After several decades of research, the first stocks of captive bred yellow tangs (Zebrasoma flavescens) have been shipped to two mainland suppliers of fish for the aquarium hobby; Quality Marine and Segrest Farms. The Oceanic Institute at Hawaii Pacific University have spent the last several years trying to breed these fish in captivity and last year they were successful in breeding more than 500 fish, 400 of which are already at adult stage.
“Quality Marine and Segrest Farms will be the initial distributors. Each will get about 300-400 fish from this first batch,” Chad Callan, director of the finish breeding program at the Oceanic Institute at Hawaii Pacific University told Coral Magazine. “It’s possible there may be a second shipment in a few months of fish that are still too small, perhaps another 100 each. The rest will remain at OI for future broodstock.”
The research into successfully breeding these fish was costly, but the potential rewards should offset that cost. It is expected that these captive bred yellow tangs will cost twice as much as wild caught specimens, but the captive bred specimens have a lot going for them, including the fact that after they outgrew the pelagic larval stage, they were raised on commercially prepared foods.
Once the Oceanic Institute perfects their process, and these rearing methods are made available, it could mean more captive bred yellow tangs available in the hobby and less wild caught specimens.
“Although this initial supply will be quite limited, we hope that as our research continues we will be able to provide more. Ultimately, our goal is that commercial suppliers will adopt this technology and provide significant numbers of captive-bred tangs to the industry.”
All profits from the sale of these captive bred yellow tangs will be put back into the research efforts of the Oceanic Institute.