The Dr. Seuss Soapfish, Belonoperca pylei, brings back so many fond memories. I have never been more excited about a fish than I am on the arrival of this one. My first encounter with this fish was back in 2006 when Greg Schiemer showed me one at Absolutely Fish in Clifton, New Jersey. I had never seen one before and did not know what to expect. Back then there were no photographs of Belonoperca pylei on the internet or in published literature.
This has been a great year for this fish as three have been collected—the first Dr. Seuss Fish was collected in March in surprisingly shallow water and shipped to Aqua Stage 21 in Japan. In April another one was collected and it found its way to Japan as well. The great news is that the third Belonoperca pylei found its way into the United States.
Joe Russo from Russo’s Reef requested the second specimen but the collector was forced to have it shipped to Japan. During post collection the fish are not fed at the collector’s facility and concern for its health found it necessary to have it shipped over to Japan as soon as possible. Joe’s order wasn’t going to ship for another week or so, otherwise that fish would have found its way into the states as well. In May Joe received notice that they had another Belonoperca pylei and without hesitation placed his order, conditioned the fish in his facility before shipping it forward to LiveAquaria.
Today the fish resides at Drs. Foster and Smith’s Aquaculture Coral and Marine Life Facility in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, where it happily lives under the watchful eyes of Kevin Kohen and his crew of expert aquarists. The fish has been in quarantine for more than three weeks and is now fully conditioned, and very responsive when being fed and attentive with those that interact with it. This Belonoperca pylei has adapted well to captivity and if your pockets are large enough you can have this incredible fish for $5,999.99. Heads up everyone LiveAquaria will announce the sale of this 3½ to 3¾ inch fish in the DiversDen section on Friday, so get ready!
I will have more detailed information on this fish, the history of Belonoperca pylei, captive care, and how Richard Pyle discovered it in an upcoming article, I will keep you posted. Just follow me on FaceBook I would like to thank Kevin Kohen for the incredible photos he provided—under my constant pressure—for this post.