With the release of the new GloFish Bettas, a lot of people have gotten very vocal about how much they don’t like them. I wish people would drop it with the anti-GloFish thing. If you don’t like them, that’s fine. No one is asking you to buy them or even like them. But them being GMO doesn’t harm the fish in ANY way. And in fact, they single-handedly eliminated 99% of the demand for fish that are harmed by means of being dyed, injected, or tattooed. The availability of a fish that has very bright colors without these means of artificial color enhancements gave people who like that sort of thing an even better and humane option.
But They’re GMO!
Them being GMO isn’t an issue. They took a gene for a pigment and added it to a fish. It didn’t hurt the fish and they don’t have to do it to every fish before being sold since it’s genetic.
There are lawmakers out there who have no clue about science in general, let alone the details of genetics or GMOs, who are making laws to ban it in some places because they don’t understand what’s going on. That doesn’t mean there is actually any harm. That just means people fear what is new and they don’t understand, which always has been and always will be the reality. It doesn’t mean those new things that some people don’t understand are actually harmful in any way.
And while we’re on it, GMOs aren’t a bad thing. Yes, certain types of GMOs that allow big farming operations to use excessive amounts of RoundUp is horrible. But the vast majority of GMOs are nothing like that. GMOs can make tomatoes drought-resistant or give resistance to crops that otherwise are highly susceptible to certain common pathogens. These are good things. It means we can grow more food on less land with less water, herbicides, pesticides, etc. It means we can feed billions of people without destroying every type of ecosystem just to turn it all into farmland.
The Reality of Fishkeeping as a Hobby
If you want to get upset about harm to fish, get upset about all fish in the hobby. Most don’t end up in the tanks of people who go to forums or websites like this to find out about proper care. They end up as a disposable decoration in a tank that never gets water changes, gets fed the cheapest food, and the fish slowly die over the course of a year or two. That happens to every fish out there, not just GloFish. It happens to every Oscar in a 55. It happens to little 10-gallons with small community fish that even if they fit in a 10, the care slowly kills them. This is especially true of bettas, one of if not the most abused fish out there. GloFish didn’t make that happen, that was happening decades before any type of GloFish even existed.
I don’t like any long-finned or round-bodied fish and I would argue those are worse for the fish than simply adding a color, but I don’t throw a fit every time I see them for sale or see someone mention them on a forum because it’s their right to enjoy those fish. So many aquarium fish are highly altered from their natural state. Albino fish, long-fins, round-bodies, guppy tails and colors, betta fins and colors, and let’s not forget the super-altered fancy goldfish varieties. The GloFish are quite natural in comparison to some of these fish that don’t bring up any sort of moral debate.
Don’t get your panties in a knot over GloFish where there is no actual harm taking place. Get upset over the mass harm done by this hobby as a whole. Again, not those of us who care enough and actually take good care of our tanks, but the masses who will never ask the right people the right questions and end up unknowingly kill their fish.
If you like the look of GloFish, get some. They’re great additions and you should keep the fish that you enjoy even if some people online wouldn’t happen to put the same fish in their own tank.