Bali Aquarich is far and away the world leader in breeding marine angelfishes in captivity. With that experience they’ve offered at least seven full blooded species of large angelfishes from the Pomacanthus, Holacanthus and Chaetodontoplus genera, but they’ve also gotten really lucky with some accidental hybridization.
Earlier this summer we got a first look at the one and only captive bred hybrid of emperor and annularis angelfish when it was just five months old. At the time the gorgeous juvenile“Empelaris” showed only its juvenile white and blue-barred juvenile coloration, with a wild blend of the juvenile features of both parent species.
Now that the lone specimen of the emperor x annularis hybrid is closing in on being five inches long and one year old, we can glimpse a fuller preview of how the genetics of its parents are blending to create a truly one of a kind fish. Interestingly, Pomacanthus annularis and P. imperator are the only two species of large angelfish in this genus with stripes, and they both have a set of bold facial markings forming a kind of mask.
Emperor angelfish have numerous horizontal stripes that are fairly narrow, while the annularis angelfish has relatively few stripes which range from horizontal to diagonal and nearly vertical. In the hybrid Empelaris, the stripes have so far developed into fairly broad markings that are mostly diagonal and they nearly cover the side of the body.
Furthermore, emperor angelfish have a black face mask and black pectoral ‘girdle’, both of which are bordered in blue, while the annularis angelfish has a distinct blue striping across the eyes. Once again this is another feature which is already blending beautifully in the face of the captive bred hybrid from Bali Aquarich.
At around just four inches long, we can clearly see that this is one fish with a very promising adult coloration that is roughly about halfway developed in this hybrid. Wild hybrids of emperor angelfish have been discovered, those being the result of crosses with Chrysurus angelfish, and Koran angelfishes. Therefore this hybrid of emperor and annularis angelfish is extremely exciting since the full adult coloration will be a total surprise, and completely new.
Bali Aquarich has made quite a staple of offering captive bred angelfish, with exciting offerings of maze angelfish and clarion angelfish. But with hybrid angelfish of large species Bali Aquarich is breaking completely new ground in the realm of domesticated or designer marine fish. At this rate, Bali Aquarich is well positioned to remain the world leader in line-bred pure species of marine fish, but also of hybrids which the world has never before seen. We can’t wait to report on what they achieve next.
Update: Bali Aquarich just released this video of their one of a kind emperor angelfish x annularis angelfish hybrid.