Dyed Fish


Of all the things people do make money from fish this one has to be amongst the worst. It started with Indian Glassfish, although they are attractive in their own right with completely transparent bodies someone decided they could be improved upon or at least the sales of them could be.
So the fish were injected with coloured dye. Proportionally the needle used would be like injecting a Human with a needle the size of a pencil. Not just once but several times with about four different colours it is rumoured that the majority of fish that had to undergo this "treatment" died soon after and only a small percentage made it to the shops where they were sold as Disco Fish.
Since then the practice has spread to some albino fish and other transparent fish. Of the fish that survive the initial shock have a far higher incidence of bacterial and viral diseases including the incurable and highly contagious Lymphocytes, which suggest that poor hygiene be also involved?
There have been massive campaigns to try and stop the sale of these fish and initially this was successful at least with Glassfish but the practice still goes on and people are still buying them completely ignorant of what actually goes on to produce them. Not to mention the risk of disease they are exposing their existing stock to.

Although it is hard to imagine, there is an even worse practice carried out simply to boost sales. Dyed Corals which always results in the death of the Coral


Dyed Tetra


Natural Tetra

If you look close the dyed Tetra pictured is really quite ill. It's gills are swollen, it is emaciated and most worryingly it has two obvious bumps along its flanks (possibly the site of the injections). I doubt this fish would make it for more than a few weeks. If it lived a little longer, the lilac colour would disappear and then what would you be left with.

Tattooed Fish

This process involved drying the fish, removing it protective mucus then layer and using a mild abrasive on it so that when the dye is applied it will be absorbed more easily in to the fish. Doing all this is extremely stressful to the fish and poses a serious threat to its health and many won't make it as far as the pet shop. This doesn't matter to much to the breeders because they produce huge numbers of fish very cheaply.

Hormone Treated Fish

There are three reasons why hormones are used on ornamental fish.

  1. To make them breed, mainly used for species which are difficult to breed normally and to give the breeder total control over the whole process. Side effects unknown.
  2. To make the young fish grow and mature more quickly. So that they can be sold on at an earlier age. Side effects - fish which mature at an earlier age don't grow as big as fish which mature later. Also fish raised with hormone additives are much less fertile later in life.
  3. The fish are given a large dose of male hormone, the effect of this is to make both sexes appear in excellent condition and exaggerates their normal colours. This obviously makes them more tempting to buy, but - The treatment will also make the fish sterile, the intense colour only lasts for a few weeks and then it fades to a very pale drab fish, often less colourful than an untreated fish and at worst it will greatly reduce the normal life span of the fish.

    Not only should you not buy these fish but you should point out to the shop keeper the cruelty involved in producing them and make a point that you will shop somewhere else for as long has the shop sells them.
    It takes a while but the message will get through eventually, especially if they lose income over it.

Laser Painted fish

This is a relatively new process where the fish are "tattooed" using a laser, this allows intricate patterns to be created and shows that the process is becoming far more sophisticated from the early days of injecting the dye.

Natural Fish

I'll let the photos do the talking.

Other Ethical Fishkeeping Information