The surprising possibilities of a GoldXLightning Maroon

Designer Clownfish popularity remains strong, with surges of interest each time a new variety is announced to hobbyists. To date, most tinkering of clownfish genetics has occurred within the Amphiprion percula and ocellaris complex, but the way things are panning out for ORA, there will be some exciting developments coming from Premnas biaculeatus before long.

Historically ORA has avoided the crossing of White Stripe and Gold Stripe Maroons (Percula and Ocellaris as well) because it doesn’t result in offspring that “improve” upon their parents.  However, the Lightning Maroon piqued our interest and we were excited to see what the results of a Gold Nugget cross would be. We haven’t been the only ones curious about this combination, as other aquarists are also working with this same cross.

Our first successful pairing was a Lightning Maroon male crossed to a Gold Nugget female.  As expected, the first generation of offspring displayed a huge degree of variation in the patterns, many of them are reminiscent of Premium Goldflake Maroons with a few important differences: the markings are usually more symmetrical on each side and many have several holes in the white areas.  We also see fish that have nearly solid white flanks and appear to have some Lightning like spangles.  In addition to these two desirable traits we get a number of fish with a traditional Gold Dot type pattern and regular, three striped Maroon Clowns.

Looking at the first couple of batches, there seems to be about 6 distinct phenotypes or grades present within the group, with some variation present within each grade. It is uncertain to what degree, if at all, these fish will develop the gold color transformation characteristic of their Gold Nugget mother.

These new Designer Clowns are undeniably attractive and unique.  Some will certainly grow to be highly coveted collector specimens.  However, this is our first step towards producing new, exciting variants of Maroon clownfish.  Many of the fish from these first few batches do not display the characteristic clownfish conformation we strive for.  Because of the considerable inconsistency, the uncertainty of what the fish will look like as they age or what we’re dealing with exactly in terms of genetics, we’ve decided for now to refrain from using or establishing trade names for each of the apparent phenotypes or grades.  Instead, we’re dubbing all patterned fish from this first cross as ORA GoldXLightning Maroons and keeping track of their normal-barred siblings.  We have already begun setting up new pairs with our first generation GoldXLightings and have plans to implement some linebreeding in an attempt to reliably produce the more desirable phenotypes. Additionally, we’ll also be backcrossing to each of the parent strains to see if we can achieve some even more extreme varieties.  With each successive generation, we will be providing hobbyists with an increasingly refined ORA Designer Clownfish, at which point we may deem the strains that breed true as name-worthy.  If a name already exists for a particular phenotype we will adopt it.

We have a lot of work ahead of us and we can’t wait for you to be a part of it!  You can see more photos of these fish on the product page here.

If Designer Clownfish aren’t your thing, don’t worry, we still raise all the wild types just for you!


Lightning Strikes at ORA

The wait is over!  Lightning Maroons are now available from ORA! If you’ve been waiting for the perfect centerpiece pair of clownfish for your home aquarium, ask for the ORA Lightning Maroon. Now available nationwide at an aquarium store near you. Need help finding our fish locally? Give us a call!

This spectacular designer clownfish is unlike any other variety out there. Its white stripes appear as a crack of lightning across its intense maroon flanks. This is truly a fish that only gets better as it matures. You’ve waited long enough, bring home your ORA Lightning Maroon today!

Check out the product page here for more information.


ORA Gladiators Now Available

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.

Update 1/23/2017ORA Wyoming Whites now available.

2014 Year In Review

ORA 2014 Year In Review

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. Continue reading

White Bonnet Clownfish Now Available From ORA


The ORA White Bonnet Clownfish story begins nearly 15 years ago. Over the years we have acquired numerous White Bonnet clownfish in an effort to create harmonious pairs but our success was limited.  At one point we even had eggs from a spawning pair in Texas shipped to us, but we never found success raising this species.

Our luck all changed in 2012 Continue reading

April Fool’s! The Real Story Behind Those Awesome Cookies

Cookie long plate

In February of 2013, Jason Langer outed himself to the world as having mastered the art of baking aquatic animal cookies. Using a combination of skills involving color theory, metal works and generations of kitchen recipes, Jason literally baked himself into notoriety. No marine fish was off limits: exact copies of Peppermint Angels, Harlequin Tusks and Yasha Hasha gobies, all in edible cookie form. Fast forward to March of 2014, ORA reached out to Jason to see what he could create using our fish as a template. He didn’t disappoint.

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Black Snowflake Update

Black Snow

Since we first introduced the ORA Black Snowflake in the  fall of 2011  we have focused our efforts on increasing production   As a result, ORA  Black Snowflakes are now being offered in two grades similar to our Snowflake varieties; Regular and Premium.  Each regular grade Black Snowflake possesses unique patterns of white atop a black base color.  The same is true for the Premium grade fish, however, Premium Black Snowflakes will exhibit additional sought-after traits such as greater amounts of white, more extreme patterns and/or “swiss cheese” dots or holes in the white areas.

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