How did a little store like Colchester Pet get their hands on such an amazing fish?
Here is something I wrote in September telling the story:
There have been such exciting breakthroughs in the marine aquaculture industry. As you know from our previous posts, we have 3 of the very first aqua cultured yellow tangs. They are so beautiful swimming around in their 150 gallon home. Another recent breakthrough was raising Dory in captivity which is a new development. Dory is a very beautiful fish called a pacific blue tang (also called Hippo Tang or Regal Tang). These fish are not on the easy side of saltwater fish but they are one of the more popular ones. Even way before Finding Nemo and Finding Dory were around these fish were popular. People just love their color and personality. I think they did a really good job capturing the personalities of these fish in the movies. If you look at a Hippo Tang in an aquarium they are very fast swimmers going in and out of all the caves and rock formations with such grace and beauty.
We were so excited when we heard the aquaculture news. I watch the Rising Tide Conservation Facebook page daily and when I saw what they had done in conjunction with the UF Tropical Aquaculture Lab with these fish I was beyond excited. This popular fish would do well with being raised in captivity. They can very easily come down with Ich. (a parasite that attaches to a stressed out fish and can kill them if left untreated, it can also spread to other fish). I can only assume that a fish that is aqua cultured will be healthier than one taken from the ocean.
If you want to see how really excited I was watch our short FLOG (fish video blog) here:
We really tried to get one of these aqua cultured Hippo tangs, we even talked to the director of the University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Lab where they were bred and asked if they would sell us one. The answer of no was understandable and expected. But we had to try anyway right? There were only a handful of these fish available and they wanted to send them out to public aquariums to show everyone this truly amazing accomplishment. Two of the fish were auctioned off to the highest bidders through Dynasty Marine and the money went back to the research facility to help make this happen again.
The day that the auction started we watched the first bid come in. $200 won that days bid. This was a few week long auction and they posted the highest bid every night. In the beginning they were slow to bid. There were days where no one bid at all. We figured that this would be like an eBay auction where everyone waits until the last possible second, then bids like crazy.
It was a few days before the end of the auction and we threw out a bid for one of these historic fish. That night we were the high bidder and my initials and our bid sat there hoping that people didn’t want to go higher. The next day I checked the page periodically and was amazed to see our bid still there. That night our bid was still there as the high bid, OMG really? I was totally excited and getting a bit nervous. What if we won? What if we got this fish? This is a lot of pressure to make sure nothing happens to this little one. What tank would we put him in? He is much too small for the 150 with our yellow tangs. Then I checked the post on the day before the auction. We were still in it for the second place if no one else bid. They day of the auction I kept looking at the page and watching the bids go up and up.
I don’t know what the final highest bids were but I sure hope the people that won know and appreciate what they are getting. I hope they appreciate the piece of history and realize that this industry has changed for the better with the fish they won that will proudly swim in their aquarium. I hope they appreciate the hard work and countless hours of everyone that had a hand in making this possible. I hope they know that they hold a key to the future success of every aquarist who will ever want a saltwater fish in their aquarium. I hope they feel the same love that we do of our fish and that its not just a bragging right for them.
This is how I feel every time I walk to the back of our store and see our three captive bred yellow tangs. I feel so proud to be part of this industry that is working so hard to make a difference. I love all of our fish. I love helping people pick out the fish that will do the best in their aquarium and not just survive, but thrive. I love looking at all of our fish and coral every morning to make sure they are all happy and healthy.
When you have a passion and you can spend your days talking to people about it and giving them advice that is true happiness at work in my opinion. When you have the knowledge to solve their problem, not because you read it somewhere, but because you have owned the experience that is happiness. I am very proud and honored to be a part of this amazing industry that brings joy and happiness to all who are captivated by it. What I love most about this hobby and industry are the fish and corals. I accept the challenge and love every aspect of it. I hope the passion shines through with every blog post, or every conversation we have that we really love our fish.
I just want to say thank you to all of the research facilities and universities that put in countless hours to make a better future for our marine friends. You are truly amazing people.