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[APD] Cardinals in the wild

Moon wrote:

>> I do have a reason for this
reply other than "me too" and I would like to ask you and the rest of the
about a rumor I have heard about Cardinal tetras. the rumor states that
Cardinal tetras are on the verge of extinction and are not expected to exist
in the
wild more than 1 or 2 more years due to over collecting. Do you or anyone on
this list have any information about this? I would have though if cardinals
were that close to extinction they would be protected by CITES by now. Also
rumor goes on the state that Cardinals are not bred in captivity at all but
that almost all neons are captive bred now. Is any of this correct?<<

Any rumors that cardinal tetras are endangered in any way at this time are
completely unfounded. And was started by someone terribly uninformed.
Cardinal tetras in the wild have been more extensively studied than any
other type of aquarium fish.  Moreover, the collection of cardinal tetras
from the wild may be what saves the Amazon rainforest from habitat
destruction.  The fish ONLY spawn in the flooded forest, and there is NO way
to catch them other than by hand with small nets.  Dr. Labbish Chao of
Project Piaba has worked extensively with the Brazilian government and the
local fisherman to teach them how important it is to protect their forest,
and to report illegal mining and logging operations that threaten the

Aquarium fisherman make a much higher income from this trade than do people
who congregate in the larger towns, or worse, in Manaus.  When these larger
populations in developed areas need to be fed, it requires more rainforest
to be cut down to produce food for them.  Farming quickly degrades the
environment because of the thin topsoil in the rainforest.  So collecting
cardinal tetras and other aquarium fish from the wild is a win/win/win
proposition.  It provides us with beautiful fish for our tanks, provides a
living for local fishermen AND it actually encourages responsible
conservation practices.

Project Piaba also works to develop better ways of handling aquarium fish
once they are caught, to reduce mortality and increase health between
capture and sale.  If you'd like to learn more about Project Piaba & Dr.
Chao's work, visit their website:


As far as the captive breeding of cardinals is concerned, it can be done.
In fact, I know at least one person who spawned and raised them regularly in
a heavily planted community tank.  IF, through habitat destruction, we lost
the wild cardinal, this is not a fish that would be lost to the hobby.
(though there are many, many other species that probably would be lost)  It
would become economically worthwhile for fish farmers to start producing
them commercially.  Under current circumstance, however, captive propagation
of cardinals would actually be BAD for the environment, because it would
take livelihood away from the local fishermen who are the first line of
defense in protecting the environment.  The Project Piaba slogan is "Buy a
fish, save a tree".

As far as I know, there is not a single species of FRESHWATER fish that has
been threatened by collecting for the aquarium hobby.  To the contrary, in
many cases, habitat is being destroyed faster than the species can be
collected and established in captive breeding programs.

Oh, and yes, most commercially available neon tetras are farmed in the far


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