RSS What do you think about Longfin Clownfish?

MASA Admin

8 May 2007
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Longfin clownfish have been around for a little while and by now some of you have seen these fish in real life. Now that we’ve all some time for the concept of clownfish with long fins to sink in, it would be interesting to gauge the public opinion of this domesticated strain of Amphiprion ocellaris.

Sustainable Aquatics was the first out the gate with a long finned variety of clownfish from a strain of standard issue orange ocellaris clownfish. Then shortly thereafter, Sea & Reef Aquaculture announced that they too had an apparition of longfin clownfish, but this time it was in a batch of darwin black ocellaris clownfish. Clownfish have been bred in captivity for nearly fifty years, and on an intensive commercial scale for the last twenty years, so it’s quite strange that longfin clownfish should appear in two different strains of clownfish from two different clownfish breeders within about a year of each other.

Now that clownfish with fins like bettas are available to aquarists who will start breeding their own, the genie can never be put back in the bottle. It’s only a matter of time until we start seeing longfin picasso, longfin platinum and longfin photons springing up from curious breeders all over the country.

Long finned fishes are one of the most common and ubiquitous strains in domestically bred aquarium fish, and for freshwater fishes at least, long finned varieties are some of the first strains to be developed. There are long finned versions of nearly all common freshwater fish, even newly discovered species usually throw out the long fin mutation early in their captive breeding histories.

Why it took so long for long finned clownfish to appear in captive bred clownfish is a mystery, especially since so many other color mutations are well defined and exploited by captive breeders. But now that longfin clownfish are here and available from two different lineages, we can already see a divergence in the long fin trait of clownfish breeders.

The Sustainable Aquatics longfin clownfish strain has long fins which are stiff with an uneven edge that normally appears tattered. Meanwhile the Sea & Reef longfin clownfish strain has much more flowy fins that are still somewhat uneven in their outline, but at least they billow gently a little more like we’re used to with fish like Bettas and veiltail angelfish.

Until recently the longfin clownfish was just a curiosity to be seen at the reef shows and specialty shops but this week we sighted a longfin clownfish at one of our local fish stores. It was only $249 but it got us to thinking that that price is not too much, and with Sustainable Aquatics already shipping pairs of longfin clownfish, it’s only a matter of time until this strain reaches the sub $100 mark and is on offer at a wider spread of LFS.

With longfin clownfish soon to be coming at an LFS or reef show near you, you will soon have the opportunity to get a longfin clownfish of your own, which got us wondering what the public opinion is on these new longfin clownfish. Once upon a time we objected to the initial crop of clownfish strains but eventually these became so commonplace that we just accepted them.

Will it be the same for longfin clownfish? What do you think about longfin clownfish? Has the guppyfication of marine fish gone too far? Are these a thing and destined to proliferate in the aquarium hobby or will they just be a passing fad? Let us know in the poll and in the comments below.

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