The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged Mark Martin

The 2014 MBI Workshop presents a SHOCKING RAFFLE made possible by Blue Zoo Aquatics, MiniWaters LLC, and Sea & Reef Aquaculture.  In recognition of the 5th annual Marine Breeder’s Workshop, and the accomplishments made by marine breeders globally, we present a shocking once-in-a-lifetime raffle drawing!  One lucky winner will recieve the F1 PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish, MWP3, shown here, donated by Matt Pedersen (MiniWaters LLC) and Blue Zoo Aquatics, paired with a F1 PNG Morse Code Maroon donated by Sea & Reef Aquaculture, shipped from Duluth, MN by Blue Zoo Aquatics to any destination in the lower 48 US states after the 2014 MBI Workshop!  MBI Workshop July 19th, 2014 Cranbrook Institute of Science Bloomfield Hills, Michigan  For MBI Workshop registration, visit  Raffle tickets are only available at the workshop - MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN!

The 2014 MBI Workshop presents a SHOCKING RAFFLE made possible by Blue Zoo Aquatics, MiniWaters LLC, and Sea & Reef Aquaculture.

In recognition of the 5th annual Marine Breeder’s Workshop, and the accomplishments made by marine breeders globally, we present a shocking once-in-a-lifetime raffle drawing!

One lucky winner will recieve the F1 PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish, MWP3, shown here, donated by Matt Pedersen (MiniWaters LLC) and Blue Zoo Aquatics, paired with a F1 PNG Morse Code Maroon donated by Sea & Reef Aquaculture, shipped from Duluth, MN by Blue Zoo Aquatics to any destination in the lower 48 US states after the 2014 MBI Workshop!

MBI Workshop
July 19th, 2014
Cranbrook Institute of Science
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
For MBI Workshop registration, visit
Raffle tickets are only available at the workshop – MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN!

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!

So this evening I pulled spawn #12 for hatching, but I’m changing things up.  I keep trying the same old thing and get the same old crappy results.  So…

#1.  I disinfected the spawn for 15 minutes with H202.  In a nutshell, I pulled the tank water and the tile, placed them in a large specimen up which holds around 0.5 (half) a gallon of water.  I introduced 8.5 ML of Hydrogen Peroxide, added an airstone, and let it sit.  After that, I moved the airstone and tile into another specimen cup of the same size containing tank water, but no H202.  This was the rinse phase. (Dr. Matthew L. Wittenrich suggests a range of 1 to 5 ML per L, H202 to saltwater, as a treatment in his 2007 book The Complete Illustrated Breeder’s Guide to Marine Aquarium Fishes).

#2.  I’m not using a BRT – Black round tubs have many benefits, but they suck in one aspect – you can only observe the contents from above (unless you install a plexiglass window).  For this rearing attempt, I tore down one of my old 10 gallon tanks that had been holding freshwater Angelfish fry.  The tank in question is painted black on all sides, including the bottom, save one end pane.  I scrubbed it, rinsed it, filled it with 5 gallons of water from the broodstock tank and roughly 3 gallons of clean new saltwater from the mixing bucket.  This will be my hatching tank this time.  Glass tanks like this work fine for clownfish…so screw it, I’m going to SEE what’s going on this time.

#3.  I’m using an ammonia alert badge – yes, these are great tools, but they’re designed to be viewed through glass.  Great for a 10 gallon tank – bad for a “BRT”. To be honest, even when I’ve used one I’ve never had a problem, but once I started using BRTs I stopped using Seachem Ammonia Alert Badges because they just don’t work.  Well..might as well fire it back up.

#4.  I tested the broodstock water.  I rarely if ever bother with water tests these days…there is seldom any reason to check as the water invariably is always “good”.  Still, I might as well be a good aquarist and check things. Currently the Lightning Maroon and her mate were in 8.4 pH, 0 ppm nitrate, and 1.023.  The larval tank will wind up being very similar no doubt, maybe 1.0235 for SG (the water in the mixing bucket was around 1.024 on the refractometer).

I placed the tile at the far end of the tank, away from the unpainted end.  I left on some room lights; this should allow light to attract the larvae to the front of the tank, away from the heavier air flow.  There’s not much else to say about this setup at the moment – this is more akin to my “classic” clownfish rearing of days gone by, and is similar to what many folks still do today for hatching and early rearing.

On the other front – 3 Lightning Maroon offspring are left up for auction, the last being a LM12 whose auction ends Monday morning.  I love how Mark @ Blue Zoo Aquatics has hidden bidder identities.  I know who a few of the bidders are now from past auctions, but most are still a mystery to me.  In any case, I have to say / ask this one thing – are you all having fun?!  I know, I know, auctions are thrilling and heartbreaking.  Still, I’m an addict myself (I regularly bid, but rarely win, auctions on  If I was in your shoes, I have to say there must be a great feeling being the one who got to bid $5 for a Lightning Maroon Clownfish, when the auction started.  Even if you didn’t win, you at least played a part and got to participate.  As most of you have probably followed over the years, I always felt this was “everyone’s” project, and so too, placing these fish up for bid on the open market meant that everyone had a fair and equal shot at getting them.

After round 3, there are at most, 10 fish left to find new homes and THAT WILL BE IT until I manage to rear more.  I should mention that the single sole survivor from spawn #10 was moved into a different BRT to live with a slightly older clutch of Sumatran Fire Clowns (Amphiprion ephippium “Sumatra” F1).  I was wasting a lot of food feeding a 16 gallon BRT to try to keep only 1 clownfish alive; better to put it in with the 100 or so Fire Clowns rather than overfeed an empty tank on the larviculture system.  So far so good, I got to see it swimming around today, so it wasn’t killed, and should grow up alongside it’s cousins without issues.

One last note – it’s a short story.  As of last week, I officially had 4 Lightning Maroons and 2 White Stripe siblings held back.  The two white stripes are currently in separate breeder nets while I work on size differentiation, and two of the Lighting Maroons are already well documented here.  The remaining two were holdbacks I wasn’t sure what I would do with; I still wanted to get one more pair out there to a fellow aquarist, but the person I have in mind isn’t able to take them at the moment.  So they’ve just sat here.

Well, I brought them upstairs to free up the cubes for segregation and one has lived in the Ecoxotic 25 gallon cube, while the other was in a breeder net hanging in the tank.  In the middle of the week, I let the smaller one in the breeder net out while I cleaned the netting, and afterwards, seeing them in separate sides of the tank, I just left it out for a couple hours.  Well…a couple hours was a couple too long; I found the smaller fish beaten, but alive.  I put it back in the breeder net, and a few hours later it was dead.  That’s all it took.

So please, be very careful trying to pair these fish up.  While I personally feel that the Lightning Maroons seem to be rather “timid” in general, they still are quite murderous towards each other.

New Holdback Headcount =5 (unless I take a fish out of “inventory”).

The first retail offerings of Lightning Maroon Clownfish are only days or weeks away!

Blue Zoo Aquatics Lightning Maroon Clownfish Shipment, Group 1, 6/17/2013

One of the two mystery destinations for today’s Lightning Maroon shipments is indeed Blue Zoo Aquatics.  If you’ve been paying attention to their newsletters, or to Reef Builders, this should come as no surprise.  Way back when starting this project, I made the unilateral offer that I would provide Blue Zoo Aquatics with the right of first refusal on these fish, and of course, they’ve accepted my offers.  I’m excited about the introduction of these fish to the masses.

Blue Zoo Aquatics Lightning Maroon Clownfish Shipment, Group 1, 6/17/2013

Initially, the plan is to offer these F1 PNG Maroons in public, WYSIWYG auctions via eBay. Everyone will have a fair shot at them. This way the market truly sets the one will be able to accuse us of “gouging”. We’re playing no favorites either; initially I we had discussed holding back the lesser quality fish (some of which normally would be culled) to provide them to commercial breeders in private auctions.  I suspect some fish will go surprisingly inexpensively, while others may fetch a handsome sum.  We have no set time limit as to when these auctions will occur, but with the F1 fish now close to a year old and getting quite large, as we start pulling from the group tank, we may have to move quickly to prevent murders etc. We had also planned to drop ship the fish directly from Duluth, MN, but that plan has changed too.

Blue Zoo Aquatics Lightning Maroon Clownfish Shipment, Group 1, 6/17/2013

Like all good plans, the simple logistics of running what is probably the 2nd largest online retailer of marine livestock, combined with delays this winter, followed by the arrival of my new daughter, caused Mark Martin and I to reexamine some of our more detailed plans, ultimately streamlining things a bit for me and giving Blue Zoo a little more hands on control in fulfillment of winner’s purchases.  These first 5 will be our test scenario, and if it goes well, you can probably expect most or all of the Lightnings I sell to be offered through Blue Zoo Aquatics.

Blue Zoo Aquatics Lightning Maroon Clownfish Shipment, Group 1, 6/17/2013

In the process of shooting photos and bagging today, I photographed all of the F1 PNG offspring individually to create an “inventory” of sorts; each fish will be posted individually going forward, which will allow for individual reference.  Some of the general white stripe offspring might be difficult to differentiate, but the Lightnings by and large should be easy enough to follow as they leave here and go through the sales process.

Blue Zoo Aquatics Lightning Maroon Clownfish Shipment, Group 1, 6/17/2013

The main reason for shooting ALL fish that I currently am considering for sale is this – I don’t want anyone thinking that we held out and sold the “worst fish” first.  Nor do I want folks thinking there is an endless supply – there isn’t.  The one spawn that produced babies this spring gave me TWO FISH that are smaller than my pinky fingernail…I still have my work cut out for me with the wild pair.  Now, not every fish that I post up will necessarily be sold, and there may be some surprises if I opt to release other fish I’ve currently earmarked to hold onto personally for for other special projects.  Bottom line, it’s not 100%…but it’s going to be a pretty good idea of what’s likely to come.

How to get your Lightning Maroon Clownfish

Bid bid bid!  Until further notice, assume that you’ll be going through the Blue Zoo eBay auctions to get your fish. There are not going to be any other sources.  If someone approaches you with an offer to purchase a “Lightning Maroon” or a “Sibling” of the Lightning Maroon, feel free to ask me directly; chances are the offer is fraudulent.  I am not selling direct at this time for a number of reasons (one of the main ones being logistics and being a man of my word).  Here’s some tips on how you get your Lightning Maroon or siblings from Blue Zoo Aquatics.

1.  Register with eBay if you haven’t already.

2.  Add Blue Zoo Aquatics on eBay to your list of favorite eBay sellers.

Hit the “Add to favorite sellers” link in the righthand column on this page, and on the subsequent page, be sure to hit the checkbox to subscribe to email updates.

3.   Sign up for the Blue Zoo Aquatic’s newsletters (Both of them)…

so you get email notifications from Blue Zoo (the subscribe box is right on the Blue Zoo Aquatics homepage).  eBay favorite sellers may not email you every time or every item, so double down to be sure you don’t miss a listing.

4.  Polish your credit cards and request a limit increase! (just joking around). 

Note – you probably won’t need to use something like Paypal to pay Blue Zoo, although I assume they’d take it.

5. Make sure you’re ready to have these fish.

Make sure you can quarantine them.  Potentially have on hand Formalin and Cupramine, just in case – Brooklynella can just as easily be lurking in your systems, and Formalin is the only effective treatment.  Maroon Clowns are notoriously susceptible.  Make sure the tank is set up, established, you have breeder nets on hand should you need to segregate anything, and have a good fitting lid to prevent jumps.  These fish aren’t small, they’re good size and most all can eat Spectrum Thera A 1 mm pellets with ease.  I do not want to hear that someone got these fish only to kill them quickly.

6.  Review all the photos of potential fish in the “inventory” here on The Lightning Project

Note that “SOLD” fish are obviously not going to be available. Just make sure you know what’s out there so you’re not feeling like you missed out or didn’t get your fair shot later.

Understand that the quality on some fish is definitely sub-standard, and few are without blemish (in my opinion).  There may be fin deformities or other qualities that ordinarily would warrant a fish be culled.  MOST of these issues are likely cause by rearing and specifically FIGHTING as young fish, and are not presumably genetic.  We will do our best to disclose any shortcomings in any particular specimen; the importance of genetic distribution and diversity are what drive the decision to sell fish that normally would be culled (it’s not a “greed” thing…the more F1 fish we have creating the F2 generation, the better it is for heading off inbreeding problems).

7.  Get ready to bid. As with any auction, there can be only one winner.  

As a seasoned auction buyer myself, know that most of the bidding happens at the beginning and end of the auction.  While I’ll advise you to bid your maximum from the get go, I know that we generally hate to do so because we often feel we got “bid up” at the end and if we hadn’t bid so high early on, we might get a better price at the end.  Perhaps, but most of the time I’ve found that not bidding your max just lets someone ELSE win it for less (because you didn’t really bid your max).

If you win, please make sure you can receive the package immediately upon arrival.  For me, this means take a day off from work if you have to…because these aren’t really replaceable fish! Don’t have the package sit outside in the sun all day – it took me almost 3 years to get these fish to you…so be a responsible aquarist.  Blue Zoo will set their own terms in terms of DOA etc.  Direct ALL customer-related questions to Blue Zoo Aquatics.

An Important Note to Would Be Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeders

I cannot really legally enforce upon you an agreement that you’ll only breed these fish with other PNG White Stripe Maroons, but I implore you to do just that.  Be a responsible aquarist and conscientious breeder.

Please do not make Gold Stripe X Lightning hybrids; these have the potential to destroy the efforts of conservation minded breeders. It is possible that the Gold Stripe Maroon is a distinct species of Premnas (in my opinion) and hybridization between species cannot be undone.  The results of Gold Stripe X White Stripe Maroons are disappointing anyways, a mixture of the traits, which means only a pale yellow infusuion at best would occur.  If you want to work with really unique Gold Stripe Maroon variations, please work with the Gold Flake Maroon Clownfish lines out of ORA.

Always seek out the best possible mate for your Lightning Maroon Clownfish.

In the absence of wild PNG Maroon Clownfish to purchase as mates, the next best possible mate is one of the F1 siblings.  I am working on producing other lines of PNG White Stripe maroons at this time, so please be patient…I may have other options for you in the future, and breeders who are holding my F1 Lightning Maroons will get extra consideration from me should I have distinct bloodlines to offer in the future.  Should wild caught PNG Maroons once again become available, these are IDEAL outcrosses and would be the best choice to create a diverse, stable genetic base in captivity.  If you’re forced to go outside the PNG provenance to find another white stripe maroon mate, note that the PNG provenance cannot be “recovered”..once that purity is lost, it is lost.

Keep EXCELLENT records, and pass along that full lineage with your offspring…if you outcross to non-PNG white stripe maroons, please do denote that with any fish you sell.  DO expect a rather harsh public criticism of any efforts to hybridize these fish – they are far too valuable and need your efforts in preserving good clean bloodlines.

If you are one of the lucky winners to receive my fish, welcome to the “inner circle”.  Please do reach out to me and make a connection.  I may opt to start up an email chain or private forum for people working with breeding the Lightning Maroon Clownfish to further facilitate cooperation and  coordination in our efforts.

OK, so I have to chuckle because people are already speculating about the going asking price on the F1 offspring I’ve produced.  I’ve seen the hypothetical numbers ranging from $300 to $600 to $1000 to $1500.  And then there’s this post on that takes the cake.  User iball1804 is making some pretty bold statements, starting with:

“My LFS is getting a pair in.”

I can state officially, on the record, that I have not made any agreements with any LFS anywhere to sell any Lightning Maroons to them.  But that’s not all that is claimed:

“They are $5,000 apiece. And everything’s already lined up. Our client is willing to pay, and so it will be. “

Now that’s awfully presumptive since that’s the first I’ve heard about this.  It may very well be that the highest bids for F1 Lightning Maroons may well be much HIGHER than $5000.  Who knows?  Of course, I’d love to know who’s willing to offer $5000 a piece for Lightning Maroons, but that’s getting ahead of things.  Why?

Because as I’ve stated all along, back when I purchased the Lightning Maroon from Blue Zoo Aquatics, I made a gentleman’s offer to Mark Martin that I would offer right-of-first-refusal to him on any offspring I might produce.    Mark (Blue Zoo), Dave (Pacific Aqua Farms) and David (SEASMART), all took a gamble on me being the best choice for this fish.  It’s my opinion that now it’s time for BZA to receive some of the monetary benefit they gave up in deciding to sell this fish to me vs. simply the highest bidder.

Now, there is no contract, no agreement, I am free to sell these fish to whomever I want and do what I please with them.  That said, Mark is aware that it looks like there will be some Lightnings to be made available in the coming months.  But that is the extent of anything that has been discussed, and I will be seeing what we want to do together before going beyond that… after all that’s what “right of first refusal” means.  And to my surprise, it seems the general aquarist community at large has been aware of this, and hasn’t been flooding my inbox with inquiries for the last 2+ years (thanks for that everyone).

So while I LOVE the enthusiasm and bold statements, I can categorically state that anything you read on “price” or “availability” that you didn’t read directly from my keyboard is speculation.  I have some ideas on how I’d like to see these fish be distributed, and I can tell you that making sure this natural variation is preserved is at the top of my priorities…a far higher priority than price.  I took this project on as a conservation-minded breeder, and until these fish are out in the hands of other breeders, that mission wont’ be complete.

Blue Zoo Funky PNG Maroon, September 2010

A view of the left flank of the "Funky" PNG Maroon from Blue Zoo - courtesy Mark Martin, Blue Zoo Aquatics

This is a short post – Mark Martin showed me this fish last night, I passed on the premise that if it’s genetic, it seems to be a bit more like a “Picasso” type variant than the “Lightning” variation.  I really think that there is a running theme here.  It’s juts a theory, but it would seem that the same basic “overbarring” mutation, called “Picasso” in Perculas and “Snowflake” in Ocellaris, is also showing up in Maroon Clownfish now.  It would make sense that the genetic of the stripes are all pretty similar among clownfish, and thus, an aberration in a single gene could create the same basic mutation and expression of that mutation across individual clownfish species.  Now, we do know that Maroon Clowns are notrious for stripe abnormalities in cultivation anyway, so it’s definitely hard to say what is genetic and what is not.

Blue Zoo Funky PNG Maroon

A view of the right flank of the "Funky" PNG Maroon from Blue Zoo - courtesy Mark Martin, Blue Zoo Aquatics

At any rate, go grab that Funky Maroon for $39.95 at Blue Zoo, truly a steal –

There are more funky maroons like this coming out of PNG via SEASMART…everyone should remember the “Morse Code” Maroon I tried but lost to disease (mouth rot).  Mark Schreffler sent me some other great pics of fish they’re calling “Horned” Maroons…any of these could carry the secret to unlocking the Lighting Maroon mutation.  I’ll update this same post with images if/when I have the proper blessings from their authors!  Stay tuned….

And here they are!  All images below are copyright 2010 SEASMART, and may not be reused or reproduced in any fashion without the written consent of SEASMART!

PNG SEASMART Horned Maroon Clownfish

A "Horned" Maroon Clownfish from PNG - copyright 2010 SEASMART

PNG SEASMART Horned Maroon Clownfish

A "Horned" Maroon Clownfish from PNG - copyright 2010 SEASMART

PNG SEASMART Horned Maroon Clownfish

A "Horned" Maroon Clownfish from PNG - copyright 2010 SEASMART

PNG SEASMART Stripeless or Naked Maroon Clownfish

A "Stripeless", or "Naked" Maroon Clownfish from PNG - copyright 2010 SEASMART

Thanks again to Mark Schreffler & SEASMART for allowing me to share these images with the readers of The Lightning Project!

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…

I got news.  Good news.  No, REALLY good news, possibly GREAT news, from Mark Martin @ Blue Zoo Aquatics via email just a little while ago.  I called him to confirm it but had to leave him a voicemail.

I’m certainly not one to count my chickens, but I can’t help but be happy.  If all goes well, tomorrow, July 1st, is going to be a great day in The Lightning Project.  Talk about a way to end the month!  Stay tuned!

So good news!  The fine folks @ SEASMART and BLUE ZOO have more PNG Maroons for me, on their way from Fisherman’s Island! Amazing how a short chain of custody, with fish collected specifically to fill particular orders, can work to the hobbyist’s benefit.  I’m eager to see what arrives and to document it all.

But of course, things couldn’t go smoothly.  That’s just not the way.  Patience is key if you’re going to find the right time.

First, it was a snowstorm in Duluth MN in MAY. Yes, it SNOWED.  Mark Martin was all set to send ‘em, but a snowstorm isn’t really ideal for the fish to make it here safely.  Check it out!  No Joke!

It's snowing in Duluth, MN in MAY!

Yes...that's May 7th, 2010!

Of course, I figured probably, after the weekend, things would be better.  But Sunday night, my wife and I got the surprise of our lives.  Our baby was coming a full month early and there wasn’t gonna be any stopping it.  We didn’t know what we were having.  Monday morning, May 10th, 7:15 AM, Renee and I had our first child, a baby boy, coming in at 5 lbs, 5 oz., and 17″.  We named him Ethan Thomas Pedersen!

Ethan Thomas Pedersen

Ethan Thomas Pedersen, born 5-10-10

So…being premature (and missing having an obligatory stay at the NICU by a DAY), we’ve had a crazy week.   I instantly had to let Mark know that nothing could be shipped until further notice!  Everything fish-related has been in a holding pattern.  We’d been staying at the hospital day and night since he was born, and as recently as this afternoon, it was looking like he’d be there until Sunday at least.  Mostly, I just snuck in a couple times a day to take the dog out, feed the fish, and maybe a water change here and there.  But, a few hours ago, in what I can only describe as another stunning twist, they gave Ethan the green light to come home!

So finally we’re home, and life, while never returning to “normal” as I knew it, will still hopefully settle down a bit and we’ll get into a routine.  Part of that routine means being home and able to handle new fish when the arrive on my doorstep.  Mark has been waiting patiently, and currently, the 10-day forecast is showing daytime highs in the 70′s.  With no snow in sight, and me returning to work next week, the timing is finaly perfect for the newest ambassadors from Papua New Guinea (and SEASMART) to show up on my doorstep.  There will be fresh rounds of quarantine, and if all goes well, we could be back to pairing attempts in a few weeks!

In the meantime, the Lightning Maroon has settled in, enjoys his three Bubble Tip Anemones, and in every respect has adjusted to captive life.  It’s only a matter of time before the next chapter begins.

So, lacking anything else worthwhile that I could really do to help this fish along, I turned to the group of advisers. I had my own ideas, but when I approach this group of people, I’ve learned I may get better advice if I hold my own ideas back and simply come as a blank slate. Generally, what I’m looking for is one of two things. #1. Consensus among the adviser’s advice and/or #2. Confirmation of my own plans by seeing my own ideas show up independently from one or more of the advisers. Needless to say, the advisers often disagree, or offer their own twists on a general premise. Some say nothing unless inspired to action by something specific.

When it came time to bounce the latest twist off the advisers, Boomer was the only one who came back with straight up “here’s what I’d do”. It just so happens that on this one, Boomer happened to mention a lot of the same things I was already thinking.

In looking through my medication arsenal, I had a feeling that sooner or later, the Methylene Blue would be called upon. It is something I ordinarily keep on hand as it has MANY uses. Ironically, when I told Mark Martin to not worry, that I had a fully stocked medicine chest on hand, one of the first things that came up early on in this project was of course, Methylene Blue. And of course, it, along with Malachite Green, were nowhere to be found. My best guess is that when we moved from Chicago to Duluth, I must have tossed them out (probably not wanting to risk the leakage of MB and MG onto anything/everything we owned!).

Well, since realizing I didn’t have it, I picked it back up. Tonight, it got used. Lacking any other real antibiotic to throw at the eye infections on the female PNG Maroon, interim treatment with Methylene Blue seemed like something that at best, could not hurt. It may not HELP, but certainly would not hurt.

Given that the female is LOVING her RBTA, as well as the fact that MB would kill off the Caulerpa in the tank and likely any other algae grown, as well as some or all of the nitrifying bacteria, my decision was to apply MB as a dip. I honestly wanted a “longer” option, but Kordon’s dosage instructions were clear. If under “constant treatment”, dosing to 3 ppm MB is recommended. For a DIP however, the treatment is 50 ppm of MB for 10 SECONDS.

Honestly, 10 seconds seems like it’s too brief to really do anything, but lacking any other solid dosage alternatives (i.e. dose at X ppm for a 30 minute dip), I went with 50 ppm for 10 seconds.  In a nutshell, did the math to figure out how much Methylene Blue it’d take to get 50 ppm in 1 gallon of water (it turned out to be around 8.3 ml).  Measured out 1 gallon of water from the tank into a 5 gallon bucket.  Added the MB (did 8 ml).  Set aside another Quart of tank water for a RINSE to be used AFTER the dip.  Netted the fish off the RBTA and dipped it for 10 seconds (counted in my head).  Pulled the net out of the dip, and poured the rinse water over the fish (soas to keep MB from getting back into the tank) and returned the fish to the tank.

On the upside, this was a VERY quick procedure.  My understanding is that I can probably do this treatment twice daily.  Given that I may simply be UNABLE to get an alternative antibiotic tomorrow unless the Kanamycin shows up, I will probably do this dip again tomorrow.  If I do, I’ll take some pictures of the procedure.

Hoping to save her good eye…

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