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torn line. However, if people stopped buying these fish, stores would have no choice but to stop carrying them, particularly in light of their higher mortality than many other fish.

The best choice for eliminating the reprehensible behavior that results in dyed fish is to simply stop their sale. Articles in magazines and other market pressures during the early 1980s were successful in almost eliminating the painted glassfish from the market, though it later made a comeback. Tell your aquarium dealer that you find the sale of such fish to be unacceptable, and ask them to either stop carrying them or tell customers they're dyed. Give your patronage to stores that don't stock these fish, or at least to those that tell customers they're dyed.

In 1996, the British hobbyist magazine Practical Fishkeeping launched its successful Dyed Fish Campaign in the United Kingdom. The magazine recently relaunched the program and decided to make its appeal to the global aquarist community. To find more about the program, visit www.practicalfishkeeping. co. uk/ pfk/pages/campaign.php. U

Joshua Wiegert keeps a number of aquaria dedicated to native fish, including goodeids, kil-lies and any fish he's not familiar with. A former college math instructor, he is pursuing a Ph.D. in aquatic ecology. He is interested in preserving native fish species in conjunction with the Native Fish Conservancy.

Robert Rice has been a freelance writer and stock trader for 17 years. A 20-year husband and father of four, he has collected, fished and hung out in three continents, eight countries and numerous mudholes. He is the president of the Native Fish Conservancy.

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/gn, the dipnetter Text and Photos by Vince Brach

Our Native Combtooth Blennies

They may lack color, but they overcompensate with personality.

Although I like beautifully colored, showy, "ooh-and-ah" fish as much as the next guy, I have a special fondness for fish, which, like some homely people, make up for deficiencies in beauty with exuberant personalities. Chief among these are the readily collectible members of the combtooth blenny family, Blenniidae. Abundant along southern Atlantic and Pacific shores, combtooths have such a comical appearance and amusing behaviors they will keep you entertained for hours!

The "combtooth" of these interesting fish refers to the closely set incisors, which, surrounded by prominent and rather fleshy lips, form ideal algae-grazing tools. As a consequence of their algae-grazing habits, blennies are solitary and can be fiercely territorial. Some species are nearly Obligate "algaevores," but fortinately most can be adapted to better-grjde flake foods. You might try adding .some dgjed nori (seaweed) as a diet supplement.

Our Gufof Mexico and Florida coasts HUBS at least 15 species of combtooth blenny, while the warmer inshore waters of the Pacific coast hold an add|tional three. Seashore vis-rs who have never donned a diving ask have probably never seen one of these perky little fish, because most species spend their time hiding in shells or rocky crevices, darting out occasionally to graze the rock or seaweed surfaces or to seize small edible morsels that float by.

Classics

The classic combtooth blenny for many Atlantic Coast collectors is probably the Molly Miller (Scartell, formerly Blennius, cristata), which ranges from Bermuda to Brazil. In his 1933 classic Field Book of the Shore Fishes of Bermuda, the renowned Ichthyologist William Beebe had the Molly Miller in mind when he wrote:

This crested blenny will spend the bulk of its time hiding in rocky crevices or caves. But it will emerge to graze and feed on bits of detritus.

What they lack in color, crested blennies more than make up for in personality and interesting behaviors. This shy little fella is a crested blenny (Hypleurochilus geminatus).

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9-B South Gold Drive Hamilton, NJ 08691 yPhSmPIo) 7-ICECAP or (609) 588-5338 HXl(609) 588-5460 General: [email protected] Sales: [email protected] Service: [email protected]

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