Oklahoma City police officials seized a load of tropical fish from a wholesaler last week because the dyed and tattooed fish were in violation of the city laws. One would gather the law was passed because fish often die during the dying or laser tattooing process, so what did the OKC police do with the contraband fish? They euthanized them, of course.
That makes me wonder a bit how exactly one would go about euthanizing a fish (my guess? Giant toilet bowl.), but mostly I’m curious about the process of tattooing a fish in the first place. As much as I’d love to visit a shop where burly men with flaming skull tattoos gingerly pin down Nemo for a little ‘Mama Didn’t Love Me’ memento, in reality the process is almost more bizarre.
It turns out that there are two methods for altering a fish’s coloration: Dyed fish (otherwise known as Painted Fish) are often dipped in a type of caustic liquid that removes a fish’s natural slime coating, and then injected via syringe with colored dye (often multiple times). As you might guess, the mortality rate for this procedure isn’t so hot for our finned friends, but hey that’s the price they pay for the world’s low-brow tastes, right?
The other method involves using a low-intensity dyed laser to tattoo a pattern directly onto the scales of a fish, and this is the method that results in simply ridiculous patterns like the one in the image to the right.
Of course there’s still the tried and true method of breeding the freaky ones to produce wildly varying colors, but that lacks a certain je ne sais quoi for this digital age, ya know?
I’m curious as to how anyone could think Ma Nature’s already gorgeous homebrew designs needed a little help from the animals that made Hallmark a corporate behemoth…
Thanks to Pat & Martha for the heads-up.