PROPOSED CODE OF ETHICS FOR KILLI-HOBBYISTS
- Begin with maintaining and breeding a single population with at least 3 young pairs, preferably from different breeders of a species compatible with your experience. Avoid the pitfalls of the collector syndrome, i.e. the sick mentality of keeping excessive populations, with poor end results.
- Distribute the resulting offspring first to serious breeders, if the population is new, rare and/or difficult ; if it is easy, do not forget the beginners ; do not give up the strain, until you have succeeded with at least 20 pairs of the F3 generation ; and discard any weak and atypical individual, just as happens in nature.
- Spell correctly your fishes' names : population, species, genus (whichever one you select for the latter) ; check with Killi-Data or recent scientific publications, then quote them accurately when forwarding fish or eggs. Never write a code name (e.g., TAN95/8) alone, without the name of the population : risks of errors are too high. Never write a new name in a publication of yours without being sure it has been actually and validly described before. Never write a population name in italics, following a genus name (in both cases, this would create a nomen nudum).
- Accept the fact that only the population name is permanent ; welcome the evolutions and improvements in taxonomy; be prepared to switch the specific and the generic names, when new findings, based on facts and not debatable personal opinions, are published, and after a certain consensus on the move has occurred.
- Be tolerant People are different because of their country of origin, their culture, their education, their psychology, etc. Their approaches to the study of complicated living beings like Killies are, not surprisingly, distinctive ; do not get involved in disputes which are sometimes futile and let time decide the issue; be flexible in the case of provisionally unavoidable controversies : mention the two names, the second being in brackets, like Aphyosemion bualanum [elberti] - Ndop, or Moema staecki [Pterolebias] -Januaria, but not Moema [Pterolebias] staecki which means Pterolebias is a subgenus of Moema !
- Follow strictly the rules of the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature (I.C.Z.N.) when they concern you ; abandon immediately the names that have been officially rejected.
- Make your own contribution to the knowledge of the fishes in your tanks : a lot is still to be understood in terms of productivity, behaviour, life expectancy, spawning period, sex ratios, egg development, colour pattern variation, etc. Write down your observations immediately and do not rely on your memory ; publish measurable, verifiable, repeatable data if possible, with your interpretation of them separate: do not fear errors, since progress in knowledge is never continuous and straight forward !
- Join killi-associations, and not only from your own country, if you can read foreign languages : this will bring you different views, experiences, new friends and fishes ; take part in the life of the association, such as local group meetings and the annual convention : you will share rewarding experiences ; you will cease being isolated.
- Co-operate with scientists : most of them started by being a beginner in the hobby and therefore will be amenable to your approaches; if you are experienced and rigorous, you may undertake interesting crossing experiments following their precise recommendations; if you go on collecting trips, you may bring them new material, new species, new collecting places, plus field observations in terms of ecology, food or behaviour, and genuine new information about distribution, local names, new roads, etc. If you are an expert breeder, you may want to join international specialist groups, perhaps to take part in in-depth team experiments and conservation programs. Be proud of the achievements of your fellow aquarists : a comparison with levels of knowledge in other aquarium fish groups speaks for itself, and the wealth of the museum collections due to them bears indisputable witness to this fact.
- Be enthusiastic and positive in all your activities, especially for your primary objective : taking care of your fishes ; if the routine exasperates you, then reduce the load until the vital interest and involvement return ! Your own small contribution is valuable to the furtherance of our knowledge of Killies.
I wish to comment or propose improvements : CONTACT.