Blog, captive bred fish

Saving Bubbles

Walking around anywhere that has a saltwater aquarium you will hear excited little voices say “Look, I found Nemo” and “There is Dory”! The next fish they will recognize is Bubbles the yellow tang. He was the one in the the aquarium obsessed with the bubbling ornament.

The yellow tang is one of the most recognized saltwater fish by children and adults alike. That bright yellow color is what makes them a staple in most home aquariums. What most people dont realize is that there are very few captive bred saltwater fish, most of them come right from the ocean. Luckily there are aquariums and research facilities out there working very hard to change this. The most recent triumph was 10 years in the making, they have successfully bred yellow tangs in captivity. The Oceanic Institute in Hawaii won the prize.

After months of special care and love the captive bred babies were ready to go to their new homes. Most of them went to public aquariums and research centers. 3 swam their way to their new home at Colchester Pet.  We are so honored and excited to have these special and historic fish at our store. They live in a 150 gallon reef tank with Jock (the shrimp) and Nemo.

If we keep taking these popular fish out of the ocean for our own aquariums then someday there wont be any left. There is still a long way to go until we have captive bred yellow tangs in every fish store, but at least its a start on the way to “Saving Bubbles”.

Blog, captive bred fish

Why is aquaculture the future?

We love the ocean and everything it has. We love it so much we want a piece of it in our own homes. We make movies about sea adventures of fish that are box office masterpieces. We write books about sea adventures in the deep with scary sea creatures. A vacation paradise usually starts with white sandy beaches and reading a good book while listening to the waves crash on the shore. We walk for  miles on the beach collecting remnants of ocean life in the form of empty shells or starfish that have washed up on the sand.

The ocean is vast and undiscovered. There is more water on our planet then land. I think we need to keep her as healthy as we can, don’t you? There have been changes in the oceans lately, but they are not good. Coral reefs have been dying and that is pretty serious. Fish live on the coral reefs and they need each other to survive. We all know that this is a big problem but we are not sunk yet. Biologists are working hard to figure this out. They are also working hard to make coral farms in the ocean. A lot of the corals that are in fish tanks these days are aquacultured or (raised in captivity). This is great news for coral keepers and coral in general.

Some coral frags that we have had at our store

Many people will not care about fish in an aquarium and will think that they only belong in the ocean. That is a fine opinion, but not at all realistic. Human beings are so infatuated with the sea and sea creatures. It makes sense that you see aquariums in so many hospitals, doctor’s offices, and children’s hospitals. A fish tank is so relaxing. They can calm down a scared child, lower blood pressure, help with anxiety, and more. Public aquariums are always a busy place that captivate anyone. So let’s think about what would happen if we leave all the fish in the ocean. Everything I just said would be gone unless you raise these fish in captivity.

Our trip to the Long Island Aquarium

Aquacultured or captive bred means that these fish or corals are raised in closed systems where they can monitor water quality, food intake, temperature of water and more. These fish are acclimated to live in these conditions that vary from ocean life. They are given the perfect environment to spawn and everything is documented so this can happen again and again. The eggs are collected and put into a different tank. These researchers have to figure out what the newly hatched baby fish (called fry) will eat. Then they wait, and see who will survive. Many people don’t understand why fish are still taken from the ocean, but here is why. There is so much research that goes into successful captive breeding. Lots of trial and error also, because each type of species may need different food, water movement, temperature or  whatever else.

Three of the first aquacultred Yellow Tangs from the Oceanic Institute in Hawaii.

These amazing people are really trying to get these fish bred in quantity but it takes money and time. Its not just researchers that are making a difference. There are many hobbyists that are trying their hand at captive breeding too and making huge leaps. The industry is also on the right track as a whole.

Aqua cultured Banggai Cardinal

I think one of the biggest challenges is education of the public. Education that most saltwater fish are still wild caught. Education to choose the aquacultured fish over wild caught even though they cost more. Education to demand better from the average pet store or online retailer. Most stores don’t carry aquacultured fish because they don’t think they will sell. We need to convince them that yes they will sell. One organization is a shining star in this education. Rising Tide Conservation is amazing, they work so hard on educaton of the public. They are also the driving force behind all the tangs being aquacultured and so many other fish.

Tango one of the first aquacultured pacific blue tangs

This is where Tango comes in. One of the 27 original aquacultured pacific blue tangs. So many people have been educated at our store and through our blogs about the importance of aquaculture. Most of our customers will choose them over wild caught when they have a chance because we educate them. Tango is our shining star and the face of aquaculture. Tango is the future and Aquaculture is the future!

Blog, captive bred fish

The Absolutely Amazing Coral Beauty Angelfish

“Aquaculture is the future”


A streak of orange and purple catch your eye as you walk down the aisle at your local fish store. You turn to the tank and see nothing, when you start walking again you see the streak fly back to the other side. Now you stop and look knowing for sure it wasn’t in your head. You see a tag for a Coral Beauty Angelfish and you know it has to be the one, it’s a beauty alright. Once you can stand there and look at this fish you really start to notice the beautiful details in his coloration. There are dark stripes in the orange coral color that is wrapped in the most vibrant dark purple you have seen on a fish. You ask the fish expert if this magnificent fish is okay for your aquarium. They answer with an energetic “yes”.

The Coral Beauty is one of the most popular fish for the marine aquarium. They can go in almost any tank. They are as robust as angels get. In my opinion they are the most resilient of the angelfish. They are a dwarf angelfish and are mostly reef safe. I have no problem recommending them for a reef. They are also one of the first I recommend to newer aquariums after the tank is biologically cycled.

The problem with the popularity of this saltwater fish is that it is still mostly wild caught. Wild caught fish for the aquarium have it tough. Until about 10 years ago it was the only way to get any saltwater fish. Most people don’t know that their precious fish comes right from the ocean. They are taken from their comfortable environment and what they are used to eating. Its no wonder that they are stressed when they come to the fish store, and then to your home. This is such a great hobby but we can make it better by doing what is right for the fish and the ocean. The list of aquacultured or captive bred fish is getting longer and it’s a thing of beauty!

The coral beauty has now been added to the list of  amazing aquacultured (captive bred) fish. Kathy Leahy of Kathys Clowns LLC was the first to successfully raise this fish in captivity.

Here is Kathy’s success with the first captive bred Coral Beauty Angels. They hatched on 5-13-16. Around 6-13-16 they started to be more self sufficient and eat different foods.They also started swimming around the tank and going through their PVC tubes on the bottom of the aquarium looking and acting more like fish. Their coloration came at different times between July and September. Kathy has three survivors and is currently working on a new batch.

Another one to have aquacultured Coral Beauty Angelfish is Biota Marine Life Nursery in Palau. This is where we get our beautiful fish from. Its very exciting that these aquacultured fish are already available to the public. They are usually sent to public aquariums first so its hard for the fish stores and ultimately the hobbyist to get them. The team at Biota is amazing and they have such amazing healthy fish. They sell quickly and one awesome thing about them is you can have more then one in your home aquarium. Watching a group of these beautiful angels swimming together has only been witnessed at public aquariums and in the wild until now.

They are believed to be a bit like clownfish where they can change sex. The young dwarf angelfish are believed to be female and the dominant one will turn male when mature. So, if you start out with two juveniles chances are you may end up with a pair once they reach maturity.


Because of this trait and the fact that they are kept in aquariums when captive bred, two should do well in your aquarium. These fish are already eating prepared food and eat immediately when we get them in. They are small and petite but they will grow up to be strong and mighty.


Coral Beauty Angelfish are such a great addition to almost any saltwater aquarium. I am so happy to be able to offer yet another awesome aquacultured fish to my customers. I am also happy to have companies out there like Kathys Clowns and Biota who are totally into aquaculture like we are. It is the future of the hobby and they only truly sustainable source for saltwater fish.  The price is a bit higher on the fish, but the more they are bred and bought, the quicker the price will come down. I am willing to pay more for a healthier and happier fish, are you?

When a fish is newly aquacultured or captive bred there are a lot of people out there who will say that they have “captive bred fish”. There is no way to prove whether this is true or not except documentation. If your fish comes with a certificate, or your local fish store can show you a certificate before you buy, that is so awesome.

Here is documentation we have right from Biota Marine Life Nursery certifying that the fish I buy from them are aquacultured or captive bred.

Education is the key and it’s the most important thing a professional can do for this hobby. Its my mission to educate the public about captive bred and aquacultured fish.

The saltwater fish industry is headed for the future!

If you would like more information on Biota here is their website:

Kathy’s Clowns: