Proaquatix Showcases Captive-Bred Bellus Angelfish

30 Apr, 2021

This pair of juvenile captive-bred Bellus Angelfish are available now to Proaquatix retailers.
This pair of juvenile captive-bred Bellus Angelfish are available now to Proaquatix retailers.

Vero Beach, Florida-based Proaquatix is gearing up to commercialize captive-bred Bellus Angelfish, Genicanthus bellus, an elusive, wish-list species for many reef aquarists.

Bellus Angels are not common in the trade; a quick review of Diver’s Den availability from LiveAquaria suggests that on average, only two to five per month are offered for sale. Most reputable online vendors don’t even show this species in stock at the moment.

Juveniles share the same coloration as this mature female Genicanthus bellus. Image credit: Gerald R. Allen
Juveniles share the same coloration as this mature female Genicanthus bellus. Image credit: Gerald R. Allen/Fishbase.org

Bellus Angels carry a somewhat higher price tag as wild-caught fish compared to their relatives; current online retailer prices from reputable sources are ranging between $200 and $300 depending on the gender and sizes of the fish, with pricing for pairs easily reaching $800. This is higher than in years past, but all marine aquarium fish prices are rising due to ongoing supply chain issues and massive price increases in air freight. As wild fish, these and other Genicanthus angelfish are somewhat prone to swim bladder and decompression-related maladies, so this angelfish makes for one of the more ideal species to attempt to commercialize. It should be noted that this wonderful, reef-safe species has been bred before and saw a spate of commercial production via Poma Labs about three to four years ago.

Dominant, large specimens of the Bellus Angelfish will ultimately transition into the male role, with completely different coloration. Image credit: Gerald R. Allen
Dominant, large specimens of the Bellus Angelfish will ultimately transition into the male role, with completely different coloration. Image credit: Gerald R. Allen/Fishbase.org

Proaquatix President Eric Wagner shared some insights with CORAL into this new offering.

“We started working with the eggs about 6 months ago,” said Wagner. Production of this species remains a challenge, as Wagner elaborated. “We have the WYSIWYG pair available right now, and only a small handful are trickling out of each batch. Production remains limited at the moment with no big breakthrough on the horizon, so I don’t anticipate greater quantities anytime soon.”

It’s a common question to ask “how much is this captive-bred fish going to cost?” While we don’t disclose wholesale pricing, it’s fair to say that depending on retailer markups, these fish could easily retail for $600 each. “That’s definitely shooting on the higher end and more than wild-caught,” Wagner acknowledged. “That’s something we don’t do a lot. We try to price all of our fish around wild-caught because we have found that despite [well-meaning sentiment], most customers will not pay more for an aquacultured fish. The first dozen may move at a higher price, but then the price will have to drop to meet wild-caught prices to move a fish any significant quantity.”

Of course, you can be one of those early adopters who will support captive-breeding progress with your wallets. “We have very few of these and spent a lot of money and time to establish our spawning group and tinker in the hatchery. This first pair is still available. When we release Bellus Angels to the market, they will be 1.75″ in length, and eating our blend of pellet food we feed all of our fish in growout.”

Proaquatix customers, if this is the type of advancement you want to see in the marine aquarium trade, the “vote with your wallet” mandate applies. Contact Proaquatix to get your captive-bred Bellus Angels today.

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About the author

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.

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