*** UPDATE *** Available now! Check out the ORA Black Snowflake product page for more pictures.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were to breed a Black Ocellaris and a Snowflake Ocellaris together? We did and we wound up producing what became known as the Black Ice Snowflake. Our goal in crossing those two strains of Ocellaris was not to raise Black Ice though. We had something else in mind entirely, a solid Black Ocellaris with white Snowflake markings. Don’t get us wrong, Black Ice Snowflakes are stunning fish, we just weren’t ready to settle so we set out on our way. . .
Our broodstock biologists had several pairs of fish producing Black Ice Snowflakes. Offspring from these pairs were chosen based on markings, color intensity, body shape and overall vigor. Selected individuals were paired with unrelated Black Ocellaris or distantly related Snowflakes. Although all Snowflakes come from one original pair, ORA has been crossing them back to wild Ocellaris for many years in an effort to strengthen the gene pool. The early results of this line of breeding were the Semi or standard Snowflake. Lucky for us, we are able to utilize our massive gene pool of Ocellaris clownfish to establish a diverse breeding population of Black Ice. Our desire to outcross both the Snowflake and the Black Ice added a lot of time to the development of the Black Snowflake but we felt it was important in maintaining the quality of fish we’re striving to produce.
Through various pairings of regular Ocellaris, Snowflakes, Black Ice and Black Ocellaris we painstakingly worked our way towards a beautiful jet-black fish with a stunning white Snowflake pattern. Along the way some of you may have noticed that we were quietly selling Black Ice Snowflakes with ever increasing amounts of black.
Six months ago we started to see fish like the one pictured above. To date this is the darkest Black Snowflake we have produced however he has many younger siblings that are darkening up rapidly. He was chosen for our broodstock program based on how saturated the black color is on his body. Some of his siblings exhibit more extreme Snowflake patterns without as much black. Based on our experience with various crosses of fish with Snowflake in their background, this awesome Black Snowflake male has the ability to produce offspring with as much black as he has and an even better Snowflake pattern. Once we’re able to select some of his offspring for broodstock we will be able to refine the Snowflake pattern even further.
We are happy to report that the fish above has been spawning with a beautiful female Black Ocellaris and his offspring are already in the pipeline. His siblings are paired up with a myriad of other Ocellaris varieties including Snowflakes and Black Ice that are a variety of generations removed from pure Snowflakes. We expect to have fish as black as the beauty pictured above in the coming months. In the mean time we plan to release larger numbers of Black Ice Snowflakes with varying percentages of Black Ocellaris and Snowflake parentage. We wouldn’t be surprised if some of them wind up turning solid black like this fish.