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Captive-Bred Versus Wild-Caught Marine Fish

The choice may seem obvious, but there are a lot of factors at play between tank-raised and collected specimens.

By Steven Bitter |

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Breeding marine fish has been a goal for the saltwater aquarium hobby for half a century, but to do it seriously has always felt like a distant dream. Yet now, it’s finally starting to feel as if there’s real progress, as evidenced by the number of milestone advances in marine breeding in recent years. In 2009, Matt Pedersen stunned the entire hobby by breeding the previously unkeepable orange-spotted filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris). (In case you don’t know who Pedersen is, he was the 2009 Marine Aquarium Societies of North America “Aquarist of the Year,” which he won for his contributions to marine fish breeding, including founding the Marine Ornamental Fish and Invertebrate Breeders’ Association, aka MOFIB. — Eds.)

Last spring, “captive-reared” blue tangs (Paracanthurus hepatus) became available, along with a number of other species that had been grown in captivity from wild-collected post-larval juveniles. This fall, most hobbyists in the United States had their first chance to purchase tank-raised spotted Mandarin dragonets (Synchiropus picturatus), released to the hobby in July 2010. Make no mistake — breeding marine fish still isn’t easy or inexpensive. However, we’re finally on our way to some exciting breakthroughs in ornamental aquaculture.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the January 2011 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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Reader Comments

Mod    Colorado Springs, CO

10/17/2012 8:59:20 AM

-Great Article
-The more captive Bred/raised species that can be purchased in the Aquarium trade the less will be taken out of their natural environment.Better for us Better for them.

Brian    Riverton, UT

10/7/2011 5:25:08 AM

good article. when I started in the hobby there was really not much in the way of captive raised marine fish.

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