It’s not for lack of trying, but tracking down the story behind these unusual designer clownfish only adds to the mystery.
Shared by an entity calling itself “Lunar Aquatics” in a single YouTube video, the aberrant clownfish were labeled “Zombie” Clownfish. Officially, the “Black Zombie” albino is a variety already known to the clownfish collector craze, brought about by the efforts of clownfish breeder Robert King. But these are different. (A search for “Lunar Aquatics” leads to a one-page, zero-content website.)
The potentially confusing “Zombie” moniker aside, objectively these new clownfish show what appears to be an extreme case of the “smudgy”-type barring disruption, where the crisp, sharp edges of a clownfish’s dark bars become blurred, softened, and in this case almost cloud-like. They also show interesting facial patterning, with white encompassing the entire head of the larger fish in the pair; this is a trait only seen in the “Storm” gene to date, originating from the breeder efforts of Sea & Reef Aquaculture.
There is another reality worth mentioning: Gold Nugget Maroon Clownfish exhibit a similar barring pattern; they’re in the same subgeneric group as Ocellaris and Percula clownfishes, and hybridizations between them are also commercially available. These fish could represent the results of a hybrid mating, or perhaps are exhibiting a phenotype caused by the same gene in a different species.
With virtually no information to go on, all anyone can do here is speculate.
The video’s author is perhaps as much of a mystery here as the fish themselves. It was shared by an apparent company called Lunar Aquatics, but we know virtually nothing else about it. The company’s website at www.lunaraquatics.com offers nothing but a logo. There is a limited social media presence on Instagram for Lunar Aquatics, and maybe we even get a glimpse of the face or faces behind this cryptic company. This video of these unique clownfish is the sole video on the Lunar Aquatics channel and was uploaded back in November 2018. In the hunt for information, their domain registration info is private. Inquiries sent to the email address we located for the company have gone unanswered!
Perhaps time will tell if these “Zombie” Clownfish and their unknown promoter will remain an Internet enigma, or if someone has played an extremely good long game at teasing out the future introduction of a new designer clownfish variety. At least one discussion of these fish suggests that they may not, in fact, belong to Lunar Aquatics, hinting that this video was shot at Michigan-based Tropicorium, This rumor is under investigation.
So, we’ll turn it over to you. We’d love to hear from credible sources who can furnish further information on this intriguing story.