F0, F1, F2, What does it all mean?
F0, F1, F2. These terms can be confusing, especially if you are new to the hobby. They are often found on stock lists both from retailers and wholesalers alike. By just looking at these lists, it is tough to know what these terms mean and what effect they can have on the fish you are purchasing.
FO means that a fish has been caught in the wild. This term sometimes is replaced with the words “wild caught” or sometimes just simply the word “wild”. Fish that are wild caught have been captured in the wild and are usually introduced to the fish keeping hobby through importing. Sometimes they are also collected by private individuals on collection trips. Either way, these fish require more attention to detail that the common tank raised fish.
Wild caught fish need water conditions as close as possible to their natural habit. For Central and South American cichlids, as well as Western Africans and most riverine (fish from rivers or streams) a requirement of more soft water is needed for these fish to flourish and do well. In the U.S. were most water is hard, this means that these fish will need their water softened by either R.O. (Reverse Osmosis), peat moss, rain water or other means. Some wild caught fish will adapt to harder water; but, it will likely affect spawns and in some cases may shorten life spans.
Wild caught African Rift Lake (Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Victoria) are more accustomed to hard water and fit in better with U.S. water conditions. However, since they come from large lakes they are accustomed to large areas to swim, spawn, and set up territory. This means they are likely to require extra space in an aquarium setting. Because they are used to set up larger territories, these fish can also be more aggressive to other tank mates than common tank raised fish.
Since wild caught fish are accustomed to larger areas, they tend to do best for wholesale fish farmers in ponds or large vats. Some of the more successful fish farmers import wild caught fish, create breeder stock from them, and sell off the extras. When the breeder group starts to get too old they are often replaced with newer breeders from the wild or from their offspring, if there are no more wild ones available or if the cost to import new wild ones is too high.
There also is a school of thought in the hobby that wild caught fish, tend to color better than other fish. This thinking helps the wholesaler and the retailer to get higher prices for these fish in order to offset the higher cost of importing them over raising fish from fry. However, not all wild caught fish are more colorful. Some have a hard time adapting to aquarium life and never really show their full color. Therefore, if you are looking for show color fish, wild caught may not be the best way to go, unless you can provide for their special needs.
F1 means that these fish are the first generation born from wild caught fish in captivity. F1 fish are better accustomed to aquarium life than wild caught fish. Often they are born in an aquarium or in a vat with a separation screen to protect them from the adults. Most are raised in an aquarium and never see the lake. Others may become breeder stock for the wholesaler, or be grown out in a tank, vat or pond before they are sold. Either way, these fish are not accustomed to the large space of a lake. They tend, therefore, to establish smaller territory than their wild caught parents. This makes them a better fit into aquarium life. In addition, because these fish are more accustomed to tank life, these fish tend to show the most color and are a better source for show color fish than their parents may be.
F2 means that these fish are the second generation from wild caught fish. Their parents are F1 fish. Personally, I do not use this term when selling fish. I see it as just another way to ask a higher price for a given fish. To me, an F2 fish is really a farm or tank raised fish.
There is nothing wrong with most farm and tank raised fish. Many have good color much like their ancestors. Just because they are not wild caught or the first generation does not mean that they lack color or have far different temperaments than their parents, grandparents, etc. The photo of my in house raised Aulonocara Red Shoulder peacock that is now my breeder male is located on the description for Aulonocara Red Shoulders. He has produced a large amount of quality fry so far. Like most mouth brooders, this male breeds regularly with multiple females producing about twenty fries per brood. Since broods are about 50% male and 50% female this means there are at least ten males which have the potential to breed with many females from each of these broods. Since each fish carries its own gene set, it takes a very long time for a group of fish like this breeding between themselves to develop a problem.
Occasionally a very old stain of a particular fish that has not had any new fish from other sources can breed some imperfect fish. Defects can vary with the worst case being a fish with a deformed spine that will likely shorten its life span. The sunken belly can also be a generic defect or it can be a sign of an internal worm. This makes diagnosing fish with internal worms all the more difficult. Fish that are defective should not be allowed to spawn and spread the defective gene. Mothers that produce partial defective broods also should be removed from a breeder group. While other mothers in the group may not have this problem. If fathers continue to produce defective broods they also should not be allowed to continue to be breed.
Aulonocara Jacobfreibergi Blue is a fish that is an example of an older strain. According to my wholesale source for them, they were collected from the Lake many years ago and were given to him by Jacob Freiberg. Where this fish actually came from remains somewhat a mystery, however. Despite being an older strain, these fish are still capable of producing color males.
Aulonocara Jacobfreibergi blue male color can vary slightly. This is probably due to the mix in their gene base that has developed over the years. Most show more of a yellowish look on the lower belly while some show more orange on the belly. Several show a thin line of yellow on the shoulder and a few shows orange or red on the shoulder. Some with a red shoulder could be confused with Aulonocara Red Shoulder; but, they are definitely a Jacobfreibergi type because they grow larger than Red Shoulder Peacocks. One particular male showed some green on the face and along the tail as well. This tract is not often seen in other males of this fish. This makes these fish unique.
In conclusion, color is not always about where the fish came from. Just because it is wild caught does not mean it is going to be more colorful. Nor because it is farm or tank raised mean that it will be less colorful. Color has more to do with the individual genes and how comfortable a particular individual is with their surrounds. For this reason, wild caught fish can be more difficult to keep since they need conditions that are closer to the area from which they are collected. On the other hand, F1 and farm raised fish have grown more accustomed to aquarium life and are, therefore, usually less demanding to keep. No matter which you choose, FO, F1, F2, or farm raised fish; the most important thing is to provide a proper environment for the fish you choose to keep. The better the environment provided, the better the color, and the more likely it is for a fish to spawn and prosper.
Cichlids Are Special Owner
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