jay

transcript

  • [6:05:32:] <Noname> Hello, thank you for coming tonight. My name is Geoffrey, (Geoff) also known as "Noname". Tonight I will be discussing what is probably one of the most serious and dangerous aspects of the aquarium fish industry, the introduction of aquarium fish into non-native habitats.
  • [6:05:32:] <Noname> I am going to start off with some general information, followed by a few certain instances that have stood out to me.
  • [6:05:33:] <Noname> Humans introducing species, both by accident, and on purpose, has been going on for many years. Often when an animal is introduced, it is to get rid of another introduced animal, or to help stop pests of another sort. But far to often, animals are introduced by accident, which leaves us even more unprepared for the consequences. There are many other reasons, which I will get into later on
  • [6:05:33:] <Noname> A species that I am familiar with that will lead up nicely to the actual topic at hand is the zebra mussel. This species affected much of North America, due to the ballast of ships dumping them, and their larva in Lake Ontario, and other adjoining water systems. These creatures breed rapidly, and are painful to step on. They also compete with natural molluscs and other filter feeders.
  • [6:05:34:] <Noname> This was a big story a while back, but has since faded into the distance. Now, these mussels were an introduced species and by all accounts of the media, evil. Despite their "hostile" nature, these creatures ended up helping filter and clean, many small inlets and waterways around my area, helping sensitive species of fish and amphibians to live.
  • [6:05:34:] <Noname> The few aquarium species I am going to talk about, all have been introduced into the state of Florida in the U.S.A. Florida is prime habitat for many tropical species. Many of Florida's habitats, very closely mimic those found in tropical South America. This is why, even discarded aquarium plants, such as the South American Water Hyacinth have become so successful, and they are considered "invasive species"
  • [6:06:34:] <Noname> Invasive species are organisms, which do not only thrive, and reproduce in a non-native habitat, but also out compete native species sometimes to the point of extinction.
  • [6:06:53:] <Noname> A very popular aquarium fish that I am sure you all know, the common plecostomus, has also become common in Florida, and defiantly has established itself in the many waterways of Florida. Catfish in general are very adaptable, and many can survive, and even thrive in waters, which have different conditions than they are used to. The fact plecos are mass bred in Florida farms also means that they are that more accust
  • [6:07:20:] <Noname> Although I mentioned Florida has fish farms, which fish are received, and then shipped to aquarium fish stores, it should be noted that very few fish are introduced by mistakes by the fish farms. Most fish problems spawn from fish keepers not being responsible and doing enough research of the fish they buy. Many fish get to big, to ugly, or to expensive to fee, one such fish, is the Asian swamp eel.
  • [6:07:51:] <Noname> *feed
  • [6:08:46:] <Noname> The last fish before I head North in the way of invasive fish, is a fairly popular cichlid known as the Oscar. The Oscar was introduced; most likely by fish keepers who did not want to spend the money on a big tank after the realized the size of the fish. The Oscar is a fairly fast breeder, and is defiantly well established in many of Florida's waterways. Oscars do compete quite a bit with native fish, but for s
  • [6:10:07:] <Noname> Arguably the most famous invasive, introduced aquarium fish is the Snakehead. Unfortunately, fame is not all its cracked up to be. The media has made the Snakehead out to be a monster. People actually fear this fish, for no real reason, other than the media has over hyped it so much. The actual snakehead in question is Channa Argus, which isn't even a common aquarium fish.
  • [6:10:40:] <Noname> The Northern Snakehead, (Channa Argus) is a large fish, which can grow over a metre in length (4 or so feet). It comes Asia mainly China. It is a top-level predator, and, like the swamp eel, can breath air to a degree, and travel on land. This fish is also quite aggressive, and has parental behaviours, and, can sometimes attack humans if they enter the nest site in the water.
  • [6:11:11:] <Noname> The hype of this fish is highly exaggerated though. This fish can get larger, but often doesn't get over 3 feet. The fish can travel on land, but it is not very efficient at this, and cannot attack you on land at the time.
  • [6:11:45:] <Noname> This fish was most likely introduced by fisherman using young of the fish as live bait, and either the bait escaping, or the bait being dumped (a bad practise anyways). The fish was mainly introduced in the Washington area, and most famously, a few small areas near Maryland. Since the initial scare, a few more areas have been found, but most of the time, the area is quarantined, and drained.
  • [6:12:23:] <Noname> Although only Channa Argus has become a problem, other snakehead have been introduced, which has lead to the snakehead genus being banned in many warmer states, even though it has proven that it can handle at least mild winters in climates such as those found in the Washington area.
  • [6:12:40:] <Noname> Unfortunately, a few snakeheads, very closely resemble the North American Bowfin, a rare species, that is not closely related, but fills the same ecological niche as the snakehead. The snakehead problem is dangerous to the Bowfin, because people may kill it by mistaken identity, and the snakehead competes with it for habitat and food.
  • [6:13:15:] <Noname> Before I give out a few tips, I am going to list and do a quick blurb on a few other fish.
  • [6:13:29:] <Noname> The tilapia, a fish from African, has been introduced into many places, South America, Asia, and more recently, a few places in North America. In some countries, like North America, this fish was introduce from the aquarium hobby, but in some places, fish like this are introduced for food. Another fairly adaptable fish, that has a purpose as an introduced species, like the Oscar.
  • [6:13:58:] <Noname> Goldfish have been introduced in much of the world, as have carp, both koi and natural forms. These are obvious examples of pet fish, which have been introduced.
  • [6:14:22:] <Noname> Piranhas have sometimes been found in some waters of North America, but seldom live through winter; they can cause a scare though, because of the piranha's reputation.
  • [6:14:44:] <Noname> Australia has many problems with introduced species, because of its very tropical climate, where even things like swordtails can become a problem. Costal areas like many places in Australia also have to deal with introduced salt-water fish, which I did not cover.
  • [6:15:07:] <Noname> Now for a few tips.
  • [6:15:16:] <Noname> Do not release any aquarium fish into the wild.
  • [6:15:27:] <Noname> If keeping native fish for a while, release them exactly where they were caught, and do not medicate them prior to doing so.
  • [6:15:42:] <Noname> Always research every fish you buy, extensively. Be sure to find out feeding habits, and both juvenile and adult colouration.
  • [6:16:01:] <Noname> If you end up with a fish you cannot keep, sell it, give it away, or if all else fails, euthanize it.
  • [6:16:13:] <Noname> Do not flush a fish down the toilet; alive or dead, this can sometimes cause environmental damage.
  • [6:16:45:] <Noname> Try keeping native fish in outdoor ponds if you live near a natural water system. You never know how a fish may end up in another source of water.
  • [6:17:08:] <Noname> For more info, the internet is a wealth of information. One need only search a fish species name, or ""introduced species" into a search engine. Also, be sure to search almost any local news site, even those such as CNN, or Discovery Channel's news site, or yahoo, which also contain news stories, mainly about the snakehead.
  • [6:17:33:] <Noname> http://www.mongabay.com/fish/biotope_countries.htm . This is a great site in general, but, they have an interesting feature, which lets you search by country. On these pages, you can then see if the fish is native, misidentified, or introduced.
  • [6:17:58:] <Noname> Well, that is all for now, thank you for coming tonight, I am sorry for the short length. I will try my best to answer any questions you may have.
  • [6:18:09:] <craig> Thanks Geoff. :-)
  • [6:18:13:] <Noname> ^_^
  • [6:18:26:] <craig> If you have a question for Geoff, please type: /query craig I have a question
  • [6:20:30:] <craig> Going once.. :-)
  • [6:20:39:] <Noname> I guess I must have covered everything, :D
  • [6:21:28:] <craig> Since this a topic that probably is best covered in open discussion, I'll just open the floor..
  • [6:21:37:] <Noname> Thanks again for coming everyone, ^_^
  • [6:21:46:] <Jessica> geoff, it was a very interesting bit, thank you :D
  • [6:21:53:] <russ> That was a good presentation:-)
  • [6:22:20:] <Noname> thanks russ, it is a topic I enjoy
  • [6:22:21:] <craig> I find it interesting that you mentioned tilapia..
  • [6:22:25:] <Hoots> well done geoff :)
  • [6:22:28:] <Noname> ^_^
  • [6:22:44:] <craig> Since in many parts of the world it is considered a food fish.
  • [6:23:06:] <russ> Another source for info on invasive species and plants is the USDA website. It contains links to their Animal and Plant Inspection Services and on-going programs:-)
  • [6:23:19:] <Jessica> yeah, they have tanks with them crammed in side by side at the chinese market here (tilapia)
  • [6:23:38:] <russ> Ooops! wrong color.
  • [6:23:49:] <Noname> heheh, well if I ever needed some for a tank, I guess I know where to go..
  • [6:24:47:] <Hoots> I remember my husband stocked tilapia in our lake years ago but they never survived longer than a full year
  • [6:25:06:] <russ> I think Grass Carp is another species that is about 50/50 on a help or hinderance level
  • [6:25:07:] <Jessica> why is that?
  • [6:25:17:] <Noname> I have actually also seen walking catfish, another fairly invasive species in oriental super markets.
  • [6:25:59:] <Hoots> so is the peacock cichlid, the one that is now sport fished around florida, is it pretty much accepted as an "ok" non native?
  • [6:26:37:] <Noname> by peacock cichlid, do you mean the peacock "bass"?
  • [6:26:57:] <russ> I"m sure thats the one
  • [6:27:34:] <russ> I've seen juvies of this fish on many supplier's fish list
  • [6:28:01:] <Hoots> yess geoff that's the one
  • [6:28:20:] <Hoots> (sorry I had to check on dinner)
  • [6:28:30:] <Noname> Peacock bass are also a popular sport fish, especially in South America, so if they have indeed established strong populations, I doubt there would be many complaints by anglers
  • [6:29:27:] <Hoots> right no complaints from the fisherman, but what if any damage do they do where they are introduced?
  • [6:30:20:] <Noname> Well, they are predatory, and some species of them can get big, I imagine if they became invasive, then they would cause some serious ecological damage
  • [6:30:46:] <craig> Interesting site: http://www.protectyourwaters.net/news/archives.php?offset=0&category=2&limit=100000
  • [6:31:14:] <Noname> awesome craig, ^_^

 

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