The next time you find yourself eyeball to eyeball with a particularly large and menacing oceanic denizen at a public aquarium, consider this: in all likelihood, that creature has literally passed through the hands of Forrest Young.
Over the last three decades, at the helm of Dynasty Marine, Young has established himself and his company as the preeminent purveyor of large and rare saltwater specimens to a very specific and demanding clientele—the curators and staff of public aquariums around the globe, and reef hobbyists with generous budgets for acquiring new species. Young and his crew have made a name for themselves collecting everything from small, ultra-rare deepwater reef fishes to large collections of big predators that require delivery by a chartered Boeing 747.
On the day in 1996 that changed Ken Nedimyer’s life, he was a dawn-to-dusk live-rock farmer and reef-fish collector in the Upper and Middle Keys, little known outside the small marine livestock–harvesting community in Florida where he was respected for his hard work and strong sense of environmental ethics. His Sea Life, Inc. business kept in intimate touch with nature, but it hardly promised to bring him fame or fortune.
For a generation of new marine aquarium keepers cutting their teeth on Acropora and Montipora fragments, the notion of a large angelfish being the icon of the saltwater hobby can bring looks of bewilderment.
An accidental rock anemone reproduction event some years ago, when about 20 small ones showed up in a tray with an adult, convinced me that there was a possible opportunity for captive culture. There were two unknowns: could we predictably reproduce Epicystis crucifer, and, more important, would the offspring have the colors of the adults? The abundance of and low demand for the common brown and tan color morphs make any efforts
The name Helmut Debelius is a byword for reef fish and invertebrate enthusiasts, not only for divers but also among marine aquarists worldwide. The Fire Shrimp, Lysmata debelius, Debelius Reef Lobster, Enoplometopus debelius, the Blue Mauritius Dwarf Angelfish, Centropyge debelius, and the Softcoral Seahorse, Hippocampus debelius, as well as several other species, bear his name, and his books occupy the shelves of every serious marine student of coral reefs.