Poma Labs Introduces Blue Phantom Hybrid Angelfish
16 Oct, 2019
Poma Labs founder Dr. Matthew L. Wittenrich has an unabashed predilection for angelfishes of the genus Chaetodontoplus, and his latest captive-bred introduction is almost unlike anything you’d find in nature. Almost.
The Blue Phantom Angelfish was briefly shown off at MACNA for those who got to see it before Hurricane Irma caused several Florida-based aquarium companies (including Poma Labs) to depart early, a necessary move to ensure the safety of coral farms and fish hatcheries around the state. For most of us, this is the first opportunity to see and learn about this interesting new form.
A Lucky Hybrid
As Dr. Wittenrich explains in his detailed article, “We often place a pair of Blueline angels [Chaetodontoplus septentrionalis] into tanks containing pairs of other angelfish in hopes of getting an accidental hybrid like our Conspic x Blueline cross. Several years ago we obtained a pair of [the undescribed] Black Phantom Angelfish and worked hard to get them healthy and conditioned. We raised this species earlier this year and started seeing some oddballs in the grow-out tanks. Some looked like Blueline angels and some looked like Black Phantom. Others looked a bit different. It is often difficult to tell exactly what is happening with Chaetodontoplus juveniles because so many species look so similar. It can take a year or more for the adult colors and patterns to start showing through the black and yellow juvenile colors. It soon became apparent that we had hybrids—hybrids between Blueline and Black Phantom angels.”
Dr. Wittenrich anticipates that these fishes will look similar to the Maze Angelfish, Chaetodontoplus cephalareticulatus, a species that some suspect may be invalid or a naturally occurring hybrid. The Blue Phantom hybrid is a primary hybrid, the initial offspring between two clearly defined species; the results of such matings are usually somewhat uniform in their appearance. With both parental species of the Blue Phantom occurring where Maze Angelfish are found, the Blue Phantom could prove to be the man-made equivalent of the Maze Angelfish, if, in fact, the Maze does represent a hybrid between two other species. It will take a few years for the Blue Phantoms to mature into their adult, final coloration.
Of course, a few selected fin clips sent to the right researchers could also be of value. Perhaps a scientist out there could compare genetics between these know hybrids with samples of wild Maze Angels and come up with some interesting findings?
Get It While You Can
The hybrid Blue Phantom Angelfish is now available directly through Poma Labs at a retail price of $1,500; this is approximately the same retail value that captive-bred Maze Angelfish tend to sell for. Each Poma Labs Blue Phantom Angelfish comes with a certificate of authenticity, and you’ll actually get to know which day your fish was hatched!