The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged hatching

Spawn #33 – Starting midday on 6/9, the first larvae started showing signs of metamorphosis and settlement; white spots on the heads of the Lightnings are among the first signs; most are through meta today.

Spawn #34 – Tonight is the scheduled hatch night; I used the 4 ml H2O2 / 0.5 gallon broodstock water as a 15 minute bath before placing them in a 10 gallon; 5 gallons of broodstock water and a coarse air feed going over the nest; they’ll sit for the night and I’ll be sure to check them in the AM.  Will there be a morning hatch yet again?

It is now a fact – big Lightning Maroon Clownfish hatches are happening in the morning. I went to bed sometime after 4:30 AM on June 1st, and a few hours later, around 8:30, the kids woke me up. So, I went down to look at the BRT – just a handful of larvae.  I checked with a light, none on the bottom…just a very weak hatch.

I greened up the tub with RotiGreen Omega and added 2 gallon’s worth of rotifers from a culture. I turned on the light, left the tile in place.  Around 10:30 AM, I went down again and I now had hundreds of larvae in the BRT.

I pulled the tile and gave it back to the parents…can’t remember if that was an idea raised here, or on Facebook, but it seemed like a good way to go.  I have yet to go back down tonight, but I’ll presumably set up yet another new tank for a hatch tonight and see if we get two solid night’s worth of larvae off this batch.  Things could get interesting.

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…

Based on my calculations, 5/20 is the night we’re due to first have hatches. Having moved all the fry from Spawn #30 into a BRT “on the system”, I wiped down and drained their BRT, and refilled it with water from the Lightning Maroon’s broodstock aquarium. The tile with eggs (huge nest, 4″ X 2″) was placed in a 0.5 gallon specimen cup with 4 ml H2O2 for approximately 15 minutes, after which it was set up with a coarse airstone for hatching in the BRT. I confirmed that the air is flowing directly over the eggs at a moderate clip.  This *should* be a good hatch if I’ve done things right.

Side note on spawn #30 – ultimately the split was a nice dice roll – 8 Lightnings and only 3 White Stripes.

As near as I can tell, a lot of eggs likely hatched from the PNG White Stripe Maroon Clownfish pair’s 2nd spawn.  There are probably less than 50 eggs left.  Of course, this was a tiny nest to start with (compared to other Maroon nests) so I opted to just leave the few remaining eggs to fend for themselves tonight.  Last night would’ve been the “6th night” by my count, with tonight being the 7th night post spawn for these eggs.  I am hoping for a larger spawn and one that comes soon!

It’s just after 2 AM on May 6th, 2014, and I’ve prepared everything for an in-tank hatch with the Vossen Larval Snagger tonight.  By my count, this is the 6th night post hatch, the nest looks full and ready to go.  I took my own advice and set up the system’s pumps on a timer.  All water pumps shut off at 2 AM, and will turn on around 4 AM.  If this works well, I can simply move the 3-plug outlet (which runs internal filter, skimmer and internal UV) onto another outlet on the main power strip when not in use, but on hatch nights where I want to snag, I can just plug it into the timer (thus never having to reset the timer).

If I’m up still in an hour or so I’ll check the snagger to see what I caught so far…

Also ,the few larvae I snagged from Spawn #30 are going through settlement at this time; they have only been offered rotifers, no other feeds, with RotiGreen Omega for greenwater.  A  few have headstripes, and the rest should be getting near.

I decided to try something different this time…I’d been putting it off but figured “might as well”.  I decided to try snagging a hatch with the Vossen Aquatics Larval Snagger (aka. Larval Trap).

Thursday night, the 24th, was officially the 6th night post spawn and assuredly I’d get a hatch.  I reconfigured the broodstock tank slightly to allow me to pull all the cords for water current devices in one shot.  I thought about simply using a light timer to turn pumps off before lights out, and then on two hours later, but with the Lightning Maroons, I wasn’t going to risk it. I’d rather stay up late and BE SURE I got everything back up and running.

I set up the larval snagger in the broodstock tank and was sure to get the placement correct – the top of the snagger must reside above the water’s surface, as shown here.

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After that, I made sure to get the air flowing, which runs water through the trap gently, without harming the larvae.

 

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Then, set up the suction cup light, which serves to attract the larvae to the intake of the trap.  Turn off all the lights in the room, and walk away for a couple hours…

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I checked around 4:30 AM and saw that I had snagged a few larvae, but not many.  The nest still looked rather full, and I scanned the tank for wayward larvae, using my cell phone’s flashlight feature.  I didn’t see any, so this was a very weak / small hatch.  It wasn’t enough to really try rearing, so I just figured I’d leave them in the trap and take some photos come morning.  This is what I found when I checked.

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It didn’t seem like nearly enough to bother a run with, so I left the snagger running all day and figured I’d simply try again on Friday night.

Unfortuantely, I might have screwed up on Friday night.  I can’t be sure, but here’s what happened.  The nest looked full most of the day, but I had shifted the light timing just a little bit.  So the lights on the system went off at 2 AM vs. 2:30 AM, but I didn’t make it down into the basement to turn off the filtration until 2:30.  The nest appeared to have hatched significantly before I had a chance to set things up.

I checked at 4:30 AM, and sadly I found one wayward larvae in the tank, and it appeared that the trap had maybe only captured a few more.  Did I “miss” the hatch window Friday night?  Possibly.  I set up the larvae I had captured in a clean BRT with 8 gallons of broodstock water, rotifers, and some RotiGreen Omega, and that was it.  I was gone Saturday night, so wasn’t able to see if I’d get any more on the 8th night.

Overall, based on the number of larvae caught vs. the number of larvae found in the tank, it’s fair to say that the snagger probably did perform well.  I’ll probably try it again on batch 31, and maybe this next time I’ll TEST a timer and trust it to do my bidding.  Maybe a little more automation will allow me to “score big” on a hatch in the broodstock tank, avoiding some of the problems I’ve encountered when artificially hatching.

In short, Spawn #29 was not pulled on Monday, the 14th, as I had initially suspected.  Looking at it, I opted to wait until Tuedsay, the 15th, to pull it, 7th day post spawn.  I used well-aged new saltwater which was 1.026; same as the broodstock water.  Water temp may have been a couple degrees cooler.  The eggs were given a H2O2 bath for roughly 15 minutes (4 ml to 0.5 gallons saltwater), and then placed in the 10 gallon hatching tank with a wooden airstone.

Come Wed. morning, there had been minimal hatch, most eggs were on the tile and still looked viable.  I saw only one larvae swimming.  I opted to do nothing, and let it go another day.  Come Thursday morning, once again, no eggs on the ground really, some dead larvae, and one viable offspring. Eggs were all dead come this evening.

I’ve noted repeatedly over the years that despite what everyone says about using ‘new saltwater’ for hatching and incubation, I NEVER have good look with it.  Was it the temp drop in this case?  Possible.  But every time I use broodstock water, I don’t feel like I have these problems :/

While I was away, Mike did a great job with the fishroom and the baby Lightnings from Spawn #27.  He got two hatches out of them, which means once again, these eggs hatched out over THREE nights.  Crazy.  When I stopped by Mike’s place on 4-3-14, he had maybe 50-100 pre-settlement offspring in one tank, and maybe a dozen from the 3rd night’s hatch.

Also while I was gone, Mike recorded a spawn on 3-30-2014, making this Spawn #28.  The most interesting thing about spawn #28 is that they laid it on two tiles; a small cluster on the leaning tile, and the bulk of the spawn on the vertical wall tile.  I didn’t take a picture for lack of time, but I should have.  Come the morning of 4-4-14, it was clear to see that the smaller disc of eggs on the leaning tile had become rather “sparse”…did some hatch out on the night of 4-3?  If they were laid on 3-30, that makes 3-31, 4-1, 4-2, 4-3…that doesn’t seem like quite enough days have passed.  But that also means that come tonight, 4-4, it is a pretty safe bet that there is going to be a hatch.  So I pulled the tile and placed it in my 10 gallon with a coarse air stone for hatching; I neglected to do a H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) dip, mainly because my Angelfish are so productive I don’t have any spare large specimen cups running around the fishroom..they’re all full of Pterophyllum eggs or fry.

Tomorrow AM, I’ll find out if I pulled them right, or screwed up again.

By March 21st, both Mike and I were at zero for larval maroons from batch #26…we both crapped out.

It’s now the evening of March 25th, 2014, and Mike left my fishroom about 25 minutes ago with a bucket and a tile; I’ll be out of town at the NEC convention this week followed by a visit to the Vermont-based home offices of CORAL Magazine, AMAZONAS Magazine and Reef To Rainforest Media LLC, so Mike and my wife get to pay attention to the fishroom in my absense.  It makes more sense to have freshly hatched clownfish in Mike’s fishroom vs. my own, and the deal I’ve made with him is this – if he rears a good solid batch up, I owe him a Gold Nugget Maroon to pair with his existing Gold Stripe Female.  Done deal in my book.

What I’m more curious about is to see if Mike can fair better than I have been doing.  Just on the ride home, 10 already hatched….which brings me to the other ongoing issue – as this morning, it was apparently that a good portion of the eggs had already hatched on the overnight from the 24th going into the 25th. Once again, only 5 days post spawn.  Mike should get a solid hatch tonight (6 days post spawn), and he might even be able to get stragglers again on the 7th day if he plays his cards right.  What’s up with the hatch spreading out over THREE days?!  At any rate, this is what it looks like will happen for Spawn #27.

 

Talking with Mike on Friday, as best as we can figure out Spawn #25 was put down Saturday, February 22nd. This fits the timeline…come Friday night (Feb 28th) we’d be at 6 days post spawn, which is the earliest eggs hatch. I opted to wait until the 7th night, which was last night (Saturday, March 1st) to pull the tile.

Come Saturday morning, it was clear that some eggs were gone…perhaps as much as 50% of the nest must have hatched on the 6th night. But as we’ve seen so many times before, these eggs, for whatever reason, are prone to split hatching over 2 nights (a problem I also had and never fixed with my wild Onyx Perculas). So last night, technically 2AM this morning, I pulled the tile to prepare it for hatching.

I returned to the 15 minute hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) bath in broodstock water, and I drained the 10 gallon clownfish hatching tank, soaked it with FW, rinsed it all out, and filled it with 5 gallons of broodstock water. Thinking that either the use of clean new water, or a weak air setting, caused the hatch failure in Spawn #24, I set up the tile with a rather vigorous flow of air from the wooden airstone. A dime white moonlight at the far end of the tank was set up to draw larvae away from the heavier currents & flow of the hatching setup and tile.

By 3 AM, I took a peak and noticed there seemed to be a good hatch, so I harvested 1.5 gallons worth of rotifers and added 20 drops of RotiGreen Omega. I was feeling optimistic.

9 AM this morning, I checked in and removed both the hatching tile and the large tile that I had placed on the bottom to prevent the hatching tile from sliding / fall. To my disappointment, it appeared that most all larvae were on the bottom, and some were dead. There was only maybe a dozen eggs on the tile that had not hatched. I added almost 50 drops of RotiGreen Omega to help green up the water and hopefully get the babies up off the bottom; I also turned the air flow down significantly to just a trickle, feeling that perhaps I should have done this “last night”. Could it simply be that several hours of turbulence in the tank had caused some of the larvae to expend excessive amounts of energy and doomed them to a quick death?

I’ll be keeping an eye on these obviously….wish me luck.

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