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”.
As we celebrate the one year anniversary of our Aqua cultured Yellow tangs I am taken back to a year ago. When i opened an email from Segrest farms that talked about the first aquacultured yellow tangs being available for sale. I remember telling my mom and dad about it and thinking that we had to get some. It was such an amazing piece of history.
I had no idea in that moment that our lives would shift to a different path. One with endless opportunities and one of giving back to this amazing industry that has been our life for years. In the past year we have brought in so many amazing aquacultured species and our goal is 100 % aquacultured fish.
I love how this industry is at a turning point and that there is so much support. Rising Tide Conservation is the driving force behind this turning point. They have been a part of these historic accomplishments and continue to lead the way in research and most of all education of the public. This is where we need to really step up. Aquacultured fish are an amazing accomplishment and have changed the industry forever, but all of that work will be nothing without the education of the public to buy these fish. We need to shout from the rooftops how amazing aquacultured fish are and how they are healthier and happier, how they will not only survive, but thrive! We need to tell the story of Tango our captive bred pacific blue tang. We need to make it known that the oceans are dying and if we want our kids and grand kids to know what its like to have saltwater fish, then captive bred fish have to be the answer.
Our Yellow tangs have been here a year and are thriving, not surviving. How could they not thrive? All they know is aquarium life. They eat frozen food, pellets, flakes, nori, and any other type of food we throw in there. They are not afraid of us. I imagine that they do not look out longingly and think of ocean life, they just keep swimming.
Maybe the 14 year old clown fish tells them stories from her ocean days but she likely has forgotten them too. I can imagine the tangs all sitting in their caves tucked in after the lights are out and listening to her stories, in awe. Maybe she had adventures like Marlin and Dory did. Maybe she tells of the day she was caught and thrown into a tank. Whatever the story is I hope its epic.
These are the days we will look back on in history and our story could go one of two ways.
The first could be:
Wow the beginning of the century sure was great for aquatic life and that’s when we started to get serious and save the oceans. Aquarium fish are now being mostly raised in captivity, and everyone can still enjoy them in their homes.
Here is the second way it could go.
Wow they made such advancements in aquacultured fish back then but not enough people cared and bought them. Now the only way to see these beautiful fish is in public aquariums, or in books and online. Home aquariums are a thing of the past.
These two scenarios are of course extremes, but they can turn into reality if we don’t change our ways.