Here’s part two of our trip to LiveAquaria and a peek inside Kevin Kohen’s office and his fish collection. Incase you still do not know, Kevin Kohen is the man behind the company and as mentioned in part 1 of this story, has a pension for keeping uncommon and difficult marine fish species. Previously we took a peek at Kevin’s sectioned mixed reef along with the fish that live in it. In this article we will explore his wrasse dominated SPS tank.
Frequent followers and admirers of LiveAquaria should be familiar with this tank. This set up is dominated mostly by SPS with a very dynamic collection of fish. Some of the hot items which eventually end up for sale may spend a substantial amount of time pre-conditioning in this tank; as seen in some Diver’s Den offerings with specific captioning. For the equipment junkies, this tank is lit by 2x 400 watt mogul 20K Ushio at the back, and 2x 250 watt mogul 20K ushio at the front.
Some of you may remember this video we posted awhile ago, with the captive bred Holacanthus clarionensis taking refuge in this SPS display before going on sale. We’ve embedded the video again above and this should give you an idea on what this aquarium looks like. Again as we’ve mentioned, the stocking of fish is quite dynamic and changes as some gets sold, or removed. On our visit, both the interruptus angelfishes and the clarion angelfish have been sold and is no longer taking residence in this aquarium.
What we were treated to however, was a rather impressive collection of wrasses, with some beautiful species representing the Cirrhilabrus and Paracheilinus genus. The bright red-finned fish headlining this article is Paracheilinus octotaenia; a Red Sea endemic. Also known as the eight-line flasher wrasse, P. octotaenia is the only Paracheilinus found in its range and as with many isolated species, it has evolved to look rather differently from the other members of its genus.
The photo above by Kevin shows the same fish “flashing” its nuptial coloration. In is only in full display by terminal males do we see the disparity between this species and the others in the same genus. P. octotaenia lacks any filamentous processes on its dorsal fin. It also has a rounded tail which is almost continuous with the dorsal and anal fins when in full spread. This lends a “saucer” shape profile to the fish when it flashes. Just on a quick related note, there are two other species of Paracheilinus that do not sport any filaments on their dorsal fins, and they are P. togeanensis and P. rennyae.
Kevin has currently three “undescribed” members of the Cirrhilabrus genus. The first one comes out of the Philippines, and is rather consistent in its appearance with regards to the aquarium trade. This fairy wrasse most closely resembles Cirrhilabrus pylei in its appearance, notably in its extremely long ventral fins and the facial markings. The Philippines version has some color differences such as the black spot placed around the 9th-12th dorsal spines, and a black margin on its tail.
The range of C. pylei does not overlap with this species, and the former can be found in Bali as well as Vanuatu and probably surrounding reefs. With the obvious color differences and a disjunct range, this fish could end up as a separate species once meristic and DNA analysis is carried out.
Another member of the Cirrhilabrus genus undergoing description is Cirrhilabrus cf. lanceolatus from the Philippines. This species also ranges to Japan and hybridizes with C. lunatus as well as the Philippine Cirrhilabrus cf. lunatus, which Kevin also keeps in his tank. This is a beautiful species that doesn’t get too large, yet packs a lot of coloration. Despite the similarity in tail shape to the real Japanese endemic C. lanceolatus, this fish is actually more closely related to C. lunatus, and is probably part of the same complex due to frequent hybridization.
Like Cirrhilabrus cf. pylei, the pintail wrasse is still undescribed and is given the temporary name of “cf. lanceolatus”. “cf.” is the abbreviation for the imperative singular form of the Latin word confer, and in taxonomy, is placed before the suffix of a similar known species for species that are currently unknown. For example, Cirrhilabrus cf. pylei most closely resembles C. pylei, and since it does not have a standard scientific name yet, the suffix “pylei” is added infront of “cf.” to draw comparison for the time being.
The tank is also home to a very large and gorgeous Cirrhilabrus roseafascia. The rose-banded fairy wrasse, as it is more commonly referred to in the casual tongue, is a very large member of the Cirrhilabrus genus, attaining a maximum size of 7-8 inches including the very long tapering tail. There has been some mixed experiences with regards to this fish. Some individuals, like the ones i’ve kept before, can get very aggressive and pugnacious. Some like Kevin’s are more shy and elusive. This beauty was quite secretive and I only managed to capture one photo, a photo that does not do justice to this specimen at all. The tank is also joined by C. scottorum and a C. cf lunatus from the Philippines.
Kevin’s SPS tank is home to many potentially new and undescribed species, including this damselfish from the Curacao. This Chromis most closely resembles C. enchrysura but lacks any yellow coloration. There have been a few examples of this fish shipped out from Curacao and they have all been consistent in coloration. Even in the adult forms, the fish retains the smokey navy and pearlescent white lower half pattern.
This Chromis is found in the deep waters of Curacao, and can be found together with the very similar Chromis enchrysura. Both species share the same habitat and are close in appearance, but differ in the depths in which they occur. Chromis enchrysura inhabits a wide range of depth, and juveniles can be found in shallower waters while the adults have been found at 400ft. The white Chromis sp however, has never been found shallower than 100ft and probably occurs in very deep waters as well. It is not known yet if this fish will eventually end up as a new species or just an unlikely color form of C. enchrysura. This white and navy Chromis is a rather frequent offering of Dynasty Marine.
There are some other fish that did not make an appearance photographically, and we apologize for that., but we were sure to cover the more interesting ones. If you are really into rare fish, and are a rare fish junkie, stay tuned for part 3 of this series when we explore Kevin’s nano tank.