Are commercially bred fish (such as goldfish and bettas, who have been altered by humans for their pretty tails/colors/patterns) considered domesticated? Wikipedia classed them as such but I'd like a professionals opinion in conjunction with that.
Yes, they’re considered domesticated. Humans have kept them for multiple, multiple generations and selectively bred them to an extent that they are now very different genetically and phenotypically from their wild ancestors.
For example, the Prussian Carp
Was eventually turned into multiple varieties of goldfish.
That’s the result of a long period of selective breeding. There’s some pretty strange shapes we’ve bred into those fish, several of them making me downright uncomfortable. Some of these fish can’t see in front of their face, they can’t see what they’re eating. They’re pretty, but I wish people would remember these things are alive too.
I was very keen on Bettas in my adolescence. I think the most I had was twelve at one point. I would classify them as domesticated as well, because we took a fish like this:
and bred them into these:
They’re genetically and phenotypically different from the wild type betta. It shows, too. Breeding half-moons and over half-moons is very challenging, especially if you’re using a ‘quality’ male. The volume of finnage they have to drag around is huge, and they breed by wrapping their body around a female and squeezing her. The female is lucky enough to have much shorter fins.
They are very pretty and I like them a lot, these little fish to actually have personality and attitude, but I also feel like going beyond super delta is too far.
The welfare aspects of breeding fish to such extreme shapes s generally overlooked, and will probably remain that was because fish are often viewed more like ornaments than like animals. I hope that changes, but I doubt it will happen very soon.
And I’d like to take a moment to indulge a pet peeve. Someone, somewhere, had the bright idea of taking my favorite species of fish, the beautiful pearl gourami…
… and inbreeding it to the point where we end up with creatures like this…
I mean, WHY did you have to do this? It just saddens me like you wouldn’t believe.
Just because we can do these things, doesn’t always mean we should.