Domestication of the Regal Angelfish
21 Jan, 2022
Wen-Ping Su’s marine ornamental fish farm, Bali Aquarich, strikes again in the captive-breeding of one of the most challenging marine angelfishes in the aquarium hobby.
The Regal Angelfish, Pygoplites diacanthus, represents one of the iconic saltwater fishes whose beauty is often overshadowed by a reputation is being a difficult-to-keep species. Given the advances that have been made in captive breeding of marine angelfishes (family Pomacanthidae), the Regal Angelfish was a prime candidate for captive-breeding research. While not the most expensive angelfish in the aquarium trade, captive-breeding could fundamentally redefine the captive husbandry of this species; effectively breeding out the difficulty and taming a wild yet fickle beast.
To start off 2022, Bali Aquarich announced the successful production of second-generation captive-bred Regal Angelfish—the F2 generation—the progeny of the first, F1, captive-bred Regal Angelfish [which were first shared with the world in May 2019]. In some circles, it is only this point at which breeding is truly considered a success because the breeder has “closed the life cycle” within the confines of an aquarium system.
To paraphrase a heavily translated text of the announcement: “Regal Angelfish “F2”! This is a very difficult fish. They often refuse to eat in captivity because their natural diet is quite particular, and the survival rate of wild-caught fish in the aquarium is quite low.
“It’s one thing to keep Regal Angelfish in captivity, and yet another thing to raise them to the point where they reproduce. There was no background information to reference.
“A few years ago, we were able to successfully breed the Regal Angelfish for the first time. However, the frequency and quantity of spawns were quite poor, and ultimately this was a difficult fish to breed from beginning to end.
“Now, all the problems have been solved [by using our first generation of captive-bred Regal Angelfish as broodstock]! I hope this fish, which is very beautiful from small to large, can soon appear in aquariums everywhere. Now, the fish that live in the sea, we can let them stay in the sea.”
What does this mean for you, the home aquarist? It means that, within the next couple of years, captive-bred Regal Angelfish could very well become rather accessible and somewhat affordable. One only needs to look at the ongoing production of the Majestic Angelfish, Pomacanthus navarchus, to know that Bali Aquarich is entirely capable of producing the Regal Angelfish in quantity.
If there is any premium to the cost of a captive-bred Regal Angelfish, one only needs to realize that a captive-bred Regal Angelfish will be a fish that is entirely comfortable in an aquarium, and will likely consume prepared foods with gusto. There is no reason such a fish won’t live for decades with basic, proper care. No one will ever write the same sentiments about a wild-caught Regal. If you’re considering the purchase of a Regal Angelfish, perhaps consider waiting until the captive-bred options hit the market. They may cost more upfront, but you can be certain that the captive-bred counterpart will be a far less risky investment.