This is the second and final installment to the two part BlueHarbor tour visit. In this article, we visit one of Koji’s customers with perhaps the biggest and most impressive collection of deepwater fish ever. Rare fish aficionados, you do not want to miss this. The visit was initiated when Koji received a call requesting for some help when his customer’s Liopropoma aberrans was showing signs of swim bladder issues. This post is chock full of rare fish and fish only.
Liopropoma aberrans is one of the deepest, rarest and newest member to enter the trade from the far flung reefs of the Atlantic. When you find out that one of your prized fishes is having trouble staying submerged, you’d want to best to fix this problem, and you’d naturally think of Koji Wada. Not only does Koji specialize in importing rare and deepwater fish, he has the knowledge and skills to back it up. Unfazed by the seemingly alarming situation, a hypodermic needle was inserted in the swim bladder of this multi-thousand dollar fish after catching it, and within minutes, small bubbles of gas was released and the fish was swimming properly with no signs of trauma what so ever.
The series of pictures above shows briefly the needling process, and the end result – a bloat-free fish finding it much easier to stay submerged. How amazing. One could not have asked for a more appropriate scenario to cement Koji’s ability to not only procure the most unobtainable things, but yet show skill and knowledge to properly care for each and every one of them. Koji’s customer has five tanks in his apartment, each filled with increasingly rare and beautiful fish, every single on in the pink of health. The L. aberrans was featured in the largest, as well as the most impressive tank. The biggest collection of deepwater rarities all swimming around in a dimly lit, well maintained tank. A fish lover’s dream.
Being a huge Cirrhilabrus nut, seeing a huge 7 inch male C. lanceolatus in the flesh is the icing on a decadent enough cake. Nothing can describe the gracefulness and beauty of this species, as it weaves around the tank in an almost snake like fashion. The subtle pink hues coupled with the iridescent emerald trimmings and that incredible sword like tail is just simply mind blowing. This might sound biased but seeing this species in real life was the best thing for me.
And of course, what deepwater tank would be complete without the stunning Neon Hogfish? My only regret was not bringing along a kit lens for a full tank shot and a full body shot of the fish. A macro lens in a tight space is not suitable in many instances. Regardless, the real beauty of B. sanguineus is shown in full grown specimens like the one above. Deep orange, almost to the point of crimson, coupled with that neon strip of cobalt yellow really shows up beautifully in large specimens.
Besides the rare wrasses and basslets, this large tank is home to some amazing anthias as well. Sacura margaritacea, Holanthus fuscipinnis are all standard issue for this guy, but the creme de la creme had to be a stunning, but very shy Odontanthias katayamai. This fish was mega, but unfortunately too shy to provide any proper images of this really really gorgeous specimen. It’s amazing to see all these deepwater fish living in such good health. The tank is set up perfectly for them. No lighting is used with the exception of some dim blue actinics which are only turned on for a few hours a day. The tanks are kept at very cool temperatures with styrofoam lined cabinets as well as a double panel glass for the tank.
One of the most curious and beautiful members of this tank are a pair of lovely Plectranthias pelicieri. This is a rare and beautiful basslet that is adorned with beautiful white striations on a red body. The pair sits around mostly and swim very little, typical for a Plectranthias. From the looks of their bellies, they appear to be very well fed and happy.
The second of his five tanks feature a brightly lit aquarium set up adorned with coral and colorful reef fish. What is special about this tank is the almost exclusive stocking of Montipora species only. The lights are controlled by remotes and can move horizontally as well as vertically, depending on the owner’s whim.
Yet again we find ourselves staring intently at another beautiful reef tank, this time smaller, but adorned with SPS, much like the previous one – a spin off of the other if you would. Equally decorated with rare fish such as this Zebrasoma gemmatum above.
Two dwarf angelfish graces this tank. A juvenile interruptus angel, as well as a lovely adult resplendent angelfish. Having once made the assumption that C. resplendens is just a more expensive version of the flamebacks, the difference couldn’t be anymore clear and I couldn’t be anymore wrong. The former is just so much more beautiful.
This tank also features two wrasses, with P. octotaenia representing the flashers and C. earlei representing the fairies. Both are extremely beautiful and well groomed males which complement each other very well, seeing how each of them have matching horizontal stripes. C. earlei is of course, the more gaudily colored of the two. With it being only a few meters away from that C. lanceolatus we mentioned before, this is a fairy wrasse nut’s idea of heaven. A Rainfordia opercularis also shares this tank, but was too shy to make an appearance.
The last two tanks belonging to Koji’s customer are the smallest. Both are also deepwater biotopes. The first features a juvenile Bodianus masudai, as well as a harem of Tosanoides flavofasciatus and a lone Decodon puellaris. Unfortunately, they were all too shy and well hidden inside the rock work to make any considerable appearances for the camera.
The last tank features only two fish, but both incredibly special. Incase you were wondering where the other Centropyge narcosis went to, look no further. A tiny, juvenile C. narcosis, swimming happily alongside a juvenile Bodianus neopercularis. It’s oddly curious, watching these little legends swimming in their glass box, unaware of how sought after they are. One thing’s for sure though, they are well kept, well looked after, well treasured, and are given the best that any fish keeper can offer. Having fawned over these fishes for years in magazines, it’s amazing to see that these same individuals in the flesh, looking so healthy and real. That concludes our visit to BlueHarbor. We truly hope you enjoyed reading this short series.