Captive bred fish: Does it matter? Does it matter to you?

BRS

Does it matter to you whether your fish are captive-bred or wild caught?

  • I only buy captive bred fish.

    Votes: 107 14.6%
  • It matters, but I will buy either captive-bred or wild-caught.

    Votes: 518 70.6%
  • I think wild-caught fish are the better option.

    Votes: 17 2.3%
  • I don’t care where the fish were bred.

    Votes: 92 12.5%

  • Total voters
    734

Peace River

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Captive bred fish: Does it matter? Does it matter to you?

Many saltwater fish retailers offer both wild-caught and captive-bred fish. Sometimes there is a price difference – does the pricing impact your decision? It has been said that nearly 90% of saltwater fish in the aquarium trade are wild but it appears that more and more fish are being captive-bred each year. Tell us in the thread below if you think that the tension between captive-bred fish and wild-caught fish? Let us know if you think it matters and if it matters to you. We believe this is an important and encourage everyone to be respectful as you share your perspectives!

PacificEastCaptiveBredTang.jpeg

Photo of captive bred yellow tang by @PacificEastAquaculture

We realize that over time perspectives may change. Whether this is due to a change in culture, availability, information or other reasons, sometimes thoughts and ideas on topics morph and shift. Here is an R2R article about captive-bred vs wild-caught fish from 2017. Have opinions changed since then?
 

BlakeStew

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I love the idea of having captive bred fish as they are way more hardy than the wild caught versions. I myself only have 2 captive bred fish in my tank. 2 Clownfish from Sustainable Aquatics. I think the price point definitely plays a role in if someone wants to buy captive bred. Also IMO when captive bred specimens are younger their colors are less vibrant compared to their wild caught counterparts which can lead people to not purchase them even though over time they will become much more vibrant.


Something that would have been interesting to see is when the Hawaii ban was enacted, in order to get it lifted they could have put a requirement that there had to be a way to sustainably captive bred the specimens that were placed on the ban. (Allow a strict certain amount of specimens to be collected BUT only by research facilities) I believe that if this had been the case we would have much more captive bred options now and people would have likely "bought into" the idea thus speeding up the growth of captive bred specimens in the hobby.
Over time I think captive bred specimens will be much more prevalent in the hobby but not for a while. It will continue to be very difficult to have a lot of the high demand fish especially ones that are difficult to keep.
 

T0adman

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I’m just getting back into reefing after a decade away and haven’t even set up my tank, so I am likely naïve. My opinion may be way off once I’m actually in the thick of things, but …

I plan to buy captive bred fish whenever possible. The availability of captive bred fish is a major reason why I can feel good about the hobby. If I must buy wild caught (I know some things aren’t available cb) I would be sure that they are sustainably collected. I don’t think I could justify destroying natural reefs for the luxury of having one in my house.
 

Slocke

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I buy as much CB as I can but there just isn't enough available. I love Biota but does ORA still operate? I noticed they no longer have fish on LA.

There are some fish I will only buy CB as I think its only ethical for mandarins and cleaner wrasse and now I may add sand-sifting gobies to that list.
 

bnord

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I buy CB due to my experience with health and robustness of the fish (some mutant clowns not included), because of the impact the trade has on wild caught specimens in some (not all ) markets, and because every owner/manager of a CB business I have met are the definition of entrepreneurs, and are the kind of companies I like to support.

Guessing that 40% of my 3 tanks worth of fish are CB. (and 95% of corals...)
 
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Jwise

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I highly support it and i actually am getting my shipment of fish that i ordered from my LFS that only gets in Cb fish. Im stocking my 125 6 ft tank with all Cb fish but one which is a blonde naso. I ordered 4 CB yellow tangs, 4 CB Purple Tangs, 1 Cb Hippo Tang, 1 CB Tomini Tang, 2 Cb Blue Streak Gobies, 1 CB Blue Mandarin, 1 CB Diamond Watchman, 1 Cb yellow Watchman, a CB Black Storm Clownfish. I also got the blonde Naso which came from an established aquarium that my lfs's client had he was in that aquarium for 2 years and he had an incident with his aquarium where it broke. I got that naso because he give it to my Lfs who put him aside for observance to make sure he didnt have any problems and he will be ready to go when i add all that fish on saturday.
 
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FishPureLuck

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I love the idea of having captive bred fish as they are way more hardy than the wild caught versions.

I heard the opposite. I've heard that captive bred fish are more susceptible to disease since they are raised in disease free facilities which makes them less hardy. Plus deformities from line breeding can/will happen. I'm not against captive bred fish, I buy them when I can, but I don't think you're as safe as you think you are by buying them. As soon as they hit the fish store and get mixed in with wild caught fish, the diseases can start. And in my mind, being captive bred, they don't have the immunity to fight and win this battle. Kind of like when the Europeans landed in America, they were carriers of all kinds of nasty viruses that killed the natives quickly since there was no natural immunity built up. The viruses had little to no effect on the Europeans since they were immune or mostly immune to them. Who knows, just a thought.
 

Sisterlimonpot

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I've always been skeptical of business model of captive bred. It only works if wild caught becomes increasingly more expensive.

And it seems that there are a number of people pushing that narrative to promote higher prices for wild caught just to make captive bred feasible.

I personally love the idea of purchasing captive fish, but not at the cost that's being presented.
 

Reefer Matt

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I believe this to be the missing link in reefing. You can frag coral all day, but you can't frag fish. (Please don't try! :grinning-squinting-face:) I think manufacturers should be looking at making fish breeding equipment more user friendly and affordable like the reefing equipment has become.
 

Slocke

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I heard the opposite. I've heard that captive bred fish are more susceptible to disease since they are raised in disease free facilities which makes them less hardy. Plus deformities from line breeding can/will happen. I'm not against captive bred fish, I buy them when I can, but I don't think you're as safe as you think you are by buying them. As soon as they hit the fish store and get mixed in with wild caught fish, the diseases can start. And in my mind, being captive bred, they don't have the immunity to fight and win this battle. Kind of like when the Europeans landed in America, they were carriers of all kinds of nasty viruses that killed the natives quickly since there was no natural immunity built up. The viruses had little to no effect on the Europeans since they were immune or mostly immune to them. Who knows, just a thought.
That is a very solid argument. However you could make much the same argument for quarantined fish. I'm 7 for 7 for CB fish and that's definitely better than wild. Not coming with parasites, knowing they weren’t collected with cyanide, and just knowing they didn’t go through a crazy shipping process to get to us is probably the difference.
 
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Slocke

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My CB's (not the radiant but the cleaner). I think the color complaint is false haha.
 

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blaxsun

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What are my favorite kind of fish? Consignment fish, ie: fish that come from a good home/tank that's being shutdown. No shipping stress, generally disease-free, well-adapted to other tank mates, used to a wide variety of pellet and frozen food. I have a pair of clownfish, flame hawkfish, female lamarck's angelfish and white tail bristletooth tang - all acquired in the last year and all model citizens for the most part (yes, we're looking at you clownfish).
 

Grootzilla

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I think captive bred fish are the future of the hobby.

If we want to meet the demands of the hobbyists then there should be way more investment into captive breeding as many species of fish as possible to meet that demand. There would be more control on disease and less stress induced mortalities because the fish would be raised in tanks their whole lives and not have to acclimate to the superficial environment. Just look at clownfish. You are hard pressed to find any wild caught ocellaris at this point and it has lead to an incredible breeding program that has introduced fun patterns that wouldn’t normally be seen in the wild. Think of that kind of program being applied to all fish.
 

vlangel

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I definitely prefer captive bred fish but I do buy wild caught, especially from KPA. I have never gotten sick or frail fish from them and have always had very good luck transitioning them to my tank.
 

mrjoe

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love the idea of captive bread and both of my clowns are.. BUT.... The prices for captive bread IMHO are just to high.... I understand the cost's of setting up a business to do that but trying to make all your money back to quick is a bad business model.. just my .02...
 
BRS

What are the benefits of a cube aquarium?

  • Better light coverage

    Votes: 20 69.0%
  • Viewing from more angles

    Votes: 18 62.1%
  • Positive flow patterns

    Votes: 9 31.0%
  • Unique aquascaping

    Votes: 7 24.1%
  • Other

    Votes: 3 10.3%
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