Top 5 Captive Bred Marine Fish for Your Nano-Reef Aquarium

In this video, we're going to show you the top five recommended captive bred marine fish for your nano-reef aquarium. A concern for many aquarists today is not only where their fish came from, but how were they collected. Were they net caught? Were they tank raised? Or were they captive bred? Choosing captive bred fish, especially for your nano-reef aquarium is setting you up for success and it helps take pressure off wild populations.

Captive bred Clown Fish not only acclimate better to aquariums, they've been around fish their whole life, so they get along very well with other fish and they're used to humans. Humans come every day to feed them dry foods and artificial foods, so they're well acclimated to the foods you're going to be feeding them. They're overall less stressful and they'll live longer, giving you greater success in your reef aquarium.

We're also going to give you a sneak peek at some of the new captive bred fish coming out to our industry. Clownfish, especially the Ocellaris Clownfish, continue to be one of the most popular marine fish for aquarists at all levels. Most species of Clownfish are great for nano-aquariums as they stay small in size, they occupy a very small territory of your aquarium and they remain peaceful.

Being captive bred, Clownfish are now available in many designer colorations and many captive bred species are readily available to hobbyists. Clownfish are just a great personable fish to keep. There is one species you need to be a little careful with which is the Maroon Clowns. The Maroon Clowns grow up to six inches long which is a little too big for a nano-reef aquarium. So if you're going to get one of the species of Maroon, make sure you have a larger aquarium.

Cardinal Fish are another amazing captive bred fish we highly recommend for larger sized nano-reef aquariums. They're a very slow moving, methodical fish and they'll stay active in the middle to upper top of your aquarium. They do extremely well with other fish and they're very peaceful. The two most common captive bred species are the Pajama Cardinal and the Bangai Cardinal. Pajama Cardinals often do best in schools and if you keep multiple fish, they will set up a small hierarchy within your aquarium. Bangai Cardinal fish are a fascinating success story for our industry. Threatened by over collection, it became the perfect candidate for captive breeding and are now being aquacultured successfully in Indonesia. They can be a little more aggressive than the Pajama Cardinal fish and males can be especially aggressive towards one another. So it's best to keep a mated pair or keep one of them. They are also very easy to breed and the males are actually mouthbrooders and will hold the eggs in their mouth until the eggs are ready to hatch.

There are many species of captive bred Blenny's that are available to aquarists today, but most of them hide within your rock work. One exception is the new Kamohara Blenny available from ORA. This hardy, attractive fish was once only available in Japan and is now being aquacultured.

This is a very energetic and active fish. It actively moves throughout your tank all day long, hunting for small crustaceans or places to hide at night. It's one fish we highly recommend for you as it's peaceful and it's gotten along with everything in our reef tank. Like Clownfish, Cleaner Gobies are one fish that's been captively bred for many, many years and is almost a must for any reef aquarium. These fish eat parasites off of other fish and will help keep your other tank inhabitants healthy.

They stay very small and grow under two inches in length and are very docile. Since they clean other fish with parasites, they get along with virtually every species of fish and they're recognized as a cleaner fish. In aquariums, they will also eat small bits of frozen and dry aquarium foods.

Two of our favorite captive bred Gobies are the Shark Nosed Gobie and the Neon Gobie. Dottybacks are another captive bred fish that are excellent for nano-reef aquariums. In the wild you'll find them darting in and out of the rocks and under ledges looking for food. They are a very hearty fish and are quiet easy to keep and have very feisty personalities. It's usually best to keep one or add multiple small ones at a same time to create a harem of breeding fish. 

Dottybacks are available in a wide variety of colors and varieties. Our two favorites are the Orchid Dottyback and the Indigo Dottyback. Both of these are brilliant purple color and you can even get them in the electric Indigo Dottyback which is a cross breed of these two species. Without a doubt, the more species of captive bred fish you keep in your aquarium the more success you're going to have. And the great thing about our hobby is every year we're seeing more and more species come out that have been aquacultured.


So what species can we expect in the next year that will become more readily available to us? We recently got a sneak peek at some baby captive bred Coral Beauty Angelfish, Mandarin Gobies that actually eat flake food and some new Aptasia eating Filefish. Thanks so much for watching our video and we hope that this inspires you to keep one of these fascinating captive bred fish in your nano-reef aquarium. If you're looking for more information on captive bred fish, ORA is a great resource and high recommend you give them a visit!

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