This is where tropical fish from aquariums around the world come from

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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Where do the colorful tropical fish that we are used to admire in aquariums all over the world come from? Strange to say, but most, for over 50 years now, have come from only one place: it's called Barcelos and it is a small center that rises in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, not far from Manaus, on the banks of the Rio Negro.

It all began in 1956, reports, when a baby was discovered in the waters of the river brightly colored red and blue fish. It is the cardinal neon, one of the fish currently most in demand by aquariums around the world. Since then, the small fish became particularly popular and its collection and marketing, which began in the 30s, gave rise to an industry that still maintains the economy of the city, which today has XNUMX inhabitants.

It is no coincidence that in the main square of Barcelos a statue of Christ stands on a river in which neon cardinals swim and if every year a festival is held here in honor of tropical fish.

I'm over 10 million the neon cardinal fish that are exported every year from Barcelos to aquariums around the world, and despite the huge volume of animals collected and marketed, this activity has a minimal biological impact on tropical fish populations of the area. In fact, these fish reproduce very quickly thanks to the incredible abundance of food in the habitat of this corner of the Amazon, which the locals have every interest in keeping uncontaminated.

Unfortunately today there is one threat that hangs over the well-being of the Amazonian center: it is the competition of the Asians, who sensed the deal and hurried to set up special, cheaper, cardinal neon farms.

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