Exciting news for aquarists and fish-lovers the world over: Rising Tide Conservation has just announced the first-ever successful aquaculture of the Pacific Blue Tang -Paracanthurus hepatus, or “Dory“. The foundation has been working on this project with a committed team of scientists at the University of Florida’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, including Kevin Barden, Eric Cassiano, Matthew DiMaggio, and Cortney Ohs, for approximately 6 years. Their success came after they altered their larval rearing techniques, basing new protocol on practices that enabled scientists at the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University to successfully breed Yellow Tangs ( Zebrasoma flavescens).
All Blue Tangs currently available to the saltwater aquarium market are wild-caught, but this breakthrough has the potential change that, and as the researchers begin to replicate their success, the practice could become commercially viable.
One small piece of the puzzle was the food that scientists provided to the broodstock – LRS Foods, owned by Larry and Veronica DuPont, provided the team with their new “Fertility Frenzy” food; the higher-fat and higher-protein food was a large part of the parent’s diet for the past 6 months. As Craig Watson, director of the UFTAL, explains, “During the first three days, the Pacific Blue Tangs develops eyes and a mouth. If the food for the parents isn’t just right, the yolk won’t be enough or of the right consistency to carry the larvae through. Water quality, including temperature, is critical, and if anything goes wrong [the larvae] can be dead in hours.”
For more information about this thrilling breakthrough, visit the Rising Tide Conservation site