The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged egg

It’s the night of 5/31 going into 6/1/2014, and right before 2:00 AM (6/1) I pulled the tile for the sanitizing H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide) dip. While going through the 15 minute treatment at 4 ML per 0.5 gallons of broodstock water, I wiped out the BRT which was used for Spawn #32 and refilled it with 10 gallons of water from the broodstock tank.  When I went to check on the eggs, with 25 seconds left, I discovered that about 30 larvae had already hatched.

I moved the tile into the BRT with good air flow using a coarse air stone and turned out the lights.  I then spent a little time pipetting some of the larvae from the specimen cup, but I ultimately did not get them all and some had to go down the drain.  I had to wonder – would these larvae be viable long term, or would their exposure to H2O2 burn them up and render them useless.  So I wasn’t overly concerned, and I also didn’t want to add too much of that bath water into the BRT.

I’ll try to check on the hatch again in the next 30-45 minutes…I wonder if they’re going to go really fast, or if it’s in spurts (you may recall my concern over “morning” hatches…)

UPDATE – as of 4:20 AM, a last check of the night after just under 2 hours reveals no further large hatching occurred.  I wonder if they’ll hatch come daylight?  Hard to say…

So I was gone for only 24 hours….24 HOURS, and I come back to find that the fry from Spawn #8 are gone.  Not sick, not dying, not dead.  GONE.  As in VANISHED.  As in “NO BODIES”.  Honestly I have no clue what’s going on there…it was a small group, probably less than 10, with several lightnings showing.  Realistically, I’m pretty sure something happened, they died, and their tiny corpses rotted away before I even had a chance to notice.

And yet, here we go again – I returned home on 8-26-2013 to find a freshly-laid nest, spawn #10. Looks like September 2nd will be my “pull night” for the larvae, lest I have another failure like I did with Spawn #9. Interestingly, the pair has changed which tile they spawn on.  Wish us all luck!

 

Impossible to say how many just yet, but after turning out the lights at midnight, I gave them about an hour, and I’ll give it another hour yet before I turn on lights to check for any remaining eggs (split hatches are common).  But in that quick peek with a tiny flashlight at roughly 1:05 AM, I saw all I needed to see.

Ladies and Gentleman; we’re rearing Lightning Maroon Larvae.

 

6-28-2012 1:23 AM – HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH HATCH!!!!!!

(after discovering  a single hatched-out baby in the flashlight’s beam, the tile was pulled under cover of darkness and moved to dedicated Black Round Tub for artificial hatching)

Moment of truth.

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Pumps are off for the next 2.5 hours (used a feed timer on the Apex to ensure it’s automatically turned back on tonight – no way am I going to screw up and leave the pump off overnight!), lights out save one flashlight for attracting larvae.  I’m still leaning towards tomorrow, and my worst fear is that the hatch out at 4 AM or something long after I’ve given up.  Now we wait.

12:20 AM – got excited when I saw movement in the flashlight beam – darn swimming copepods….

12:30 AM – ran the MP10 on battery power for a minute, then back off.  Turned out my flashlight for a bit; it’s on the opposite side of the tank, completely blocked by rockwork, but going to take no changes.

12:45 AM – ran the MP10 again for a minute, flashlight back on…no hatch yet.  HMM.  Thinking tomorrow is more likely at the moment.  But…should I pull the tile tonight? Afterall, tiles like this are shipped successfully with ZERO “incubation” performed by the parents…so as long as I don’t screw up, there’s no reason I couldn’t incubate them for the last 24 hours.  My head is leaning in that direction at the moment.

1:23 AM – that aint’ a copepod….

 

There has been a lot going on – the Lightning Maroon actually came down with yet ANOTHER recurrent bacterial infection, we removed the Butterflyfish from the tank, I started treatments with Maracyn & Maracyn II back on Sunday night which restored the Lightning’s appetite and appears to have fought back the problem.  All the while they have been tending their nest.

So will the eggs hatch tonight?  I wasn’t planning for a hatch so-soon, but looking at the fact that the eggs showed eyes yesterday and are looking pretty silvery tonight, I’m seriously wondering.  It’s up in the air…clownfish hatch times can vary between pairs even if all other items remain the same.  That said, here’s a quick rundown of data scrubbed from the MBI (Marine Breeding Initiative Database) by simply viewing the “hatch” reports for Premnas biaculeatushttp://www.mbisite.org/Search.aspx?Species=17

83F = 6 days
28C (82.4F) = 8 days
81F = 5 days
30C (86F) = 5 days
78-80F = 7 days
78F = 8 days
79-80F = 6 days

So what does this all mean?  Well, the above data set is still pretty small, but it suggests that I could had a hatch as early as yesterday.   Other than the one odd 8 day one at 28C, the rest paint a pretty convincing picture of “higher temps” = “shorter incubation times”.  With the lovely data logging capabilities of my Apex Lite controller, I was able to log in and see that my temperatures have ranged pretty consistently between 79.5 and 81.2 – that all points to a high probability of a hatch tonight.  I’m not sure whether I will pull the tile, or wait to see the first hatchlings in the tank and THEN pull the tile.  Tough deciisons to make.

I’m off to prepare.

 

This has been an interesting weekend for the Lightning Maroon.  It started Friday AM, when I woke up to find the Lightning Maroon with a cloudy and swollen right eye.  That alone ruined my day, although I didn’t freak out because I realized that this was likely a bruise / mechanical damage.  Still, in the name of precaution, I fed the tank Dr. G’s Anti-Bacterial frozen food, and am following the regime for that just to be sure and hopefully safe.  It is now Sunday night, and the eye has all but returned to normal.

Meanwhile, later on Friday, I noticed that my female Onyx Percula was looking extremely distended and swollen…definitely a spawn coming.  They’ve moved nest locations over the years and have slowly worked their way from the upper back, to the lower back panel of their aquarium.  So I placed a tile over their last nest in the hopes that they’d spawn on it.  VERY late that night, I found them doing this:

Onyx Perculas Spawning

Onyx Perculas Spawning

Onyx Perculas Spawning

Now, this is probably something like their 200th spawn (I stopped counting years ago).  Up here, we don’t have a huge market for Onyx Perculas (or any clownfish) so at best, I might raise a batch every year now.  This time, I had been waiting to do something in the “bag of tricks”, something clownfish breeder Mitch May (a.k.a. Booyah) likes to do, called a “Double Down”.  I *think* I’ve mentioned it here before, but if not, well, here’s a synopsis.

The jist of the “Double Down” is to take the nest from an actively spawning pair of clownfish and give it to surrogate or foster parents, in this case a pair of clownfish that has yet to spawn.  As Mitch tells it, they’re generally going to do one of two things.  Tend the next, or eat it.  If they eat it, no harm, no foul, the eggs are stellar nutrition for the non-spawning pair.  If they tend the nest, Mitch relayed that he’s found that it helps a reluctant pair to “get the idea”..that is to say, it often kicks them into spawning mode in short order.

So tonight, about 48 hours after the next was laid, I pulled it from the Perculas and gave it to the Lightning Maroon Pair.  The Onyx Percs are my longest living pair to date…they were the first pair of clowns we got when my wife gently nudged me into setting up a saltwater tank for her way back in the day.  They come from a tank that hasn’t seen a new fish in 9 months (and that “new” fish was removed about a month ago).  So it’s a solidly reliably, trustworthy tank.

Now remember, the PNG Maroon that was paired with the Lightning Maroon is in fact a fully functional male Maroon that was successfully spawning while paired with a large Gold Stripe Maroon (this temporary pairing was set up to prevent the PNG maroons I received from turning male).  I had very little doubt as to the male’s ability and instincts.  The nest went in with the Maroons, and initially, the Lightning tried to push the tile out of her territory.

Initially, the Percula nest was ejected from their territory.

I put it back, only to hear it whack against the glass.  Did it again, and this time took video.

So I really wedged it into the gravel, with a large rock pinning it up flat against the back of the tank, in the general area that they normally clean.  It’s probably been an hour now, and I haven’t heard the tile get thrown against the tank glass again, so hopefully it will stay in place.  Hopefully.  At any rate, once the tile was in place, it seemed pretty clear that the Lightning Maroon was having mixed feelings…given that she is tending the nest occasionally with the male.  Let me once again be undeniably, crystal clear.

THESE ARE NOT LIGHTNING MAROON CLOWNFISH EGGS, they are PERCULA eggs being FOSTERED by the LIGHTNING MAROON PAIR.

Lightning Maroon Clownfish fostering Percula Eggs in a "Double Down" scenario to encourage the pair to spawn.

Lightning Maroon Clownfish fostering Percula Eggs in a "Double Down" scenario to encourage the pair to spawn.

Lightning Maroon Clownfish fostering Percula Eggs in a "Double Down" scenario to encourage the pair to spawn.

Lightning Maroon Clownfish fostering Percula Eggs in a "Double Down" scenario to encourage the pair to spawn.

Still, some IDIOT will NOT READ THIS and say “OMG the LIGHTNING CLOWN SPAWNED!”.  Sorry, NO.  They are FOSTERING Percula eggs ;)

I admit, it’s pretty cool to see even if it isn’t their own eggs…yet.

 

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