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those bright orange parrot cichlids that occasionally appear and command such a high price are the result of dying or a natural color morph.
Fish that have been artificially dyed have shown to have significantly higher mortality rates than their naturally colored brethren. Painted glass-fish undoubtedly have some of the highest mortality rates, as large packets of dye are routinely injected into these fish using large-gauge hypodermic needles. With laser blasts, the laser destroys cells while burning its way downward before a dye is applied.
Multiple uses of the same needle spreads infections — examine a tank of dyed fish closely, and you'll see multiple signs of bacterial infection. Typically, these appear as white cauliflowerlike growths centered on an injection site.
The question of what the dye itself does has never been truly examined, with some anecdotal evidence suggesting that it reduces growth rates, life expectancies and reduces the ability of the fish to breed.
Furthermore, in order to do any work on the fish, the fish must be removed from the water, restrained and worked on for some time. I don't know about you, but if the clerk at the LFS drops a fish I am about to buy on the floor, I ask for another. Imagine how much more stressful it must be to a fish to be tossed on a table, restrained and jabbed repeatedly with a needle. These fish are, simply put, tortured for the sake of adding a little coloring. In the process, they become far more susceptible to disease and suffer high mortality rates to boot.
In a twist of irony, other brightly colored fish suffer from the reputation of these dyed fish. While working in aquarium stores, I cannot even begin to count the number of times I've explained to customers that neon tetras (Paracheirodon innest) and other similarly bright fish are perfectly natural, nor can I recount the times cus-
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