Captive Bred Yellow Tangs

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Captive Bred Yellow Tangs

In December, huge news was shared about how the Oceanic Institute at Hawaii Pacific University announced that they were finally able to state they had succesfully bred Yellow Tangs from eggs.  This hurdle was seemingly insurmountable, as captive bred tangs have been attempted and failed many times.  There are many articles you can read on this topic, including in Coral Magazine (Jan/Feb 2016)

As I read the articles in that issue, I thought how cool would it be to get one for my own tank, even though I have two wild-caught Yellow tangs in my 400g already.  I wanted a tiny one for my 60g frag system to keep it algae-free. I didn't expect it would happen any time soon though, since the first batch of 500 fish were being shipped to public aquariums across the nation. Those aquariums usually have massive tanks and they fill them with shoaling fish -- which is aesthetically pleasing. Good for them, and for all the people that visit and gaze upon them, right?  Then about three weeks ago, I was contacted by MiniWaters.FISH owner Matt Pedersen telling me he had a few, and they were going up for sale.  I was so excited, but I also had been drinking red wine and would have agreed to anything at that point.  Fortunately I got away from my computer and let the wine wear off.   A few days later he reached out again, asking me if I wanted some. His were all "medium" size, but I wanted tiny, cute, adorable yellow tangs.  

Let me back up for a second and clarify that after all the aquariums got their share of these fish, some remained and were being distributed to some marine fish sellers, MiniWaters included. Being buddies with Matt paid off at last. I may not have a Lightning Maroon clownfish, but hey... this works too.  So Matt went back to the source and stated he had a guy that wanted tiny yellow tangs, and were any available. And there were, so we coordinated our plan: he held them for two weeks to make sure they were healthy and eating. Which they were, since they are tank bred fish having never seen the ocean before.  

Matt reported to me every few days about how they were doing, and how they were mowing down the algae in his tank. He posted a video of them swimming as a group on his youtube channel. Yesterday was the day he shipped them my direction.  Upon arrival, this is what I saw:

LOL!  It was very well packed. This order included fish for two other hobbyists as well, and we divided the shipping equally amongst the three of us. Each fish was double bagged in some thick mylar bags, and packed with a heat pack in a styrofoam cooler as one would expect from a professional operation.  The weather here is in the mid 70s currently, but they came by way of Minnesota on the Fedex overnight flight, so he used extra caution accordingly. 

All the bags were floated in the sump of the frag system.  All that diplaced water would have made the skimmer overflow, so I had to adjust the water level in the skimmer temporarily.

Once the temperature acclimation was done, I opened up and poured all the bags into a single bucket. All the fish shared their bagged water temporarily. A quick salinity check measured 1.025sg just like my own water - perfect!  Using my hands, I carefully transfered them from the transport water to the first Safety Stop bath, where they stayed for 45 minutes. Always use an airstone with Safety Stop!

You may have noticed a tiny fish.  That's a Yellow Line Goby - Elacatinus figaro.  Two tiny guys, gifts from Matt.  Told you we were buddies. :)  After that 45 minute bath to remove external parasites, the fish were transferred to bath #2. As I held the tiniest yellow tang in my hand, I thought how I'd wished I could take a picture of it - it's freaking adorable.  But my iPhone wasn't within reach and my hands were wet. Another 45 minutes elapsed in bath #2.

The smallest yellow tang. A blurry shot before it was transferred by hand into its new home - the 60g frag system.

They are so cute, and shoaled immediately. 

All those pictures above were from the iPhone. Below is a Nikon shot.  These fish are just what i wanted to see in this system, and it's still kind of surreal that the very fish I was reading about in Coral ended up being in my own tank after all, from that original stock that hatched 8/20/2015. That makes these fish 8 months old, today.

The two smallest ones are mine.  The other two will go in a 1000g reef later this year. They look exactly as I expected for young tank-raised fish, especially first generation. In earlier reports, one blog winced at their appearance and felt they were suffering from HLLE. I've seen fish with HLLE that made full recoveries after proper diet was provided, and I'm very well known to be a heavy feeder with my reeflings. The tiniest fish looks the thinnest, so he will be the one I'll have to watch the closest to make sure he gets plenty of nourishment. These tangs don't have their ventral fins for whatever reason, but seem to swim just fine regardless. 

I'm ecstatic with them, and have zero regrets. When I have to part with two of them, it'll be tough...but I know they are going to an awesome reef. I'll be posting updates on how all of them are doing from time to time.  

Thanks for thinking of me Matt, I really appreciate it. To quote: ".... and thanks for all the fish." (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)