It has been a wonderful week for us here in Bali again, and our two-monthly visit to Bali Aquarich never fails to deliver amazing stories. Having seen their first ever captive raised Pomacanthus hybrid and the development of those darling Holacanthus passer, we round off this angelfish trifecta with updates on their newest offering. Apolemichthys trimaculatus. Spearheading the angelfish game in this current time, Su Wen-Ping is sizing up to the likes of world class authorities like Frank Baensch and Karen Brittain. The successful raising of A. trimaculatus in captivity is an industry’s first, but only second in the Apolemichthys genus. Frank from Reef Culture Technologies have already claimed the genus’s first with the production of captive bred A. arcuatus, the Bandit Angelfish.
The three aquaculture giants have filled up their niches pretty well. Karen Brittain is showing her wonderful prowess in rearing Genicanthus, with G. personatus and G. watanabei being some of her iconic trademarks. Paracentropyge venusta is another angel in her repertoire, and with that comes great hopes of seeing P. boylei joining the list. Frank Baensch is without a doubt a master at the dwarf angelfish game, with more than a dozen industry first successes including the likes of C. debelius, C. colini, C. resplendens and Paracentropyge multifasciata. Not to mention he’s also produced two man-made Centropyge hybrids as well as securing Apolemichthys arcuatus as an industry’s first, both for the genus and the species.
Mr. Su is also having wonderful success, but with larger Pomacanthids instead. Apolemichthys now joins Chaetodontoplus, Holacanthus and Pomacanthus on Bali Aquarich’s list of big angelfish genera.
A couple weeks back Jake Adams posted a teaser article on this new Apolemichthys offering. We took this as an excuse to come back to Bali again (like we needed one anyway) to see them in person and to hopefully get better photos. These babies are now around their fifty day mark, and are showing signs of developing juvenile coloration. At this stage they’ve only just started developing the black dorsal ocelli and eye stripe, but as they transition into their juvenile phase, a black margin will develop on the leading edge of the anal fin and the body will develop the characteristic darker striations.
Seeing these angels swimming around in their grow out vats is highly intriguing. The juxtaposition between a delicate little captive bred angelfish and its massive seawater pond, riddled with cobwebs and floating insects under zinc roofing in the stifling tropical Balinese heat is something quite remarkable. It’s this oxymoron that makes me fall in love with this place so much and I find myself coming back here so often. Who wouldn’t though?
It will be a couple more weeks, perhaps months before these reach market size. However because of the tediousness and relative low cost of the fish, it might not be worth it to continue producing these on a commercial scale. The good news is that with the secrets of Apolemichthys being unlocked, it will perhaps serve as an added advantage should Mr. Su decide to try his hands on other more illustrious species such as A. griffisi or A. xanthopunctatus.
We end off our Bali Aquarich series here, and we hope that Mr. Su and Bali Aquarich continue to provide reasons for our return. We’ll probably still come back, and as alluring as Mojitos and tropical beaches sound, it’s captive bred angelfish that really seal the deal. #TeamCaptiveBredAngelfish hashtag hashtag.