Pomacanthus navarchus. Pomacanthus xanthometopon. These are a few of my favorite things. But what exactly is going on in Bali right now? Apart from the smouldering volcano (Mt. Raung) spewing out ashes and trapping hapless tourists in this island paradise, Bali Aquarich has yet again succeeded in captive breeding yet another angelfish species. Not one, but two; from two different genera.
By now it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with Bali Aquarich’s proliferation in the angelfish captive breeding scene. Their numerous accolades plaster this blog like ribbons at an Ohio pony fair, and we (literally) find ourselves back in Bali every two months to cover something new. If you could see my passport over the last year, it looks like a sticker book with a skewed preference for Bali visas.
Let’s start with the new Pomacanthus. Prior to this new offering, Bali Aquarich has been dabbling in this genus with their perennial staple, P. annularis. Fast forward a little bit and a new hybrid involving P. imperator was produced when the two parental broodstock were mixed in the same containment unit. Not long after (we’re talking literally in the timespan of a few months), yet another Pomacanthus baby has been produced, but this time from the subgenus Euxiphipops.
Euxiphipops is a small subgenera consisting of three species. They are P. xanthometopon, P. navarchus and the “ugly duck” P. sextriatus. The three species are known to hybridize amongst themselves wherever their ranges overlap in the wild. None of them have been captive bred before, until now.
Bali Aquarich’s newest Pomacanthus offering features one member from this subgenus. The big question is, which one? These ~50 day old juveniles were grown out from a containment unit housing a pair each of breeding P. xanthometopon and P. navarchus. While the juvenile coloration of both species are distinctive enough at about 1.5 – 2 inches, they are nearly impossible to diagnose when they’re the size of a thumbnail. But because the broodstock unit has two angelfish of the same subgenera, there are three possibilities to the identity of this fish.
The first two possibilities is that this fish turns out to be pure blooded P. xanthometopon or P. navarchus. Based on the white barring, i’m inclined to think that P. xanthometopon is a more likely scenario. P. navarchus have very thin blue lines in their juvenile forms, and develop the adult coloration extremely early in their developmental stage. However as mentioned before, these are merely the size of a thumbnail, and all diagnostic characteristics are pretty much useless at this stage. Mr. Su from Bali Aqurich thinks that these may be P. navarchus instead, based on the slow growth rate associated with this species. Indeed, these are very slow growing, and are only half the size of Holacanthus clarionensis at the same developmental stage.
The third possibility is that this new baby could be of hybrid origin. With both parental broodstock housed in the same vat, it is not entirely implausible that accidental hybridization, or incidental, in the case with Euxiphipops, could occur. Again, at this size, it is really too early to tell.
Apart from narrowing down this new offering down to subgeneric level with three possible scenarios, we won’t know much about anything until they grow up a little bit more. In any case, this is still an industry first and congratulations are in order (once again) to Mr. Su and his company for doing great work in the aquaculture scene!
This is the 7th angelfish species that Bali Aquarich has succeeded in rearing. We mentioned at the start of this article that this is just one of two new angels, so keep reading for the revelation of the 8th species.