The Fish Shop of Dr. Moreau - About Dyeing
On a deceivingly beautiful island in the South
Seas exists the sinister kingdom of Doctor Moreau. Shipwrecked
in this seeming paradise, the unfortunate Edward Prendick stumbles
upon the wild beastly creations of the sadistic doctor and enters
into a bizarre and terrifying world of a doctor who plays an evil
God and cruelly creates monstrosities of living creatures - A
synopsis of the book The Island of
Dr. Moreau written by H. G. Wells
What's Wrong with a painted Angel?
From the above link:
Wrong with a Painted Angel?
- by Dr Jim Greenwood
Since the mid 1980's Glassfish of the family Chandidae
that have been injected with fluorescent dye have been imported
into Australia from South East Asia. These fish have been
painted by injection along the dorsal and ventral body surfaces
and are sold as "Painted Angels". In 1998 I became
concerned when I noticed several fish species appear on the
Australian market that had been injected with dye or paint.
It was common knowledge that these fish have progressive problems.
The painted areas fade and break up and the fish become less
clear or glass like. The fish become thin and debilitated,
and tend to become lethargic and easy to catch. They frequently
develop multiple proliferative skin lesions and have a reputation
in the industry for 'not living very long', in contrast to
the unpainted Chandas which usually remain healthy.
I set myself the challenge of documenting what was wrong with
the "Painted Angels".
Histopathological investigation of Painted Angels and normal
Chandas by Dr John Humphrey and Dr Malcolm Lancaster
of the Victorian Institute of Animal Science (VIAS) revealed
lesions that included microgranulomas in the kidney, severe
hepatocellular vacuolar change and degeneration. See images
In some cases the kidney tissue was almost completely replaced
by microgranulomas, fibrosis and inflammatory cells. These
lesions were not detected in the normal Chandas and
appear to be associated with the presence of fluorescent dye.
The proliferative skin lesions were caused by Lymphocystis
Virus and showed the characteristic severe cytomegally. These
viral lesions were extensive and common on the "Painted
Angels" but were rare and of minor significance in the
normal Chandas. This difference is probably due to
immunosuppression or stress invoked by the injected paint.
1. Normal Skin
3. Enlarged Lymphocyst
4. Paint Pigments in Tissue
5. Skin with Goblet, Melanin, and inflammatory cells
6. Normal Kidney
7. Damaged Kidney
8. Microgranuloma in Kidney
9. Enlarged Microgranuloma
This investigation proved that injecting dye or paint into
fish causes severe pathological changes. This results in progressive
degeneration of body tissues in the fish known as Painted
Angels. Because of these findings I believe that we should
not condone the act of injecting paint or dye into any fish.
This is definitely an animal welfare issue and anyone dealing
in or importing Painted Angels demonstrates support for this
By making this information known to the aquarium trade and
recommending that we should not support this practice by importing
paint or dye injected fish into Australia, the appearance
of these fish in aquarium retail shops has dropped dramatically.
Histopathological slides were processed by Dr John Humphrey
and Dr Malcolm Lancaster of the Victorian Institute of Animal
Science (VIAS), Attwood, Melbourne. Please contact Dr Jim
Greenwood if you would like to discuss any details with regards
to the slides.
Dr Jim Greenwood B.V.Sc.
Canterbury Veterinary Clinic
182-184 Canterbury Rd.
Canterbury, Victoria, 3126
Ph: 03 9836 6009
Note: This documentation of Dr. Jim Greenwood's
study as well as the accompanying photographs belong to Dr.
Jim Greenwood and not Death by Dyeing.org. All photographs
and text are Copyright Dr. Jim Greenwood.
Why it's cruel to Dye
From the above link:
Why it's Cruel to Dye
- By Dr. Stan MacMahon and Dr. Peter Burgess
Some fish keepers, and possibly even a few traders, may be
puzzled as to why so much fuss has been made about dyed fish.
On the face of it, the practice of dyeing or “painting” the
fish seems fairly innocuous and the artificially dyed specimens
are certainly very eye-catching in their various “day-glo”
colours. So why push for a voluntary ban on selling them?
Our investigations have revealed the truth behind the dyed
Our first encounter with dyed fish was back in the late 1980’s.
Thousands of artificially coloured glassfish, Parambassis
ranga (formerly Chanda ranga) were imported
into the UK.
The glassfish, so named because of its naturally semi-transparent
body, obviously makes it an ideal subject for “painting”.
They were seen with fluorescent shades of either blue, purple,
red, yellow, orange or green produced by dyes.
They were (and still are) imported under the names “painted
glassfish” or “disco fish” (presumably because their almost
fluorescent colours resemble discotheque lights).
How is the dye applied?
Intrigued as to how the dye was applied we decided to carry
out a little research. A few coloured glassfish were sedated
in MS222 anesthetic and observed under a binocular microscope.
It became apparent that the dye is not on the surface of the
fish, but lay under the epidermis.
Furthermore, the dye appeared fluid and could be moved slightly
by gently squeezing the coloured area.
This suggested that it must have been injected into the fish
at various sites over the body in order to form the distinctive
colour patterns. Our fears were confirmed a few years later
when we were shown photographs of the colouring process, revealing
that each fish is individually injected using a syringe and
The practice of dye injection is undertaken by fish farmers
in some regions of Asia (but not Singapore as far as we know).
Clearly, the common name “painted glassfish” is a cruelly
If one considers the relative bore size of the injection needle
with that of a glassfish, it would be the equivalent of us
receiving several jabs using a needle of pencil-sized diameter
- not a pleasant thought.
As experienced fish scientists, we would never dream of injecting
fish of such small size. No wonder the injection process is
alleged to cause high mortalities.
Increasing the risk of disease...
A survey which we carried out in the south of England revealed
that over 40% of painted glassfish appeared to be suffering
from Lymphocystis virus. This disease manifests itself
as a small whitish growths on the fish’s body and fins.
An examination of the white growths under the powerful electron
microscope confirmed our diagnosis. In contrast, less than
10% of the natural (unpainted) glassfish had Lymphocystis.
It is possible that the injection process increases the risk
of this disease, perhaps by transmitting the virus from fish
to fish via the needle (the same needle is used to inject
tens or even hundreds of fish).
Alternatively, the stress of being injected with the dye may
lower the fish’s natural immunity to Lymphocystis. It must
be said that, in our experience, those glassfish which survive
the injection process go on to live fairly normal lives, despite
the gaudy dyes present within their bodies. In time, the dye
Many people believe that fish do not feel pain and so injecting
them with dyes is perfectly acceptable. In fact, increasing
scientific evidence suggests that fish are indeed capable
of feeling pain, though we have no way of telling whether
they perceive painful events in the same way as we do.
So dye injection is likely to be a painful experience for
the poor glassfish. In fairness, many traders and hobbyists
were mislead, just as we first were, into thinking that these
fish were simply painted with the dye.
Now that the truth is out, it’s time to stop this cruel practice,
once and for all.
Other species which are sometimes dyed
Glassfish are not the only species which are subjected to
Many types of albino fish also make ideal “white canvasses”
for colouring. We have observed the following artificially
coloured fish in the UK, and suspect there may be others.
Albino versions of Corydoras catfish, such as aeneus;
Tiger barbs; Albino Epalzeorhynchus (formerly Labeo)
such as the Red-finned shark; Black widow tetras; Rams and
some Botia species.
Typically these exhibit red or blue on part of the body, but
the dyes are not as bright or gaudy as those used to inject
Fish which have pale or semi-transparent bodies such as the
glassfish, Kryptoterus, also suffer.
above text documentation of Dr. Peter Burgess and Dr. Stan
MacMahons' study belongs respectively to Practical Fishkeeping
Magazine and is copyright Practical Fishkeeping.
Induline, Nigrosine, and Benzinide dyes,
commonly used in printers, are also used in the dyeing of fish.
From the above link:
A potential source of exposure to recognized Bladder Carcinogens
arises from Induline dye and Nigrosine dye. Bulletin No. 20
from the British Rubber Manufacturers Association, dated 21st
September, 1977, refers to the presence of the bladder carcinogen
4-aminodiphenyl (4-ADP) in Induline/Nigrosine dyes.
"In May this year information was received from Williams
(Hounslow) Limited, manufacturers and suppliers of dyestuffs
chemicals, which indicated their intention to cease the manufacture
of indulines and discontinue the marketing of the product.
This decision had been taken because it was discovered that
in the manufacturing process there was formation of a chemical
impurity, which was identified as the aromatic amine 4-aminodiphenyl
(also known as 4-aminobiphenyl or xenylamine). This amine
is known to be one of the small group of aromatic amines which
are recognized as being human bladder carcinogens, and within
this group it is generally accepted that 4-aminodiphenyl has
a high potency...
...Induline dyestuffs have, in fact, had very limited applications
in the rubber industry. They have been more extensively used
in printing and as leather dyes."
The two names Induline and Nigrosine appear to be used interchangeably
and the dyes have been extensively used in printing inks.
Page 246 of "The Printing Ink Manual", (Biset et
al 1979) refers to the hazards of Induline and its use in
toners for cheap letterpress, news and gravure inks in particular.
The GPMU has several letters from manufacturers of printing
inks which confirm the use of these materials.
In 1977 Usher-Walker Ltd confirmed that as a result of the
information from Williams (Hounslow) Ltd they were stopping
the use of Induline dyes "which we have used in the News
Ink departments ..... for many years."
Similar indications have been given by other ink makers, in
1987 Ault & Wiborg referred to the fact that "Induline
oleate dyestuff used as a blue/violet toner in newspaper inks
contained a small proportion (less than 1%) of amino diphenyl
[4-ADP]". Manders stated in 1991 that "in common
with other ink makers, Manders used small quantities of Induline
4-Aminodiphenyl is a recognized carcinogen
Relevant to c23 claims
E.A. Apps "Printing Ink Technology", page 160, refers
to the use of Benzidine-based dyes in ink pigments, in addition
to dianisidine and alpha-naphthylamine-based pigments.
In August 1982 the Health and Safety Executive issued Guidance
Note EH34, "Benzidine based dyes: health and safety precautions".
This guidance note states that:
dyes have been found to contain very small residues of Benzidine,
typically about 0.001-0.003% Benzidine can also be regenerated
from the dyes on contact with reducing agents, and there are
some indications that similar processes could occur in the
After a review of the available medical and scientific evidence,
the employment Medical Advisory Service (EMAS) has concluded
that the risk of the development of bladder cancer in workers
exposed to Benzidine-based dyes cannot be reduced to the lowest
level that is reasonably practicable".
This provides further evidence that regular contact with printing
inks could have led to exposure to Benzidine, a bladder carcinogen.
Garrod and Manson (1986) refer to several aromatic amines
implicated as carcinogens and which have been used in the
manufacture of dyes and inks. These include Benzidine, 1-naphthylamine,
2-naphthylamine and 4-aminodiphenyl, all of which are chemicals
relevant to C23 prescription.
This documentation of a study on the carcinogenic properties
of the dyes used commonly in dyed fish belongs and is copyright
GPMU Health & Safety.
Fish Feel Pain
From the above link:
Scottish Research Team Concludes
that Fish Feel Pain
Researchers at the Roslin Institute and the University of
Edinburgh have produced convincing evidence that fish can
perceive pain. The study revealed that rainbow trout possess
receptors (called nociceptors) that respond to damaging stimuli.
Moreover, the receptors also respond to the application of
short-acting noxious agents by undergoing significant physiological
and behavioral changes that are comparable to those observed
in mammals following exposure to painful stimuli.
The Scotland-based researchers used electrophysiological recordings
to monitor anesthetized fish following the application of
mechanical, chemical, and thermal stimuli to the head. Additionally,
the researchers injected bee venom and acetic acid into the
fishes' lips. "Anomalous behaviors were exhibited by
trout subjected to bee venom and acetic acid," stated
Dr. Lynne Sneddon, who led the research team. She noted that
fish demonstrated a "rocking" motion, "strikingly
similar to the kind of motion seen in stressed higher vertebrates
Sneddon explained that the research "demonstrates nociception
and suggests that noxious stimulation in the rainbow trout
has adverse behavioral and physiological effects. This fulfills
the criteria for animal pain."
Note: This documentation
of the Roslin Institute and University of Edinburghs' Study
is written and Copyright © 2004 The Humane Society
of the United States.