For all the observations made regarding the first MACNA in a “post-pandemic” era, if we can call it that now, was a dramatic decrease in the number of large-scale temporary reef tanks and livestock exhibits that dominated past shows. I recall being able to share long posts of “display reefs”, and they were notably lacking at MACNA 2022. No doubt this is in part due to the inherently higher shipping costs currently associated with moving livestock around the country at this time, and perhaps a general hesitance to go “all-in” on the first MACNA show since COVID rocked the planet.
However, MACNA never seems to disappoint in the fish department. Mostly, it’s whatever the latest captive-breeding breakthrough has been, but importers often like to showcase highly-coveted rarities, a bit of “flexing” (as my 12-year-old son calls it when showing off the latest shiny pokemon in a Po-go Gym).
No doubt, as shown above, Sea Dwelling Creatures and Exotic Reef Imports intended to dazzle with fish like the Wrought Iron Butterflyfish shown above. While there were several other wild-caught rarities and uncommon specimens in their tank, two others really stood out.
Wild-caught fish aside, three marine aquarium aquaculture companies made it to MACNA 2022: Proaquatix, ORA, and Biota.
First, from ORA:
Proaquatix showcased now-classic designer clownfishes. However, if you looked a bit more closely at the display, you would have been pleasantly surprised to find a few species first reared “experimentally” making their way into the commercial aquarium trade.
Biota for the Trifecta
The Biota Group has embraced the notion of both hatchery and distributor of third-party aquaculture sources, including their own network of facilities in the US and abroad. As a result, their tanks housed an large diversity of captive-bred fishes produced both by Biota proper, but also from Bali Aquarich in Indonesia.
Another interesting twist: while Proaquatix and ORA continue to invest a large portion of their energies into clownfish, they are all but absent in Biota’s current offerings. Instead, Biota has a complimentary selection, placing emphasis on species that the other producers aren’t working on with the additional input of hybrids coming out of Bali Aquarich’s farm. At a time when the future of marine aquarium fisheries is always debated, reef aquarists have a multitude of options when seeking captive-bred fishes for their tanks, particularly if the goal is an aquarium stocked with 100% cultured specimens.
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.