The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged for sale

After a LONG day of bagging on Monday, today went surprisingly easy as reports trickled in from the high bidders on the round 3 fish.  As I type this now at 11 PM, all recipients have reported in that the fish arrived alive and in great shape.  Several compliments on the packing came in as well (I’m packing these fish per direct instructions from Mark Martin at Blue Zoo, and the packaging design seems to be very effective for such precious cargo).

Last night I moved all the remaining fish out of the grow-out system and into the individual cubes; at some point this week I hope to take the updated photos and determine which fish go in the next round.  I’m guessing a round of 5-6 fish.  I’ve told some people this already, but I’ll put it out there in the usual spirit of transparency associated with The Lightning Project.  My aim is to hold back the best last two fish; these will be the final auction IF it comes to that.  Blue Zoo and I have of course stood behind these fish arriving alive, and part of that guarantee has been that if there was a problem with a fish, we would invite the winning bidder to select another fish from the inventory of comparable quality -or- simply refund the money; buyers choice.  As we draw to a close, it’s tough to make that same offer, so any losses seen with this next group will need to have a fish that I feel is as good, if not superior to, any of the fish in the round….thus, I will be saving the best for last.  Presuming all fish from the next round make it well, it will leave 2 fish left for a last final round, 1 White Stripe and 1 Lightning, to which I will not have any replacements to offer.

Once those auctions are done, it will not be until winter/spring of 2014 before we can even hope to see more lightnings ready for market.  Spawn #12 is going well so far, eating me out rotifers, and as of today, 9-24-2013, Spawn #13 was thrown down!

Blue Zoo Aquatics has listed the next 8 offspring from the Lightning Maroon Clownfish, dubbed the “Amazing 8″. The auction is live on eBay at this time – you can view all the auctions quickly via Blue Zoo Aquatics’ eBay items listing.

The first auction started Saturday night, 9/14/2013, with LM7.  As of this evening, 7 of the 8 are up, with the last fish, LM12, due to start the morning of 9/18/2013 (just a few hours from now).

LM12 - the last fish to be listed for the Round 3 Auctions

LM12 – the last fish to be listed for the Round 3 Auctions, listing the morning of 9/18/13

Here’s a snapshot of the auctions this very early morning at around 3 AM central time:

LM7 – currently $660.00

WS9 – currently $102.50

WS15 – currently $100.00

LM3 – currently $660.00

WS6 – currently $202.50

WS16 – currently $5.50

WS14 – currently $0.99!

LM12 -to be listed soon…

The other interesting part I have to mention is that this group will remove a large portion of the remaining offspring I’ll have available to sell.  10 fish in the inventory remain, although I have two more Lightning holdbacks I could opt to part with or might use for other purposes, and if all goes well the one sole survivor of Spawn #10, a baby lightning, could play a future role here too.

Fish that will likely be in some future auctions include WS4, WS7, LM6. LM9, WS11, LM11, WS13, LM13, LM14, LM17.

I should point out that if you want a white stripe offspring, there won’t be many chances left and you might want to secure your fish this time.  I may need to select one or two of the remaining four for my own breeding purposes; either way after round #3, there simply wont’ be much left in the way of White Stripe siblings (I still believe that the most promising pairing to produce more Lightning Maroons will be a Lightning crossed with it’s White Stripe sibling, which I think will yield 50/50 results just like their parents).


Somewhere along the line I alluded to the fact that there was at least one US-based person involved in the Lightning Maroon auctions who had the foresight to obtain wild PNG Maroon Clownfish from Scott Fellman at Unique Corals with the express intent of  using them as mates for the offspring from this project.  I tried to do the same, but as I’ve shared before, the abrupt loss of exports from EcoAquariums PNG meant that once again, I was thwarted in my own attempts to beef up my base of wild genetics.

A wild (F0) Premnas biaculeatus "PNG White Stripe" Maroon Clownfish purchased through Unique Corals.

A wild (F0) Premnas biaculeatus “PNG White Stripe” Maroon Clownfish purchased through Unique Corals.

That person I alluded to is Brandon Mehlhoff.

Lightning Maroon fans, meet Brandon Mehlhoff.

Lightning Maroon fans, meet Brandon Mehlhoff.

I won’t share all the details, but we sat across the table from each other at the post MBI Workshop dinner this year and the topic of PNG Maroons came up, and the fact that he had one (the fish shown above).  I basically said “name your price”, at which point he revealed who he was and why the fish was not for sale, at any price.  The moment I learned of his intentions, my thought shifted completely from “I gotta get him to part with this fish” to “this guy really needs a Lightning Maroon, as his outcross pairing of a F1 from my breeding to a F0 from PNG, will help start a distinct line and expand the genetic base for the entire captive Lightning Maroon population”.

Lucky for Brandon, he got “the fish” he needed in round 2 of the auctions, the winning bidder of LM15.

Lightning Maroon #15 (LM15) - Brandon's fish.

Lightning Maroon #15 (LM15) – Brandon’s fish.

While most fish were destined to be shipped out, Brandon proved his dedication to the project by requesting that he personally pick up and transport his fish.  Brandon, a North Dakota native and rare clownfish enthusiast (he also maintains Mccullochis among others) made a 24 hour whirlwind trip to personally come to my fishroom.

Of course, it was a great excuse to get some much needed cleanup done (still an ongoing process as I’m setting up more growout for FW in my formerly open space in the middle of the room…I now have two aisle).  Brandon got to see his fish, and all the others firsthand.  Of course, he was able to pay his respects to “Mama Lightning”.

Brandon Mehlhoff did what any good aquarist would do...

Brandon Mehlhoff did what any good aquarist would do…


..asked if he could take photos....

..asked if he could take photos….


...and took lots of them!

…and took lots of them!

I certainly would’ve let Brandon stay all day if he liked, but he still had to drive home and put away some very precious cargo.  Time to bag ‘em up:

Very rare you get to see ME in the photos, here netting LM5 for the journey to Brandon's fishroom.

Very rare you get to see ME in the photos, here netting LM5 for the journey to Brandon’s fishroom.

Bagging up Lightning.

Bagging up Lightning.

After a long drive home and acclimation into the wee hours of the morning, Brandon was very happy to send me a few photographs of LM15 in the new fishroom.  This pairing is going to be an important one owing to the outcrossed genetics.  Depending on who’s interpretation of filials you care to go by, Brandon’s potential offspring are either F1 or F2 (from a more generalized viewpoint, they are F1 in the greater scientific community.  In the aquarium world, they *might* be called F2 by many since one parent is F1).

Either way, an important pair to follow in terms of genetic stability and known provenance for Lightning Maroon Clownfish.

Brandon Mehlhoff's Future F1 Lightning X F0 PNG Maroon pairing

Brandon Mehlhoff’s Future F1 Lightning X F0 PNG Maroon pairing



LM16 – the first offspring to be auctioned in this second round of releases,

Time to start watching eBay again; be sure to add Blue Zoo Aquatics to your list of favorite sellers!  From the latest auctions:

“…it is now time to release for sale the next 6 Lightning Maroon Clownfish. After nearly 3 years of toil, trouble and extreme dedication, breeder Matt Pedersen is proud to offer to the US market the next batch of these truly remarkable fish. For those discovering this amazing animal for the first time, please click HERE to familiarize yourself with the extraordinary journey that has taken place to bring these fish to market.

These next 6 will be auctioned off in individual eBay listings. Each listing will be staggered by about 12 hours to give everybody the best chance to obtain one of these remarkable fish. Four of these fish display the striking lightning pattern similar to their mother while two of these fish look similar to a normal patterned maroon clownfish except for distinctive jagged striping and the odd white dot in different places. These two siblings are the only PNG bloodline maroon clownfish on the market and the best bet for continued breeding and development of the lightning pattern. Matt has more information about this on his website, so be sure to check it out.”

As I type this, the first two fish have already been started.  Newly introduced LM15 and LM16 are already up; the bidding started at $0.99 as it has with all our fish so far!  2 more Lightnings, and 2 White Stripe siblings, yet to come! Remember, you can quickly find all the live auctions here on the site (upper right hand right rail) or by visiting Blue Zoo’s eBay store.

LM15 – also up for auction now. 4 more fish to come!

Teasing and Inventory

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Just a quick note this evening.

First, anyone care to guess what it means when this shows up in Duluth, MN?

Blue Zoo Aquatics Boxes...lots of them...

Blue Zoo Aquatics Boxes…lots of them…

The big news though is some changes to the inventory page of offspring.  In the past couple weeks I’ve added in some of the offspring that I gave away, and I’ll get the other donated pairs in there soon.  I’ll also be adding in my own personal holdbacks soon too; the ultimate goal being a more complete accounting of ALL the offspring.

One fish, a white stripe offspring, WS5, has changed in status and will not be sold at auction because it was hand delivered as a replacement for a fish lost in a brownout before delivery.  My apologies to anyone who had their hearts set on WS5, but there are still many other White Stripes to be offered.

While we’re a white stripe short (and I might need to pull another one from inventory to make my last planned White Stripe X Lightning pair donation), two new Lightning Maroons have been added to the “for sale” inventory tonight!  These were fish I had in the holdback cubes; they are now considered fish that will be offered for sale.


Lightning Maroons #LM15 and #LM16

Newly added to the for-sale list – Lightning Maroon #15 (LM15)

Also now up for grabs, the newly released Lightning Maroon Clownfish #16 (LM16)


Today the next two fish, from the first batch of 5 sent to Blue Zoo, found homes today.

BZWS1 - the first White Stripe offspring from the wild Lightning Maroon pairing - courtesy Blue Zoo Aquatics

BZWS1 – the first White Stripe offspring from the wild Lightning Maroon pairing – courtesy Blue Zoo Aquatics

The auaction for the first white stripe offspring from the wild pair, BZWS1, closed with a bidder who’s held the top spot for several days now, closing at $810.00 – thank you to everyone who bid!  To the winner, as I’ll relay to ALL winners of my auctions, I do invite you to get in touch with me and continue to track and share the progress with your fish here at The Lighting Project.

Two more White Stripe Maroons from the Lightning Pair are still up for auction – BZWS2 and BZWS3, one closing at 9 am central time tomorrow, the other at 9 pm central.  When these two fish wrap up, that will account for all 5 fish I sent to Blue Zoo in our first shipment being sold.

BZLM1 - the second released Lightning Maroon found a home tonight - image courtesy Blue Zoo Aquatics

BZLM1 – the second released Lightning Maroon found a home tonight – image courtesy Blue Zoo Aquatics

The other auction that closed tonight was for the small Lightning Maroon, BZLM1, with a closing bid of $10,520.  I was pretty convinced that when today started and it sat at $5100, that was where it would remain.  I was wrong.

The best part? While I have NO CLUE who the winning bidder is, it is the same bidder who successfully purchased BZLM2 yesterday.  I can only assume that these two fish will be paired???  A total guess…I truly don’t know.  But, if paired, what a pair they will make!

Obviously, pairing them will be no easy task…it will require months of segregated growing, and particularly rationed feeding on the small one with liberal feeding to the other, in order to push a large size disparity so that once paired, it’s a harmonious, peaceful pair.  Even then, long time readers of The Lightning Project know exactly how difficult it’s been to pair up these PNG Maroons…this is no different.  Obviously I’ve already extended my personal invitation and support for this, and all bidders in the future, as I’d like to see everyone be very successful.  Anything I can do to help.  I would LOVE to see this pair grow and change over the years…and I suspect you all would too!  Open invitation stands!

My thanks goes out to all the bidders once again; I personally appreciate the excitement and interest you’ve ALL helped generate, and I take the interest as a compliment towards the project and my efforts.

BZLM2 - the first Lightning Maroon Clownfish to be sold at auction by Blue Zoo Aquatics.

BZLM2 – the first Lightning Maroon Clownfish to be sold at auction by Blue Zoo Aquatics. (image copyright Blue Zoo Aquatics)

BZLM2 - the first Lightning Maroon Clownfish to be sold at auction by Blue Zoo Aquatics.

BZLM2 – the first Lightning Maroon Clownfish to be sold at auction by Blue Zoo Aquatics (image copyright Blue Zoo Aquatics)

The post title pretty much says it all.  Moments ago, the first captive-bred Lightning Maroon clownfish to ever be sold has found a buyer via eBay.  You can view what’s been described as “An Epic Tropical Fish Auction” here.

My hearty congratulations and thanks go out to the winning bidder.  As the bidders identities are kept private, even I do not yet know who the winning bidder is.  I look forward to this bidder stepping forward and keeping us all up to date on this fish as it journeys out into the world.

I love the internet’s ability to royally “get it wrong”, and this edition of Lightning Maroon Clownfish Mythbusting points to one of my own home clubs (I’m a lifetime member of TCMAS); the thread? Ligtning (sic) Maroon on Ebay

Shibb’s wrote; “Blue Zoo is actually selling FOUR offspring. Only 2 have the really “lightning” markings, though.”

Not entirely true.  Currently, four of the five auctions have started…Blue Zoo opted to stagger them 12 hours apart.  As I type this, the last of the 5 initial fish could be listing later today.  This 5th fish shouldn’t be a surprise either, as I showed images of all 5 being shipped to Blue Zoo in the announcement, PLUS had them all listed in the “inventory“.

Furthermore, this is just the first shipment to Blue Zoo. As I’ve posted numerous times now, all over the internet, I have approximately 30 total fish slated to be released.  Provided everything goes smoothly with Blue Zoo, it’s safe to assume that the remaining 25 Lighting Maroon offspring will also be sold, at auction, by Blue Zoo, in the coming weeks / months.

The ones that don’t have “really lightning” markings are classified by me as White Stripe Maroons.  They have Lightning parentage.  We simply do not know whether there’s any genetic lightning material in these fish, so to think so is to speculate.  I’ve written about this numerous times now ;)

At this point, if anyone is bidding with the mindset that these current fish are the only 5 fish that will ever be available, well, I’ve done everything possible to put this information out there!

Myclang wrote; “Hilarious if it dies in shipping right!??!”

Well, certainly not hilarious.  Certainly a risk, a possibility.  But just as I stood 100% behind the fish I shipped to Blue Zoo, so is Blue Zoo ensuring these fish arrive alive.  I would expect them to do no less as they ship fish for a living!  I will be highly skeptical of DOA claims…afterall, these are captive bred Maroon Clowns…not something touchy.

drahotad wrote; “I believe he owed blue zoo some of the first offspring if i remember correctly, and is probably keeping the best ones still up north 

I actually owed Blue Zoo nothing…the Lightning Maroon and it’s offspring were free and clear mine to do with as I pleased.  That said, 3 years ago, I made the unilateral offer of a right of first refusal to Blue Zoo, and I of course stand by that offer and you see it coming to fruition now.

While I have yet to do an inventory of every last fish I’m currently holding back, it’s not many.  I have the well known Lightning X Lightning pair, which do happen to be very nice ones.  I’m also planning 2 more pairs to leave here as backups, as well as a Lighting X White Stripe and a White Stripe X White Stripe.  Still, there’s plenty of lookers in the fish currently slated for release.

F1 PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish, LM12

LM12- looks great, right?  But where’s the ventral fins!  D’oh!

As of 2:35 AM, Friday, June 21st, 2013, all 30 fish initially planned for release have been posted here on this website for your review and consideration.  Please review the Lightning Maroon Clownfish Offspring Inventory to see all 30 fish.

The motivations behind this monumental task (it took me in the neighborhood of 20 hours to complete) was to show the full range of fish that I had in the growout system, a tank I hope to clear and sell off all fish.  By showing them all in advance of any auction, I consider every bidder fully informed as to what fish are out there, either now or in the short term future.

Most importantly, I wanted to make sure I was abundantly clear as to the flaws in each fish…many are culls which we had discussed only making available to approved breeders who understand that the defects in these fish are likely not genetic.  I think it was Joe Lichtenbert, but it may have been another clownfish breeder, who recalled the experience of raising hundreds of white stripe Maroons together, and when it came time to selll the fish, only FIVE ideal, suitable specimens could be found…out of hundreds.  Looking at the fruits of my labor, I think it’s fair to say that communal rearing absolutely played a role in causing a lot of blemished fish.

F1 PNG White Stripe Maroon Clownfish, WS16

WS16 definitely shows signs of battle scars from a younger age.

I still am wondering about the early rearing as well…some of the bulldog / pug nosed fish really shouldn’t have looked that way with the use of the black round tub (which normally prevents fish from pressing up against the hard surfaces in the early days, which is often what causes this defect as flexible cartilage calcifies).  And yet, they still showed up in the group.  Maroons are notorious for facial deformities as the result of mouth-to-mouth combat that starts pretty much the day they settle.  So it’s possible that a lot of what we’re seeing is from THAT.

Still, there are some really exciting fish in this mix. I’m not terribly proud of the end results, but they’re absolutely better than nothing.  By my count, there are roughly 16 of the 30 fish that, were they any other fish, would be immediately culled and euthanized, never to be sold.  There’s easily another 4 I would be keeping my eye on to see how they continue to grow.  And in truth, I think there are less than 5 fish which I really couldn’t find any issue with.

So, before you bid, please be absolutely sure find the fish you’re looking at  in my inventory, and to read all the details and my opinions on the fish you’re considering.  I want you to have very realistic expectations with the fish you’re going to receive, as I’d hate to receive a fish that let me down.

From the 6/19/2013 Blue Zoo Aquatics Newsletter:

Lightning Maroon Clownfish Update

Through multiple media channels, word has gotten out that the first round of baby Lightning Maroon Clowns are going to go on sale very soon. Matt Pedersen announced the forth coming offering on his blog site yesterday and it is true, we now have, in our holding system, these illustrious and now world famous fish. Click HERE to read more.

Matt’s blog says it all really, but in a nutshell, these first 2 Lightning Maroon patterned offspring and the first 3 siblings will be offered for sale through our eBay account starting this weekend. These F1 PNG beauties are the only available PNG bloodline Maroon Clownfish left on the market AND they are the first Lightning patterned clownfish to hit the market since Mama Lightning was imported and sold to Matt almost 3 years ago. The auctions will be open to anybody with an eBay account in the US and the first shipments to the lucky winners will hit around the first week of July.

We will have more information, with links to the various auctions, this Saturday so make sure to check your inbox.

Be sure to sign up for Blue Zoo Aquatic’s newsletters, you can do so directly on their homepage, so you don’t miss any important information!

For more details on the fish being offered, please read the full Lightning Maroon Clownfish release announcement which includes detailed instructions, posted yesterday.

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