The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

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Quick Spawn Notes

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So…going back here, it appears that the wild Lightning X WS pair is finally fertile and putting down eggs that might last.  None made it to hatch on Spawn #52, but they were absolutely fertile.

The 10th spawn of the F1 Lightning Pair took 3 nights to hatch out last week.  As of 4-22-2015, the pair put down their #11th spawn.

More Spawns…

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I’ve not been worrying about spawns lately, partially because things don’t seem to be going just right, partially because a rotifer reboot failed to take, and partially because misc commitments away from the fishroom will preclude any intensive rearing efforts either way, but also because other projects are getting in the way too. That, and frankly, my overall concerns over what is being done with the wanton, willful hybridization of Gold Stripe Maroons into the PNG Lightning line is actually far more disturbing to me, and therefore far more deserving of my time, than worrying about rearing a batch of clownfishes that I don’t even have the time to sell! Ah, but an update on the corruption of the PNG White Stripe Maroon Clownfish line, as well as genetic sanctity of Gold Stripe Maroons in the aquarium trade, is deserving of a much larger, more prominent discussion.

And to that end, I neglected to even note the latest spawn of the F1 Lightning X Lightning pair.  They are clearly going to hatch tonight, the night of 4/13/2015, meaning that LxL Spawn #10 was put down last Tuesday, the 7th.  A  Nebula Perc spawn was noticed on Friday, the 10th. I was so busy writing a last minute article for the impressive forthcoming CORAL Magazine on Sunday night this week, and throw on our daughter being sick, and I failed to even make it into the fishroom.  So now, in the wee morning hours of what is now technically Tuesday, the 14th, I discovered that the wild Lightning pair has put down Spawn #52. Based on the color of the eggs, they were spawned on Sunday, April 12th, 2015.  The eggs that remain appear to be fertile, so if this pair actually lets the eggs sit, maybe the wild pair is slowly getting back on track?

Just recording another Lightning Maroon spawn; on Monday, March 30th, the pair put down Spawn #51.  The nest didn’t look that great..the eggs were a lighter shade of orange, and the nest did not appear “tight”.  I’m going to guess that this nest, like recent priors, is going to be a dud.

This is the 8th spawn from the F1 Lightning X Lightning pair, and unlike all prior small nests, this is a nice tight half dollar sized group; at least a few hundred eggs.  And it’s the 2nd nest on a tile.  FINALLY, we might be getting somewhere.  The nest was spawned on the late evening of Wednesday, March 18th, 2015.

In other news, Spawn #50 for the wild lightning pair hasn’t gone so well…most of the eggs are gone, presumed eaten.  It was a much bigger nest..but looks like it’s still not working out right.  I also received word on 3/18 that the Great Lakes Aquarium’s pair was sitting on a 6 day old nest.  Additionally, Mike Doty’s pair spawned again!  I wonder who else has fish spawning for them now?

This is a spawn of note; on the evening of March 17th, 2015, the wild pair of PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish and her PNG White Stripe mate put down their 50th spawn in captivity.  It looks like a good one, so I think they might be back on track!

I’m also just noting that my Nebula Percs threw down  nest the evening before, March 16th ;)

Until April, I’m not starting any new rearing projects, so I’ve just been watching eggs for time.  The Lightning X Lightning pairs eggs were viable and went full term.  Hatch timing is interesting however. By Saturday, March 14th, the Nebulas (which are A. percula) had hatched out (spawned on the 5th); meanwhile the Lightning’s eggs were still present and eyed up even though they had spawned a day later.  This seems odds, as the hatch timings seem flipped from the norm. The eggs from Lighting X Lightning Spawn #7  were gone only on Sunday morning, March 15th. Being spawned in the 6th, this seems long; 9 days?  The parents are typically 6.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens on their next spawn.

Last week was a flurry of clownfish sex.  March 4th, at 7 AM, I got a text image of the Lightning Maroon clownfish pair on display at the Great Lakes Aquarium; a small next was on the tank wall (I’m guessing laid on March 3rd?). This wasn’t the first spawn out of the pair; another had been seen, and evidence of prior spawns was also observable when the first spawn was discovered.

Mike Doty’s pair ALSO spawned; he shot me a text just a few hours later (10:30 AM) on March 4th as well.  I’m guessing they too spawned on the 3rd.  On the evening of March 5th, I found that the Nebula percula pair in my basement had spawned, and Friday, March 6th, the recently reunited Lightning X Lightning pair had thrown down their first nest as well; it’s a tiny nest, but it is viable.

It’s interesting how much of this breeding activity centered around the full moon.

Thursday evening (2-19-2015) I discovered a random small spawn from the other PNG White Stripe Maroons in the house. This pair has never been on a scheduled…they spawn infrequently, when the feel like it. As near as I can tell according to my notes here, this is only their 4th spawn.  By the evening of the 21st, the eggs were already gone, so nothing to even bother to try to hatch.  The next evening (2-20-2015), the pair of Nebula Percula I have on hand also spawned (really just noting it here as I’ve had no time to deal with their spawns!)

First, a bit of mythbusting – someone, somewhere, started some rumor that I had lost one or both of my lightning maroon clownfish pairs.  I heard about this from multiple people in early February, but never could pin down the source. Simply put, nothing could be further from the truth.  That said, there hasn’t been any production as of late…here’s why:

So nothing has been going on with the original Wild Lightning X White Stripe pair…they’re just sitting in their tank, not breeding.  I’m trying to figure out why, and here’s what I can come up with. First, when I put all the fish in the fishroom on a prophylactic course of Spectrum’s Ick-Sheild pellet, a Chloroquin-laced food, it shut down ALL my breeding pairs.  That said, most of my breeder pairs have returned to breeding…except the Lightning pair.  They had a few bad clutches and then just stopped.

Next, I had run out of their normal staple diet, Spectrum Thera-A.  So the fish were switched over primarily to feeds like Ocean Nutrition’s Formula One and Formula Two pellet as the daily staple.  Could a dietary switch account for failing spawns?  Perhaps.

Additionally, I noted tank temperatures were slightly down.  Instead of running around 80-82F, they look more like the 78F range lately.  I’m not exactly sure why this is, as I haven’t changed my room temperature nor have I adjusted their heater in any way.  Unless…unless their heater has failed and the tank is now just going down closer to the fishroom ambient temp.  I’ll have to investigate this.

Finally though, I noticed that my lights are coming on very late in the day; so I think my photoperiod is messed up and might be shorter on the tank. In fact, that seems like a logical explanation; we’re in winter, so ambient light cycles are reduced, and the length of day may be reduced as well.  In short, I may have to restore a longer photoperiod, restore warmer temps, ramp up foods and feedings, and hopefully see the pair return to active spawning.  But perhaps it’s good to give the fish a “winter break”…constant spawning certainly must take a toll on our marine fishes.

On the other front, the Lightning X Lightning pair hasn’t been spawning either, but I know why.  As readers may recall, I separated them on January 5th as the pair bond had deteriorated.  I chose to separate the female, isolating her in a breeder box from Florida Aqua Farms.  She remained in isolation for a solid 6+ weeks while the male recovered from his injuries.  Yesterday, 2-18-2015, I added her back into the main tank and watched.  At first, the male attacked her…she took it for about 1 minute, then grabbed the male by the pectoral fin, flipped him upside down, and simply held on while he struggled.  I thought for sure this was the end, but a little while later the pair was found cohabitating peacefully. 24 hours later, the pair remains in good shape, not a nick or scrape or torn fin on either fish.  This is not the first time that a “female time out” has proven to be a helpful factor in curbing excessive female aggression in my maroon clownfish pairing and breeding. I’d encourage people to keep this trick in mind with their own fishes.

Spawn #47 didn’t go anywhere and was gone after a few days. Spawn #48 was laid on 1/3/2014 by the wild Lightning X White Stripe Maroon Clownfish pair. It was a weak spawn, scattered, not a quality nest.  It certainly seems that putting the fish onto Ick Shield set them off their game.

Meanwhile, the Lightning X Lightning pair is just continuing to be in a funk. They’re not getting along, constantly bickering. This from a proven pair.  Today I found the male pretty beat up, and the female’s spiney dorsal fin is swollen and appears infected.  My plan is to at minimum segregate the pair, and possibly to move them into different quarters as well.

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