It would seem that the recent musings of Scott Fellman, longtime figurehead in the marine aquarium hobby and co-owner of Unique Corals, on captive bred fish have really struck a nerve. In a recent posting on his company’s Reef2Reef forum page, Scott shared a little of his frustrations about the virtual disappearance of captive-bred mandarin dragonets from Oceans Reefs and Aquariums (ORA). In a nutshell, he was told by an ORA rep that the dragonet breeding program had essentially been shelved due to the lack of support from aquarium hobbyists. This was due to the fact that wild-caught mandarins were far too cheap for the captive-bred variety to compete with. With regards to this news, Scott went on to say “that sucks”, and offered up a thorough virtual “spanking” of the aquarium hobby as a whole…and we completely agree with Scott one billion percent! To clarify, this is not in any way a reflection on ORA or any other organizations or individuals that breed marine ornamental species or support captive breeding efforts. Instead, this is a look at why aquarium keepers still continue to purchase low-quality wild-caught livestock. Scott’s article highlights the big reason why captive-bred fish still see so many hurdles…and it’s purely financial. After all of the initial excitement wore off, hobbyists by and large avoided buying them because they were $40 or more per fish. MORE: Why Don’t Aquarists Support Captive Breeding

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