An understanding of fish evolution (and other stuff)

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None of us can save a fish from extinction. Maybe,just maybe, all of us could keep one around. But if we destroy the habitat, we have to ask what the life of the species is.
In 1992, I got a pair of killies whose only known habitat had been turned into a palm oil plantation. After a lot of research and networking, I discovered I had the last pair in captivity. Now, after more than 30 years, I have 7 tanks of them, breeding and surviving. A couple of years ago, farther up the one river they had been found in, a short ravine was fished, and they were found again, protected by the terrain being completely unsuitable for farming, and the ravine being steep and hard to get down into.
I can talk til I'm blue about the importance of that habitat, but on the ground, there is an agricultural corporation run for shareholders who have probably never even seen the plantation and who don't even know where their money comes from. Only geology and luck have saved the species.
Meanwhile, I have given dozens and dozens of pairs to other killiekeepers. I've mailed eggs to three continents. To my knowledge no one else has taken on the idea of maintaining them. They keep them, get bored, and get something else. As fish breeding has become less popular, fish like this end up vanishing from the hobby.
I like keeping them, but I will be lucky to live another 20-30 years, and as I age, I don't know how long I'll be able to run things. My predicted lifespan, like yours, is somewhere in the 80 year range if you live in a rich country. It's foolish to think a creature that lives 85 years can save a creature that has existed for hundreds of thousands of years. We're like fruit flies keeping tortoises.
 
None of us can save a fish from extinction. Maybe,just maybe, all of us could keep one around. But if we destroy the habitat, we have to ask what the life of the species is.
In 1992, I got a pair of killies whose only known habitat had been turned into a palm oil plantation. After a lot of research and networking, I discovered I had the last pair in captivity. Now, after more than 30 years, I have 7 tanks of them, breeding and surviving. A couple of years ago, farther up the one river they had been found in, a short ravine was fished, and they were found again, protected by the terrain being completely unsuitable for farming, and the ravine being steep and hard to get down into.
I can talk til I'm blue about the importance of that habitat, but on the ground, there is an agricultural corporation run for shareholders who have probably never even seen the plantation and who don't even know where their money comes from. Only geology and luck have saved the species.
Meanwhile, I have given dozens and dozens of pairs to other killiekeepers. I've mailed eggs to three continents. To my knowledge no one else has taken on the idea of maintaining them. They keep them, get bored, and get something else. As fish breeding has become less popular, fish like this end up vanishing from the hobby.
I like keeping them, but I will be lucky to live another 20-30 years, and as I age, I don't know how long I'll be able to run things. My predicted lifespan, like yours, is somewhere in the 80 year range if you live in a rich country. It's foolish to think a creature that lives 85 years can save a creature that has existed for hundreds of thousands of years. We're like fruit flies keeping tortoises.
Yeah. How did you get the last pair of killies in captivity? What was that species that you got the last of their kind from?
 
None of us can save a fish from extinction. Maybe, just maybe, all of us could keep one around. But if we destroy the habitat, we have to ask what the life of the species is.
A couple of ANGFA members over east managed to save the Lake Eacham rainbowfish. They had some in captivity and the government asked them for some to repopulate the lake after it was cleared of introduced species. But as a general rule, most species are screwed and we can't save anything without governments protecting the planet.
 
A couple of ANGFA members over east managed to save the Lake Eacham rainbowfish. They had some in captivity and the government asked them for some to repopulate the lake after it was cleared of introduced species. But as a general rule, most species are screwed and we can't save anything without governments protecting the planet.
Hmm... There is a way to save species from extinction... Now, what's a Lake Eacham rainbowfish?
 
There have been reintroductions that may take (someone will know in 100 years) but they haven't generally been from hobby tanks. ANGFA is well organized, and can make a collective effort. Otherwise, it has to come from a well funded University project, as exists in Mexico, or from government. Libertarians go nuts at this, with the ideological mistrust of elected officials, but that's reality. Government projects and Universities can maintain the studbooks and data on lineages, the populations needed and the continuity as individual aquarists live and die (or just get bored).
The reintroductions I know of frowned on hobby bred fish, because it takes about 21 aquariums minimum for a barebones longterm maintenance program. You need hundreds of fish kept in separate breeding lines for many generations. We talk the talk, but no one does that. Institutions can. Plus we have to ask the fundamental question about keeping the species alive when its habitat is dead.
Projects aimed at repopulating viable, protected habitats are fairly short term and do able.
Then, of course, a government is elected that cuts funding and hires oafs to sabotage the whole expensive thing. Those protected habitats are worth money.
 
How do tetras and bettas adapt well in the wild and in the aquarium hobby?
Just want to point out, the ability to adapt to changing environments is a critical factor for evolution. Alot of the aquarium fish we buy are highly adaptable to different environments which means they can adapt well to our aquarium environments. Case in point, Hillstream loaches which come from fast moving cooler water in the wild. Yet these guys do quite well in common community aquarium setups (calm 78 degree tanks).

On how species evolve, you have to factor in the long time spans it take for radical changes. For Betta's, it may have taken thousand of years to develop a simple labyrinth organ. But once this was created, you may see rapid evolution of the labyrinth organ in separate species.

I find the adaptive radiations of Rift lake cichlids to be fascinating. It only took ~10,000-15,000 years for the thousands of species to evolve.
 

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