ORA Gladiators Now Available

Premium Gladiator

Bill Addison, legendary founder of the C-Quest farm in Puerto Rico, coined the term Gladiator when describing a variety of clownfish he discovered in his hatchery. We imagine that Bill must have encountered uniquely patterned specimens in a batch of Amphiprion ocellaris that displayed head patterns reminiscent of a helmet. As luck would have it, Gladiator genetics were inheritable and Bill created a bloodline of this variety. It seems that not all Gladiator specimens exhibit the warrior helmet pattern; most only possess bars that are noticeably wider than their Gladiator-gene-lacking brethren. Other Gladiators exhibit swirls, connecting bars, or white patterns not found on wild-type specimens.

We purchased broodstock from C-Quest throughout the years but never any of their Gladiator clownfish. Although it is possible that we have wild-type ocellaris with C-Quest genetics, we think the mutation showed up randomly in our hatcheries. We first stumbled across the Gladiator mutation in a single Ocellaris from our own production around 10 years ago. Since then, we have been refining the shape, color and pattern of the fish through careful selective breeding and introductions of wild-type genetics.

The first fish we found with the Gladiator type pattern at ORA.
The first fish we found with the Gladiator type pattern at ORA.

The Gladiator mutation manifests in a wide array of phenotypes, arguably more unique than the Picasso variety of A. percula, but it works much the same way: if you breed two fish with the phenotype you usually end up with a mixture of wild-type fish, Gladiators and also a percentage of fish that are nearly all white. Within batches of Gladiator clownfish, these all-white fish are called Wyoming Whites, another variety originally named by Bill Addison. We’ve noticed that although the Gladiator genetics behave similarly to Picasso genetics, we aren’t finding the same percentage of designer fish in the Gladiator batches. There are fewer Gladiators per batch than we were expecting which makes them a little tricky to produce in large quantities. There is a way around this though – more broodstock! As additional pairs begin producing spawns for us, we expect to have Gladiators available more regularly.

Gladiators are sold under a variety of industry names including DaVinci and Fancy clownfish. Rather than make up a new name for an existing fish, we thought it was best to honor the original Gladiator name that Bill used.

Our fish are available in Gladiator and Premium Gladiator grades. Check out the product pages to learn more.

New! Laura’s Purple Polyp Acropora

Laura's Purple Polyp

This new coral from ORA has been nearly 5 years in the making, but we decided to ask our fans to help us name it! After a lengthy social media search for the perfect name, we chose the early suggestion from Ian Glish on Instagram of Laura’s Purple Polyp Acropora. We would like to thank everyone who contributed, there were so many great suggestions to pick from. Peacock Acropora was a close runner up and we found Moon Cheese especially entertaining.

Laura’s Purple Polyp is named in honor our Sales Office Manager and most tenured employee. Laura has a great love for the ocean and was a volunteer at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute before being hired as a broodstock technician for the young ORA, 18 years ago. Her compassion and dedication to animals is unrivaled and she has stuck with us through thick and thin. Her soothing voice and friendly advice will soon be absent from the sales office though. In the coming months she is going to transition back to the broodstock department so she can return to her true passion, caring for animals. Join us in thanking Laura for all she’s done for the ORA sales office!

You can read more about our new coral on the product page here. Tell your local fish store to order your frag today!

Build a MIMF Zoanthid Collection

MIMF Zoanthid

ORA has long been asked, “why don’t you raise more zoanthids?” Well, that time has come! These colonial soft corals have become more popular than ever lately, with new elaborate names and more extravagant per polyp prices popping up at every frag swap. Meanwhile, ORA has been working on bringing affordable and attractive zoanthid frags to hobbyists utilizing the endless broodstock varieties available around our tropical Micronesian coral farm, known as MIMF. We have created an assorted collection of vibrant colors and two tone polyps and sustainably grown them on easy to conceal discs. These readily available zoanthid frags are now shipping to local fish stores near you!

Success! Our First Ruby Red Dragonets

Juvenile Ruby Red Dragonet - 34 Days Post Hatch

Behold! The first aquacultured Ruby Red Dragonets from ORA!  We are excited to announce our progress with this strikingly beautiful fish as we work to bring them into commercial production. Did you know that this is a new species that has yet to be named by taxonomists? Since their initial introduction to the aquarium hobby just over three years ago, this bright red fish has been simply known as Synchiropus sp. or the Ruby Red Dragonet. However, they are often misidentified as Red Scooter Dragonets (Synchiropus stellatus) or Moyers Dragonets (Synchiropus moyeri), both completely different species.

As this is only our first batch of true Ruby Red Dragonets, we still have a lot to learn and a long way to go before they will be available for sale.  Here is what we do know:

This species does not spawn as frequently, or produce eggs in the quantities that its Regular and Red Scooter counterparts do.  Additionally, the larvae are smaller and develop slower. In spite of these exciting challenges, we are confident we will be able to get them into commercial production in late 2016 or early 2017.

In the meantime please enjoy our other wonderfully charming Dragonet species. You can read more about them HERE.

 

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Scooter Dragonets

Scooter Dragonet

Scooter Dragonets, or Scooter Blennies as they are often called, have always been one of our favorite fish.  Way back in 2010 when we were intensively raising Mandarins we tried our hand with Scooters countless times with little luck.  We were only able to raise roughly 1 Scooter for every 5000 mandarins!  We were frustrated to find that we were missing a suitable prey item for their first feeding.

Juvenile Red Scooters
Juvenile Red Scooters

We learned something important from the few Scooters that we managed to raise though: they grew quite fast once the larvae settled to the bottom of the tank.  With Mandarins, under our culture conditions, you will have a few fish that shoot up to 1.25” in around 8 months but the majority of the batch will take up to 14 months to reach that size and 18 months or more to reach 1.5”. Much to the chagrin of hobbyists, this timeframe is the reason we are not actively culturing Mandarins today; their slow growth makes them too costly to raise.  Scooters on the other hand start spawning at less than 1″ in length and reach 1.5” in just 4 to 6 months!

A few years ago we made significant improvements to our Live Feeds program allowing us to increase the variety, quantity and quality of the food we were raising for our larvae.  Our most important addition was a consistent supply of a variety of copepod species. These new copepods were just the thing we had been missing for our beloved Scooters.

Once we began setting up spawns from regular and red Scooters with our new supply of copepods we started observing excellent survival and high settlement rates.  It was encouraging to see the juveniles accept a pelleted diet at a very young age.

With their rapid growth and eager acceptance of a prepared food diet, Scooter Dragonets are proving to be very receptive to our aquaculture conditions and will thrive in a wide array of hobbyist home aquariums.

We are excited to announce that retailers have access to the first batch of Scooter Dragonets now.  The Red Scooter Dragonet will be available soon.

To learn more about species of Dragonets we’ve raised, check out their livestock page here: http://www.orafarm.com/products/fish/dragonets/