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Facts you need to know before
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Contributed by Panda Aquatic Centre.

Some Practises by Breeders and Traders to Enhance the Colour of Dragonfish.

The high price and the lack of knowledge by hobbyist in identifying genuine grades Dragon Fish have led many unethical breeders and traders into devising ways and methods to reap a huge profit by making the Dragon Fish look attractive and irresistible to inexperience hobbyists - temporarily.

Use of colour hormones.

This method can only be used on the young fishes of sizes 4-7 inches as the adult fish has thicker scales which prevent the colour of the skin below the scales to be seen.  Most commonly, the Yellow-tail is fed with the Red colour hormones and sold as genuine grade Red Dragon Fish.

Use of Chemical colour enhancers.

This method subjects the Dragon fish external scale and fins to a colour solution that will provide a temporary metallic-colour coating. This form of treatment gives the Dragon Fish scales a very well colour balance and attractive appearance. However, the colour will fade gradually over the period of 4 – 6 months.  This misleads many hobbyists into thinking that they have not been practicing good Dragon Fish keeping skill that results in poor colour exhibition of their own Dragon Fish.

Exposing Dragon Fish to sunlight.

This method works well with the Red and the Yellow Tail. When expose to sunlight, the Dragon Fish colour will darken as its colour pigment is enhanced.  With intense colourisation, they are considered as premium quality and sold at premium price. However, when this same fish is transferred to indoor tank and without exposing to sunlight, its colour will fade gradually.

Starving the Dragon Fish.

This method provides just sufficient amount of food for the fish to survive. It stunts the physical growth in order to achieve deeper and much intense colourisation compare to other normal growth Dragon Fish. Many hobbyists gauge the age of the Dragon fish by its size as there are no other obvious signs. This method misled hobbyist into believing that the stunted fish is of exceptional quality since it exhibit deeper and intense colour even though at a young age. These Dragon Fishes usually have awkward appearances such as large eyes and sunken belly with disproportionate body shape resulting in poor swimming style.

Blinding eyes of the Dragon Fish on purpose.

This is the latest and most cruel method used recently. Blind Dragon Fish sees only total darkness and the natural chameleon instinct of the fish gives rise to the exhibition of dark and intense body colour by the fish very quickly.  Inexperienced hobbyist will not be able to notice the fish has been blinded as this is very cleverly done.

Selling crossbreed Dragon Fish at the price of genuine grade fish.

These crossbreed young fishes look very much the same as the genuine grade fish. In fact, it is almost impossible for an expert to tell the difference between the both unless one knows the true bloodline of fishes. Some examples are Crossback/Green and Crossback/RTG (Red Tail Golden arowana) sold as Crossback. These crossbreed Dragon Fish do not exhibit good colorization when in adulthood but when young can even fool experts.

The above-mentioned unethical practices are in one way or another cruel and harmful to the Dragon Fish. To effectively “bring out” the full colour potential of the fish without harming the fish, natural food such as krill and prawn, which are rich in axthaxiantine and carotene, are to be recommended.