There are pretty crappy images, but they are the offspring of the MD1 X MD2 Lightning X White Stripe pair.
Wholesale customers have access to these fish at this time.
There are pretty crappy images, but they are the offspring of the MD1 X MD2 Lightning X White Stripe pair.
Wholesale customers have access to these fish at this time.
Surprised to hear that tonight, Mike Doty’s pair of Lightning Maroon Clownfish had thrown down eggs. This is one of the freely distributed “genetic repository” pairs I placed locally, just in case anything ever happened here at home.
The female Lightning Maroon, MD1, and male Morse Code Maroon, MD2, represent the first F1 sibling pair that I am aware of which should replicate the pairing of their parents. We already know of the results Soren Hansen had when pairing an F1 Lightning Maroon Clownfish with a wild White Stripe Maroon; I expect that Mike will see a 50/50 White Stripe/Lightning spread in the F2 generation from Mike’s parents.
As promised, I finally got time to look at the offspring that Mike Doty had managed to rear from my F1 Lightning X Lighting Maroon Clownfish pair. While Mike had initially stated he felt the split was 50/50, today’s visit showed something different.
All told, I only managed to count 3 white stripe offspring in the BRT. Meanwhile, there appeared to be 6 distinctive Lightning Maroon-type offspring. What I didn’t see were any fish that, at this point, looked atypical from either known phenotype.
With only 9 (approximate) juveniles, the sample is far from conclusive. The 3/6 split could be representative of anything from a 50/50 split to a 25/75 split. A new phenotype could be missing because none simply survived in this first successful run.
That said, the 3/6 split, if a valid sample, would represent something we perhaps don’t want to see. It would imply that Lightning is straight dominant, but it would also imply that a double-dose of Lightning is in fact fatal to the offspring and they fail to develop. This is one of the current working hypotheses for the Snowflake gene in Ocellaris, and anecdotal reports continue to bolster that line of thinking (reports are anecdotal in so much as a breeder saying “It’s about a 60-70% snowflake result” is not the same as a breeder saying “I got 140 Snowflakes and 65 wild types in this clutch”).
It is fair to say that there is still hope for these fish – they are QUITE YOUNG and all we can truly discern at this point is that they outwardly either are white stripes or aberrant. My tune could change as these babies develop, or if subsequent results are different. It is not surprising to me though, to see similarities emerge in various mutation types. We already have Picasso/Platinum and the sister mutation of DaVinci/Wyoming White. Much as I wonder if these twin mutations could represent the same gene in different species (or simply a similar genetic mutation in sibling species), would we come to find out that Lightning is in fact not unlike Snowflake? After all, genetic analysis has revealed that the Maroon Clownfish are in fact very closely related to the Percula/Ocellaris complex, so it would not be surprising to find similar or the same genes present in all these species based on their common shared ancestor.
It is also an interesting footnote to observe that these tiny juvenile clownfishes DO represent a the first F2 generation of Lightning Maroons.
Here’s a quick rundown.
The 5th spawn of the F1 Lightning X Lightning Maroon Clownfish pairing was collected and hatched by Mike Doty while I was away. In short, he scraped off the eggs, hatched them in a 1 gallon jar in a water bath with simple aeration, 75% clean new water. Come November 28th, Mike relayed that settlement had started. The moment we’ve been waiting for was here – is there something new?
Well, Mike’s first words were “About 90% sure we have some normal striped fish.”
This, of course, does the following:
As of today, 12-8-2014, I spoke with Mike briefly and have to relay this news – while he doesn’t have many babies left, he believes that the phenotype split is roughly 50/50. That is to say, half white stripes, half lightnings. So far, he also has not seen anything unique or new in this F2 generation. I have yet to see the babies for myself, and have yet to take pictures or do a headcount, but these cursory, informal results, mirror another clownfish mutation that seems to not fit the mold as we’d expect – SNOWFLAKE in Ocellaris. It’s my hope to get over to Mike’s today yet to see for myself.
In other news, the 6th spawn of the F1 Lightning X Lightning pair was put down on 11/29/2014. It appears I finally won the battle of the tiles:
Meanwhile, I brought some new clownfish into the fishroom earlier in November (the 19th and 22nd) and was trying out the new Ick-Shield food from New Life Spectrum. This is basically a Chloroquin-laced pellet food that is meant primarily to prevent disease such as Crytopcaryon, Amyloodium, Brooklynella etc…pretty much the things which are sensitive to the active ingredient. I decided to not simply feed this fish to the new arrivals, but also to feed it to one of my holding systems AND the wild Lightning Maroon and her mate as preventative medication, just in case.
Well, it turns out that there is an unfortunate side effect to this feed; it seems to shut down breeding activity. All my routine pairs stopped spawning. The Lightning and her mate did finally put down a spawn on December 1st, 2014, #46.
Unfortunately, it appears as though the spawn was not fertilized…the eggs didn’t develop, and after 48 hours they were gone. A few days after that, I read, anecdotally, that Chloroquin can cause male sterility??? Not permanent according to the rumor, but certainly a potential setback. As far as the efficacy of the food, my jury is out. The larger fish which were feeding well on it by and large remained disease free, but not all did. I still had a Brooklynella outbreak, although not in the fish I would have necessarily expected. Once that outbreak started, it then affected other fish as well despite their feeding on the pellets. I’m also seeing either Cryptocaryon or Amyloodium on fish which were visually “clean” upon arrival, which were in dedicated QT systems, feeding on this food from day one. So the question here is were they simply getting ENOUGH feed as they were small fish which cannot readily eat the small pellet size.
So of course, one is left with questions, not answers. There is no way to say the food didn’t work, nor is there any way to prove that it does work. Absence of disease is not proof of prevention, that much I know for certain. Lack of a cure, or lack of prevention, which IS documented, only raises questions about why it didn’t work as suggested and certainly requires investigation (eg. would a smaller pellet size be better accepted…could these failures stem from simply lack of feeding, or lack of sufficient feeding, thus insufficient dose to the fish?).
Circling back to LxL Spawn #6, as the week progressed an interesting change in behavior occurred starting around December 4th, 5 days post spawn. The larger female F1 Lightning became belligerent towards the male, and over the day drove him from nest tending duties. December 5th, a Friday, would have been 6 days post spawn, and the night of the first hatching. I was simply swamped with preparations for sending our dog to live with my brother, and failed to pull the tile. By morning, Saturday, December 6th, 2014, it appeared that I had not missed much…most if not all the eggs were still there. The pair remained at odds. We left for the weekend to ship our family dog, and upon Sunday, December 7th, there were still a few dozen eggs remaining, although they appeared potentially dead and disappeared throughout the day. By nightfall, the pair was starting to be less antagonistic, but I am still keeping a close eye on them. Hopefully, we’ll get another spawn soon – this was the only mature pair in the house that didn’t receive Chloroquin-laced foods (as they don’t reside in the fishroom with the rest of the fish).
It’s the 7th night for Spawn #43 which was spawned on 10-22; we’re on the night of 10-29 going into 10-30 now; there wasn’t any noticeable hatch on the tile over the 6th night (I left it with the parents yesterady)….it will get pulled. This is what Spawn #43 looked like when it was laid fresh on 10-22…I should also point out this is the first time I’ve taken pictures of the F0 original wild pair of Lightning Maroon X White Stripe PNG Maroon Clownfish.
The larvae from spawn #42 that are still alive have largely settled out…it was a small group, but I’ll find a way to work with them. More importantly, it looks like LM X LM Spawn #2 might be over…I have not found any larvae in the BRT, so one more look, I repurposed it for Spawn #43. The eggs got the usual dip in H2O2, but started hatching during it, so they were moved straight into the BRT with 8 gallons of broodstock water and a few ML of RotiGrow Plus (only thing I had thawed…it’ll be fine for the first 24 hours and by that point I’ll have RotiGreen Omega up and running).
The most frustrating news is arguably LM X LM Spawn #3. So..to recap. Here was the first spawn:
So…I took some proactive steps and tiled the back wall of the tank.
This was LM X LM (or LxL if you prefer) Spawn #2 on the first attempted hatch night:
Yeah..that gray patch on the side..those are the eggs…
So that didn’t turn out obviously…so I tiled the side wall as well.
Here is Spawn #3, laid on 10/27/2014:
The internet shorthand FML seems somehow appropriate. Clearly the pair is flipping me the middle fin.
So yeah…October 2nd, I’m just walking by the tank and I see this…
We are about to embark on the next exciting chapter of the Lightning Maroon Clownfish and genes. My hypothesis is that the Lightning gene is partially dominant or dominant. The offspring from this spawn, if successfully raised, will yield important answers that may shed new light on the genetics at play. Will we see something NEW come out of this? Well..I certainly hope so and it looks like I’ll get to name it!
Let’s give that a closer look:
Late on Saturday evening, one of my FISHING friends (not to be confused with FISH friends) posted on Facebook that the official story had run online; this Saturday, September 7th, 2014, the Duluth News Tribune is running a story by Alysee Shelton about the Lightning Maroon Clownfish and its mate, which are now on display at the Great Lakes Aquarium here in Duluth, MN. You can ready the story online here for the next coupld days - http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/content/nemo-great-lakes-aquarium-duluth-fish-breeder-shares-lightning-maroon-clownfish-public - Now, I should point out that the article isn’t 100% accurate. As you all know, I like to indulge in a bit of mythbusting (aka. Fact Correcting) here at the Lightning Project…the Duluth News Tribune will “suffer my wrath” (meant very tongue in cheek, affectionately), receiving a healthy dose of disambiguation just like everyone else.
For starters, the fish were actually delivered to the GLA on August 2nd, 2013, which means they were behind the scenes for just over a year before being put on display, not the “6 months” the article mentions. The year behind the scenes is perfectly understandable given that aquarists were VERY busy with the new “Shipwrecks Alive” exhibit that was being put in place in the rotating exhibit hall to replace the “Masters of Disguise” exhibit, which was the replacement for the “Seahorses” exhibits I never got to see…but there’s another reason which I’ll cover in a second.
I would remind readers that while this article suggests that “[SEASMART] decided to send that fish to Matt Pedersen, an international marine aquarium fish breeder in Duluth.”, that it was actually a) Blue Zoo Aquatics who had the final say in whether I would receive the fish (although my understanding is that all parties felt it was a good move) and b) they didn’t just “send” me the fish…yes, the rumors still persist that I was just “given” the Lightning Maroon!
Jay Walker is a great guy and Operations Manager at the aquarium; I LOVE that QUARANTINE, a practice that too many aquarists skimp on, was mentioned at great lengths in this media coverage and attributed to Walker. To pull a shortened version of Walker’s comments, “quarantine lasts for a minimum of 30 days, and within this time we do prophylactic treatments for diseases, developing husbandry practices and observations. This process can last for more than 30 days depending on the situation.” I wish to just elaborate here, that in the case of the Lighting Maroon Clownfish and its normally patterned mate, a BIG part of the actually year-long “quarantine” was the process of size-differentiation leading into successful pairing (“Mating” as the Duluth News Tribune called it in reference to when I first paired the wild fish here in my dining room…and no, not pairing with wine…). Yes, the GLA didn’t try to accomplish pairing these sibling fish in just a month or two…
Shelton’s article also glosses over the actuality of numbers a bit, but that’s more due to the brevity of the piece and a word we’re all forced to deal with. For example, “produced their offspring, classified as lightning maroon clownfish, on June 29, 2012.” As most Lightning Project followers already now, only about 50% of the offspring wind up displaying the mutated phenotype (appearance) and therefore, only about half of them are actually “Lightning” Maroon Clownfish. I should mention this because one of my worst fears is that someone picks up this story and starts talking about the fish as if they are a NEW SPECIES (which they are certainly NOT). I will also point out a subtle fact that cannot be discerned from the article as written – the GLA only has one Lightning Maroon Clownfish; it is paired with a White Stripe (Normal) sibling. When you get caught up using a word like fish (same when singular or plural) I realized, as I read this piece, that you never can really tell whether you are talking about one, two, or for that matter dozens/hundreds/thousands.
The article went on to state that “Great Lake Aquarium officials believe they are the first aquarium in the world to have these fish.” – I’ll emphatically say that “believe” suggests perhaps more room for doubt than is actually there. When it comes to “firsts” – and for a small public aquarium like the Great Lakes Aquarium, firsts DO matter – I am reasonably confident that they were the first public aquarium to have possession of a Lightning Maroon Clownfish (I could go back and check my records just to be 100% sure). Regardless of that, to the best of my knowledge, I am very confident that they can rightfully claim to have been the first and (to date) only public aquarium in the world to have this unique form on public display. I can say this with reasonable certainty given that I know where all the Lightning Maroons in my fishroom have gone…so unless someone “changed their minds”, I would presume that the Lightning Maroons that were sold in 2013 and 2014 are still in the same breeding programs they were when originally purchased…and not on public display. Will other aquariums in the future display a Lightning Maroon Clownfish? Perhaps…but I am proud that the GLA stands apart in the world, at least for now.
I am truly delighted that the fish are on display, in the capable hands of the aquarists at the GLA. And yes, anyone who feels the current retail pricing is just too much to spend on a fish, you can now see one for the price of admission at a unique public aquarium on the shores of St. Louis Bay on Lake Superior. My special thanks for Alysee Shelton for taking the time to craft her article for the Duluth News Tribune – in a few hours I hope to see it in print!
I had to sit on this news since last month as this was an exclusive for CORAL Magazine; now that the magazine is out I can shout it out – Sea & Reef Aquaculture has succeeded in producing a second generation of Lightning Maroon Clownfish by using LM12 (an F1 from my pair here) with an unrelated wild (FO) PNG White Stripe Maroon. Highlights include the same 50/50 offspring split, as well as the interesting fact that Sea & Reef used the Lightning as a male vs. female.
As it’s a CORAL Magazine exclusive, I invite all Lightning Maroon Clownfish fans to head over to Reef2Rainforest.com and read the EXPANDED online version there. I should note, I actually didn’t want to write the story (I prefer to have people tell their own stories) but in the end, the job fell to me. I hope you enjoy!
Over the weekend, Blue Zoo started up 4 more eBay auctions for a few of the remaining fish I have to offer this summer. These include the last 3 available fish from the June 29th, 2012 hatch; WS11, WS4, and LM11. LM19 is from spawn #14, the 10-24-2013 hatch, and is one of the best offspring I’ve raised to date (in my opinion). It is also a small fish at 1.5″, and would make an solid male in a pairing with a larger fish (of course, this is not without risks in trying to establish a pair).
*UPDATE* – Also, I should note, that Blue Zoo denoted LM19 as “best for last” in the auctions – we had been planning to keep LM19 for the last, but perhaps the wrong auction got made live or Blue Zoo changed the order but forgot to change the description. So, as far as I know, it’s the “2nd to last”…
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