High-end marine fish retailer Unique Fins has informed Reef Builders that it has imported (and sold,) a super rare Okinawa Chromis, Chromis okamurai, From Japan. Chromis okamurai was previously only known from a single specimen dredged in 1979 from the Okinawa Trough, East China Sea, and inhabits depths from 135-175m/442-574 feet, according to FishBase.
That places it deeper even than Chromis abyssus, which was collected at 60m/197 feet in Palua and described by Richard L. Pyle, John L. Earle, and Brian D. Greene, in 2007. Unique Fins tell us their fish was hand collected at 100m/328 feet especially for them by a team of divers in Japan, it’s the first in the USA, and one of the first-ever collected for an aquarium. They believe it’s the rarest (imported,) Chromis species available.
With depth comes cool water temperatures, but Unique held the male Chromis for one month, raising the temperature from 72-75F/22-24 Celsius. They said it fed eagerly on fish eggs, mysis shrimp, and brine shrimp and was very peaceful, unlike most damselfish. The 2” fish is in juvenile coloration but they can grow to just under 4”, taking on darker coloration as they mature. It’s been sold to a private collector in Florida, with Unique Fins quoting a price tag of $6000-6500. Only one single specimen came in on the shipment, but it arrived with a 3” transitioning male Cirrhilabrus lanceolatus, also from Japan, and now residing separately at a private aquarium in New York.