything to do with whether they live on a council estate or not.

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October 24, 2012
3:35 pm
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Jarcave
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poshsouthernbird said


Sounds good :)  I agree that the trade in the campaign's species are a big concern and anything that makes anyone think twice about them is great, people need to be able to relate these big fish to something they are more likely to understand, pics certainly help with that.

Jeremy Gay did an article about 'is there such a thing as a chav fish?' a while ago, might be interesting reading? http://www.practicalfishkeepin.....p?sid=4994  No massive conclusions drawn but some of the comments are interesting, the one from Rubberduck which says "The trend you find with a lot of these people is they think they're at the top, when in fact they really have little or no idea what they're doing or keeping. It just looks good to them." is possibly quite close to the mark - get a big fish, it will make people agree with you that you're an expert?  Although nothing could really explain to me why anyone would want hydrocynus ...

I've C&P'd some of the species we came up with when we putting stuff together about tank busters to go with our page about the campaign (I think pretty much all the links are to the KB here!):

And the 'stealth tankbusters'

I'm sure there are plenty more, I'm not familiar enough with the tropical side of things to get much further than the ones I see cropping up on various forums all the time.  Some of the other big cichlids perhaps, jaguars etc.  And freshwater rays maybe, motoros for example Smile

 

You know I'm sure this post is flawed on many levels but when I think of irresponsible fish keeping and tank busters I don't really think about ray keepers. Even though many species grow huge, the aquaria I've seen them in, at least in real lifge have always had a reasonable amount of floor space. With rays I think actual surface area is more important than tank length.

It is slightly annoying that common and gibby plecs have not been included because arguably, they're the most common species of tank buster sold. Many are doomed to spend their lives 'cleaning up 3' tanks'.

October 24, 2012
6:09 pm
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poshsouthernbird
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Matt said
Thanks Sue, I'll get to work this week.

I saw that 'chav' article when it was first published and think the same I did then as I do now, i.e., that singling out a particular social demographic as being the main perpetrators is not only wrong but quite patronising and uninformed as well.

The personality of certain folk and the fish they're attracted to keeping may be related but I don't think it has anything to do with whether they live on a council estate or not.

No worries :)  I thought exactly the same when I saw that article, I have a degree in sociology and until recently spent most of my working life with people that others would be quite happy to categorise rather negatively.  My views on social stereotyping were quite well known at work, lol.  I was curious to see what reaction it would get here though, my predictions were correct :) (sorry if that sounds monumentally patronising, it's not meant to be!).  That's why I picked out that particular quote, it's about attitude rather than social standing or what you choose to wear or where you live.  If you're considering an article along similar lines it would be better, IMHO, to focus on the 'why' people want them (as suggested by Colin) rather than the 'who' that want them :)  Your reaction to that article is something you want to avoid other people having to anything you might come up with for SF :)  Getting people to indulge in a little self reflection and question their motives when they set out to buy anything could be a great article, I don't think it'll be easy to do though, but done well it could be effective :)

In other news, I've made some progress on the RTC v domestic cat idea I had (I'm sure you all think I'm insane!).  Got a bit to finish yet but will share it when I'm done.

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November 2, 2012
6:09 pm
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poshsouthernbird
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Didn't get very far with graphics as decided to go down a slightly different route instead, but have managed to make a reasonable comparison between RTCs and big cats of the furry variety.  Am hoping that it being slightly picture heavy will draw people in and get them at least scanning to the end if not actually reading in full.  If anyone's interested ...  Red tailed catfsh - an aquatic big cat :)

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November 5, 2012
11:16 am
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Matt
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Very good Sue: :) Hoping to have something online from us in the next day or two.

Have you been able to find any recent stats about the number of fishes being traded each year at the global level? Struggling to do so here...

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