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Steroids and Livebearers

Contents:

  1. LIVEBEARERS NOT BEARING!
    by howardr-at-col.hp.com (Howard Rebel) (Sun, 19 Apr 1992)
  2. FAQ addition: beginner's fish)
    by hougen-at-myria.cs.umn.edu (Dean Hougen) (Tue, 28 Feb 1995)
  3. Juicing (Was: Re: FAQ addition: beginner's fish)
    by fishman-at-cybernetics.net (Ronald J- Belliveau SLIP) (Tue, 28 Feb 1995)

LIVEBEARERS NOT BEARING!

by howardr-at-col.hp.com (Howard Rebel)
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1992
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria

You are not the first to express problems with live bearers
not reproducing.  I have/had a similar problem.  I asked the
owners of the fish store who sold me the fish (platys) and
the answer was somthing I did not want to hear.

I seems that many/most of the livebears sold are raised in
ponds laced with steriods.  This often makes the fish sterile
and sort lived.  

Try asking for fish purchased from a hobbist or breeder that
does not use steriods.

Howard


-- 
 | Howard Rebel          
 | hpcsos.col.hp.com
 | Phone: 719-590-5075   
 | Fax:   719-590-5976   


FAQ addition: beginner's fish)

by hougen-at-myria.cs.umn.edu (Dean Hougen)
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 1995
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria,rec.aquaria

In article <3ilr65$t37-at-matrix.eden.com>,
 sekhmet-at-news.eden.com (Rebecca Allbritton) writes:
>[Ok, here comes the good stuff... ;)]:
>Now, where did you get this information? I have not found any verifiable
>instances of dwarf gouramis being treated with hormones to enhance colors.
>There is no reason to, when all you have to do is raise the temperature in
>the tank 2 (two) degrees F. and you'll have brighter colored fish. If no one
>is able to come forward and make some attempt to substantiate this hormone
>slur, would you be so good as to remove it from the FAQ? And you can stick
>that "If it looks to good to be true, it probably is" statment in the
>section about painted glass catfish. <mah baaaaybeees! they been
>maLIGNed!!> ;-> 
>
>However, if you find this info documented anywhere, please do post and/or
>email the source to me so I can get a copy. I'd be interested in seeing it.

Unfortunately, I really don't know of any documentation for this
practice and I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't any.  Aquarium
publications generally don't like to print information that could
make the hobby look bad or anger advertisers.  Research journals
are primarily concerned with food fish (where the real money is).
There *might* be something out there; I'd suggest searching under
'hormone' and 'fish' in a data base if you are really interested,
but don't be surprised if you come up empty-handed.

Nonetheless, I can assure you that this practice does take place in
the aquarium industry.  Its is considered one of the "dirty little 
secrets" of the business, although it really isn't all that little
(that is, its widespread) and not all that secret, once you get on
the business end of things.  Its so common, in fact, that there is
a widely accepted term for it: Juicing.  (The term 'juicing'
probably originated as a reference to the hormone solutions used
in the treatments but, as one might expect, those who "juice" fish
are also hoping for juicier profits.)

Juicing is known about, and occasionally talked about, by many
advanced hobbyists and people who work in the aquarium fish
business, especially as they get closer to the distribution end of
things where the juicing primarily takes place.  Very few people
will actually admit to juicing fish, however.  The Florida fish
professionals I have talked to have generally admitted that some
*other* farmers or distributors juice fish, but maintain that their
own purchases of hormones are solely to induce breeding in difficult 
species.

Juicing isn't limited to Florida, however.  In fact, it (like so
many other bad but apparently profitable such practices) is 
probably much more common in the Far East. 

Juicing isn't limited to dwarf gouramis either.  Far from it.
The fish most often abused in this way are probably cichlids,
specifically Haplochromines.  I didn't mention juicing in the
cichlid section of my article since I had already steered
beginners away from commonly juiced cichlids on other grounds.

So, why juice fish at all?  As you say, these fish can be quite
brightly colored if given the proper conditions.  Its not quite as
simple as raising the temp a couple of degrees, though.  That might
work for otherwise happy, healthy fish, but fish that have been
packed too many to a bag, shipped long distances, had several
changes in water conditions, etc., require some time and effort to
bring into condition so that they show well.  Not juiced fish 
though.  They come right out of the box looking like they are
ready to breed.  (Well, unless you look closely and see that any
given fish might have shredded fins, or a sunken belly, or be
gasping at the surface, or whatever.  But their colors all look
nice!)

Juiced fish appear ready to breed because they are given hormones
that force them to show their bright breeding colors, which they
wouldn't show in nature unless they really were in good condition.
This also answers the question of why fish that *can* look good all
by themselves are juiced:  Fish that are drab and colorless while
breeding will be drab and colorless when juiced.  Fish, like dwarf
gouramis, that look great - full of color and veritably shining -
when in top condition also look that way when juiced.

I've already given away the primary way to tell a juiced fish:  A
fish that should, given everything you know about its condition and
behavior, be showing dull coloration or a stress pattern but is
instead showing breeding colors is juiced.  Sometimes you will even
see a stress pattern and bright breeding colors superimposed on one
another -- the fish showing this is juiced.  Finally, females 
showing more color than they ever do naturally (since they normally
don't have high levels of "male" hormones in their systems) are
juiced.


Whew!  So, them's the facts, at least as I understand them.  I don't
mean to malign fish you enjoy but I do think a warning is in order.
Besides masking sickness with bright colors, juicing can apparently
sterilize females, perhaps even males.  It may also add a stress to
already stressed fish.

Perhaps I should rewrite the section in question to make it clear 
that dwarf gouramis *are* beautiful fish naturally but that the
prospective buyer should look at factors besides color to determine
the health of fish she or he is thinking of buying.



>Other than the above, you did, in my opinion, an Excellent Job on all
>this... although you might want to be a bit more shrill in your warnings
>to beginners about fish that they should keep out of their grubbly little
>10 gal. acid baths -- er, their newly set up tanks ;-) --but I can
>understand that you don't want to frighten them off right away.
>Again, really a lovely, thorough job. <applause>

Thanks.  Its nice to have somebody appreciate the work.


As for killies, isn't there already something in the FAQ?  (I did enjoy
the article though.)


>Rebecca Allbritton     _\,,/    

Dean Hougen
--
"Nasty affair.  What do I care?"  - Oingo Boingo


Juicing (Was: Re: FAQ addition: beginner's fish)

by fishman-at-cybernetics.net (Ronald J- Belliveau SLIP)
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 1995
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria,rec.aquaria

In article <D4qCtJ.Hqo-at-news.cis.umn.edu> hougen-at-myria.cs.umn.edu (Dean Hougen) writes:
>From: hougen-at-myria.cs.umn.edu (Dean Hougen)
>Subject: Juicing (Was: Re: FAQ addition: beginner's fish)
>Summary: Dirty little secret #1
>Keywords: beginner
>Date: Tue, 28 Feb 1995 21:52:49 GMT

>In article <3ilr65$t37-at-matrix.eden.com>,
> sekhmet-at-news.eden.com (Rebecca Allbritton) writes:
>>[Ok, here comes the good stuff... ;)]:
>>Now, where did you get this information? I have not found any verifiable
>>instances of dwarf gouramis being treated with hormones to enhance colors.
>>There is no reason to, when all you have to do is raise the temperature in
>>the tank 2 (two) degrees F. and you'll have brighter colored fish. If no one
>>is able to come forward and make some attempt to substantiate this hormone
>>slur, would you be so good as to remove it from the FAQ? And you can stick
>>that "If it looks to good to be true, it probably is" statment in the
>>section about painted glass catfish. <mah baaaaybeees! they been
>>maLIGNed!!> ;-> 

Some food for thought on gouramis and juicing.....  Have you ever noticed
how only "males" of several of the brightly colored smaller gouramis are
found in dealers tanks.  Some of my contacts in the trade have told me that
this is also a result of "juicing" .  Drab females don't sell, brightly 
colored males do.  So just juice the little buggers and make them all sellable 
males.

I have eyeballed some of the newer varieties of gouramis thinking of how it
would be fun to breed them.  I woundered why I could not find any females 
so I asked.  I didn't like the answer.  IMO this is right up there w/using 
cyanide to catch (kill) reef fishes.  I have wondered if the effect could be 
reversed or whether the damage is permanent?


Ron Belliveau               "I have fishes, therefore,
fishman-at-cybernetics.net               I am!"


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