No. ORA does not receive government funding for their research. ORA is a privately-owned for-profit company located on the Harbor Branch campus. The ORA mission is to provide the pet industry and the environmentally conscious hobbyist with quality aquacultured products.
When a fish is described as being aquacultured, tank bred or captive bred it means that every stage of its life has taken place in an aquarium. Its parents spawned in an aquarium, the eggs hatched in an aquarium, and the fish was raised in an aquarium. Captive bred fish are often incorrectly referred to as captive raised, captive reared, or tank raised. Each of these other terms are frequently used to describe a significantly different process where fish are harvested from the wild, grown for a short period and conditioned to captivity before they are sold. All ORA fish are aquacultured, as it is the only alternative to wild collection.
One popular misconception is that tank-bred clownfish will not symbiotically associate with anemones. This is absolutely not true as demonstrated by the many hobbyists who report tank-bred clowns associating with anemones in home tanks. The behavior appears to be instinctive, and cannot be “bred-out”, nor do the young need to “learn” this behavior from their parents. We have found that Entacmaea quadricolor, the Bubble Tip Anemone, is one of the easiest clownfish hosting anemones to keep in an aquarium, and many species of clownfish will associate with it. There are also numerous reports from aquarists that tank-bred clownfish have associated with unusual hosts such as the tentacles of LPS corals, xenias and other corallimorpharians.
The True Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion percula) is a species from the Indo-Pacific region. There is quite a bit of variation in markings among individuals. A. percula have three white bars. As adults, the bars are often bordered in black, which varies in width. In some individuals it may extend from margin to margin replacing quite a bit of the orange color. The middle bar normally has a forward projection. True Percula have 11 dorsal spines compared to the False Percula (Amphiprion ocellaris) which usually have 10 dorsal spines. The other important distinction is the two species do not have overlapping geographic distributions. A. percula are found in Northern Queensland and Melanesia, while A. ocellaris are found in the Andaman Sea, the Indo-Malayan Archipelago, Philippines, northwestern Australia, coast of southeast Asia northward to the Ryukyu Islands. ORA sells True Perculas at approximately 8 – 9 months of age, which is before adult coloration is complete. Once fish are placed in a reef aquarium with strong lighting, the coloration usually develops more black patterns. Some aquarists believe associations with anemones can influence coloration as well. The False Percula Clownfish is generally bright orange with 3 complete white stripes. A black line borders these stripes. A. ocellaris does not have a thick black margin around the white bars like True Percula usually do.
Misbars are simply normal, healthy fish with incomplete stripes. The headbar, midbar or tailbar may be affected. Although some people consider misbarring to be an imperfection, many people love the unique markings of misbarred fish. Lots of our customers specifically request them. The exact cause of misbarred fish is unknown, however it is believed that there is a certain percentage of naturally occurring incomplete striping. Since a high percentage in each spawn survives to maturity in aquaculture, a higher percentage of misbars is seen.
Occasionally we will discover dwarf fish in the production tanks. We call them Stubbies. These perfectly healthy but admittedly deformed fish usually don’t reach full size. Many people consider them as defective but some people (including some of our team members) absolutely adore them. It is thought that these fish are born lacking the usual number of vertebrae in the spine, giving them a short body. Limited quantities are usually available.
At the present time we are only selling Gold Stripe Maroons. Because we sell them at approximately 8 or 9 months of age, they are still juveniles and have not yet developed the gold in their stripes. Usually the gold will begin to appear around 11 or 12 months of age.
Ask your regular pet store to order what you want. If they do not have an account with us we can set one up with them. You can also call us at 772-468-7008 and we will be happy to help you find a store in your area that carries our fish.
ORA fish have a positive association with people. If you walk down one of the aisles in the hatchery the fish actually bob their heads out of the water, expecting to be fed. We can assure hobbyists that ORA fish adjust to life in captivity better than wild fish, and will hide less and interact more. The fish are raised on prepared foods, much like home aquarists provide. There is no need for them to adapt from a life in the wild to captivity.
There are many factors that affect what fish will cohabitate peacefully. Aquarium size, rock or artificial structures, and age of existing fish all contribute to compatibility. If you have questions about our fish and yours, please contact your local fish store for additional details or send us an email!