Commercial Production of Captive-Bred Purple Tangs

05 Jun, 2020

A remarkable image depicting roughly 20 captive-bred Purple Tangs (Zebrasoma xanthurum) being prepared for shipment at Bali Aquarich.

It’s barely been a year since Bali Aquarich founder Wen-Ping Su stunned the world by adding the Red Sea’s Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) to the captive-bred list of marine ornamental fish. While breakthroughs like the first captive breeding of a species grab attention and accolades, seasoned aquarists and professional breeders often believe that true success is when the feat is repeatable and produces fish in commercial numbers.

Now, a recent update from the Indonesian marine aquarium fish farm reveals that this wasn’t a one-off; captive-bred Purple Tang are now being produced in commercial quantities! This marks the second species of Zebrasoma Tang to achieve this remarkable status in the marine aquarium trade.

Larval Purple Tangs at Bali Aquarich still showing clear bodies prior to their final metamorphosis.

Larval Purple Tangs at Bali Aquarich still showing clear bodies prior to their final metamorphosis.


Post settlement juvenile captive-bred Purple Tangs, already at a saleable size.

Post-settlement juvenile captive-bred Purple Tangs, already at a salable size.


Wen-Ping Su tells CORAL that Bali Aquarich began shipping captive-bred Purple Tangs last month (May 2020). However, aquarists in the U.S. and Europe will have to be patient; he noted that it may be a while before people see captive-bred Purple Tangs in these and other markets. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, securing air freight space and flights to many locations has become difficult. As a result, Su says, “At this time, 95% of our [fish] are sold in Asia.”

Between the routine offerings of captive-bred Yellow Tangs (Zebrasoma flavescens) as a result of the work at the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific Univeristy and Biota Aquariculture, and now the market debut of captive-bred Purple Tangs via Bali Aquarich, it is reasonable to predict that other species of Zebrasoma could be successfully produced.

Video: Watch Larval Purple Tangs at Bali Aquarich

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About the author

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Matt Pedersen

Matt Pedersen is a Sr. Editor and Associate Publisher with Reef To Rainforest Media, LLC & CORAL Magazines, and is a Sr. Editor and Publishing Partner with Aquatic Media Press, LLC & AMAZONAS Magazine. Matt has kept aquariums for 38 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.


  1. June 05, 2020

    That is awesome news! Maybe the gem will be next!

  2. August 13, 2020

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