Captive-bred Marine fish are on the rise!

As 2016 comes to a close there seems to be plenty of things for people to be upset about so I thought we should highlight some of the amazing achievements by the hardworking aquaculture teams around the world. They are bringing more fish onto our captive-bred lists each year and keeping our hobby a sustainable one far into the future. Every species that we can breed in captivity is another species that doesn’t need to be pulled off of a reef. I don’t know if the industry can ever sustain a fully captive-bred marine aquarium supply chain, but it is nice to dream.

Yellow Tang

The Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) was technically bred at the end of 2015, but the first commercially available yellow tangs were sold in the beginning of 2016 so I will add them here since it is one of the most spectacular achievements surrounding the aquarium hobby in a long time. The Yellow Tang is a staple of the hobby and one of the most common fish you will find in any marine aquarium.

Captive-Bred Yellow Tang

Pacific Blue Tang

The real winner for 2016 though was the Hippo, or Pacific Blue Tang. These were first bred in 2016 in the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory under the direction of Craig Watson at the University of Florida. The timing of this breakthrough was so important, coming right on the heels of the new animated movie “Finding Dory” which featured a Hippo Tang as the main character.

Captive-Bred Blue Tang

The full list of NEW species captive bred in 2016:

Apolemichthys xanthopunctatus, Goldflake Angelfish

Centropyge bispinosa, Coral Beauty Angelfish

Centropyge potteri, Potter’s Angelfish

Pomacanthus sexstriatus, Sixbar Angelfish

Pseudanthias hypselosoma, Stocky Anthias

Rainfordia opercularis, Flathead Perch

Chaetodon milliaris, Milletseed or Lemon Butterflyfish

Amblyglyphidodon leucogaster, Yellow-belly Damselfish

Chromis cyaneus, Caribbean Blue Reef Chromis

Pseudochromis coccinicauda, Yellow-breasted Dottyback

Synchiropus sycorax, Ruby Red Dragonet

Stonogobiops yasha, Yasha or White Ray Goby

Paracanthurus hepatus, Pacific Blue Tang

Zebrasoma flavescens, Yellow Tang ***

Labroides phthirophagus, Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse

These 15 new fish represent a huge push from conservation groups to get funding for these breakthroughs. Without the money to do so, Labs and breeders would not be able to afford the setups and equipment they require. The University of Florida and the Oceanic Institute at Hawai’i Pacific University are leading the pack in new aquaculture breakthroughs. Learn more about conservation and get involved by visiting the friendly people over at Rising Tide Conservation

As a result of the hard work by conservationists and scientists the current list of Captive-bred Marine species is at 330! Only about 94 of those species are commercially available, with only about 27 of those being commonly available, but that is a great start. I only hope next year’s list can match the importance and volume of this one!


You can read the full list of captive-bred fish at:

-Michael Ammirati