Last year, Ross DeAngelis caught the attention of clownfish enthusiasts with his announcement of success in breeding the very rare Madagascar Clownfish, Amphiprion latifasicatus.
Only two specimens are being initially offered by DeAngelis, at buy-it-now pricing of $500 each plus shipping. This may seem steep, until you realize that the only publicly-listed retail prices for the species suggest that a wild caught pair will run close to $5000, if even available.
It’s difficult to say what will happen next. Over the past 10 years Clownfish enthusiasts watched the price of wild Amphiprion latezonatus (the “Wide-Band”, “Latz”, or “Blue Lipped” Clownfish from Australia) slowly climb, arguably going up 300% or more. Once captive-bred versions became available, they initially still carried a relatively steep price tag, but then prices slowly dropped until you could find individual specimens for $100 a shot.
But, being somewhat of a niche fish, availability is sporadic…can’t say I’ve seen any captive-bred Latezonatus from the typical sources lately. If and when they come around again, what will be the going rate? $50, $100, $300? I don’t know.
Will a similar situation play out with these unusual yellow finned, lyre-tailed Madagascar gems, where they show up on the market, but prices drop, and breeders get out because there isn’t enough demand? It certainly could. Hopefully not; at least one other breeder is pursuing this species.
With a few pairs producing, we could see a solid foundation put down to establish this species in captivity. I’d much prefer to see this species added to the growing list of staple clownfish species offered to aquarists. Otherwise, all we’re left with is rehashed designer guppies.
There’s no word on exactly how many more DeAngelis intends to release, or through what channels, but for the person looking to be the first, and to support captive-breeding progress, getting a pair which is captive-bred, and should be much more stable than wild-caught counterparts, at an 80% discount over what a wild pair would cost, seems like a good deal. You can view the WYSIWYG fish, #1 and #2, on eBay at this time.
Of course, DeAngelis set up these listings to allow for “best offers”; worst he can ever do is turn you down, so why not give it a shot?!