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Old 01-09-2013, 03:31 PM   #31 
Myates
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When a dog attacks a human it isn't poor breeding at all.... it's that the dog was either not acclimated properly to people, or the dog was fearful. A dog who was not properly acclimated or is afraid of a person for any reason will go on instinct alone and will give warning signs such as body posturing and showing of the teeth. It's humans that either continue to advance towards the dog when they are given the warning signs that the dog attacks.. on instinct = "I'm scared, they are coming closer, I'm afraid of being hurt, I'll lash out to protect myself".
If a dog bites "for no reason" it's because it wasn't properly trained as a young pup. It is vital to train your dog how to behave while they are young, if you don't then you do run the risk of being bitten. Period. A dog left tied up most of it's life or grew up in a house with rowdy kids that ran around yelling, etc, are more likely to bite as they have learned to "rough house" or guard itself.
It's instinct that causes them to react to situations that WE put them into. It has NOTHING to do with breeding. If you want, I can get my boyfriend who trains dogs, who grew up with dog trainers to tell you all about how it's learned behavior and instinct that causes a dog to bite - and it's root is from it being an animal.

ANY animal that grows up solitary is more likely to be aggressive towards another of it's own kind. And it doubles that with animals that have it in their core to be aggressive (such as bettas). So that test really just says what is common knowledge to anyone who knows animals.
What it doesn't tell you is how long had those that grew up together lasted together? How many were in what size tank? How was the tank planted? How did they rate the amount of aggression? Did they use all of the fish from the spawn? Or did they just pick out certain ones?
It's not language they failed to learn, it's the fact that an animal grew up in a certain circumstances and then placed in a situation where it felt threatened and trapped. How in the world is that an accurate assessment on an animal that is programmed within their own biology to fight for their territory/life?

Oh.. and something that was mentioned to me by another breeder which rings true (as I can attest to this with some of my breeding pairs), females prefer aggressive males, most females will kill/chase off non aggressive males.. they prefer aggressive males to protect the eggs.
Two of my females will chase away and terrorize any of my "docile" males to the point where I have to take the males out, destress them and teach them not to be fearful with females.. so aggression plays a part in breeding as well.

Last edited by Myates; 01-09-2013 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:33 PM   #32 
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I watch my wild betta fry growing out as this is all I have to base my own experiences on, and generally the only fighting that occurs is based on flaring and display. Usually two juveniles will start circling each other slowly and flaring. Then there might be one or two nips and then the losing fish backs off and after a brief chase the winner stops pursuit and they both go on their way.

I think when a fish is grown out alone from a very young age it misses out on learning many of the normal social cues, and so becomes a lot more aggressive because it can't read the signals the other fish is giving.

It's like how puppies removed from their mother too early miss a lot of vital socialisation such as learning bite inhibition.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:49 PM   #33 
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I agree to a point, but even in a spawn you tend to have one or some that need to removed due to aggression. They learn their cues, but it's still hardwired in them to become territorial. And some wild betta species are more docile, etc.. I am only going from the splendens angle :)

Have to ask about the experiment though.. was this the one where they realized once they got the bettas to be docile they stopped breeding? Species needs what it was given to survive, otherwise bye bye splendens.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:14 PM   #34 
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Yeah I do agree that bettas need some aggression to spawn. You can see it in how aggressively they behave towards each other in courtship. My poor burdigala male is ripped to shreds because he wanted to spawn and the female was not going to take his crap.

I sometimes wonder whether the aggression they show towards each other during spawning is a test of the fitness of each other. Most female bettas are going to want a strong, healthy male who is aggressive enough and dominant enough to protect his nest from competitors and predators. Likewise, a male is going to want a strong, healthy female to spawn with as this is probably going to give him the healthiest spawn and most fertile eggs.

I spawned a sibling pair of splendens a couple of times and even though the male did not touch the female once during courtship, they still would flare and display to each other before and during the act of spawning.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:24 PM   #35 
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That's it exactly, in my opinion. No male/female of any animal species wants a weak mate. They want strong, healthy genes to pass along to their offspring for better survival. It's all part of their courtship.. this is a betta's way of saying "Hey, look at me.. I'm big, strong and tough!".. lol and the girl is like "Oh hai! Look at my curvalicious tummy.. I've got some eggs for you!"

lol..

My whole argument is that we can't expect to change an animal species to fit our fancy. They will always rebel in some way - God, nature, whatever you call it, had put them together the way they were meant to be, the way they liked.. it's not up to us, nor can we, change something so important as their way of life (sort to speak).. if we mess with it, then something else screws up - in this case it could be breeding. Can't breed, then no fish to carry on the "docile" "gene".

And that breeders don't just focus on fins.. they are always working and breeding the healthiest, strongest fish.. it's the mass producers that sell you the VTs at Walmart that are causing their life spans to be short (for those particular fish).. not breeders.

About an hour ago I posted a question in one of my betta groups about breeding for temperament, etc.. and I've gotten a ton of replies.. makes me feel a bit confident on where I stand. Just can't change evolution because you want to have a bunch of males squeezed into a tank together because you like them. Gotta work with what we have :)

I think this pretty much sums it up for me, which was posted by another "Lets get a pair of Mako Sharks and breed them to NOT eat people".

Sorry if I sound rude, but you brought in dogs and mice and compared them to fish, etc. I just have to giggle some :)

Last edited by Myates; 01-09-2013 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:37 PM   #36 
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I agree. I also don't think you have much hope of changing their behaviour too much, as until science proves otherwise, fish run pretty much on instinct. They can learn by association but I think that's about it.

Besides, I have found that aggressive fish tend to be much more personable than schooling fish. Most of the larger cichlids and other predatory fish like some of our big natives here, are usually quite friendly and willing to interact with their owner.

Having owned schooling fish in the past, I find they are usually pretty bland personality wise. I think if you somehow removed all the aggression from bettas you would be taking away a lot of what makes them so popular.

I mean what is more awesome than a betta in full display flaring and carrying on?

I think the trouble with fish is that there is no health test like in dogs and cats, so you can't really test your breeders before you spawn from them. The best you can do is cull any fry of sub-standard health or quality, and if two fish continually produce poor quality spawns, retire them and don't continue with that particular line. Other than that, there's no real way of knowing just how healthy or mentally fit your bettas truly are.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:40 PM   #37 
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Yep :)

I've been raising/keeping all sorts of tropical fish for the last 20 years and I find certain ones are much more fun.. I used to keep a lot of angels, and I always kept one or two in a tank without any other angels and they were so sociable with me I fell for them because of that. The ones in schools, not so much.

Wet vets are very hard to come by, regular vets don't learn/deal with fish.. so you can't get them looked at like other animals. Guess all there is we can do is take the conditioning period and make sure they are healthy - if they are ill then you should notice something within a couple of weeks.

BTW, love your fish room :) Keeping your page on a favorite's list as I'm wanting to start research on other wild species..

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Old 01-09-2013, 06:36 PM   #38 
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Myates, deformities DO happen, even in healthy lines, but it CAN be exaserbated by constant inbreeding. In nature occasional inbreeding occures... But NOT to the point of human interferance. There are codes in DNA that repeat every time like is bred to like.

This specific type of breeding DOES NOT HAPPEN in the wild. A halfmoon does not specifically go breed with another HM, and a crowntail wont turn down a VT for spawning. What we have done is to introduce an ARTIFICIAL linniege that whether we like it or not, has serious reprecussions. Just like you said about a "healthy fish" possibly having something wrong internally, our fish have possible "chinks" in their DNA that may not affect them, but WILL show up the more often it is matched with its like.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:54 PM   #39 
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I know deformities happen, I have never said that they don't happen.. unsure where you got that from at all. o.O

What repercussion are you talking about.. I am SO lost at what your argument is?
Humans have developed longer fins and colors that are not found in the wild betta splenden.. but our developed bettas have, over the many decades, adjusted to the way they are.

This whole debate is about making the betta splendens docile.. which is unhealthy for the fish as a whole - not only is it something we technically cannot remove, but it's an important part in staying alive and breeding.

Inbreeding is common in every animal, even humans.. true breeders of splendens only in breed to a point, just like with dogs.. they stop when that point is reached. If there is anything noticeably wrong with the fish they will stop breeding and bring in a new mate, or stop all together. If there are deformities, those bettas who are deformed are not bred, and if they are then they aren't in business for long as people would hear about them..

Still.. confused.. what it sounds like you are saying at the end with "our fish have possible "chinks" in their DNA that may not affect them, but WILL show up the more often it is matched with its like".. it sounds like you are saying people should not breed same fin types.. what does that have to do with turning an aggressive species into a docile one?
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:02 PM   #40 
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I think they're stating the point that when you have a breed, it's a small genetic pool. And with most domestic breeds, there are common genetic defects. Like German Shepherds and hip displaysia, or Great Danes and tumors, Daschunds and back problems. Sometimes in trying to keep things "pure", we condense the probability of these issues cropping up.

The easiest way to get away from that is outcrossing (mutts), but in doing so, we lose the integrity of the breeds that people have spent so much time developing. Like with my guppies, if bettas were allowed to outcross enough, they'll eventually just revert to wild type.
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