The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged Acclimation

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, I just wrapped up the drip acclimation…bucket water was at 1.024/25, close enough.  Hand moved the fish into the breeder net and watched it for a minute or two.  The fish is PRISTINE, not a mark on it.  It brushed up against the smaller BTAs (Bubble Tip Anemones) and showed no signs of getting stung (i.e. no sticky tentacles observed).  No heavy breating, in every aspect acting like a healthy clownfish.  I want to say that the entire acclimation process took around 2.5 to 3 hours to go from 1.012 to 1.025 on a drip.  Water in the bucket was significantly cooler by a couple degrees, even after placing the drip bucket on a styrofoam box lid to insulate it from the ground.  I have kept the room lights on to allow the fish a little while to adjust to its new surroundings.

So as promised in my prior post, here’s some pictures relevant to this evening’s events.

Net Breeder containing 3 Bubble Tip Anemones

The future net breeder home of the Lightning Maroon

Now, I know some folks see that picture and are taken aback.  Really?  Isn’t such a small confined space cruel?  Well, ask my other clowns…

Fire Clown in a RBTA in a Breeder Net

Can you see the Sumatran Fire Clown?

Sumatran Fire Clownfish, Amphiprion ephippium, in a Red Bubble Tip Anemone

Yup, that's the "spare", smallest of 3 Sumatran Fire Clownfish (Amphiprion ephippium) living in a breeder net. The larger 2 have free roam of the same tank.

Vanuatu Pink Skunk Clownfish (Amphiprion peridariaon) living in a breeder net with a RBTA

Amphiprion peridariaon "Vanuatu", yes, Pink Skunks, living in a breeder net...sort of...

So yeah, those Pink Skunks.  Birthday present from my inlaws from the Diver’s Den on  I had sold the Ocellaris pair that lived in this reef prior, so I knew I had a spot for clowns and they wanted to get me some “nice” clownfish.  Long story short, the reef also houses a pair of Starkii Damselfish (Chysiptera starkii) and I wasn’t sure how these new additions would be treated.  I also wanted to give them an anemone, but was concerned about the Dragonette Pairs in this tank becoming “lunch” for the anemone.  So I threw them in the breeder net with a Red Bubble Tip Anemone Clone.  Eventually, one got out more than once and honestly the seemed OK.  So I pushed the net down so that the edge sits maybe 0.5 to 0.75 inches below the surface.  Well, turns out the clowns (as well as the Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides dimidatus) and Harlequin Filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris)) have figured out that they can come and go from the basket as they please.  By night, the anemone and the clowns reside in the basket, and during they day they basically “overflow” into the tank at large.  It honestly works so well for them that I hate to make changes to it.

And thus, because it’s worked well before, I hope / assume it can work well again, even if only an interim measure (I have NO desire to keep the Lightning Maroon alone in a breeder basket for any longer than I have to!).  So, I’ll end this evening with 2 shots of the Lightning Maroon in acclimation and an interesting observation.  When this fish stresses out, the white lightning stripes become tinged gray.  You can kinda see it even in these pictures.

Lightning Maroon Clownfish, Premnas biaculeatus, in drip acclimation.

The Lightning Maroon Clown, Premnas biaculeatus "PNG Lightning", being drip acclimated from hyposalinity to full strength saltwater.

PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish, Premnas biaculeatus "PNG Lightning"

A closeup of the Lightning Maroon Clownfish in the acclimation bucket.

Tomorrow I’ll figure out what the heck I’m doing with the female PNG Maroon.  Admittedly, I have an idea…

So still playing catchup on the Lightning Maroon Story…there’s already so much “behind the scenes” and “prequel” type content…I doubt I’ll ever get it all out there.  I did manage the first installment fairly quickly.  It’s time to hit the second installment of the “recap”, the acclimation of the Maroons to their new home.

We pick up where we left on on March 31st, with the box newly opened.  I had already taken salinity readings and matched the tank water to them (fish were shipped around 1.020).  Time to set up the drip acclimation.

SEASMART PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish in Drip Acclimation

Didn't even bother handling the Lightning Maroon, started acclimation in the bag.

No chances taken - Eggcrate covers the acclimation bucket!

No chances taken - Eggcrate covers the acclimation bucket!

SEASMART collected PNG Maroon Clownfish

Here's the "female" shipped from Blue Zoo.


Got many better pictures of the female.


That's one gorgeous large Maroon Clownfish! Bravo to everyone involved!

PNG Maroon Clownifsh

I know...I shot more pix of the female...

Drip acclimation of Premnas biaculeatus

Started the drip acclimation on the female.

Drip acclimating a wild caught PNG Maroon Clownfish

I followed the drip acclimation instructions provided in Blue Zoo's Acclimation Handbook, shipped with every order.

When drip acclimations were done, each fish was gently moved BY HAND into their designated sides of the QT tank.  I moved them by hand as wet hands (experienced in fish handling) are less abrasive, damaging, and risky, especially with fish that have spines that can be caught in netting.

Maroon Clownfish in tank

And finally, after hours of acclimation, they're in their tank. Separated by Eggcrate!

PNG Maroon Clownfish

Another look at that stunning female PNG Maroon. Slight misbar on the tail, but Maroon stripes fade, bottom up, with age.

Lightning Maroon Clownfish

The Lightning Maroon knows that there's a larger Maroon on the other side of that eggcrate.

Initial QT Setup...

This is their initial home, the larger PNG Maroon getting the majority of the space.

So, here’s how their tank is set up.  It’s a 20 Long full of live rock.  The only filtration is the live rock itself, with water circulation provided by the Penguin Power Filter hanging on the back.  This tank had been set up for months housing a much larger male Blue Jaw Triggerfish (Xanthichthys auromarginatus) which was given away to local reefer Jim Grassinger (of the Filter Guys) so I had a quality established home for these Maroon Clowns.  The clowns couldn’t have a more stable and established dedicated aquarium than this.  The added benefit was limited exposure…it’s not like they were on a system exposed to many other fish.

And that’s the story of how they got from the Boxes into the tank.  I followed Blue Zoo Aquatic’s acclimation protocols pretty much exactly.  Blue Zoo even provides tubing and a suction cup to make this as easy as possible.  All it takes is a knot in the tubing to control the rate at which water siphons from the tank into the bucket.

I do want to mention that I realized about 30 minutes into the acclimation process that the buckets were sitting on cold concrete basement floors.  In an effort to insulate the buckets, I placed them on the styrofoam lids from the shipping boxes.  I may always do this now…it certainly doesn’t hurt and probably helped keep the temps more stable.

As time permits, I’ll try to recap the first couple days to get everyone caught up to speed ;)

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

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