Flame angels - price related to collection area?


Premium Member
I was at the LFS tonight and saw several flame angels. One was from Vanuatu, priced at $79.99 (Canadian dollars). The others were from Christmas Island, priced around $59.99. They were all gorgeous, but the one from Vanuatu was fat, bright-eyed and eating well and the others looked like they were still stressed from travelling; they weren't as alert or picking at the rocks/sand. Based on their behaviour I'm guessing they weren't eating.
I'm wondering if the higher price applies to fish that are net-caught as opposed to those that may have been exposed to Cyanide, or if there's another reason? I can't imagine that it was a coincidence that this fish was more expensive but looked so much better - usually you get what you pay for, right?
I also paid more for my Vanautu flame, and I was told at the LFS that they don't any corals, and he hasn't touched one coral in my tank for a year so far!! Since you have corals, you should definelty go with the one from Vanuatu.
I work in a LFS and the flame angels that we sell sometimes come from the Christmas islands and carry a little higher price tag. I have never heard of flame angels from Vanuatu but neither fish was probably caught with cycnide. Although you can never be sure. Most responsible pet store owners have been going through the same wholesalers for years and the wholesalers have an investment in making sure that their fish are of quality. The owner of my store spends between $1200-$2000 a week on marine fish and because this is quite an investment he went to the wholesalers in LA to inspect their facilities. If you are unsure of the quality of any fish don't buy it. So in this case spend the little extra to have a healthy fish.
I picked up the one from Vanuatu; I'm happy to pay more for a fish that's going to do well long-term, I was just curious why there might be such a large difference in price between the two. Lucky for me, because I'm a good customer they actually brought the price down to match the other flames, so I think I got a real bargain. Half an hour after I finished aclimating him and placed him in the tank the fish was out and about, picking at things and sizing me up through the glass. I've had lousy luck with angels in the past but something tells me this little guy's going to do just fine :D
I heard from supplier that in x'mas island they limited 500 pieces of flame angel export to each country, that means the price of flame angel will rise.
Don't forget it's marketting too. How are you so sure it's from Xmas Islands or Vanatu? It could just be an exceptionally good specimen, but they label it differently to get a better price tag. With fish like Sailfin Tangs, you can tell the physical difference from different locals, like Red Sea, and Australian are different looking, not so sure about Flames though.
this message from the supplier:

Your Hawaii fish order will be postponed to next Thursday. Our Hawaii fish supplier had a long discussion with me last hour about the supply problem with Flame Angels.

Flame Angels come mostly from X'mas Island. There is only one flight from X'mas Island to Hawaii every week. It is a small Boeing 737 which has small load for cargo. For the last two weeks, no fish come out from X'mas Island becasue of this airline problem.

The real problem is that X'mas Island government started to have a new rule to protect its reef. It is limiting (since January 1, 2006) only 500 Flame Angel to each receiving country (in this case Hawaii) per month. 500 Flame Angel per month for all the Hawaii fish exporters is not enough to be shared among these exporters.
I didn't read all the replys..I don't know if I am repeating anyone but yes the price varies depending on location. The best and most expensive come from Hawaii.
I would pay the extra to get one from Hawaii to insure proper handling and shipping .[ you can be sure if it was from Hawaii it was not cyanyde caught]
XeniaMania - this is a big, chain LFS (Big Al's) with a great fish room manager. He labels each fish with its name, price and location as a matter of course, it's just their policy. I doubt they'd make things up; 90% of the customers shopping there could care less where their prospective purchase is from as long as it's healthy.

This was the first time I've seen a flame for $79.99CD, they're usually $69.99 but I never paid attention to their catch location since this was the first time I've been interested in bringing one home. I thought a $20 difference in price between this guy and the Christmas Island fish was significant but can't figure out exactly why they'd differ so much since the Christmas Island fish are likely net caught as well, being near Hawaii. It actually seems like the Chrismas Island fish should be the most expensive ones out there from the stuff posted above.
Hmm. I work p/t at a LFS on weekends, I'll have to ask my manager when I go to work this Sunday, maybe he'll have a difinitive answer :)
I have always had the best luck with net caught from Hawaii. They are reasonably priced too.
Bttrflygrl I believe is about right on the differences on the bars and the locations they are caught. I would imagine price would be determined by how hard it is to catch a flame angel in each particular locale and shipping. During my time in Hawaii I frequented one shop that shipped many fish to the mainland. Whenever the boat would be trailored to the shop and flame angels offloaded I would notice nitrox tanks in the boats. The divers would tell me that since they are so saught after only the deepest spots contain enough fish to be worth it. Going that deep requires a lot of effort and limited time. But thats not quite fair to judge as I'm not sure how deep divers must go to harvest in other areas. Just my bits of info to contribute...
Most of the flame angels I've caught in Hawaii have been from fairly shallow water. They're quite rare here, but they don't tend to live deeper than other fish.

A lot of divers here use Nitrox tanks to increase the number of dives per day; not neccessarily because of deep dives.
And to increase the bottom time of each dive..

There is a difference between xmas island flame and vanuatu flame.

The xmas islands ones are more orange yellow in the middle while the vanuatu ones are more red.
It's quite easy to tell the difference when you see the both shipments together at the importer's place.