We are at a pivotal point in the rare livebearer hobby. Stick with me, I
was recently contacted with new, important information.
Select Aquatics was begun in 2009 after
selling fish at ALA conventions (American Livebearer Association) since
2000. I hoped to provide
the most desirable fish seen at those
events year around. I priced everything at just enough to meet expenses,
I do not pay myself, and when
funds are available, they go to
improvements to the facility. Since then, Select Aquatics has
distributed just under 10,000 livebearers out
to the hobby, and 3-4,000 other types of
fish. (Plecos and Odessa Barbs) As well, the number of tanks has more
than doubled, with additions
of monitoring equipment, filtration and
aeration upgrades, emergency generators, etc.
Over the past
6 years, these 20+ species are now rarely seen at club events. As
well, "Species Maintenance" efforts in the national and larger
local clubs have not been effective, or kept track of
species that are disappearing.
I was concerned that some of these species
may be about to
disappear, negating the past 20-30 years of hobbyist conservation effort.
March 2016, after a number of emails and conversations, I have come to
find that the Skiffia "Black Beauty", a fish that has been
carefully raised here over 5 years from 2
weak pair, may be extinct in the US, and their status in Europe is being
determined. For those of
you looking to exploit these fish financially, the last time they were posted on Aquabid,
about 3-4 years ago, they were priced at $90 a pair
(Sale by Rit F.) They will be sold here for $40
a pair when they are ready to distribute. I currently have about 40 here.
Recently customers have written that even
fish that are not rare in the wild, and once fairly common in the hobby
are also disappearing.
As an example, it takes about 12-18 mos.
to breed up 15-20 pairs of Xiphophorus montezumae, Tomosopo, and 50-100
young for Fry Deals.
Then, when offered for sale they
are generally sold out in 2-4 months. Yes, I could personally benefit and simply
charge more, but I would rather get
more out into the hobby so they do not
disappear. A single pair at an ALA convention about 5 years ago went for
$75, and I have been told they
have not been seen at a convention since. I
am focusing here on the X. montezumae, and have further expanded the
number of tanks for them.
These fish, with some searching, are still
available. For those of you looking for an opportunity to save a species
and make a little income,
this is the time to do so, and these
species need to be bred and distributed out to the hobby, or they will
New tops were put on tanks here 5 years ago, and
I lost the la Isle Zamora Skiffia multipunctata population. I contacted
6 customers to restart
the line, and no one had kept them going. I did
locate 2 pair from another fishkeeper that, like the Black Beauties,
were in poor shape, and
after 5 years of carefully breeding them
out, I am up to about 100+ fish, and have begun offering them for sale.
These, too are nearly gone
from the hobby, as well as being endangered
in the wild.
Today, it has never been easier to sell the
fish in your tanks. Aquabid and BidForFish.com are easy. Very easy, and
I could not have done
what I have done without those types of internet
marketplaces. Yes, a few of these fish have appeared on Aquabid in the
past, but each of
these species is suggested because they are
in high demand, and must be bred in larger colonies to maintain overall
and healthy reproduction. A tank of 3 pair that crank
out fry that are immediately posted on Aquabid is not the way to help
maintain a healthy
population of the species. I try to follow
the rule that no fish is sold when there are fewer than 30 here, and
every species is kept in at least 3
tanks to protect the colony, if something
should happen to one of the tanks.
Am I asking that some, or even many of
you breed these rarer fish to sell - possibly even to compete with me?
In fact, focus on the species I have the
most difficult time meeting demand with, and I can guarantee that if you
offer truly quality stock,
you will always have buyers.
Here is a list of species I recommend:
Xiphophorus montezumae, either the Tomospo or the Capuchin
lineata, the "One Sided Livebearer"
velifera, the "Giant Sailfin Yucatan Molly"
Characodon lateralis/audax, the Red audax morph
Characodon audax, The "Black prince"
Skiffia "Black Beauty"
Skiffia multipunctata La Isle Zamora
Xiphophorus Birchmanni, "The Swordless
* - The montezumae, multipunctata,
birchmanni, lateralis, lineata and Black Beauties may be available again
over the next few months.
The velifera are available in groups of 6
2-4 monthold fish. The audax I no longer have, but may be
able to locate.
Other slightly more common but still
disappearing from the hobby, that are carried by Select Aquatics:
- Both of these are in good numbers here.
Of course, there are many other species
that need this type of conservation help. Those above are the most
popular species that
I hear most often about from customers, and
that I have focused on here.
Some of these fish I receive requests for 3-4 times a month..
Those species are all chosen for a reason, all have their issues, and some are difficult to breed up
and grow out in large numbers,
but it can be done. You will likely find that from
the time the first 2 pair are obtained, it will be 6-18 months before
you will have bred
up numbers to sell, and some may take longer.
The X. montezumae is not a just another swordtail, and the
is not the same
as any other molly. Both require a slightly
higher level of care than either of their pet store equivalents, in part
explaining why they
are not seen on these internet sites more
frequently. But they are doable for the moderately skilled aquarist
looking to improve the
To offer one of these species for sale, you
will need at least 4 tanks, two 30s or 55s (depending on species) and
10s. And I will
even help you get started. After viewing
the Select Aquatics Filtration video, and reading any information on
this site on the species
you wish to work with, but have further
questions regarding diet, feeding, handling fry, shipping, whatever-
simply email me at
, and I will answer
any questions you may have to help get you started. We can even meet by
and I will look at your setup and make
suggestions, while showing you how everything is done here.
Lastly, on a personal note, I passed my
50th year as a fishkeeper, and hope to place these out into
the hobby so that they are in good
hands, and are bred and distributed so that
they are not lost. More fishkeepers need to do what I am doing to keep
these fish around, as
the independent fish stores, shows and
conventions that once kept these in the hobby no longer provide fish as they
once did. Now is
the time to act, or these
fish will be lost to the hobby forever.
As well, if you have any questions
about anything I have written here, please do not hesitate to drop me an