Common Questions About GloFish® Fluorescent Fish
GloFish® fluorescent fish are wonderful fish that add brilliant color and excitement to any home, office, or classroom aquarium.
GloFish are similar to other fish, except they have a much brighter disposition. GloFish are available in six stunning colors: Starfire Red®, Electric Green®, Sunburst Orange®, Cosmic Blue®, Galactic Purple®, and Moonrise Pink™.
Today’s GloFish fluorescent fish are bred from the offspring of fluorescent fish that were originally developed several years ago. Each new GloFish inherits its unique color directly from its parents, maintains the color throughout its life, and passes the color along to its offspring.
- The Science of GloFish
- GloFish and the Environment
- Caring for GloFish
- Displaying GloFish
- GloFish Marketing and Media
- GloFish Ethics
- GloFish in California
Where do GloFish fluorescent fish come from? GloFish were originally bred more than ten years ago to help detect environmental pollutants. By adding a naturally derived fluorescence gene to the fish, scientists hoped to quickly and easily determine when a waterway is contaminated. The first step in developing a pollution-detecting fish was to create fish that would be fluorescent all the time. Scientists soon realized the public’s interest in sharing the benefits of this research, a process which led to GloFish fluorescent fish.
How common is the use of fluorescent fish in science? For almost two decades, fluorescent fish have been relied upon by scientists worldwide to better understand important questions in genetics, molecular biology, and vertebrate development. Fluorescent fish have been particularly helpful in understanding cellular disease and development, as well as cancer and gene therapy.
Where does the fluorescent color come from? The fluorescent color in GloFish is produced by a fluorescent protein gene, which creates the beautiful fluorescence that can be seen when looking at the fish. The fluorescent protein genes are derived from naturally occurring genes found in marine organisms.
Do you have to add a fluorescence gene to every fish before it hatches? No. Today’s GloFish fluorescent fish are bred from the offspring of fluorescent fish that were originally developed several years ago. Each new GloFish inherits its unique color directly from its parents, maintains the color throughout its life, and passes the color along to its offspring.
How exactly do GloFish help in the fight against pollution? To achieve their goal of helping to fight water pollution, scientists have developed a ‘switch’ that will cause always-fluorescing fish to selectively fluoresce in the presence of environmental toxins. A non-fluorescing fish will signal that the water is safe, while a fluorescing fish will signal trouble. To help further the research, a portion of the proceeds from sales of all GloFish goes directly to the lab where these fish were originally created.
What are the differences between fluorescent fish and other fish? Aside from their brilliant color, fluorescent fish are the same as their non-fluorescent counterparts. This includes everything from general care and temperature preferences, to growth rate and life expectancy.
Does the fluorescence harm the fish? No. The fish are as healthy as other fish in every way. Scientists originally developed them several years ago by adding a naturally derived fluorescence gene to the fish eggs before they hatched. Today’s GloFish fluorescent fish are bred from the offspring of these original fish.
Exactly how is the fluorescent protein gene added to the fish? Today’s GloFish fluorescent fish are bred from the offspring of fluorescent fish that were originally developed several years ago and inherit their unique color from their parents.
Every GloFish fluorescent fish (i.e. Starfire Red®, Electric Green®, Sunburst Orange®, Cosmic Blue®, Galactic Purple®, and Moonrise Pink™) began with a single fish. The general process of developing fluorescent fish, as illustrated in this chart (Development of Transgenic Fish), begins by adding a fluorescence gene to the fish before it hatches from its egg. Once the gene integrates into the genome (i.e., genetic code) of the embryo, the developing fish will be able to pass the fluorescence gene along to its offspring upon maturity. Because of this, the gene only needs to be added to one embryo; from that point forward, all subsequent fluorescent fish are the result of traditional breeding.
Are you going to create more fluorescent fish? New types of GloFish may become available from time to time. Any announcements related to this will be posted on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
How long have GloFish been available? GloFish fluorescent fish first became available in late 2003. They have been safely sold throughout the United States since that time.
Which federal agencies have reviewed these fish? We have submitted detailed information regarding each line of GloFish fluorescent fish to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, which has jurisdiction over biotech animals, as they consider the added gene to be an “animal drug.” Consistent with the findings of scientists worldwide, the FDA, working in coordination with the United States Department of Agriculture and United States Fish & Wildlife Service, found no evidence that our fluorescent fish pose any more threat to the environment than their non-fluorescent counterparts. (Read the FDA statement regarding our original line of GloFish)
Have any other governmental agencies reviewed GloFish? In addition to the Federal review described above, our fish have been reviewed by various state agencies, including the Florida Division of Aquaculture. In accordance with the findings of the FDA, these reviews have concluded that our fluorescent fish are as safe for the environment as their non-fluorescent counterparts. To review their specific analyses, as well as those of independent third party experts, please see the GloFish Science section of our website.
What will happen if a GloFish escapes into the waterways? GloFish are tropical fish and are unable to survive in non-tropical environments. Their non-fluorescent counterparts have been sold to aquarium owners worldwide for more than fifty years. Despite all these years of widespread distribution, they are only found in tropical environments. At the same time, please remember that GloFish are intended for use as aquarium fish only, and should never be intentionally released into the wild.
What if a GloFish is eaten in the wild by another animal? For an animal in the wild, eating a fluorescent fish is the same as eating any other fish. Their fluorescence is derived from a gene that is already found in nature and is completely safe for the environment. Just as eating a blue fish would not turn a predator blue, eating a fluorescent fish would not make a predator fluoresce.
Can humans eat GloFish? GloFish, like all ornamental fish, are not intended for human consumption. Accordingly, GloFish should not be eaten.
How can buying GloFish help in the fight against pollution? GloFish have existed for over a decade and were originally developed to help fight pollution. By marketing these fish, we will allow people to enjoy their own fluorescent fish while promoting the beneficial scientific goals behind their development. In fact, a portion of the proceeds from sales goes directly to the lab where these fish were created in order to further their research—research we hope will help to protect the environment and save lives.
Are GloFish freshwater fish or saltwater fish? Like their non-fluorescent counterparts, GloFish are freshwater fish. They should not be placed in a saltwater environment.
Where can I find detailed information about GloFish? Our fish should be cared for exactly the same as their non-fluorescent counterparts. In general, guidelines for maintaining a happy and healthy GloFish can be found on our GloFish Care page. A great resource for detailed care information about zebrafish in particular is The Zebrafish Book.
Who can I talk with regarding specific questions about my GloFish? If you have specific questions about your particular fish that are not answered in either of the websites noted above (including concerns about odd behavior or possible illness), our best suggestion is to contact either your local fish store or a local veterinarian who works with fish, since both are great resources for fish-specific questions. If you have additional questions, please visit our Contact Page.
Is my GloFish pregnant? Aside from their color, fluorescent fish are the same as other fish in every way. This includes everything from general care and temperature preferences, to growth rate and life expectancy. Accordingly, all females will carry unfertilized eggs upon reaching maturity, resulting in a “pregnant” look.
Is there a recommended tank size and/or stocking density for GloFish? Aside from their color, fluorescent fish are the same as other fish in every way. This includes everything from general care and temperature preferences, to growth rate and life expectancy. Accordingly, all females will carry unfertilized eggs upon reaching maturity, resulting in a “pregnant” look.
What types of fish are GloFish compatible with? Like their non-fluorescent counterparts, our fish are community fish and will “play well” with other fish. However, not all fish are this way, so we generally advise that people check with their local retailer for specific information on whether their existing fish can peacefully co-exist with GloFish. Alternatively, for a partial, but still significant, listing of other community fish, please visit Badmantropicalfish.com. One point in particular to note is that our GloFish® Electric Green® Barbs can potentially become aggressive if they are not kept in groups of five or more. This is not necessary with our GloFish® Danios or GloFish® Tetras; while they prefer to be in groups of five or more, they will not become aggressive in smaller numbers.
What should I do if my fish is behaving in an unusual or aggressive manner? Like any other animal, fish are individuals with their own unique “personalities.” While their actions may sometimes seem strange to us, there is a relatively wide variety of behaviors that fish can normally display. However, if you have any doubts as to whether your fish’s behavior is normal, we would recommend contacting either your local fish store or a local veterinarian who works with fish. Both are fantastic resources for fish-specific questions or concerns.
Do GloFish glow? Fluorescent fish absorb light and then re-emit it. However, they do not actually glow. For tips on the best way to display your fish, please visit the GloFish Display page.
What is the best lighting for GloFish? In general, we have found that blue light (blue wavelength) is ideal, as this can be used in both light and dark rooms. This type of light can be found in most stores that sell aquarium fish. For best results, we suggest using a GloFish LED Aquarium Light.
Where can I buy GloFish? GloFish are sold in retail locations across the country. Please click here to visit our GloFish store locator. Because inventories change relatively frequently, please check with your local retailer for details on availability and pricing.
What colors of GloFish are currently available? GloFish are currently available in Starfire Red®, Sunburst Orange®, Electric Green®, Cosmic Blue®, Galactic Purple®, and Moonrise Pink™. Click here to see an amazing GloFish video or click here to see spectacular photos of our fish.
Why are GloFish the only fluorescent fish that can be sold in the United States? Because fluorescent fish are unique, their sale is covered by a substantial number of patents and pending patent applications. The providers of GloFish® fluorescent fish, 5-D Tropical and Segrest Farms, are the only distributors that have the necessary licenses to produce and market fluorescent fish within the United States. The production of fluorescent fish by any other party, or the sale of any fluorescent fish not originally distributed by 5-D Tropical or Segrest Farms, is strictly prohibited. For additional information regarding GloFish fluorescent fish license details, please visit our License page.
Are GloFish available outside of the United States? GloFish are currently available for purchase only within the United States. We have no plans to ship our fish to other countries at this time, but we will update this web page if this status changes.
Why can’t I buy GloFish in Australia, Canada, or Europe? At present, Australia, Canada, and Europe prohibit the marketing of any genetically modified organisms, including our tropical fluorescent fish, until they are cleared through an extremely complex and costly review process. For now, due to the time, expense, and uncertainty involved with the approval process, we have no plans to pursue approval in any of these jurisdictions.
Who can I contact about wholesale opportunities? For more information about becoming a wholesale or retail provider of our fish, please send us a message through our Contact page, and we will respond to you as quickly as possible.
Where can I find some photos of GloFish for my publication? Please feel free to use any of the photos posted in our GloFish Gallery. Please credit the photos to www.GloFish.com. It is not necessary to contact us for specific permission.
Who can I contact regarding museum or other exhibition displays? If you are interested in displaying our fish in a public exhibition, we would love to hear from you. Please send us a message through our Contact page, and we will respond to you as quickly as possible.
For more detailed information on the science behind GloFish, please visit our GloFish Science page.
We realize that the enormous potential of genetic technology carries with it an important responsibility. To help ensure that we use this technology appropriately, we are dedicated to the guiding ethical principles outlined in the GloFish Ethics section of our website.
You may be wondering why GloFish fluorescent fish are allowed everywhere in the United States except California.
As many people know, our fish received a positive recommendation from the California Department of Fish and Game in November 2003, and the California Fish & Game Commission voted to move forward with the process of exempting our fish from their ban on biotech aquatic organisms in April 2004. However, we were subsequently advised by Commission attorneys that state law in California would require the completion of a formal ecological review to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act before the Commission could move forward with the approval process. Unfortunately, this review would be extremely expensive, involve procedural uncertainty, and likely take several years to complete.
Due to the excessive cost and time involved in that process, as well as the uncertainty, we have decided not to engage in the review. We regret this situation, but unfortunately cannot afford, at this time, to make the enormous investment necessary to perhaps be able to market our fish in California.
If you would like to contact the Commission to make your voice heard regarding this issue, please visit their website (http://www.fgc.ca.gov/contact/) or contact them directly by phone at (916) 653-4899, or by fax at (916) 653-5040. If you need an online fax, you can view a comparison of online fax services here. You may also email the Commission email@example.com.