Biota—More Captive-Bred Yellow Tangs on the Horizon

14 Sep, 2018

A larval captive-bred Yellow Tang on display at MACNA 2018, just days or hours away from transitioning into a yellow juvenile.

A larval captive-bred Yellow Tang on display at MACNA 2018, just days or hours away from transitioning into a yellow juvenile.

A magnificent transition was occurring right on the show floor at MACNA 2018; unless it was pointed out, you could have easily overlooked it.

Two groups of captive-bred Yellow Tangs, produced by the team at the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University (OI), were on display in Biota Aquarium’s booth. In the back, larger juvenile captive-bred Zebrasoma flavescens schooled, an example of the typical fish desired from Hawaii’s aquarium fishery. What was far harder to notice was the small shoal of transparent, pre-settlement larval tangs on display alongside Biota’s cultured corals and clams by the trade show aisle.

Pre- and post-settlement captive-bred Yellow Tangs, side by side in the Biota Aquariums display at MACNA 2018.

Pre- and post-settlement captive-bred Yellow Tangs, side by side in the Biota Aquariums display at MACNA 2018.

The Biota team suggested that these pre-settlement tangs actually shipped very well. These fish, somewhere around the size of a nickel, transitioned into their final, settled, juvenile yellow coloration over the course of the 3-day show. While incredibly difficult to capture without a flash (and, frankly, using a flash on larval marine fish can at times cause their premature demise), these larval and post-larval photos are absolutely captivating.

This photo gives a sense of scale for a newly-settled captive-bred Yellow Tang.

This photo gives a sense of scale for a newly-settled captive-bred Yellow Tang.

Why were all these tangs on display at Biota Aquariums? Simply put, Biota has teamed up with OI to reactivate and further pursue research into the large-scale aquaculture of Yellow Tang. The partnership is finding success, and Biota’s team anticipates more fish, higher quality fish, and ultimately more modest pricing. With persistence, they believe the captive-bred Yellow Tang is nearing commercial viability.

Cute, adorable, and actually quite robust; we can hope for more captive-bred Yellow Tangs in the future given the partnership between the Oceanic Institute and Biota Aquariums.

Cute, adorable, and actually quite robust: we can hope for more captive-bred Yellow Tangs in the future, given the partnership between the Oceanic Institute and Biota Aquariums.

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About the author

Matt Pedersen
Matt Pedersen

Matt Pedersen is a Sr. Editor and Associate Publisher with Reef To Rainforest Media, LLC, including AMAZONAS & CORAL Magazines. Matt has kept aquariums for 35 years, has worked in most facets of the aquarium trade, is an active aquarist and fish breeder (both marine and freshwater), and was recognized with the 2009 MASNA Award as the MASNA Aquarist of the Year.

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