Like we did for the most exciting breakthrough aquarium fish of the year 2011, we’re going to recap some of the most memorable and amazing fish that we’ve seen this year. We have seen some pretty amazing ground breaking collections for the year 2011 which totally redefined and change the image that these fish possessed before. That is, grainy, poor quality images found in only but the oldest of books, and for the more unfortunate ones, really bad holotype pictures.
Rainfordia opercularis without a doubt has been the most sensational find of this year. A fish almost unheard of right until late January of 2010, it is not only until 2011 that the first aquarium specimen of Rainfordia opercularis arrived for sale in Japan. From there on, we began seeing Rainfordia being collected and distributed to Europe, Asia and the U.S. It has single handedly racked up the highest post count of a single topic we’ve had the entire year .
Not only have we had the privilege of seeing so many new pictures and videos of nothing but the best quality, we have also been tracking down each and every piece that made its way into the trade. It’s simply outstanding how a fish so cryptic and elusive both in the wild and in the trade could suddenly appear and take the entire industry by storm. 2011 is clearly the year of the Rainfordia. We might even need a new zodiac sign for this fish!
Let us also not forget some of the other exceptional fishes that we got to see this year. One really fantastic story that literally took us by surprise was the collection of this lone specimen of Centropyge nigriocella in Vanuatu. The fishy embodiment of the word cryptic is manifested by the dainty lemon yellow black spot angel that we first posted about in February this year. These are some of the newest and clearest photos of this fish ever documented. Not long after our first post, we got a video update from B-Box Japan showing even more clearly the coloration and actual appearance of the fish.
Coincidentally, most of the other top stories this year feature fishes in the Angelfish family. Perhaps it is the fact that many species within this family are just simply, rare and out of reach. The hybrid Tiger Angelfish we posted in November redefined the rarest of the rare. As if Apolemichthys kingi wasn’t rare enough, the hybrid specimen between this and A. trimaculatus blew us away. The South African caught treasure was rightfully placed in a public aquaria, a fitting display for this kingly specimen. While there have been photographic documentation of this type of hybrid in the wild, this is the first specimen that has been captured and photographed with such clarity. Without a doubt one of the more exciting moments of this year. Finally, we have Chaetodontoplus niger, a super rare species that recently added more clear pictures to its repertoire of badly taken photos. Photographed in Oak Island Japan, the little juvenile C. niger was observed in shallow depths by scuba divers observing the island.
The photos were clear and were some of the best taken for this elusive species. The fish is very seldom seen so the new pictures were really quite something. Sure there were many more amazing fishes this year, but as we come to the end of 2011, we can only look forward to what 2012 will bring. Remember, in 2010 the Rainfordia opercularis was a fish so rare that no one though we’d ever see in the trade, let alone own one. Now that the total opposite has happened, we’ll enter 2012 with no limitations to what we might encounter.