Clown Loach breeding and export study

RD.

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Each generation of clown loaches have been turning out more and more weird.
Please explain what you mean by "each generation".

If in fact CL's were being bred in captivity via hormones, the parent stock would be older loaches, meaning they would be wild stock. All offspring from such breedings would be F1. It's not like there would be several generations removed from the wild producing fry, as in F2-F10 specimens.

Back in 2009, when Ewurm made that comment he was incorrect. At that time, there was no mass commercial breeding of clown loaches taking place here in NA, or overseas. IMO, there still isn't. Not because of the cost of hormones, in Malaysia human chorionic gonadotropic (HCG) hormones have been used to induce spawning in various species of fish over the years, and as one can see by the prices in the link to Argent Labs it's not exactly expensive. In Malaysia 10,000 units probably cost less than a pack of cigs.

It's not the cost of the hormones that makes this type of breeding non profitable for farmers, it's the labor & time involved in these types of breedings. Just to get things going these hormones have to be intramuscularly injected into each individual female. Then with clown loaches one has to factor in their growth rate before they can be taken to market.

Did you see the pics that I posted of the farm bred clowns? They were teeny-tiny, 3/4" TL, in 40+ years the smallest that I have ever seen, and cost $13.33-$17.25 depending on quantity purchased. No one is willing to pay those kinds of prices for CL's that are not even 1 inch in total length. That's insane, and farms cannot compete with importers that bring in 5,000 2-3 inch pieces at a time, and sell them for a fraction of that amount. They are also very unstable at those sizes, and most if not all of those F1 loaches died before being sold.

At the wholesale level CL's are dirt cheap, 3-4" CL's cost as little as $1-2 US in Indonesia. Even with freight costs added on, one can pack a lot of juvie CL's into a decent size box that will only cost $50-75 (for shipping) landed here in NA. But even if one is the average LFS, that doesn't import themselves, but buys through local suppliers, decent sized CL's are still usually only a few $ a piece. Most LFS have a min of a 100% mark up on fish, many 150-300% mark up, so just keep that in mind when viewing store prices. So why would any store in their right mind pay $3-5 for a 1" clown loach, when they could get one 2-3 times that size for the same price?

IMO that's why commercial farming of these fish has never taken off, and I suspect that the farmers in Florida learned this the hard way. If there was $$$$ to be made, the Asian farmers would have been all over this years ago. Hormone induced breeding is certainly nothing new in Asia, they have been doing this type of breeding for decades.

There are different collection locations in the wild, and the CL's from Borneo (Kalimantan) do look different than those collected in Sumatra. They are actually genetically different fish, which may explain why some people are seeing different looking loaches from time to time.


I'm afraid I'm going to need to see some solid proof of commercial breeding taking place, before I buy into the possible increase in oddball loaches in some areas (if that's even statistically factual) being caused by hormone induced commercial breeding.
 

JayC74

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There's a petstore in Ma that frequently orders large quantities of tiny clowns. These loaches are real tiny (about the size of pensil eraser). An employee there swears they're being artificially bred. I think i even saw some of these ultra tiny clowns at petco before
 

RD.

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Jay - what's the price on the tiny ones being sold at your LFS?
 

JayC74

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I've noticed in the last couple years that this store was getting the tiny tiny guys. The price when they first got them was 6.99. This was the same price as the 1.5 to 2inch ones they normally had in. Now they sell the tiny guys for 10.99. It's really a ripoff now, but last time i was there they had a nice spotted oddball i couldn't pass up, so i bought it. There was prob 100 loaches in the tank and mine was 1 of only maybe 5 or 6 oddballs. Amazing you can see the pattern even at that small size
 

RD.

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Hmmmm, that's interesting. Thanks for the info. Either they have an importer source for very small CL's, or there is still at least one commercial farm out there still producing them in Florida. I find that hard to believe, but I guess one can never say never.
 

RD.

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Thanks, that would be greatly appreciated.
 

JayC74

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OK, i gave this aquarium store a call today and asked for the owner. He says they're all wild caught. His fish lists just simply give him many small sizes to pick from. He prob jumps on these tiny guys because he knows he can charge the same amount and make a better profit...Anyhoo, not sure what's up with employee (who's been there for at least 15years) who keeps claiming to me that these tiny clowns are not wild caught. I need to get a pic of these loaches from the store, mines almost 2inch now
 
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RD.

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Funny about the employee, he's probably just thrown off by their small size as well. I appreciate you taking the time to call the owner, and post back here. Thanks!
 

JayC74

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No problem RD. I absolute have come to love these fish, so any info i get on them is very interesting. Kinda glad to hear they're wild caught (if it's true).
And that's exactly what that employee's rational was each time he told me this..."theres no way they would export clowns at this tiny size" lol
 
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