If anyone had a clue what it takes to knock down species first after species first, I think we’d be showing ORA a little more appreciation for ticking another “boring” and “dull” captive-bred fish species first off the list this year!
OK, to be fair, ORA did ask for your opinions, and sure, I can understand why. There are better looking freshwater fish after all. There are lots of better looking freshwater fish out there actually. Back in the old days, we used to laud breeders who broke new ground – they were our champions. In the freshwater world, they often still are. What the fish looked like was immaterial (have you seen a Hillstream Loach lately?)!
But seriously, have y’all just not been paying attention to what’s going on in the world of marine fish collecting lately? Diver scuffles, Whitelists (aka. Blacklists in my book), Lionfish Bans, Banggais possibly getting an ESA listing? We cannot dismiss the mundane at this point in time.
Have I not drilled home just how important every captive breeding milestone is these days? Particularly when we look at a fish like this one, or how about the most underrated clownfish breakthrough of all times, Amphiprion mccullochi? Sure, A. mccullochi isn’t exactly a saint, it’s been known to attack an aquarist or two, but what clownfish hasn’t? Yet we (the amorphous random aquarium consumer) would rather go buy a “Domino Midnight” Ocellaris than spend a comparable sum on a rare species the trade had only one chance at getting? A species that if we don’t buy it and support breeding efforts, it could very well stop being produced altogether? And then what?
Why am I so cranky? I read the responses to ORA’s online announcement of this Cardinalfish breakthrough, and I think the double post that read “Maybe instead some Dragonets?” and then “How about some Mandarins instead?” are to blame. Listen up – I’m not simply being a rhetorical when I say we should be buying things like A. mccullochi or we could lose them. Let me remind the purposely unnamed commentator that a) ORA was producing captive-bred Mandarins / Dragonets, and b) thanks to some good detective work by our friend Scott Fellman, we all know exactly why you can’t get a captive-bred mandarin from ORA these days.
Sorry, but this is one of those times where I feel compelled to preach, moved to wag my finger, and forced to remind you of you what your mamma should have taught you; If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. ORA doesn’t need to flood the market with this species, but I must insist that we buy enough of them to keep them around. I’m sure the more we collectively buy, the more ORA will produce. Big surprise, if we help ORA grow, then they’ll have the room to break even MORE new ground. And yes ORA, please do work on more new species too.
It’s a cardinalfish – everyone has room for captive-bred cardinalfish in their reefs. We all try to have schools of “Chromis” – yeah, how are all your Chromis schools doing a year on? Heck, let’s just stop trying to kid ourselves into thinking that Chromis will school in our tanks to begin with. Grow up and get a real schooling fish for cryin’ out loud. If not ORA’s Apogon notatus, then one of the other available captive-bred ones! Most Apogon-type cardinals will school until they die (which is different from schooling until a male grows up, turns dominant and kills all the rest).
So, for the love of our hobby and the love of your reef, when a company like ORA asks you to vote, don’t simply “vote” with a comment on Facebook. Vote with your wallet.
For more on the story behind ORA’s production of the Spotnape Cardinalfish from Japan, check out their blog post.