The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged Amy Kizer

I am still owing the world a full post, but in the interest if simply keeping you all relatively updated, here’s some short tidbits.

Based on an egg photo count, there was 310 eggs on the tile and all hatched.  There have been some larval losses, but that is to be expected.  Mike Doty did an excellent job watching the babies in my absence – plenty of live larvae when I returned from Boston this past Sunday, July 1st.

Since returning, larval maintenance has been a study routine of upping the water volume with drips of pre-mixed saltwater (for those who will ask, I am currently using AquaCraft’s Marine Environment – they donated a palette of it for Banggai-Rescue).  The SG is probably running around 1.021.  I am using Reed Maricultures RotiGrow Plus to culture my rotifers, and using their RotiGreen Nanno for greenwater (I may have preferred the Omega variant, but Nanno is what I had on hand).  I’ve been dosing RotiGreen and CloramX (a solution mixed from the powder) at roughly a 2:1 ratio, and averaging 30 drops twice a day now on the BRT. I have been harvesting up to 4 gallons of rotifer cultures daily (2 in the AM, 2 in the PM) to keep rotifer levels up.  As of tonight, we are at basically 6 full days post hatch, so I introduced the larvae to their first taste of APBreed TDO (Top Dressed Otohime), Size A (smaller than the A1 I’m more normally accustomed to using).  All is going well with these larvae, and I look forward to settlement soon.

The Lightning Maroon herself continues to be a problem…the Foureye has been removed for a while now, the Maracyn + Maracyn II treatment was long since done yet low level bacterial problems persist, most recently some very light markings on the male’s face, and then I found what looked like an enlarged light area on the leading spines of the left pelvic fin.  These fish just can’t get a break.  I am continuing to work with Dr. Kizer on some alternate ideas, as we’re really ruling out all the normal causes at this point.  Me, I’m stumped.  Without diagonistics, I think it’s fair to say that Dr. Kizer can’t really offer any other insights either.  We may try yet another antibiotic course, another one dosed through the food, that seems to be where we’re heading.  But I’m also thinking I don’t want to overreact either, so most likely we will try to have the prescription-based feed on hand, ready, should another large-scale problem crop up.

So the day after I said “we’re all good”, I should’ve known better.

The very next day, the left eye on the Lightning Maroon started to pop out yet again.  It’s an odd thing in that it’s the tissue that surrounds the eye in the socket that is getting pushed out, creating a ring around the eye.  Once again, back with Dr. Amy Kizer to brainstorm & trouble shoot.  Barb and Heidi were here this afternoon to do a skin scrape on the Lightning (or more likely,the mate, since both have shown problems in the past few months and the mate is replaceable, the Lightning isn’t).  The scrape is simply to go one step closer to ruling out any other possible causes.  The eye didn’t get as bad as it did the second time (not like the first when I thought it was mechanical damage, nor the third where it came and went before we could really intervene) but still, this is getting annoying.  Since we’ve used multiple types of medications already, one option is to remove the Lightning Maroon to another tank, and possibly to treat it with Nitrofurazone, which Barb has had good luck with in the treatment of “pop-eye” in the past.

In our ongoing process of elimination, I think we’re leaning towards removing the Foureye Butterflyfish from the tank.  We’re running out of other possible things to do.  The upside is that I do have a completely sterilized aquarium that can recieve the butterflyfish to keep it “clean” while we see what happens with the pair – if I have to reintroduce the Butterfly later, it won’t introduce anything new from it’s vacation.  Also thinking of trying out an Aiptasia wand, and part of me has even been thinking about a tank revamp and shifting towards a nice green BTA as the main focus.  But honestly, the SPS and Goniopora are doing SO DARN WELL (minus the ones that bleached following the back-to-back antibiotic rounds), it’s tough to tear the thing down when it’s really just finally starting to come together.

I did learn to do a skin scrape, but there is news following the visit.  I’ve given Jake Adams the scoop on this one, so watch Reef Builders for an update, probably today.


So things get better, then worse, then better, then worse.  Things were going well until late last week, when around June 1, the small male maroon showed up with a cloudy, distended eye.  POP EYE again!  And the appetite was nil.  What?!  I’ve been continuing to treat with the Dr. G’s antibiotic-laced frozen food…why is this even happening?

Well, by Sunday the condition had vanished; Dr. Kizer reconsidered the possibility of doing a skin-scrape on that Saturday, but I hadn’t even gotten back to her when things had cleared up.  Monday, everyone is great…eating like pigs, looking good.

So imagine my total disgust when today, I find the Lightning Maroon now with a cloudy left eye that has “gunk” growing off it.  The Lightning continues to feed, but clearly there’s no relationship with this malady and the antibiotic-laced food (either the food is not working, or the medication it is delivering isn’t relevant to the problem at hand).  Email shot off to Dr. Kizer, and I am officially angry at circumstances beyond my control.  I am strongly considering the removal of both fish to a different aquarium at this point in time, and have again agreed to possible skin-scrapes in an effort to determine what exactly these fish are fighting against.

The worst part is that the resident Foureye Butterflyfish, a much more delicate and generally disease-susceptible fish, has shown absolutely no problems of any kind during these episodes.  I should also mention that I have not seen any pre-spawning behavior now in a few days.  Perhaps the worst part is that I am past the point of reacting, and more in the mindset that it almost seems pointless to attempt to intervene.  Clearly this problem is NOT under my control, and quite possibly I may not have any viable option on how to intervene at this point in time.  Maybe a skin-scrape can change that, but it’s impossible to say at this point.  Given that fish vets aren’t exactly common anywhere, whether this can even be accomplished or not remains to be seen.

Road to Recovery

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First and foremost, I’ve been late in updates due to my laptop crashing out last week.  Hopefully my new laptop is her come Wednesday this week, less than 2 days from now.

Since my last post, there were a few more days of poor appetite, and the pop-eye condition continued through until roughly Friday (5-25-2012) when it was no longer outwardly apparent.  Appetite has roared back since Saturday, and some of this I directly attribute to trying a new food soak. I received a care-package from Brightwell Aquatics (I had initially been inquiring about their AngeLixir food supplement given my maintenance of 2 pairs of spongivorous Holacanthus Angelfish).  Specifically, I started using the Max Amino supplement on the Spectrum Thera A pellet food I normally fed this pair, and they are eating the pellets with a fervor that I’ve not seen before.

Under the instruction of the vet I consulted, who I can now reveal as Amy Kizer, DVM, I am continuing to feed the Dr. G’s Antibacterial Food on a once per day basis (note, this is double the dose that Dr. G’s recommends on their packaging).  This dosage is largely a judgement call largely based on how the fish feeds…it doesn’t take a LOT of the Dr. G’s food at any sitting and may wait for minutes before even eating any.  But the main goal here is to keep a long term antibiotic exposure on this fish as instructed by Dr. Kizer; I should point out that Dr. G’s Antibacterial food similarly recommends a long term treatment of 2 weeks.  Overall, given that Dr. Kizer is the closest “fish vet” and yet is 3+ hours away, all of our consultation was done over email, and it’s fair to say that she’s having to trust my expertise and observations as much as I must trust in her training and expertise as well.

Ultimately, hiring a fish vet in this instance gave me peace of mind that I wasn’t doing something *wrong*, particularly in terms of treatement and medication application. The upside was that ultimately reassured me of my own plans, and yet, also reminded me that when it comes to being a fish-vet, the uncertainties are great and as much as we’d like to think that a doctor of any kind could provide a solid answer, it turns out that’s simply not the case, at least not in an acute, problem-solving atmosphere.  I’ve been saying all along that this fish could die at any point for any reason, but it never helps when, through discussions with a vet, you’re basically reminded that yet again.

I may write more about my experiences with Dr. Kizer in the future, if only to further share what benefits you could derive from consulting with a vet.  Fundamentally, you may be surprised to realize that on one level, the advice they may give you mirrors all that good advice that seasoned aquarists would give you.  Prevent, Quarantine, you know..avoid it in the first place.  The biggest thing I took away was having a sounding board to point me in new directions I had not thought of, for example Mycobacteriosis.  Not  a “good” thing to think about, but knowing that I should be AWARE of this OTHER possibility makes me that much more prepared to deal with future issues.

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