I cannot catch a break. Seriously 2013, for all its hard work, has yielded only FOUR (4!!!!) offspring from the Lightning Maroon pair that will grow to be marketable size in 2014!

Spawn #18 was put down on November 28th. This put hatch night as early as Wed, December 4rd, but more likely the 5th, with some possible stragglers on the 6th. The first problem? I was slated to leave town the morning of the 5th and would not return until the morning of the 9th! Thankfully, trusty fellow fish breeder and awesome neighbor Mike Doty was once again on hand to work with the Lightning babies. I was feeling rather confident about that, given that Mike was the guy who reared the big 2012 crop for the first 5 days or so!

I continued to eye the eggs all night on Wed as it transitioned over into Thursday, and at roughly 5 AM Thursday morning none had hatched. I dosed maybe 20-30 ML of Hydrogen Peroxide into the 10 gallon blacked-out larval tank I had used with a prior run, letting it sit for several hours before scrubbing, draining, rinsing, and getting ready for a new clutch. Come 5 AM, I filled the tank with water from the broodstock tank and sanitized the eggs with 4 ML hydrogen peroxide in a half gallon specimen cup for about 15 minutes, before finally setting up the tile with an airstone and calling it a night. I left only 4 hours later.

I heard from Mike that he found some babies, maybe 1/3 of the nest, had indeed hatched out and the rest looked good and would probably hatch Thursday night / Friday morning.

Later, while on a layover in Chicago, came alarming news – Duluth was suffering from a large scale power outage. My normal plan had always been to go rent a generator, but as I was not there to deal with it, after several phone calls and text messages I figured out a battle plan – Frank Wotruba (who has played an integral part in this project and also has a pair of Lightning Maroon offspring) would bring over his generator and set it up to run the central air pump and furnace; he would also take the original wild Lightning Maroon and mate to his house (his power came on fairly quickly).

Thankfully our power came on relatively quickly too…was maybe only out for a couple hours. Relieved, I went on my trip and didn’t give it much thought.

Of course, come Saturday, more bad news. Somewhere along the way, my rotifers had crashed, so Mike was left without any quantity of food to offer. This, combined with the power outage, sealed the fate of Spawn #18; no babies were found by Saturday.

But the bad news continued, as Mike hadn’t noticed that the GCFIs that line the perimeter of the room were all tripped. This is something I was personally aware of; any time the power so much as flickers these things trip. Well…I didn’t think to mention it to Mike during the power outage, so basically while the perimeter tanks had AIR running in them (and those with sponge filters had some active filtration), any tank relying on powered filtration was without. Mike had noticed it come Friday and reset them, but this brought out the next flaw in my system.

Ordinarily, I have a pretty balanced load on my electrical systems, but I’ve come to find that if the tanks get chilled, when bringing the power back on ALL the heaters go on and STAY on. This demand winds up being too much for the circuit, and ultimately it trips the circuit breaker in a few, or several, minutes. Despite removing 500 watts of heaters outright, and downsizing 3 more from 250 to 100 (another 450 watt savings), apparently the reduction of 900 watts was still not enough to prevent this failure. So come Saturday, once again Mike discovered all the tanks not running, and every time he tried to reset the circuit it would trip. More or less, the perimeter tanks, which includes the BROODSTOCK LIGHTNING MAROON’s TANK, had gone without power for over 48 hours. ¬†For all the “safety” that these GCFIs are supposed to bring, in the end, I think I will be removing them from my fishroom (or at least trying to find ones that don’t TRIP simply because the power flickers); so far they have only served to cause PROBLEMS rather than to actually do anything beneficial…well…maybe they helped the one time I dropped a light into a tank.

The solution was to actually forego the heaters by shutting down their power strips. Since I revamped the HVAC system of the house this summer to “heat the basement” as an independent zone, I simply instructed Mike to raise the heat from 78F to somethign closer to 82F and leave it be. Upon returning home, I found most things in good shape, although a heavily stocked guppy tank is experiencing loses, and one of my cubes appears to have lost my spawning Centropyge argi pair (I think 7 years old now?) and the other tank inhabitants (although two white stripe lightning maroon offspring that were in breeder nets appear OK?). I’ve skipped feedings on the perimeter tanks, as well as dosed them with Dr. Tim’s ‘One and Only’ which I’ve found to be an exemplary biological filtration kickstarter. I’ll have to water water chemistry now to make sure that I don’t run into problems; hopefully we’re past the worst of it.