It’s astounding how one little tweak of color or just a small change to the pattern of iconic reef fish can give them a remarkable new appearance. The latest glitch in the coral reef fish matrix is a black and white moorish idol which is only the third such monochromatic Zanclus cornutus to be documented in recent memory and only the second to be collected for the aquarium hobby.
We didn’t get to see the first one up close since it was captured on video by SCUBA divers and the last one was already in Japan and illustrated with only a single photograph but thankfully, our friends at RVS Fishworld gave their new specimen the full on magazine cover shoot treatment. One interesting aspect of all three of these black and white moorish idols is that while they all forgot to put on their yellow vests, they all still retain a small yellow half-stripe across the snout.
It’s interesting to consider that there isn’t one gene or expression which is affecting all the yellow color of moorish idols but a couple of them since the yellow snout is persisting in the absence of the yellow mid-body stripe. There was a time when we wouldn’t be too thrilled about an aberrant moorish idol due to a historically poor track record in our aquariums but this is no longer the case.
Thanks to new foods and, a much better understanding of nutritional requirements and advanced techniques enticing picky fish to feed the outlook for moorish idols in aquariums is better than it’s ever been. With these encouraging improvements to Zanclus survivability we wish the newest treasure from RVS Fishworld all the best and hopefully it will grow into a nice large adult fish with its unique tuxedo-inspired color pattern.