Captive-bred yellow tangs are inching closer and closer to a reality thanks to fantastic work by researchers at the Oceanic Institute (OI) in Hawaii, who have now teamed up with the Rising Tide Conservation project. According to a recent post on Reef2Rainforest, the parent company of both CORAL Magazine and AMAZONAS Magazine, researchers at OI are picking up decade old research and having great success with rearing yellow tangs in captivity. On the first of this year, they stocked a 1000L aquarium with approximately 40,000 yellow tang eggs and experimented with high water turnover rates combined with heavy ultraviolet use.
The larval tangs ere fed with calanoid copepods, which were the food of choice on previous studies, and researchers immediately noticed that a significantly larger number of fish were making it through the first days of the larval period than before. Thousands of fish even made it past the first few weeks, and at the 35 day mark, more than 600 were still around. From there, the fish were divied out over several smaller tanks so that things like larval settlement could be more precisesly studied. Specifically, the research team was looking at settlement cues like photoperiod and substrate, according to the article.
In terms of recent milestones, at least 150 of the yellow tang larva made it past 50 days and are said to be looking close to settlement. Despite high mortality, the research team is very encouraged and hopes that at least a few of the fish make it through.
Obviously, yellow tangs are still a long way off from being successfully captive-bred, but progress like this is really encouraging.