- [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
- [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,
- [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
- [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
- [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,
- [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
- [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
- [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
- [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, ^_^