Captive Bred Article 01 - 14
Captive Bred Ltd

Captive Bred Ltd. – Growing Values

Captive Bred Article 01 - 14
Captive Bred’s team from left to right: Kfir Gayer, Daniel Robinson, Nadav Alon, Daniel Drelichman, Nimrod Lazarus

Captive Bred Ltd. – Growing Values

The company develops as a live organism

The vision that led to the establishment of Captive Bred Ltd. Is based on love to the sea and admiration of the diversity and richness represented in nature. By building a viable economic production unit that supplies the market with sustainable aquaculture products, we can provide an alternative to damaging the natural environment and operate as a platform for long term research and development.

Three basic principles are behind Captive Bred philosophy:
1. Love and admiration for nature.
2. Friendship and good bonds.
3. Hard & persistent work.


1. Love
Our fascination from the complexity of the marine environment is still alive and kicking as it was when we first snorkeled as kids in the waters of the red sea. We are fortunate that we were able to grow in such close proximity to two very special marine ecosystems existing in our small country- Israel: The northern Red Sea and the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Many years had passed since then but the same exciting feeling still exists to this day. The beauty and magic of the fish we work with excites us and creates a sense of satisfaction just by looking at them. It is impossible not to respect and appreciate the complexity of the systems that created such marvels. Understanding how little we know about the ecosystem balances us as human beings that are a part of the environment. We are getting closer to nature when we understand what we have to lose if we don’t protect it. Appreciation, respect and feeling a part of something is love. Love is a growth engine in our company.

Arriving to our work place in the morning is always accompanied by a sense of excitement. The possibility that we have to look at our product in the eyes and get a look back is an added value in our domain. R & D programs are always innovative and very interesting. The hatchery operates almost like a live organism containing many autonomous systems that interact between themselves. Although our objective is to grow fish, In practice we mange and direct very complex biological systems behaving like a mini ecosystem, influenced by basic laws of nature.

2. Friendship
Shared love for the sea had been the basis of friendship between Nimrod Lazarus and Kfir Gayer that grew more profound during our academic studies of marine sciences. Common curiosity spurred us both to go on for further studies in Tel Aviv University and to work in practical aquaculture. The period was characterized by innumerable conversations that went on till the middle of the night about new experiences we had in research and in work at “Atlit Marine Fish Hatchery”, a large industrial marine food fish hatchery. We acquired our base of industrial knowledge serving as biologists responsible for breeding and production of sea bream “Sparuse aurata” and sea bass “Dicentrachus labrax” and development of new candidate Mediterranean food fish for aquaculture. We had the opportunity to work with species that had not been bred before and contribute to their development. Example to such species: Blue spotted sea bream Pagrus coeruleostictus, Shi drum Umbrina cirrosa.

Shi drum – Umbrina cirrosa – juvenile
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Sea bream – Sparus aurata – grow out phase

The hatchery was beside one of the most beautiful beaches of the Israeli Mediterranean coasts. Sponsored by the facility we started researching new Mediterranean ornamental fish candidates. Diving together to hunt for broodstocks, without restrictions of fear of failure, we worked on a wide variety of families and species and got very impressive results in a relatively short time. Families we worked with: Gobiidae, Blenniidae, Labridae, Pomacentridae, Syngnathidae, Holocentridae, Serranidae.

Bucchich’s goby – Gobius bucchichi – juveniles
Bucchich’s goby – Gobius bucchichi – egg clutch
Montagu’s blenny – Coryphoblennius galerita – juveniles
Sphynx blenny – Aidablennius sphinx – egg clutch

The work with many different and distant families and species allowed us to experience a wide variety of methods for Pairing, breeding, fertilization, larvae phase, grow-out and shipping. At the time, we were completely isolated from the market and the global context and began to study it. Being na├»ve and optimistic, we thought that all the fish we produce will sell easily. Comments received from samples sent to customers in the US were disappointing and described the species as not suitable for reef aquariums particularly because of two reasons: Eastern Mediterranean fish are not colorful enough or are too cruel to other organisms in the aquarium. Very high demand was for a large and impressive Aiptasia predatory nudibranch- Spurilla naepolitana which we didn’t grow but could provide limited quantities by collecting from the facility drainage systems, where it flourished. Demand was for the seahorse Hippocampus fuscus, its development showed great promise at the time.

Nudibranch – Spurilla naepolitana – voracious Aiptasia predator
Seahorse – Hippocampus fuscus – juvenile

We accelerated Seahorse development and started working on other tropical fish species, especially Clownfish and Dottyback. We decided to focus on the European market due to our relative proximity to it. A strong marketing infrastructure is traditionally exporting large quantities of aquaculture fresh water ornamental from Israel to Europe and adding our species to it sounds reasonable. Curiosity and ambition for our field has grown within us day by day. The basis of our friendship and dedication had grown stronger. On the day it was decided that the Atlit Marine Fish Hatchery is closing for reasons not related to us (2009), we decided to spend our lives and invest our limited finances on purchasing the ornamental unit we developed and turn it into an independent company, thus we founded Captive Brad Ltd. More high quality employees joined the team, a family was born. Good connection between entrepreneurs and employees, with the support of the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Economy and very friendly private investors, made the progress and growth of the company possible. Captive Bred’s new hatchery was established and over the years, investment in production and development led to an increase of the amount of fish and variety of species offered to the market. The company’s high-quality staff is unified, very reliable and works as a family united with a common interest. The value of friendship and mutual support greatly promoted the company over the years, strengthened our souls and helped us go through challenging periods that characterizes our field of work. Very close and productive relations also developed with the marketing company that exports our products. This positive synergic connection, based on trust and cooperation, established our fish as an essential part of the Israeli stock list and made them available to almost every wholesaler in Europe.

Captive Bred Article 01 - 09
Finger moony – Monodatylus sebae – juveniles prosper in all salinities as long as pH remains above 7
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Finger moony – Monodactilus sebae – embryo, pelagic spawner with tiny eggs and larvae

3. Hard work
Hard and persistent work is important to promote every organization. Especially in agriculture, many variables affect the product quality and our control over environmental conditions and biological factors is not absolute. Being very vulnerable and with a short shelf life, there added difficulties associated with producing and marketing fish. In aquaculture we experience more challenges because we are producing in an aquatic medium, subjected to physical and chemical changes that can affect the organism: Temperature, gases concentration, nutrients, acidity and many more. The fish we grow originate from the stable oligotrophic coral reefs and do not tolerate major changes or deterioration in environmental conditions. As a live product sold for ornamental purposes, its health condition and total quality must be perfect. Producing a wide variety of species requires a deep understanding of the differences between species and a very organized management platform. Among the agricultural products grown, marine fish are among the most complex. Control and treatment of the production chain is daily and with no option to stop for a rest. The hatchery contains a lot of technical elements that need monitoring. Working in the field of growing fish, one must know how to prioritize the needs of the fish prior to individual needs. Sometimes response time is very short when a situation develops. R & D processes are very long and can last for years consuming significant funding. It appears that without the hard work and effort over time there can be no success in our field.


Love for nature, friendship, and hard work are values common to all members of the Captive Bred family. With these values we are building and expanding our business.

A recirculating system in Captive Bred’s facility
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Designer clownfish are available on Captive Bred’s stock list

Our relationship with Kris Schmidt began immediately after the first publication of the PeaceKeeper development in Reef Builders, over a year and a half ago. Kris expressed great enthusiasm for the beauty and uniqueness of the fish. We had many correspondences about the subject and immediately you could feel the love he had for the field. Kris was consistently open and honest with us, helped us in ways he could and a friendship started developing between us. Kris struggled and worked very hard to gain the possibility to be the exclusive distributor of the PeaceKeeper. Kris certainly possesses three important values for life.

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Buy aquacultured clownfish, it’s more humane

Out of great respect we hold for all pioneers of our field from the U.S., from a variety of organizations large and small, who founded the field and promoted it to where it begins to offer a real alternative to harming nature. Captive Bred in cooperation with Alpha Aquaculture are very proud to offer to the world the PeaceKeeper Maroon.

Buying a PeaceKeeper Maroon is an investment in values.

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3 Responses to “Captive Bred Ltd. – Growing Values”

  1. Martin Moe

    Hi Nimrod,
    This is a very interesting article. Brings me back to the 1970s when I first began to breed clownfish. Many of my experiences were much the same as yours. Now I’m involved with the development of a technology for the culture of Diadema sea urchins for use in coral reef restoration work. You may find some of the technology that I have developed of interest. I can send you through email some of these reports and publications if you have an interest.

    Best wishes,


    • Hey Martin! I’m interested in the info you mentioned. It sounds interesting! Can’t be letting algae cover all the reefs!


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