As the curtains fall on 2014, ORA looks back on our most productive year to date. While other ornamental aquaculture facilities spent the year figuring out how to put more stripes on a clownfish, ORA has been focused on the development of new species; aggressively pushing the boundaries of marine aquaculture. While clownfish remain the cornerstone of our operation, the aquarium hobby deserves and requires more than just designer clowns.
This year we have added over 16 new items to our lineup. Including 13 new fish, eight of which are industry firsts. We even completed our second entire genus. Not all of these new fish are colorful, not all of them are particularly remarkable by hobbyist standards, but each of them have been important stepping stones. Each new species provides us with insights that help us overcome the challenges we face as we work with new and more difficult species. We even learn new things that improve our ability to raise the species we currently work with.
We pioneered work with two particularly challenging species this year, the Girdled Goby (Priolepis cincta) and the Hector’s Goby (Koumansetta hectori). These fish are excellent nano-aquarium candidates: they’re colorful, hardy, remain small and have peaceful dispositions. However, low survival rates and extended larval periods drive up their production costs preventing us from offering these fish at a price competitive to their wild caught counterparts. We are not giving up on these two species, as there is always room for improvement with the advancement of larval-rearing technologies.
Occasionally we surprise ourselves with what we’re able to accomplish with fish that have been overlooked by hobbyists and breeders. The Whitespotted Pygmy Filefish is a perfect example of a species that was not on the average aquarist’s radar. It’s considered a temperate water fish, and rarely distributed outside of Japan. But this charming little fish lends itself well to our aquaculture methods, and due to our production we may see this species come out of obscurity to become a new favorite in the aquarium trade.
ORA didn’t just work on fish in 2014, two Montipora species and an Acropora also made it onto our availability list this year. The vivid ORAnge Setosa and the plating Blue Polyp Capricornis are both colorful additions to any reef aquariums. Our Shortcake Acro combines greens and pinks into a beautiful branching showpiece.
With the successes of this year’s fish, the lessons learned and experience gained has opened up aquaculture possibilities for a number of new releases we are eager to share. Currently we’re setting groundwork to raise even more new species in 2015. Our work with clownfish is undeniably tied to who we are, and we will continue to provide hobbyists worldwide with a variety of these universally adored fish. However, ORA has a bigger vision than just Amphiprionae. With every small success we get closer to the larger goal of providing the marine aquarist an extensive list of alternatives to the capture and collection of wild species. From our very beginning 18 years ago to the current challenges our hobby faces, we plan to continue to be at the forefront of sustainability in our industry.
We recognize our work is only possible through the support of our retail partners and conscientious aquarists around the world. We would like to take a moment to extend our thanks and wish you the best in 2015.