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BULLDOG Fry- Genetic Or Environmental

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 12:59 am
by wandj
Yes you are right. "She" does have a bulldog nose. I have all the deformed ones in their own special tank. I have 3 with that bulldog face. And they were all captive bred. Does anyone know why captive breds have this feature? Is the bulldog face an environmental defect?

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 1:03 am
by Tom2600
It could be as simple as in the wild fish with deformities often do not make it past a young age. OR it could be that the fish you bred from were related therefore increasing the chances of deformities.

I very much doubt this feature would arise from conditions in your tank. It would be interesting to hear if anyone else who has bred Zebras if they have seen this feature?



Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 2:19 am
by Barbie
I have a few fry from different batches with this problem. Once I made the back of the cave easily removable, so I don't have to push the fry out as aggressively with water and what not, they stopped having any problems. As that would be an injury related "look", it shouldn't cause any problems for future breeders, other than aesthetics, IMO.


Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 8:43 am
by McEve
I don't think that's an injury. It's a known type of deformity, along with croocked fins.

I'm sure some fry could get an injury and still live, but fries are very delicate, and if they lost half their nose I don't think they would.

The picture where I've seen this deformity before shows three from the same litter, all with the bulldog-nose. I think Tom is right when he said this probably is a defomity that can happen in the wild as well, but they get naturally culled.

I would have made a complaint to the breeder as I think he's made a wrong desicion in selling inferior goods to full price. They should have been culled in my opionion.

Even though I can understand it's percieved as cute I find the Zebra to be *the* most beatiful fish, and shouldn't be altered in any way IMO.

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 10:09 am
by McEve
You can read more about the bulldog nose here: ... aharn.html

I just think it would be a terrible mistake to think that this is just a damage and breed them. It is a deformity and chanses are it will be a hereditary thing.

I sincerely hope you will decide not to breed her wandj, and do hope it will not be the general consensus in the community that it's ok to breed deformed Zebras, be it because they look cute or otherwise :cry:

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 7:43 pm
by Tom2600
I agree with McEve.

If anyone breeds fish that are runts or have deformities these fish should not be passed on or allowed to breed. IMO.

I would not be happy if I had got this Zebra from a breeder!! I suppose its just another example of greedy people cashing in on Zebras.



Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 8:04 pm
by Dr. P
I agree also. Tank raised Zebra's are our last chance. The more effert put into keeping a 'true' gene pool the better IMO.

That being said, I do feel for you Wandj. I would not be happy either. :(

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 11:24 pm
by wandj
If you want to see an extreme case of "bulldog" face, give me a day to get my roll developed. It is a male. He is one of the 3 I'm putting in the community tank. (What a waste of money) :cry:
When I went back to my aquarium club to select some more fish, I saw a few more with bulldog face. I did not buy any sight unseen this time, and picked my own. Of course I left the "bulldogs" behind. Like I said, captive breeders more likely than not, are just getting rid of thier culls. So anyway, I will post a pic of the big ugly bugger here, hopefully tomorrow.

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 2:33 am
by Barbie
Genetic deformities like this one would be something that is commonly found in the wild (so why haven't we seen them imported?) or take multiple generations to cause them to crop up in tank bred fish, IMO. I do know that the same fish that has batches of completely beautiful fry now, had 5 fry that have noses that are snubbed off in his first 2 batches. I honestly think I did it to them trying to get them to let go of the cave when I was taking them from the male. I had the same thing happen at first with a couple L260, and haven't had more since, once the cave design change was made.

If it was genetic, I'd be seeing more of them in every spawn. Not isolated incidents at first. I don't intend to sell mine as breeders, but should I euthanize them? Or sell them cheap to someone that REALLY wants a zebra but won't want to afford what they'll cost?


Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 3:45 am
by kkorotev
I have been brought into this discussion of the snub-nose F1 H. zebra through my association with a couple of the participants in this thread.
It is a fascinating debate and one that, in my opinion, is yet to be satisfactorily answered.

I first spawned H. zebra a few years ago and was so enthralled by the accomplishment that it was not for many months that I finally noticed the deformity we're discussing. It seemed to happen in one of every 7 or eight fish. No more, No less. I believed then and still believe that this is an environmental issue that either only occurs or is more likely to occur in the home aquarium...or, most precisely; not in the wild.

Do exporters cull the snub-nose before selling? I'd bet a year's salary that they do not. Considering what $ they get (got?) for our favorite fish, ANY zebra is a sellable zebra. I do not mean any discourtesy. It is really not their domain to cull anything but corpses.

DOES it happen in the wild? I do not know, but can say I have never seen it in a wild Hypancistrus of any species...and it DOES happen in other Hypancistrus species. I have young F1 H. inspector fry with "it".

I do not think it occurs because of any damage inflicted during the egg/fry removal process but do believe it happens (or not) during a very specific period of the egg/fry development. Those that get it (in varying degrees), get it early...or do they simply "have" it? If the latter is true, the argument for a genetic cause gets louder.

It happens in soft water as well as hard and as it happens early, it is probably not based on a dietary deficiency either, unless it is one that begins with and is passed through the female "Mother".

Theories abound. Nitrates, Nitrites, "additives", Flouride, and other chemistry issues lead the list of causes. My most recent experiments with lowering early growth tank temperatures proved inconclusive.

I promise, I am about to finish the longest message I've ever posted. First though I would like to applaude any and all who believe the breeding of these snub-nose fish is wrong. To breed this deformity would be tatamount to breeding the long-fin Ancistrus or the "Parrot" fish. The ultimate responsibility lies, as it always does, with the consumer. Buy this fish and you are as equally irresponsible as the seller, unless your purpose is to purchase the animal and, as one of the participants in this thread suggested; place it in a community tank as a single species specimen...or destroy it.

Keep the discussion alive, it is the only way we'll find an answer.

Those are my opinions,
I am often wrong.
Kevin Korotev
Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 9:48 am
by Rob
Hi Guys

First of all may I say a big welcome to KKorotev. It was reading an article written by Kevin on "sue & Craigs "fish page, that first got me interested in Breeding Zebras, hence the obsession, multiple tanks, years of trying and finally the website/forum. My wife holds you soley responsible!!!! :wink:

As for the "Bulldog" fry, I have experienced this once, and for all intensive purposes he will NOT be used as breeding stock. He was the first ever fry from a clutch of 10 eggs, and the only egg to be fertile.

Due to this I can be assured that both adults were wild caught, and unrelated, (unless there is a huge coincidence occured during capture). It was a surprise to me for any of the fry to hatch due to the fact that this was a first spawn for both male and female adults, yet, low and behold, this one survived.

I think it is possible to rule out the posiblitity of damage during the early stages, as the egg was removed and placed in a breeder prior to hatching. The deformity only came to light once the fry was about 5 weeks old. It is clear in the "day 38" photo in the breeding joural.

He has since grown into a strong healthy fish, thus,in my opinion ruling out the idea of a congenial weakness.

Since this one fry, I have not experienced it again, and had put it down to a random mutation.

Reading this board however, I am rethinking this as it does seem to be a relatively common occurance. If it was genetic, then yes, you would expect more wild caught fish to have it, as it does not appear to have an affect on the health of the fish. SO (in my opinion) it would lead me to think that it is due to a variable that exists in captive conditions.

Has anyone experienced this in later spawns with more mature adults?
Would the hardness of the water have the ability to reduce development?

Hmmmmm.... It's got me thinking!!!

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 10:22 am
by McEve
I babelfished my way through this discussion: ... r+schnauze

It seems several breeders have seen this, and they did discuss wether it could be caused by water conditions, but seem to have ruled that out. I get the impression these are experienced breeders.

One says that he got several from one specific father, this was the only thing he found that his fry had in common. They didn't seem to come to a conclusion about what causes this, but do seem to agree that this probably would happen in the wild as well, but that they do not survive.

Maybe it's due to the parental care..? If the fry is left too long in the egg, meaning the father didn't get it out of the shell at the right time? It's known that restrictions of natural growth can lead to deformities, so maybe a stuck head in the remains of the shell could case this? Far fetched maybe, but jsut a thought I got as one of the participants in the discussion above mentioned his had the same father, and at the same time I see others having several batches from the same parents without finding more "bulldogs" the next time.

If somebody here speaks German then we probably would get a more accurate translation of what they say though. Babelfish does make you guessing sometimes!

It's not hard for a fish to survive in the sheltered enviroment of a tank, with a doting human watching their every move :), with far worse deformities than this, as compared to the conditions they face in the wild.

This might very well be a defomity that would lead to natural cullling due to some challenges found in the wild that we do not see. I would assume nobody has research this phenomena in the wild, as we haven't (and the harvesters haven't?) seen this deformity in wild caught fish, so therefor didn't know it could happen until they were tank raised. This is pure speculations on my part though.

I haven't seen it in any of my fry - yet... Not the first spawn, that produced three fry, either.

I'm so happy to see that everybody seem to agree that this deformity rules out breeding! Especially as this is a deformity that gives the fish a baby face look. People like animals that looks like babies :P Personally I can feel my heart sinking when I watch the missing face of these fish...

kkorotev: Yours was the first article about Zebras I found and read with great interest as well! Welcome to the board, you'll be a very valuable participant I'm sure! :D

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 2:38 pm
by Tom2600

This really is a fascinating discussion!

The "bulldog" deformity seen in zebras is truely a strange one to me.

Whilst I appreciate your theory Barbie, as McEve said, you cannot draw conclusions. I'm not sure myself how using a jet of water to remove them from their save would cause such a pronounced defect? One test to find out would be to use this method again to see if the deformity occurs?

What points to a geneitc weakness in the zebra line is that this deformity is being seen throughout tank bred Zebras across the world. Yes you can argue this it could be something in the tank conditions causing the deformity but why would it be so selective? Surely the tank conditions would result in an entire batch of young displaying the same deformity? I personally think genetics is the most who knows?

At present there is just no way of knowing. We can't watch those who catch wild Zebras so have no way of telling if they are discarding deformed fish. We therefore cannot rule this out.

We do not know if it is the artificial tank conditions unless someone can perform a detailed scientific study.

I suppose the only conslusion that can be drawn at present is people with Zebras displaying this deformity should NOT sell them on!! If this bad practice continues, and the ban is turely in force we could end up with a VERY weak genetic line of Zebras, which totally flies in the face of why most people try to breed fish in the first place.

As have been said before though, keep the discussion going, JUST maybe someone might be able to hit on why this bulldog deformity is occuring.



Big ugly bulldog!

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 3:30 pm
by wandj
Here is a pic of an extreme bulldog. A large male. Captive bred. One of my purchases from that same breeder. I have some more pics coming.


Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 3:32 pm
by wandj
Another one. Isn't he just lovely?