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Albinism and Aggression

I've often seen it stated that albinism isn't conducive to longevity in the
wild, but until I had an albino appear in one of my batches of fry I thought
it was merely a matter of camouflage or pattern recognition. Now it seems as
though I might have a chance to observe the phenomenon a little more

I've a 38-gallon tank with breeding Borellii and what was a pair of fine
Orange Flash Cockatoos (both provided by Tomoko, by the way, and are the
usual fine specimens people have come to expect of her). My original intent
was to limit their numbers by maintaining them in a community setting, but
for once that backfired in that the male Orange Flash died shortly after
helping produce the first "litter" and now I'm hoping the remainder of the
brood contains at least one male. Since the tank is heavily planted and
decorated, the best I could hope for is to pull the few adults and the
school of dithers and let all of the fry continue on, but that's another

Meanwhile, it seems that an albino has appeared and finally come out of
hiding among the vegetation. It's a little under one-half inch SL right now,
and carries the general shape of a developing female, but between its still
young age and size and the lack of any coloration it's a little difficult to
tell which species it is at present. (Since the OFs are more "inbred" than
the Borelliis, my first instinct is toward recessivism in the Cockatoos.)

Whatever it is, though, the little sucker's having a tough time of it. It
seems to be harrassed by almost everything in the tank, from adults to
dithers - right down to other fry one third its size. And every time it
comes out into the open, almost the *entire tank* will rush it. Initially I
thought it might be something a little off-beat - like perhaps the lack of
coloration might make it appear either sick or dying and thus easy prey.

Instead, after closer observation, it appears as though its mere _presence_
somehow offends the other fish and causes more of a defensive response than
a hunger attack. Only the Otocinclus leave it alone.

Does anyone out there have much experience with albinism and be willing to
compare notes or trade ideas on testing responses?...


David A. Youngker

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