No doubt, the regal blue tang, Paracanthurus hepatus, is one of the most popular fish for the marine and reef aquarium. This species is imported by the thousands at a size of 1-2″ but these specimens often take a long time to acclimate to captive life, hiding and eating reluctantly. About 10 years ago the regal blue tang was available from C-Quest in limited quantities as a captive reared fish, a fish that was captured right after metamorphosing, in what is called a ‘post-larval’ state.
These newly settled out, 0.25″ specimens are then raised in aquaria to a marketable size. After a long absence from the marine aquarium scene, captive reared blue tangs are now available again from Tenessee based Sustainable Aquatics. SA has been working for over a year with a Solomon Island exporter to fine tune the technique of raising fish that are caught post-larval and then bringing them to market.
The captive reared regal blue tang is just the first of a slew of fish which are prime for captive rearing although it stands to remain one of the most sought after CR fish. Captive reared fish from Sustainable Aquatics should be on par with the average cost of wild caught fish although their value to the hobby and the environment is arguably much more than wild caught fish. Sustainable Aquatics will be exhibiting at the Denver Reefstock event where we expect we’ll see lot’s more captive reared fish from SA.
Photo by FlickR user sophos9