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

blasterman

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The more resources that breed marine fish the more prices will be competitive and more incentive there will be to use technology to solve issues with more difficult species. Right now the only reason there isn't more captive breeding is it's cheaper to get a local worker getting paid wages none of us could survive on to snag the fish. Also, LFS stores control too much of the economic pipeline. As business owners they need to either adapt or die. The wild reef trade sucks and it should be banned...except for needing to introduce new genetics.

If fish can breed like crazy and larvae can survive in the ocean it's simply a matter of effort to get the process to happen in captivity. Yellow Tangs and Coral Beauties are now captive produced and the producer is likely hosting and protecting their tech secrets and I'm cool with that. They invested in it - they should get the profit. Now others need to follow suit and we need to support it. Having captive breeding programs at the native regions these fish comes from is a win / win for everybody. Supports the local economy and cuts out parasitic middle men.
 
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BackToTheReef

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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.

Was it the folks from Biota that said many of the commercial breeders have an unspoken "gentleman's agreement" not to breed some of the species the other had done first? I get it to some degree but also have a suspicion this is slowing down the growth of captive breeding and it taking hold.

Many of the fish I wanted to get captive bred specimens have been out of stock for many months. I understand larval stages, seasonal breeding, etc. but there needs to be inventory on the market so to speak. Unfortunately, the fish and inverts don't always cooperate. ;)
 
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Zionas

Zionas

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I agree with what you’ve said, and it’s sad that the advances in captive breeding can be so slow. As far as I know Taiwan breeds some species of angelfish and breeds Clownfish, and Bali Aquarich is owned by a Taiwanese man. I tried contacting them in Chinese but they never got back to me. Other than that I’ve been on Taiwanese forums and they do get fish from their coastal waters but as far as I know Taiwanese fish seldom if ever are exported.

Hopefully Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, the Pacific Islands, the Red Sea and Caribbean as well as Australia will remain open until significantly more species of fish are captive bred.
 
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Tamberav

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Sigh..... how long do you think it will take before our hobby is done for?

I mean even if all fish collection got banned... we have plenty of corals to frag/sell/trade and then we would all stock mostly the same few captive bred fish. Tanks would become even more coral focused.

So you may see most tanks with something like:
Yellow Tang
Dottyback
Pair of Clowns
Pair of Cardinals
A trio of Fang Blennies
Neon Goby
Coral Beauty
Yellow Watchmen
Mandarin Goby

All of these can be gotten fairly regularly captive bred (in the states anyways). Those with deep pockets will have some rare captive bred like goldflakes and such.
 
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Rjramos

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Biota has a facility here in Florida. That’s where most of the Palao livestock arrives. I would say that their survival numbers are better than most, even being half way around the globe. Holding livestock and stabilizing and feeding in captivity prior to shipping is important. The indo-pacific is much more diverse in fish and corals than here in south Florida and the Caribbean. Also everything has more color, which is what we want in our reef aquariums. Even though there is less biodiversity here in south Florida, all stony corals and even live rock has always been illegal to harvest here. As for fish, non-stony corals, and inverts, effective July 2020, the FWC closed the collecting of all marine ornamentals in Biscayne National Park. A fairly large coral reef area where throughout years I’ve collected marine tropical species. Regulations and bans are only gonna increase worldwide, from here on out. It’s also a matter of time before the legislation in these small indo- pacific nations follow suit. Indo banned then lifted, and I assure you, they will ban again.
 
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KimG

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I don't think the hobby is going any where.
Firstly I don't think collecting will be banned everywhere. Even if it is, it will take a very, very long time.
And if we eventually get there, frags already make a large part of the trade in terms of corals, so on that side we are covered. a lot of inverts can also be tank breed. On the fish side, already multiple species are tank breed, and more could be done, but they simply aren't economically worth it, if you have to compete with much cheaper wild caught animals.

I owned a company producing marine ornamentals several years ago and the reality is that to compete with wild caught animals, your production cost needs to be impossibly low. Clowns and other small species can be done out of you garage largely reducing cost and done as a side gig, but larger species need much larger tanks and better equip facilities. Putting that much money when you are competing with wild caught animals is a big risk. I believe the ban in Hawaii may allow some companies to take that risk.

I think one of the positives that came out of the ban from the indo a few years back, was a clear increase in the sale of frags, which was in my opinion a vastly positive thing. Hopefully this may do something similar for the fish.
 
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Zionas

Zionas

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China I believe has some aquaculture facilities for corals, on the fish side we’re behind the West. I hope that aquacultured frags will indeed bring an end, or close to an end when it comes to wild coral collection and that the fish, even invertebrate side will catch up.

I, for one, would never mind, in fact I would prefer frags over grown corals.
 

Fishboy42

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Was it the folks from Biota that said many of the commercial breeders have an unspoken "gentleman's agreement" not to breed some of the species the other had done first?
While Tom and the folks at Biota are Gentlemen (and women), the larger hatcheries are not so much competing against each other as they are competing with wild-collected animals, so there's little need to worry about working on the same fish (as long as it's a popular fish in the trade). It does make sense to diversify and try something new, and of course it's fun to work on new species.
 

davidcalgary29

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I've been delighted with my captive-bred ORA fish, and my builds are too small for wild-caught rarities, so I have no skin in this game. But I'm calling first dibs on designer majanos and bristleworms! And I'm telling you, bobbit worms are going to be the new Tangs.
 
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