Once in a lifetime a fish comes along that changes everything……
Some people wont see our passion about these fish and some people wont care about a fish raised in captivity. But those people don’t see the future in the eyes of this Pacific Blue Tang that is swimming around in my tank. I look at this fish and I see the future of our hobby. I see my daughter and her sons or daughters sitting in their living room staring at these fish that are all raised in captivity. They do not know the harsh journey that a wild caught fish goes through to get to their tank. I see people forgetting that we ever took fish from the ocean and the ocean flourishing again. I see the fish in the future happy and healthy because of this tang staring at me. The reason I am so passionate about aquaculture is all about the fish. They are the reason I come to work everyday. Now for a fish geek like me, it doesn’t get any better then the first aqua cultured tangs. Look what aquaculture did for the clown fish. They were almost an endangered species and now they flourish. Being aqua cultured took the pressure off of the wild clownfish and made a sustainable source for the hobby. This is why its so amazing and important. I love showing our customers all of our aqua cultured fish. The list is getting longer and now I can introduce them to aquaculture with Tango our Pacific Blue Tang.
Aqua cultured or captive bred means that they were bred, hatched, and raised up in aquariums. They were not taken from the ocean so they are usually stronger.
(Tango and his siblings as eggs…Cute huh?)
Tango or a sibling at 5 days after hatching
Tango or a sibling at 29 days after hatching
I have to say this is not the first tang breakthrough that we have displayed in our store. You cannot forget the amazing work they did with the aqua cultured yellow tang months before. The three aqua cultured yellow tangs in our 150 display tank are a thing of beauty and they helped to unlock the key to success for the aqua cultured Pacific Blue Tang.
Here is our Yellow Tang Blog
The story of Tango Begins:
Now you may ask, How did a little store like Colchester Pet get their hands on such an amazing fish?
Here is something I wrote in September telling the story:
There have been such exciting breakthroughs in the marine aquaculture industry. As you know from our previous posts, we have 3 of the very first aqua cultured yellow tangs. They are so beautiful swimming around in their 150 gallon home. Another recent breakthrough was raising Dory in captivity which is a new development. Dory is a very beautiful fish called a pacific blue tang (also called Hippo Tang or Regal Tang). These fish are not on the easy side of saltwater fish but they are one of the more popular ones. Even way before Finding Nemo and Finding Dory were around these fish were popular. People just love their color and personality. I think they did a really good job capturing the personalities of these fish in the movies. If you look at a Hippo Tang in an aquarium they are very fast swimmers going in and out of all the caves and rock formations with such grace and beauty.
We were so excited when we heard the aquaculture news. I watch the Rising Tide Conservation Facebook page daily and when I saw what they had done in conjunction with the UF Tropical Aquaculture Lab with these fish I was beyond excited. This popular fish would do well with being raised in captivity. They can very easily come down with Ich. (a parasite that attaches to a stressed out fish and can kill them if left untreated, it can also spread to other fish). I can only assume that a fish that is aqua cultured will be healthier than one taken from the ocean.
If you want to see how really excited I was watch our short FLOG (fish video blog) here:
We really tried to get one of these aqua cultured Hippo tangs, we even talked to the director of the University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Lab where they were bred and asked if they would sell us one. The answer of no was understandable and expected. But we had to try anyway right? There were only a handful of these fish available and they wanted to send them out to public aquariums to show everyone this truly amazing accomplishment. Two of the fish were auctioned off to the highest bidders through Dynasty Marine and the money went back to the research facility to help make this happen again.
The day that the auction started we watched the first bid come in. $200 won that days bid. This was a few week long auction and they posted the highest bid every night. In the beginning they were slow to bid. There were days where no one bid at all. We figured that this would be like an eBay auction where everyone waits until the last possible second, then bids like crazy.
It was a few days before the end of the auction and we threw out a bid for one of these historic fish. That night we were the high bidder and my initials and our bid sat there hoping that people didn’t want to go higher. The next day I checked the page periodically and was amazed to see our bid still there. That night our bid was still there as the high bid, OMG really? I was totally excited and getting a bit nervous. What if we won? What if we got this fish? This is a lot of pressure to make sure nothing happens to this little one. What tank would we put him in? He is much too small for the 150 with our yellow tangs. Then I checked the post on the day before the auction. We were still in it for the second place if no one else bid. They day of the auction I kept looking at the page and watching the bids go up and up.
I don’t know what the final highest bids were but I sure hope the people that won know and appreciate what they are getting. I hope they appreciate the piece of history and realize that this industry has changed for the better with the fish they won that will proudly swim in their aquarium. I hope they appreciate the hard work and countless hours of everyone that had a hand in making this possible. I hope they know that they hold a key to the future success of every aquarist who will ever want a saltwater fish in their aquarium. I hope they feel the same love that we do of our fish and that its not just a bragging right for them.
This is how I feel every time I walk to the back of our store and see our three captive bred yellow tangs. I feel so proud to be part of this industry that is working so hard to make a difference. I love all of our fish. I love helping people pick out the fish that will do the best in their aquarium and not just survive, but thrive. I love looking at all of our fish and coral every morning to make sure they are all happy and healthy.
When you have a passion and you can spend your days talking to people about it and giving them advice that is true happiness at work in my opinion. When you have the knowledge to solve their problem, not because you read it somewhere, but because you have owned the experience that is happiness. I am very proud and honored to be a part of this amazing industry that brings joy and happiness to all who are captivated by it. What I love most about this hobby and industry are the fish and corals. I accept the challenge and love every aspect of it. I hope the passion shines through with every blog post, or every conversation we have that we really love our fish.
I just want to say thank you to all of the research facilities and universities that put in countless hours to make a better future for our marine friends. You are truly amazing people.
I had this blog all ready to post then I got a life changing Phone call:
It was a typical September day and I was out with my mom and daughter. I was getting over the disappointment of losing the bid in the auction. I couldn’t help this nagging feeling that our blue tang story was not over but the auction ended on September 9th, and it was now the 29th. I was just so grateful for our captive bred yellow tangs and the opportunity to bid on the blue tang. We were in a store and I missed a phone call from Dynasty Marine. I just thought they wanted to talk about our order that we were getting that next week. I called back and almost dropped the phone when I heard the words “ Jen, you did it! You got one of the captive bred tangs! People with bids in front of you backed out!” I couldn’t say much, I was totally in shock! My excitement quickly turned to “where are we going to put him? and this is a lot of pressure to keep him safe”. My mom and I talked about it on the ride back to the store. I was still in shock when talking to my dad about turning our 60 rimless cube into a Tang paradise. We had a little less then a week to prepare.
Tango’s arrival October 5th:
The week passed so quickly and the day was here. My mom, daughter and I drove up to southwest cargo at the airport, a place we frequently went on Wednesdays. I took pictures of the box coming, and loaded our precious Tango into the car, seat belt and all. We got back to the store and got everything ready.
You can see Tango’s arrival video here:
Its been almost three months since Tango came home and we are grateful everyday. We show everyone this amazing little fish. There are pictures on our Facebook page of Tango on a Monday when we would go in on our day off just to feed him. This is the real deal and here is the certificate of authenticity to prove it.
This little fish makes everyone who meets him smile. I really do see the future when I look into the eyes of our precious Tango.
Here are some Links of people who made this possible: