Ecotanks Fish Blog
All The Pretty Colors?
Home | Articles & Fish Profiles | About Me | Favorite Links | Contact Me

The Truth About Dyed Fish

In the past few years there have been many new fish appear on the market, some like the Botia kubotai are a welcome find, others are not quite so natural. Originally started in the 70’s with the Disco Fish (a glassfish that was dyed multiple colors) these fish have increased in demand. After all who doesn’t want to see a colorful fish? Many people were mislead by exports as these fish were sold as “painted glassfish.” That doesn’t sound so bad, why all the fuss?

In reality a “painted glassfish” isn’t really painted at all, it’s injected with dye. Even that sounds somewhat passable, but here’s the entire process:

The fish is dipped in an acid solution that removes the protective slime coat (part of the fishes immune system). Next, the fish is injected with semi-fluorescent dye, the needle used would compare to you getting a flu shot with a needle the size of a number 2 pencil. The fish may also be dipped directly into the dye in the case of most loaches. Next the fish is placed in an irritant bath in an effort to start regenerating the protective slime coat. Only 20% of fish survive this initial process, many others will die from disease or have a shortened lifespan because of this treatment. The high mortality rate, combined with the fact that most dyed fish will lose their unnatural colors within 8-10 months, hardly makes this whole process seem necessary.

There is a difference between the genetically engineered GloFish and fish that have been dyed. Both are hot subjects with fish enthusiasts but the difference really is between what is ethical and what is outright animal abuse. The GloFish are engineered to be luminescent by adding a fluorescent gene, this causes not physical pain to the fish. The dyeing process as described above if far from painless and kills 800 out of 1000 fish that undergo this barbaric process.

The GloFish is not available in California which does not allow possession of any transgenic aquatic life without a special permit.

Dyed fish are available at most Wal-Mart, PetsMart and Petco stores as well as some smaller retailers.

Here is a list of commonly found dyed fish, this list grows daily as the number of fish being subjected to this treatment increases as long as public demand increases. It should be noted that not only are fish abused by this process, but the workers face an increased risk of bladder cancer due to the Benzidine-based dyes used as well as working conditions that are substandard.

  • Blushing Tinfoil Barb
  • Gold Dollars
  • Painted Tetra
  • Blueberry Tetra
  • Strawberry Tetra
  • Berry Tetra
  • Blueberry Oscar
  • Strawberry Oscar
  • Cotten Candy Parrots
  • Rainforest Ramirezi
  • Gumballs
  • Polka-Dot Gourami
  • Jellybean Parrots
  • Ice Blue Albinos
  • Kiss the Blarney Gouramis
  • Colored Suckerfishes
  • Colored Nyassae
  • Zebra Ice Albinos
  • Patriotic Suckerfish
  • Rainbow Filomenae
  • Colored Paradisefish
  • Rainbow Tiger Botias
  • Colored Fighters
  • Colored Yellowtailed Botias
  • Blueberry Honey
  • Dinnerplates
  • Sundiscs
  • Jellybeans
  • Icepops
  • Painted Glassfish
  • Rainbotia



Posted by my fish not me


All the postings and articles are the property of Ecotanks Fish Blog and are written by Bill Carpenter unless otherwise noted. No use of these posts or articles without the express written permission from Bill Carpenter is allowed.