The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts in Packing Fish

Somewhere along the line I alluded to the fact that there was at least one US-based person involved in the Lightning Maroon auctions who had the foresight to obtain wild PNG Maroon Clownfish from Scott Fellman at Unique Corals with the express intent of  using them as mates for the offspring from this project.  I tried to do the same, but as I’ve shared before, the abrupt loss of exports from EcoAquariums PNG meant that once again, I was thwarted in my own attempts to beef up my base of wild genetics.

A wild (F0) Premnas biaculeatus "PNG White Stripe" Maroon Clownfish purchased through Unique Corals.

A wild (F0) Premnas biaculeatus “PNG White Stripe” Maroon Clownfish purchased through Unique Corals.

That person I alluded to is Brandon Mehlhoff.

Lightning Maroon fans, meet Brandon Mehlhoff.

Lightning Maroon fans, meet Brandon Mehlhoff.

I won’t share all the details, but we sat across the table from each other at the post MBI Workshop dinner this year and the topic of PNG Maroons came up, and the fact that he had one (the fish shown above).  I basically said “name your price”, at which point he revealed who he was and why the fish was not for sale, at any price.  The moment I learned of his intentions, my thought shifted completely from “I gotta get him to part with this fish” to “this guy really needs a Lightning Maroon, as his outcross pairing of a F1 from my breeding to a F0 from PNG, will help start a distinct line and expand the genetic base for the entire captive Lightning Maroon population”.

Lucky for Brandon, he got “the fish” he needed in round 2 of the auctions, the winning bidder of LM15.

Lightning Maroon #15 (LM15) - Brandon's fish.

Lightning Maroon #15 (LM15) – Brandon’s fish.

While most fish were destined to be shipped out, Brandon proved his dedication to the project by requesting that he personally pick up and transport his fish.  Brandon, a North Dakota native and rare clownfish enthusiast (he also maintains Mccullochis among others) made a 24 hour whirlwind trip to personally come to my fishroom.

Of course, it was a great excuse to get some much needed cleanup done (still an ongoing process as I’m setting up more growout for FW in my formerly open space in the middle of the room…I now have two aisle).  Brandon got to see his fish, and all the others firsthand.  Of course, he was able to pay his respects to “Mama Lightning”.

Brandon Mehlhoff did what any good aquarist would do...

Brandon Mehlhoff did what any good aquarist would do…

 

..asked if he could take photos....

..asked if he could take photos….

 

...and took lots of them!

…and took lots of them!

I certainly would’ve let Brandon stay all day if he liked, but he still had to drive home and put away some very precious cargo.  Time to bag ‘em up:

Very rare you get to see ME in the photos, here netting LM5 for the journey to Brandon's fishroom.

Very rare you get to see ME in the photos, here netting LM5 for the journey to Brandon’s fishroom.

Bagging up Lightning.

Bagging up Lightning.

After a long drive home and acclimation into the wee hours of the morning, Brandon was very happy to send me a few photographs of LM15 in the new fishroom.  This pairing is going to be an important one owing to the outcrossed genetics.  Depending on who’s interpretation of filials you care to go by, Brandon’s potential offspring are either F1 or F2 (from a more generalized viewpoint, they are F1 in the greater scientific community.  In the aquarium world, they *might* be called F2 by many since one parent is F1).

Either way, an important pair to follow in terms of genetic stability and known provenance for Lightning Maroon Clownfish.

Brandon Mehlhoff's Future F1 Lightning X F0 PNG Maroon pairing

Brandon Mehlhoff’s Future F1 Lightning X F0 PNG Maroon pairing

 

 

A big shipment of fish, including PNG Maroon Clownfish from the Papua New Guinea SEASMART program landed on my doorstep the morning of July 1st, 2010.  As you likely know, it’s been a bit of a dance to get fish ready for shipment as well as conditions being right to receive a shipment!  I’m glad Mark Martin stuck with it, and as usual, it was a great, well packed shipment from Blue Zoo Aquatics.

Blue Zoo Shipment - Open the Box..

Blue Zoo Shipment - ...take off the cover...

...take off the cover...

...take out the kit and pull back the paper...

...and open up the bag to reveal the fish!

I had a standing order with Mark for 4 ‘juvies’ and 1 large female.  While large females are hard to come by, Mark found something else to send me.  Ultimately, I received 5 fresh new PNG Maroons in this shipment.  All have gone into regular tanks, not really “QT” parsay….2 share a 10 that’s been empty forever, 2 share a 30+ gallon tank, and 1 is in a breeder net in a 20 long that houses an Allardi and a couple damsels.  I have yet another empty tank set up if i need it…but for now, it’s “quarantine” with a “wait and see” approach.  As usual, all the new arrivals were temperature acclimated and then drip acclimated.

Floating a Little Maroon Clownfish to equalize bag water temp with the tank temperature.

Drip Acclimation of 2 PNG Maroon Clownfish - the specimen cup has holes in it, and is used to keep the fish from killing each other while drip acclimating.

So I had limited time tonight, but I tried to snag some photos of the new arrivals.

A juvenile/male PNG Maroon in a breeder net.

Another small PNG Maroon Clownfish, this time in a drilled specimen cup.

So, the 4 small PNG Maroons were easily 1.5″, possibly 2″, and they all pretty much looked like the above.  But remember, I said Mark sent me 5 maroons.  What was that 5th “surprise” PNG Maroon?

I’m just going to let that “simmer” with you all for a little while.  I have my own thoughts that I’ll share soon enough…

So back on March 31st, in the midst of plenty of hard-core programming for work, I got a call from Fed Ex.  Mark Martin had arranged for a “hold at facility” on my shipment, which meant that Fed Ex called me when the boxes arrived.  It is better, and often quicker, than letting the fish bounce around on the truck, possibly exposed to the elements.  The only added hassel is that you have to go to Fed Ex to pick up the shipment.

The Fed Ex Facility

Pulling up to the Fed Ex Facility...

Customer Parking

Got a prime parking spot...

Walking into Fed Ex

Walked in the front door...

Picture of Blue Zoo Aquatics Shipping Boxes

...and left with 2 big boxes of fish from Blue Zoo Aquatics!

Got home, and opened up the boxes.  Here’s how it went down…

Open up the box...

Open up the box...

...Take off the lid...

...Take off the lid...

Blue Zoo Care Packages...

Set aside the Blue Zoo Care Packages for later use

...Peel back the newspaper....

...Peel back the newspaper....

...Open up the outer bag...

...Open up the outer bag...

...check out the size of this bag...

...check out the size of this bag...I wonder what is in here?...

...open up the smaller bag containing the large Female SEASMART collected PNG Maroon Clownfish...

...open up the smaller bag containing the large Female SEASMART collected PNG Maroon Clownfish...

...check the Salinity in the bag....

...check the Salinity in the bag....

...Add in some Stress Guard....

...Adding in Stress Guard per the Blue Zoo Instructions...

...time to open the BIG BAG....

...time to open the BIG BAG....

...and there it is. The SEASMART-collected Lightning Maroon Clownfish from Papua New Guinea (PNG)!

...and there it is. The SEASMART-collected Lightning Maroon Clownfish from Papua New Guinea (PNG)!

Another look at the Lightning Maroon Clownfish in the bag!

Another look at the Lightning Maroon Clownfish in the bag!

Up close on the Lightning Maroon Clownfish - check out this dorsal view!

Up close on the Lightning Maroon Clownfish - check out this dorsal view!

Check out the relative symetry of the markings on this PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish, Premnas biaculeatus!

Check out the relative symetry of the markings on this PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish, Premnas biaculeatus!

Stay tuned for the next installment of the recap…”Accliimation”!

All images are copyright 2010 Matt Pedersen.  No reuse without express written consent!

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