Realistically speaking, what is the future of Captive Bred fish?

Zionas

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What are your opinions on the direction that Captive Breeding? In my opinion, the next group of fish to be targeted in numbers for Captive Breeding, after Clowns, would be Tangs starting from the Zebrasomas.

That means Yellow, Purple, both Sailfins, Scopas (not sure whether it’s truly a distinct species from the Yellow, but maybe we’ll start with the browns and eventually move onto the xanthic strains?), maybe Black and in smaller numbers, the Gem Tangs as well.

Next would probably be Cthenochaetus, beginning from the Kole and Tomini. Some Acanthurus would also be targeted, notably the Powder varieties, maybe Mimic Tangs too.

Blue Tangs are already being bred (I’ve seen them on dealer’s lists in Asia) so maybe we’ll also be getting more of them in the future.

Rabbitfish, related to the Tangs, are being bred in small numbers in my part of the world, namely the Yellow Foxface. Perhaps we’ll be getting more varieties in the future.

Next to follow would be angelfish, both Centropyge and larger angels. The Flame would definitely be a prime candidate for breeding in numbers. More of the pygmy varieties would also be bred. For larger angels I can see the Genicanthus being targeted, notably Lamarck’s, Spotbreast, Bellus and Watanabei, maybe Red Sea and Semifasciatus too but not before the advent of the 4 more common species. Of course, Holacanthus and Pomacanthus, would see more species being bred.

Not too sure about Chaetodonpolus and Apolemichthys, though out of Chartodonpolus I can see the Meredithi and Conspicuous being targeted, along with the Scribbled and Blue Lined. Apolemichthys, I’d place my bets on the Flagfin, maybe Griffis, and Cream.

Not too sure about butterflyfish, but I believe some prime candidates would be the Pyramid and Zoster, Chelmon and Forcipigier, Roaps subgenus, Klein’s, Auriga and different Heniochus. Maybe the Atlantic Long Nose too.

For all the smaller reef fish I hope it’s just going to be an expanding selection from here on. I would love to see more Captive Bred damsels, basslets, gobies, and so on.

For wrasses, my bets are on the smaller Halichoeres, Lined wrasses, the more affordable fairy wrasses and some Hogfish species.

For Clowns, perhaps more CB specimens of the less commonly seen varieties?

What about your thoughts on the future of Captive Breeding?


There’s a couple of species that I think would take a while, if ever:

Naso and Naso genus
 
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Phil D.

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I think it's a bright future. I have seen Yellow Tangs and Hippo Tanks now being captive bred. Banggais are also being captive bred. In 2016, i met Dr. Martin Moe and found out he was successful in breeding Urchins!! So, we will see more coming.
 
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josephxsxn

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While I am sad the ban may prevent people from getting to enjoy this hobby like I do.. one can hope that it will cause other improvements like the OP is proposing here with more captive breeding. Personally at this point in my journey in marine aquatics I seek out the captive breed fish and the aquaculture corals.

Kaudern's Cardinalfish is a good example of success in breeding. If I recall correctly we almost made this species extinct in the wild and now you can only find it through breeding.

Hypothetically I imagine there are many benefits to captive breed fish
  1. Potentially disease-free
  2. Considerably hardier then the wild counterpart
  3. Easier -Reduces the bar of entry for some expert fish like mandarins for example being trained to eat frozen food before you get them
  4. Sustainable - in the sense that we don't take the fish from the ocean... I am not totally convinced that I would call breeding "greener" electricity and plastics and many things getting used no doubt has a large waste sum.
  5. Color morphs - we see this with clownfish, I imagine we will see it in tangs too
  6. Hybrids - this is contentious with some people.. but I know I have always wanted to own one of the ORA hybrid cleaner gobies. Hybrids show what is called hybrid vigor and are exceptionally healthy.
 
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Zionas

Zionas

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All good man except I wouldn’t want to see the wacky color morphs in Tangs. Give me a natural variety any day of the week. I think it’s taken too far with Clowns. I’m willing to accept some of the designer varieties that were derived from wild specimens, such as the original Picasso Percula, Lightning Maroon and so on but when we get to the more genetically altered ones? I’d never buy one.
 
Budmans

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I have a mating pair of Banggai in my reef that seem to mate a few times a year and I have been able to grow some to maturity and have re-homed a bunch. The issue isn't getting them to the size they need to start eating frozen, it is how long it takes them to grow to maturity. I have a few I kept from my first brood (well over a year ago) that are still about half the size they really need to be for bringing to market as a mature specimen. I have also notice that any real swings in alkalinity, salinity, temp., while the eggs are in the males mouth end up as a meal.
 

josephxsxn

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All good man except I wouldn’t want to see the wacky color morphs in Tangs. Give me a natural variety any day of the week. I think it’s taken too far with Clowns. I’m willing to accept some of the designer varieties that were derived from wild specimens, such as the original Picasso Percula, Lightning Maroon and so on but when we get to the more genetically altered ones? I’d never buy one.
I think genetically altered is a whole new level like the glofish. But good selective breeding is what we have seen create our current world of designer clownfish not mad scientist genetic engineering. The current process is more akin to dog breeders and old farmers picking the best apple trees and breeding them for the next generation. In the case of clowns selection of best was colors (dog fur, apple size shape & color)
 
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Rjramos

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I will say that we need to come together and share ideas and protocols in breeding and raising captive fish. There are a lot of hobbyist that have had partial success in breeding species that have not yet been captive bred. The big names in breeding, Biota, ORA, Proaquatics, Sea and Reef, etc, should share some of their secrets. The MBI (marine breeding initiative) is a great site and is full of species specific information mainly from hobbyist contributing journals. You won’t find the big breeders here sharing info, cause success is money. Till this day, there is a journal written by me in the MBI, (2014) in reference to Ecsenius Midas (Midas Blenny). Back then I had a pair that spawned in my display. I made numerous attempts at raising the larvae without success. The tiny larvae would die in batches, and by day 8 post hatch, all would succumb to the unknown. An s-type smaller rotifer was obtained, cultured and tried without success. I tried to research smaller foods but couldn’t find the information I needed from anyone. After about a year of spawning, the female became frail and thin and died on me. The male died unexpectedly about 1 month after that. Interestingly, the similar bicolor blenny has been successfully bred and raised with rotifers, but the secret for Midas, a very popular species, is still unknown.
 

NeonRabbit221B

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Once global warming takes a stronger foothold and wipes out reefs around the world CB might be out only access to reef dwelling fish, coral and inverts. Captive breeding will be all that we have access to in 10-15 years so invest while you can.
 

kingjoe

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All good man except I wouldn’t want to see the wacky color morphs in Tangs. Give me a natural variety any day of the week. I think it’s taken too far with Clowns. I’m willing to accept some of the designer varieties that were derived from wild specimens, such as the original Picasso Percula, Lightning Maroon and so on but when we get to the more genetically altered ones? I’d never buy one.
I agree. From an ecological and sustainability standpoint, I'm all in favor of captive breeding. Increased disease resistance and enhanced suitability for life in human-created environments are very positive factors, as well. However, I prefer nature's aesthetic to that of a breeder who wants to produce something "different." The reason I got into this hobby was to be able to keep and maintain animals from the coral reef, not to have a tank full of designer fish that came out of somebody's basement. I've nothing against breeders and keepers producing and housing various morphs if that is their passion, but if captive marine breeding goes the way it has with some other pets (king and milk snakes, hog-nosed snakes, fresh water angelfish, some dog breeds, sword-tails/platies, hamsters, fancy goldfish), I fear that naturally occurring types will become increasingly hard to come by. Accumulated genetic defects can be another issue. Indeed, if the market becomes saturated with designer animals to the point where it becomes very difficult to find the "originals," I'd have no reason to continue with marine aquaria. As captive breeding becomes increasingly popular and necessary, there will hopefully be a fair balance of availability between designer varieties and natural specimens.
 
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SeaSquirt0405

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There are lots of captive bred marine fish currently being offered for sale! Even some online retailers dedicated to selling only captive bred specimens! Check out biota, and Oceans Garden Aquatics!
 

flying4fish

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I have a pretty good perspective on this topic, since I actually reared many tropical marine species of fish while I was earning my Ph.D. I also live in Hawaii and would collect fish for fun until it was banned. First, the trade will not suffer that much from the ban here, since the only endemic fish that was collected in large numbers for the aquarium trade was the yellow tang (of course). The fishery here was actually very sustainable, but environmental groups didn't like it so they spent a fortune on lawyers to get it shut down over a technicality. It's a very long...tragic...story.

As for captive bred species that might be coming to the trade soon...don't be too optimistic. We have been breeding coral reef fishes in small batches for decades, but the only species that can be done economically are those with a large egg that results in a large larva at the time of hatching. Gobies, clownfish, cardinals...all have demersal eggs that the male protects until they hatch (the cardinals are mouth breeders, the others lay the eggs on the substrate and guard them). Tangs, butterfly fish, angelfish, etc, have very small eggs and tiny larvae that are really hard to rear through to settlement in large numbers. So, the cost per fish can be astronomical. There was a breeder here on the Big Island that was rearing Centropyge, including Flame Angels, but they were too expensive for most hobbyists. Our best hope is that regions like Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines, etc., take more interest in rearing ornamental marine fish. They are very good at rearing grouper (which have small larvae and extended larval stages) and their overhead is quite low because they don't have to pay their workers very much.

Aloha.
 
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