Aquarists have known for a long time that captive breeding is the future of the marine ornamental hobby, but the reason that it is not as popular as it could be is the difficulty often associated with raising the fry. As articles by dedicated marine fish breeders, such as Matt Wittenrich http://www.tfhdigital.com/tfh/201108?pg=26&search_term=Wittenrich&search_term=Wittenrich#pg91, have shown, it takes time to find exactly what the fry will eat and how to best deliver the food. And that is without discussing those fish that have a planktonic larval stage.
Marine Biologists at the University of Texas Austin Marine Science Institute are working to change all that by developing methods to efficiently breed marine fish and invertebrates in captivity. One researcher has spent the past decade looking for the proper foods and tank designs that enable larval animals to survive. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110920121612.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Latest+Science+News%29.
While certainly not the answer to all of the reef’s problems, captive breeding of marine ornamentals will reduce stress on wild reef populations. Even better, animals that are captive bred tend to have an easier time adapting to a home aquarium because they are used to tank life.