NY Aquatic is currently caring for a deepwater Odontanthias unimaculatus that is one of only a few that have ever entered the United States. O.unimaculatus is not that rare a find in the deep waters of Southern Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia, although the depth that it can be found at (over 100m,) puts them outside the range of conventional scuba.
Instead, they appear at the surface via trawler nets or baited line fishing, only the lack of proper decompression usually kills them and three of their congeners, and they end up on a plate instead. Those that do survive are popped with a pin and then offered for sale to the aquarium trade at very high prices.
Leah and Michael Stern from NY Aquatic obtained their unimaculatus from a supplier in Taiwan, and it had to be nursed back to health and observed for six long months before being deemed fit enough for international shipping. Deep water is cooler, so this subtropical species is being kept at 22 Celsius and in a tinted aquarium to minimize both temperature and light shock and will be moved to another cool water tank soon. It is 4” long, and feeding currently on Krill.
All of the above conditions combine to make this specimen an incredibly rare import and that is reflected in its nearly $10,000 price tag. It’s so rare that Reef Builders hasn’t even covered one since 2015 when KaiTheFishGuy penned pretty much the only guide to Odontanthias available on the internet.