Amphiprion ocellaris “Fancy” is a captive-bred, selectively-bred strain of the classic orange Ocellaris Clownfish. The Fancy Ocellaris strain, developed by Sustainable Aquatics (SA), is generally known for thicker black margins on the fins and bars, clearly seen in comparisons with juveniles of other Ocellaris forms.
Upon reaching maturity, Fancy Ocellaris can show very thick or broad black margins & edges, and even black coloration on the flanks, generally along the back.
This has led some to believe they are in fact simply “Mocha” hybrids, although Sustainable Aquatics stands by the origins of this strain as being pure A. ocellaris, no hybridization with the Black Ocellaris was involved. In reality, occasional wild A. ocellaris are collected which share the traits of the Fancy Ocellaris; this adds further credibility to the origins of the strain as told by SA.
Being a selectively-bred strain, “Fancy” isn’t simply a mutant gene, but rather the result of the selective process over multiple generations to create these darker Ocellaris. As such, results in outcrossing to other lines won’t be predictable, and in truth, other “Fancy” lines could be developed independently of SA’s line. Strains represent a gray area for breeders; they may have reduced genetic variation, but they may also impart their traits into other breeding projects, albeit perhaps not consistently. In other cases, outcrossing a strain may simply wipe out the selective breeding that had been accomplished over generations.
It is worth mentioning that the “Vivid Fancy” Ocellaris should be, for the most part, the same basic fish as a Fancy Ocellaris. “Vivid Fancy”, according to SA, are the wild-type offspring that come from Fancy White breeding. Fancy Whites are in fact the “DaVinci” or “Gladiator” gene within the Fancy Ocellaris strain. SA separates Vivid Fancy for one noteworthy reason – breeding with them can sometimes yield Fancy White in their offspring. To me, this simply suggests that some “Vivid Fancy” are in fact “Fancy Whites” that simply express the stripe altering gene so little that they go unnoticed. If we are offering Fancy Ocellaris produced by Doty Aquaculture, they are “Vivid Fancy”.