Paradise Fish Resurrected

Making A Comeback:

Following is an exerpt from the CNA.

MOSQUITO EATER: Elbowed out of its habitat by foreign species and pollution, the near-extinct fish was made a protected species in 1990 and now has a second chance.

(Photo, courtesy of CNA)  A paradise fish, a small freshwater fish that was once commonly found in rivers and creeks around Taiwan, swims in a breeding pool yesterday. The fish is almost extinct in the wild because of pollution and competition from other fish, but one breeding station in Hualien County has succeeded in breeding the species in captivity.

(Photo, courtesy of CNA) A paradise fish, a small freshwater fish that was once commonly found in rivers and creeks around Taiwan, swims in a breeding pool yesterday. The fish is almost extinct in the wild because of pollution and competition from other fish, but one breeding station in Hualien County has succeeded in breeding the species in captivity.

Paradise Fish — a small freshwater fish once commonly found in rivers and creeks around Taiwan — may be nearly extinct in the wild, but one fish breeding station has been successfully breeding the species in captivity. Lin Hung-Kuei (林鴻桂), director of Hualien County’s Fish Breeding Propagation Station, said that pollution and competitive non-indigenous fish had driven the paradise fish from its natural breeding places and made it almost impossible to reintroduce it into the wild to replenish stocks.

After the fish was designated by the government as a protected species in August 1990, the station began studying ways to help revive the species and has successfully bred the fish in a controlled environment and preserved the species, which is endemic to Taiwan.

The breeding technique is now being shared with schools for use as a tool in experimental ponds, Lin said.

Paradise fish, also known as Macropodus Opercularis, are approximately 6cm long and live in shallow freshwater environments where water flow is gentle.

The fish breeding station said that although they are rarely seen in the wild, with their green-blue and light red stripes, paradise fish are popular in private fish tanks.

Lin said that most paradise fish traded in the market were bred artificially, while some are imported from Malaysia.

Aside from being appreciated for its appearance, the fish can also be used to eradicate mosquitoes as it eats their larva.

Uniqueness:

(Photo, courtesy of Aquarium Life)  Scientific Name(s): Macropodus opercularis, Labrus opercularis; Common Name(s): Paradise Gourami, Paradise Fish; Family: Belontiidae; Species Type: Labyrinth Fish

(Photo, courtesy of Aquarium Life) Scientific Name(s): Macropodus opercularis, Labrus opercularis; Common Name(s): Paradise Gourami, Paradise Fish; Family: Belontiidae; Species Type: Labyrinth Fish

These small freshwater labyrinth fish can be found within ditches and paddy fields throughout East Asia, ranging from the Korean Peninsula to Northern Vietnam, Taiwan and Malaysia.  

This species is unique in that it was reported to have been one of the first ornamental fishes kept and adored by western aquarium keepers, having been imported to various European countries in the 1800’s A.D.E.

These are similar to the beta fishes in their aggressiveness and have been known to fight to the death when one male encounters the other, they are territorial.  The Paradise Fish is more aggressive than the Blue Gourami, however less than the rare Combtail.

These fishes are unique as well for their capability to take air directly from the surface of the water, due to the respiratory organ, known as labyrinth.  Another unique feature is of creating a ‘bubble nest‘ for the nesting of their young, although the female should be parted from the nest for she will consume them for nutrition.  Once the eggs have spawned, the male should be removed as well, for he will consume them once this process occurs.

These fishes are mighty jumpers!  If kept in an aquarium, make it mandatory to leave the cover over it, they are known to have leapt to their death.  In photo-documentation, they turn full black, once deceased.

Facing Extinction:

The photo depicts a pair of Paradise Fish in the process of mating.

The photo depicts a pair of Paradise Fish in the process of mating. The mail encircles the female, into a shape of U.

Once commonly found in local creeks and rivers, are now disappearing, due to chemical pollution in the waters.

One fish-breeding station, however, is determined to revive the once flourishing species.  Factors contributing to the disappearance are: pollution and introduction of competitive immigrant fishes.  The combination have driven the native fish from their natural breeding habitat and made it almost impossible to return them back into nature.

Upon designation by the government as a protected species, in August 1990, the station produced great effort in assisting the reproduction.  The process has been successful, the station’s staff breeded the fish within an observed and controlled environment, to preserve the species in Taiwan.

The breeding technique has been passed down into the education system through habitat observations with man-made ponds.

A benefit to populating the species is for their habit of eating mosquitoes and their larvas.

Evolutionary Adaptations:

A Paradise Fish is seen here in mid-action, leaping from one puddle to another.

A Paradise Fish is seen here in mid-action, leaping from one puddle to another.

Most of this breed live in very warm, or room temperature water.  The only problem is, the higher the temperature of the water, the less oxygen it holds.  Yet, oddly enough, this is the time the mating season begins, as the fishes believe it to be the Summer season.  Their habitat generally contains a considerable amount of rotting vegetation, which further reduces the oxygen level.

Their labyrinth enables them to thrive in such conditions, which with other general fishes, would be a hostile environment. A unique attribute to this is their adaptation: they come up to the surface of water, for their air intake. In other words, they breathe air.

Paradise Fishes thrive in skuzzy water that attracts mosquitoes, like puddles, still-water ponds, buckets partially full of rainwater and vegetation, such as leaves and small twigs.  This environment, though pleasant for the Paradise Fish, may be very uncomfortable for us.

A Fish Among Others:

(Photo, courtesy of TAIPEI TIMES, by Chang Hsuan-Che)  Workers with the Shei-Pa National Park Administration Center release Formosan landlocked salmon fry into the streams of Shei-Pa National Park in 2007.

(Photo, courtesy of TAIPEI TIMES, by Chang Hsuan-Che) Workers with the Shei-Pa National Park Administration Center release Formosan landlocked salmon fry into the streams of Shei-Pa National Park in 2007.

Another kept under a close observation is the Formosan Salmon.

Known as a relic of the glacial period, it is considered by many as a “living fossil.”

The fish is known by many names:  Oncorhynchus masou, Formosan salmon or even Taiwan trout.  The Formosan Salmon can today be seen swimming along the Chi Chia Wan Stream, thanks to having attracted the attention of biogeographers and zoologists since first sighted in 1916.

In the 1930’s, even the Japanese protected them (prior to the World War II), and called it Taiwan’s “national treasure.”

Extinction: over-fishing, development along the streambanks and the construction of highways endangered their population and became alarmingly scarce.  In the early days, it was a much prized, major food source for the Aborigines.

(Photo, courtesy of np.cpami.gov.tw , by Yu Jheng-Hao)  Shown in the photo, are eggs of the Formosan land-locked Salmon.

(Photo, courtesy of np.cpami.gov.tw , by Yu Jheng-Hao) Shown in the photo, are eggs of the Formosan land-locked Salmon.

“The aborigines would catch the fish by means of poisoning, bombing, or electrifying,” said Tang Shiao-Yu, senior specialist of the Conservation Division of the Council of Agriculture (COA).

1984:  The species fell under wildlife species protection under Taiwan’s Law for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage.  They became so protected, in fact, poachers received a three-year prison term.

>>> Conservation of Cultural Hertiage – ASEAN (South-East Asia), can be read through this site.  <<<

(Photo, courtesy of Wu-Ling Farm)  Formosan Landlocked Salmon is a global salmon and trout species distributed in a more southern region.  Therefore, for having this kind of fish in Taiwan that is in the subtropical zone, it is really special.

(Photo, courtesy of Wu-Ling Farm) Formosan Landlocked Salmon is a global salmon and trout species distributed in a more southern region. Therefore, for having this kind of fish in Taiwan that is in the subtropical zone, it is really special.

At the time, the population decreased to a mere 200, however through the protection program, it has grown by the ten-folds.

This canivorous fish enjoys thriving on water insects and the Chi Chia Wan Stream is the perfect habitat, considering its home environment is that of pollution-free water, under 16 degrees (Celcius).

>>>Information to satisfy your curiousity and questions on piranhas.  <<<

Like any other salmon, this one is as well known for swimming upstream for the process of spawning, however have only recently adopted a new routine.

They have been land-locked due to environmental changes: once flat rivers turn precipitous, the steam of the rivers were altered.  These factors and global warming (change in water temperature) impacted their natural instinct.

In their breeding period varying from early October to late November, the males would build breeding hatches within the area of shallw streambeds and the female would spawn in the hatches.

It is believed to be the only Salmon of its kind, not to sweam upwards, against the stream.

>>>For list of other protected species of Taiwan, please visit through this site.  <<<

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~ by Lan on 2008 ThuUTC2009-02-26T14:37:55+00:00. 15.

One Response to “Paradise Fish Resurrected”

  1. Hello,

    I currently prepare a project of book on trouts. It is a book written in French. It is about my first book. The book would be an inventory of the salmo, salvelinus, onchorynchus and others, with information on the localization, the habitat, biology, a description.

    To be complete, I must speak about Formosan salmon. It is important to make known in France Formosan salmon . I have not Formosan salmon photographs. Can you give some to me? I do not have money for you to buy them. (A book on trouts in France does not bring back much money, and I speak about much different species, therefore I need many photographs… )

    On the other hand I can propose to you to present in the book a project for Formosan salmon wich you work.

    I need only a photograph sent by e-mail and your authorization to use only once for a book on trouts to appear in France. It is necessary that you have the “rights” on the photograph.

    If you accept my proposal, can you to also propose me a text from 10 lines presenting a project in which you take part in favour of Formosan salmon.

    Thank you by advance

    Christophe MATHO

    4 allée Jean CORDIN

    41 300 Salbris France

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