Wildcaught, F1, F2 Captive Bred??? How does that work?

Wildcaught, F1, F2 Captive Bred??? How does that work?

The term wild catch will be familiar to many in the aquarium hobby. It means no less than that the fish in question comes from the wild. Because of the large populations and distribution of the species, these fish have the genes that most closely match what the fish look like in the wild.

Fortunately, not all fish are caught from the wild. But then, how do you indicate how far the descendants are relinquishing from the wildly caught specimens? For this the hobby uses (or misused) the notation that comes from science. In order to investigate the inheritance of plant properties, the Monk Gregor Mendel set up a system in the 19th century to keep track of how the inheritance works. To keep track of which generation of descendants he was working with, he used the term F1 for the first generation after the parent; F2 is the second generation after the parents.

Use in the aquarium hobby

This notation is used slightly differently in the aquarium hobby. We are not scientists and we only want to indicate how many generations are between the wild-caught fish and the fish we buy. you get the following list:

Wildcaught (WC)
F1Offspring of 2 wildcaught parents
F2Offspring of two F1 parents
F3Offspring of two F2 parents

After F3 we no longer use the F notation and speak of Captive bred.

What to do now with offspring of, for example, a wild-caught male and an F1 female. You can best describe this as WC x F1, it is not F1 or F2. So keep it simple, use the term wild caught only for fish caught in the wild and the F1 to F3 notation only for the fish of which you certainly know the origin. If you are not sure if a fish is WC or F1 – F3, use the term captive bred.


In this article we assumed that the parents are of the same species. A wild-caught male x a wild-caught female of a different specie, does not produce fry that you can label as F1 (scientifically undoubtedly correct but undesirable in the hobby). These fry are what we call hybrids. Most hobbyists prefer to keep original species or specifically cultivated varieties.

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Sinds ik op mijn 12e een 2e hands aquarium kocht heb ik één of meerdere aquariums gehad. Een aantal jaar heb ik zelfs met Malawi gekweekt met zo'n 50 kweekbakken en 10.000 liter water. Momenteel heb ik nog 1 aquarium met Tanganyika. Tegenwoordig houd ik me bezig met deze website als schrijver en fotograaf.

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