The Abei Angelfish, Centropyge abei, is a reef fish so rare that most of us, ourselves included, have never seen one in real life. To date, your only chance to see a living Abei Angelfish has been at the Waikiki Aquarium where this fish is one of the superstars of their rare fish on display.
However we’ve just learned that Blue Harbor Japan has recently received the shipment of a single small juvenile Abei Angelfish, making it one of the rarest fish the company has ever handled. This lone and incredibly rare Abei Angelfish was collected by Cairns Marine in the Coral Sea, albeit much deeper than the Black Spot Pygmy Angelfish they turned up from the area, several years ago.
The first sightings and images of the Abei Angelfish were made from deep diving submersibles at depths of 600 feet and more. Thankfully, this Abei Angelfish from the Coral Sea was captured at a depth of ‘only’ 120 meters, which is still a bone-crushing depth of nearly 400 feet.
Cairns Marines’ collection of the Abei Angelfish in the Coral Sea is one of the most exciting rare reef fish species to surface in the aquarium hobby this year, but we don’t expect many more to become available in the future. Until we know more it’s anyone’s guess as to whether Cairns Marine has found a special dive site, or if this single specimen was a fluke which ventured into depths shallow enough for their divers to scoop up.
We expect more news and details on this fish both at collection and at holding so stay tuned for the forthcoming update.