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Hi, I'm Paul (aka Aubrey) from Canberra.

I have kept aquariums on and off for more than 40 years. I'm particularly interested in aquatic plants and aquascaping, "micro fish", small natives, dwarf cichlids and corydorus. In my time, I have kept bettas, discus, marine fish and corals and large cichlids, particularly rift lake mouthbrooders. The first egg-laying fish I ever bred was a cambodian fighter (in around 1975!). I'm currently breeding Apisto. cacatuoides and spotted blue-eyes (Psuedomugil gertrudae). Current projects include setting up tubs for growing Cryptocorynes and Anubias emersed and I'm planning both a home tissue culture lab and a fishroom (I'll be tissue culturing plants, not fish, don't worry). I also have an interest in fish conservation, including both on-ground habitat protection and restoration and captive breeding. I'm a biologist by training but that was yonks ago.

I'm a member of the local Canberra District Aquarium Society (CDAS), the Canberra Aquatic Plant Group and ANGFA.

I also dabble in microelectronics (making microprocessor driven gadgets) and have a collection of rare (terrestrial) plants.

I am hoping to learn what I can from, and possibly contribute to, these forums.

I was not a spambot last time I looked.

And yes, I am wearing a cardigan.

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Hi Paul, welcome to the forum! That is quite an impressive list you have there, I'm sure you will have lots to contribute to this forum. In regards to conservation, there are many of us on here who keep and breed wild bettas and the list of different species kept between us is quite large. Pure lines of wilds are slowly on the decline and although there is nothing in writing yet about who is keeping what in Australia, we all try our best to maintain a healthy colonies of different, pure species. A conservation program would be good but it just seems people are more interested in looking after their fish than documenting everything.

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Thanks for the welcome, sooty. Even the ANGFA people have trouble maintaining collection info and keeping rarer species in healthy captive populations. Then they jump and down about the authorities not recognising amateur captive breeding as part of species recovery. Genetic diversity can become a real problem after only a few generations, as Betta breeders know well. I also remember when the restricted imports list first came in and the cichlid (and killi) societies were going organise national collection databases too. Very little happened and diversity declined. With something as relatively short-lived and work intensive as fish, it would be very hard to do this properly amongst amateurs alone. Thankfully plant projects tend to get more institutional support, although not for native aquatics to any great extent as yet.

I am really surprised by the number of Betta species available in the hobby and may get into them more as my fishroom plans unfold (depending on the departure from the nest of a certain twenty-four year-old who lives in my shed/garage).

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