So last night I was simply too tired by the time egg pulling came around; I took a calculated risk and left the eggs with the parents overnight. I left a few extra lights on in the fishroom.
Come morning, most of the eggs were still there. Great I thought…I’ll pull them tonight and I’ll get a BIG hatch instead of this paltry premature hatch I seem to get with the rest of the eggs dying.
10:30 PM, I head down to the fishroom…eggs are gone. Spawn #11 is done.
Carl W. Phillips Jr. mentioned something on the Lightning Maroon Clownfish Facebook Page early today. “I’m not an expert but maybe the eggs weren’t viable???” And the question I find myself asking this evening – did the eggs hatch during the middle of the day, or were the dead and the parents ate them?
This jogged my memory on something I had been thinking when I saw the mass mortality of eggs on the 2nd day holding the eggs for hatching with spawn #10. Maybe the reason I’m not getting many eggs to hatch is that there is something wrong with the eggs in the first place.
Going back to Joyce Wilkerson’s bible, Clownfishes, I recall that egg hatching failure was attributed to diet. Specifically, too much chiton in the diet, presumably from crustacean food sources. I don’t think I have excessive chiton by any stretch; it could be something entirely different.
My options – larval snagger (to catch larvae hatching by the parents…assuming the eggs are viable) – disinfection (in case this mortality is being caused by some external problem) – diet alterations (I have some ideas on how to change).
Hopefully the now routine spawns with this pair continue so I can FINALLY get down to the bottom of things.