Maturation, reproduction, and larval culture of pomacentrids for the ornamental fish trade: successes and challenges

Hugo Cañedo-Orihuela, Mayra L. González-Félix*, Martin Perez-Velazquez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Fishes belonging to the family Pomacentridae (clownfishes and damselfishes) dominate the marine ornamental fish trade. However, only 1.0–4.2% of marine ornamental species traded in the US are reproduced in captivity, while the vast majority are wild-caught, an environmentally damaging practice. Reproduction in captivity undoubtedly is an adequate strategy for moving in the direction of sustainability. Among ornamental marine fish species, the most spectacular advances in captive breeding have been made for clownfishes. Twenty-five species of clownfishes have been captive-bred for commercial purposes. Furthermore, numerous clownfish varieties or color morphs have been developed through selective breeding and hybridization between species has been achieved. Of at least thirty-nine damselfish species that have been reproduced in captivity, only nine are currently commercially available. This is related to the small size of eggs and to the underdeveloped state of altricial damselfish larvae. In addition, long larval periods (up to 50 dph) and low survival rates (typically less than 10%) create barriers to the success in commercial aquaculture of damselfishes. Improvements in the low survival of damselfish larvae can be expected as zootechnical aspects for larviculture are perfected (especially improved nutrition).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1155-1197
Number of pages43
JournalReviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • Captive breeding
  • Larviculture
  • Ornamental fish trade
  • Pomacentridae


Dive into the research topics of 'Maturation, reproduction, and larval culture of pomacentrids for the ornamental fish trade: successes and challenges'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this