Today 30/08/2014 marks a historic date in the rare fish and captive breeding circle. Some of you may have heard rumors floating around for awhile now but today we put a stop to all the coffee shop gossip. Genicanthus personatus has been successfully spawned and raised for the market by none other than breeding legend Karen Brittain. While she has done it before in the past, this is the first time she has managed to raise a number large enough for sale, distribution and well, to shock the entire world.
Rufus Kimura revealed in his lecture today at MACNA, with video evidence, that in December last year, he managed to capture a pair of the illustrious and deepwater Genicanthus personatus from Hawaii. For MACNA attendees, being treated to the video of Rufus swimming after and collecting the legendary duo is something of a rare fish aficionado’s wet dream (literally). For those who are unfamiliar with this fish, G. personatus is a member of the Genicanthus genus of swallowtail angels that is endemic to Hawaii. They are normally found in very deep waters around the Hawaiian islands and only very few specimens have ever made it into the hobby over the years.
Rufus Kimura, with his pair of demi-god angels, graciously handed it over to Karen Brittain with the idea of breeding it in mind. While the story is all nice and optimistic, it is not without challenges. The female took to prepared foods, but the male was having trouble adapting to captivity and eating. It did not eat for months until angelfish aficionado and hobbyist Ted Krupman recommended LRS frozen foods to Karen. The male eventually took to it and within a short period of a few months, started spawning with the female.
With the success of this frozen feed, Karen continued using LRS food for her G. personatus grow out with full sponsorship for the breeding project. Larry tweaked the formula to include probiotics for the juvenile growing fishes and it has been nothing but a success. The baby mask angels are about six months old now and have been feeding great. A handful have been shipped to Japan and to a few reefers in the states already. If you are at MACNA, a $20 contribution at the Ocean’s Edge booth will get you a raffle ticket at a chance of bringing one home. All monetary gains will be donated to Wai’anae High School Marine Sciences.
What an amazing story and for a great cause. With contributions from Rufus, Ted and sponsorship from Larry DuPont of LRS, Karen has once again managed to blow us all away with her outstanding breeding achievement. For a sensational video and a press release from LRS themselves, continue reading.
“The G. personatus Project 2014” Many people in the hobby consider the Peppermint Angelfish to be the ultimate “If money was no object, I would have one” fish. However, there is another ultra-rare angelfish rarely encountered in the hobby and often referred to by prominent figures as “the holy grail.” This would be the Genicanthus personatus or Masked Angelfish. The G. personatus is seldom seen in the trade and when specimens are located the price is out of reach for all but the most elite exotic fish collectors. The last collected pair was listed for sale at a starting price of nearly $30,000. A Google search reveals very few articles or videos online about this elusive species, which some hobbyists may have never heard of until now. Well that is about to change…. Veterans in the hobby may recognize the name Rufus Kimura, who is a well-respected deep-water diver who resides in Hawaii. Using special closed-circuit rebreathers and other advanced equipment Rufus and his team risk their lives diving to depths of 400+ feet to collect some of the most sought after fish in the aquarium trade. In late 2013 Rufus was able to collect a pair of mature G. personatus angelfish and deliver them to renowned biologist Karen Brittain. Having a bonded pair of G. personatus under her roof was amazing, but much to the dismay of Karen the male specimen refused to readily eat any foods offered for weeks. A variety of commercial and fresh foods were offered but still the fish refused to eat with any enthusiasm. The decision was made that if the fish did not eat very soon it would be rehomed into the ocean for fear that it would perish. In comes Reef Frenzy®… Ted Krupman (Humaguy on Reef Central) is a collector of exotic marine angelfish and had been feeding LRS Frenzy foods for many months to his prized specimens. His fish collection and experiences are well documented in his lengthy thread on Reef Central. During email correspondence Ted mentioned to Karen that he had been having great results feeding the Herbivore Frenzy® and Reef Frenzy® blends to new arrivals that were finicky eaters. Karen had not heard of LRS previously so she contacted Larry DuPont, the owner of LRS Foods, LLC to order a cooler of foods for her projects. LRS Frenzy foods with probiotics arrived for the first time in Hawaii mid-January. The LRS Frenzy foods were offered to the male G. personatus as a last ditch effort to entice the fish to eat in captivity. Almost immediately it began to consume the LRS foods and shortly returned to the condition and weight it had been at the time of collection. The freshness of ingredients and diversity in the LRS blend had the desired effect of eliciting a feeding response and increasing appetite. Then the unbelievable happened…The pair spawned while under Karen’s care! Karen was able to work around the clock for the next few months rearing the larvae and having an unprecedented hatch of G. personatus angels! In late April of 2014 Larry received a telephone call from Ted and after being sworn to secrecy Larry was informed of what had been done. Karen had expressed that LRS foods had a positive impact on the project and she wished to keep feeding LRS foods to the brood stock and eventually the juveniles. Therefore, Rufus and Karen invited LRS Foods, LLC to be a sponsor of what has now been affectionately named the “G. personatus Project 2014.” Larry eagerly agreed and has been providing LRS probiotic frozen foods to Karen since January 2014. Since Rufus was scheduled to be a speaker at MACNA 2014 he decided that was the perfect venue to announce this project to the reefing community. History has been made… Imagine the significance of the worlds most rare and expensive angelfish being tank bred and the tank-raised juveniles are eating prepared frozen foods. Previously, the purchasers of wild caught G. personatus had to roll the dice and pray the fish would adapt to captivity, which was not always successful. If this sensitive angelfish can be captive bred who knows what other species can be bred with similar results. LRS Foods is honored to be involved with this ground-breaking, history making project. LRS is the only frozen food on the market with lab verified probiotic cultures. Many recently published studies have found boosting foods with probiotic bacteria provides numerous benefits to developing juvenile fish. Karen continues to use LRS foods in her projects and even named it in April as the “first choice” frozen food of her P. venusta tank bred juveniles in the Rising Tide Conservation blog. That link can be found here: http://risingtideconservation.blogspot.com/2014/04/larval-rearing-of-purple-mask-angelfish.html LRS Foods will continue to receive exclusive photographs and videos so follow our Facebook and check out www.ReefFrenzy.com for uploads after MACNA!”