The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts in Updates On 3rd Party Fish

So last week I was busy busy busy; wrapping up the Banggai Recue Book and off to the MBI workshop.  Sometime last week, in the chaos, the Lightning Maroon pair spawned, a nice big nest in their new tile home.

Of course, chaos this week continued, another book to edit, another freelance gig, and when I went to pull the nest on the anticipated hatch night, it was GONE. @!#%!#!#%!

In other news, during the chaos last week gave us a first look at the two Lightning Maroons, BZLM1 and BZLM2, on a pay date.  It will be very interesting to see how pairing goes for these two…we’re several months away from stability in my opinion.  Case in point, watch the smaller fish (destined to be male).  Those are submissive shakes – those are TAILBEATS…an aggressive behavior designed to attempt to knock your opponent off balance.  Here’s the video, and for more, check out the Lightning Maroon Playdate on

So the suspicions are true, these two Lightning Maroons are destined to become a pair!

The story was published moments ago on - details are being kept quiet, but according to, the purchaser’s plans are to “keep the fish in their 120 gallon tank as the centerpiece of their show tank.  The buyer was not specifically interested in breeding them, but if they do decide to mate the eggs will be transferred to the Long Island Aquarium and raised by Todd Gardner and Joe Yaiullo.  We’ll have photos of the fish in their new home soon!”  Read the whole story at

As I posted on Facebook, to read that makes me very happy and proud. These fish found the perfect home in someone who “gets it”. “This is a total win for the fish – while concerns that “rare fish collectors” would snag them up and not see the light of day again, it sounds like the anonymous winning bidder totally gets it. I could not be more thrilled; the responsible decision to ensure their genetics are not sequestered is commendable. BRAVO!”

I’m looking forward to following this pair for years to come; the winning bidder certainly will have his/her work cut out in the pairing department as will ALL the winners with these fish.  Simply putting two siblings together will, in my experience, result with only one sibling.  Much as I did with the wild fish, it seems that forced size differentiation with ongoing screened social interaction is going to be what it takes to push two similarly sized fish into being a compatible pair.

I’ll let the recipients decide when and how they’d like to share their new arrivals who are in transit as I type this.  Some more genetic material has left the building.  Here’s the pair of fish that went to destination #1 tonight.

Lightning Maroon Clownfish EC1, right flank

Lightning Maroon Clownfish EC1, right flank

Lightning Maroon Clownfish EC1, left flank
Lightning Maroon Clownfish EC1, left flank

White Stripe Maroon Clownfish EC2, right flank
White Stripe Maroon Clownfish EC2, right flank

White Stripe Maroon Clownfish EC2, left flank
White Stripe Maroon Clownfish EC2, left flank


Finally, some risk is diversified again.  The second of 3 locally-planned backup pairs is out of the house, this time going to Frank (who you may remember contributed the massive “Labrador” Maroon Clown to this project way back in the day).  Frank is an aquarist who’s in it for the long haul, so you know this pair of clowns is in GOOD hands.

The pair I sent home with Frank has lived together for months now…obviously far too young to be an actual pair, but the point is that they shared an 8 X 8 X 8 inch cubicle without killing each other.  The Lightning in the pair really is a nice fish, but the standard striped sibling is a pretty horrendous example and were it NOT for the fact that it’s progeny of the Lightning Maroon, would have long since been culled.  Still, it shows some of the classic “Horned Maroon Clownfish” patterning seen in the occasional aberrant wild Maroon Clowns from PNG .  Of course, it’s hard to know how many of the physical disappointments I’m seeing are the result of either fighting or general rearing mishaps, but I suspect THAT over genetic issues at this point in time.  I took the last few minutes before bagging them up to snap a handful of good shots.

You may recall that the first pair of Lightning offspring “left the nest” a while back to help serve as a genetic repository and safeguard should something happen here at my house.  Well, this morning, Mike (who you may recall played an integral part in rearing these babies for the first few days of their lives) shot me this photo of his Lightning.

Updated – he just sent over a cell phone shot of the other side.

Lookin’ good Mike!

You knew it would happen, I said it would happen.  You can’t keep this much electricity locked up without having to get some discharged.

And so it comes to pass that last Thursday, October 11th, the first two offspring of the Lightning Maroon left my basement and traveled 4 blocks away to Mike’s house.  One Lightning Baby, and one “Horned” baby. Now, these are both cull quality fish top to bottom, but who knows how they might grow in.  I say that, because some of the “culled” fish that I pulled that had missing ventral fins for example, have now grown them in!!!  Amazing how abusive these fish are to each other, but also amazing how resilient they are.  And in picking Mike’s fish, I got a much better look at most of the babies, and I have to say that my earlier assessment on their quality may have been overly harsh.  I need to do a photo shoot and ultimately, get them separated out, which I have still yet to do (they’re not killing each other, so I’m not getting much motivation from them!)

Bottom line, we can all breathe just a little easier knowing that we now have a slight diversification of risk on the Lightning Genetics.  Not 100% of the eggs in one basket now.  This is the first of three planned sets to be passed on to locals as thanks and “backups”.  I look forward to more diversification of risk in the weeks ahead!

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