The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged Morse Code Maroon Clownfish

A couple weeks ago Lorel Dandava-Oli posted a very interesting comment on The Lightning Project’s website.  Dandava happens to be a Marine Aquarium Fisheries Officer-National Fisheries Authority in PNG. Her husband, Darren Oli, is the proprietor of Paradise Aquariums, established in 2012, which is perhaps best described as a service company which provides aquarium installation and maintenance for commercial clients, mainly businesses and hotels in the area.

What caught my (and other’s) attention was when Dandava wrote in, “we’ve had several maroons coming in with similar patterns which I believe has the genetic trait to the lightning clown. Currently I have a mating pair with the similar patterns in my tank.”

Of course, I had to clamor and beg for images.  Dandava went through a lot of hassle to get us two cell phone images (no small feat coming out of PNG) and I’ve done my best to clean ‘em up and sharpen them so you can see the interesting wild White Stripes that are swimming in Dandava’s tank.

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After reviewing the images, this was my response to Lorel Dandava.

“The pair you have looks like a pairing of a traditional, default “wild type” 3-striped White Stripe Maroon Clownfish, typical for PNG.  The 2nd fish appears to be what some have called a “Lightning Precursor”..in my opinion this is probably one of the more intricate examples of the form that we’re currently calling “Morse Code” ( a mixture of dots and dashes) which are somewhat routinely found in PNG waters.  While we have seen some of these fish that at first glance look like they could have something “lightning” floating around in their genes, I think that’s a bit of wishful thinking.
Sadly, I think I can report that you probably won’t see any Lightning type offspring from this pair. The main reason I come to this conclusion is that Soren Hansen of Sea & Reef Aquaculture is breeding with similar wild-collected PNG “Morse Code” Maroons, and he does not get any Lightning progeny from that pairing.  He does, however, get more of the spotted and striped “Morse Code” phenotype.  I don’t know whether he has one, or two, Morse Codes paired together.
I don’t think Morse Code is directly related [to Lightning] – if it was, then I would have presumably seen either a) nothing but Morse Codes in the F1 generation, or b) all the non-lightning offspring I reared would have been morse codes.  Neither happened.
It is possible that this “Morse Code” may be yet a second genetic mutation found in PNG Maroon Clownfish, but we lack enough supportive data for that at the moment. However, we do see a similar type of striping and spotting in the Gold Stripe Maroon Clownfish from Sumatra, and that has proven to have some genetic component and is now produced by multiple parties in the trade and sold as “Goldflake”.  It would make sense to see the same basic aberration in these sister forms (I believe Gold Stripes are a distinct species, but currently they are considered the same as White Stripe Maroons).”
Of course, it bears repeating that most all of these thoughts is a hunch…none of us have done enough test matings, and collected enough data, to answer these genetic questions with certainty.  Meanwhile, we can say with some reasonable certainty that Dandava’s pair should produce a lot of interesting Morse-Code type maroons, and that in itself is of interest as we continue to unravel the genetic mysteries of PNG’s unique white stripe Maroon Clownfish.

 

Back in June, we (I, Blue Zoo Aquatics, and Sea & Reef Aquaculture) announced an unprecedented raffle contribution to the Marine Breeding Initiative (MBI) in recognition of the 5th Annual Marine Breeder’s Workshop, which is coming up quickly on July 19th, 2014, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. In short, Blue Zoo and I contributed one of my holdback Lightning Maroon Clownfish, Sea & Reef contributed two F1 Morse Code Maroons from unrelated PNG Bloodlines to get one to pair with the Lightning Maroon, and Blue Zoo Aquatics footing the bill to ship the resultant pair to the winner within the continental US after the workshop.

Well, the first hurdle has been seen, and passed. On Wed., June 18th, Soren Hansen of Sea & Reef Aquaculture shipped out two select Morse Code Maroons from Maine, to Duluth, MN. In a turn of events that I think has never happened to me before, poor weather somewhere along the route caused UPS to fail to deliver the package that Thursday. Soren and I were quite anxious to see what was in the box when it finally arrived on Friday, June 20th.

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My son, Ethan, was eager to see what was in the box too!

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The moment of truth – was it a box of dead fish, or had Soren’s packing stood up to the challenge imposed upon the fish?

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Yes, that was Soren just going 2 for 2, successfully shipping fish an extra day without issues. The fish were honestly a little stressed out from the extra time in the bags. Both were placed into a 5 gallon bucket with a fair dosing of ChloramX to neutralize ammonia, and then were drip acclimated to reside a cube that had, for months, held my White Stripe X White Stripe holdback pair.

Initially, I thought I might pair up the smaller one with the holdback Lightning Maroon (MWP3), so for the first few days it was given the freedom to explore the main tank.

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Meanwhile, the larger Morse Code Maroon was acting a bit jealously. Every time I walked up to the tank, this was what I saw.

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So, I switched things up, and allowed the larger one to be out and about, while placing the smaller one into isolation. Here’s the larger one…

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The best part? 24 hours after releasing the larger one, I allowed the Lightning (MWP3) to join him. So far…not a single bit of bickering whatsoever.

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They don’t sleep together yet, but they don’t bicker or fight and they are indifferent about each other’s presence. Therefore, it’s hard to say that they’re a bonded pair, but they are 100% on the road to more solid bonding in the days, weeks, and months ahead. So, barring any changes or unforeseen murders, this will be the pair of fish up for raffle at the MBI Workshop!

A look at the Lightning Maroon Clownfish available for purchase by a winning auction bid! 4 Auctions, 5 fish (including a PAIR) are available right now!

>>>>> BID NOW HERE  <<<<< 

Blue Zoo Aquatic’s eBay page has ALL active auctions

After that, a look at the 6 fish that remain for the Summer 2014 crop (after which, there won’t be any more to offer until fall or winter)!

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F1 PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish LM9 on eBay

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F1 PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish LM14 on eBay

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F1 PNG White Stripe Maroon WS13 on eBay

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F1 PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish BONDED PAIR, LM17 and LM18, on eBay

What’s left for summer 2014?  Not much, so start hatching your plans.

Still to come, includes 2 large White Stripes, 1 small White Stripe, 1 Large Lightning Maroon, 2 small Lightning Maroons.  So, again, plan appropriately! Still to be auctioned this summer (and probably very soon):

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F1 PNG White Stripe Maroon Clownfish WS4

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F1 PNG White Stripe Maroon Clownfish WS11

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F1 PNG White Stripe “Morse Code” Maroon Clownfish WS17

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F1 PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish LM14

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F1 PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish LM19

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F1 PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish LM20

 

 

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 www.MBIWorkshop.com  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 www.MBIWorkshop.com
Raffle tickets are only available at the workshop – MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN!

S&R-Morse-Code-Maroon Clownfish-Group First posted at Reef Builders on February 3rd, 2014.

Sea & Reef Aquaculture announced the release of their new PNG-lineage “Morse Code” Maroon Clownfish, Premnas biaculeatus. Lovers of the Lightning Maroon Clownfish, or for that matter any of the unusual Maroon Clownfish that came out of Papua New Guinea (PNG) from SEASMART or the later EcoAquariums PNG, will recognize these distinctive looking Maroon Clownfish.  There’s more to the story of course.

continue reading…

Friday, April 27, 2012.

I’ll keep this short and bittersweet. In the last 24 hours the Lightning Maroon has developed a pretty rapid spreading case of what appears to be mouth rot. You may recall a similar situation occurring with the Morse-Code Maroon, and that did not end well.

The biggest question is WTF – or more appropriately, WHY?! Did I introduce a pathogen from the Onyx Percula tank? It’s possible, but that group of fish has been disease free for who knows how long, and would qualify to be every bit as QT’d as the Lightning Maroon. PLUS, the Four Eye Butterflyfish that they reside with was taken from the Onyx Perc’s tank originally. So odds are that there was nothing new introduced.

Does it have something to do with the eggs? Could be. Could be that eating fungused eggs exposed the fish to elevated bacterial / fungal levels which in turn has led to infection. Or it could be the tile surface is somehow abrading the lips as they clean, and again opening a pathway to infection.

Or could it be something more sinister? If I’m blunt, perhaps the pop-eye I saw earlier on was not in fact a “bruise”, cauesed by mechanical damage, but was in fact an early warning sign for infection. If I really read some of the symptoms listed out, it actually sounds like a disease called Ichthyophonus hoferi, which is an internal fungal infection, with the exception being that the Lightning Maroon is not exhibiting any of the erratic behavioral symptoms.

However, this disease does most closely match the symptoms of classic mouth-rot, which is treatable with Erythromycin (one of the rarer ones). In fact, you can pick up a package of Maracyn SW and pretty much it deals with all of these symptoms. I keep it on hand, and I’ve found it to be very reef-safe, so without hesitation, I removed the carbon and dosed the tank today with the first dose of Maracyn SW. As of this evening, I have seen no improvement, and in fact, it does appear that the Lightning Maroon lost it’s appetite tonight. This is NOT GOOD.

I am toying with the notion of removing the egg tile. I’m looking at the Aiptasia in their vicinity and wondering if I need to eradicate those as well (haven’t caused any problems before, so why would they now…but maybe I still should). I am thinking of hitting both the Gram Positive AND Gram Negatives by including Maracyn II SW (Maracyn hits Gram Positive infections). I’m thinking about moving the fish into a well established QT tank. The options are endless, but it’s a situation like this where I hate being the fish vet, because the long-standing hobbyist in me has not seen a tremendous success rate in treating these types of infections. Of course, in the last 7 years, there has been only one other fish to have this issue…and that was another PNG Maroon. What are the odds?

All fish will die, that’s a given fact. But damnit, I will be really bummed if this is how the story of the Lightning Maroon comes to pass. And yeah, I’m really going WTF…this is the type of disease that really just should never happen in a clean, well maintained system. WTF?!

Saturday, April 28th

I half expected to wake up to a dead Lightning Maroon, but it wasn’t. It’s appetite was “not great”. So one of the big questions here is how to turn this around. I started medicating with Maracyn SW yesterday, but that only treats gram-positive bacterial infections. While the symptoms match up well with the symptoms of diseases Maracyn is supposed to treat, would it actually work?

And so, I embarked on a search for the companion product, Maracyn II SW. The active ingredient is Monocycline. I was 30 minutes into a 6 hour round trip to the only store in the Twin Cities that had the medication on hand (Ocean Devotion), when I got a call back from local reefer Frank Wotruba saying he had it on-hand. Shortly therafter, Jay Hansen also called saying he had it on hand. This is a great example of the benefits of being am actively participating member of a marine aquarium club.

I picked up a package of Maracyn II SW from Frank, and headed home. I had put in a call to Sentry AQ, the current manufacturers of Mardel aquarium medications, as I wanted to confirm that I could use Maracyn SW in conjunction with Maracyn II SW. The woman who I spoke with was kind, if not helpful, as the fish guy was out to lunch. I never did get a call back despite leaving my information, but later I found an acceptable answer on the website:

“Yes, Mardel Maracyn can be used in conjunction with almost all Mardel fish medications. The only exception would be Maracyn Plus. (We do not recommend using another antibiotic with Maracyn Plus.)”

This means that the two can be conjoined, and so, without delay, I added in the first dosage of Maracyn II for marine fish to the Lightning Maroon’s tank.  I think we’re looking at a pretty strong case to be made that both these anti-biotics are completely reef safe…although your water will glow yellow with the blue lighting.

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Once again I woke up expecting to find a dead Lightning Maroon. The spread of the mouth rot seems to have stopped, but there is definitely necrotic tissue breakdown happening. It is possible that even if I save the fish, it will loose at minimum the upper right maxillary. Thankfully that’s not a problem for a fish; they actually use maxillary clips in young salmonids to help with strain and year class identification in hatchery fish. Still, outwardly, things do not look any BETTER. Yes, I have contemplated surgery.

Knowing that Maracyn II SW treats gram negative bacteria, and knowing that will more likely impact biological filtration, I did a 10 gallon water change around noon.  The Onyx Perc eggs hatched overnight, and the fish overall are ignoring the tile.  I did use some Tropic Marin ElimAptasia to knock back the larger anemones…while the fish might be protected, I wonder if the infected area is getting stung by the Aiptasia and screwing up the healing process.  After this work, I dosed with both Maracyn SW and Maracyn II SW. So this is day 3 for Erythromycin, and day 2 for Monocycline.  And yes, looking back at the Morse Code Maroon now, I know I switched to this combination of medications after Kanamycin failed to give me any results.  If I am dealing with an internal fungal infection, particular the type that can be introduced through the feeding of raw fish (I have no clue what foods, if any that I have, contain raw fish), there is little I can do as far as my reading suggests.  Still, I may have to switch here and go to a hospital tank if what I’m doing at this point fails to work.  Yes, I am thinking of plan B now.

I truly have no clue how this will all turn out, and I am beyond frustrated. That said, I’m also completely confident that I’m doing the best I can with the materials I have, so there’s no burden of guilt here. Solely the stress of fighting off what could be the end of a 2 year effort to breed this magnificent fish.

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 – http://www.bluezooaquatics.com/productdetailcc.asp?did=11&cid=360&pid=8592

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!

…is that life has a way of giving you a nice smack in the face, aka a “reality check”.  The old phrase “don’t count your [clownfish] before they hatch”  seems to apply here.

I alluded to it at the end of my last post.  Yes, the “Morse Code” Maroon is having issues…it showed signs almost immediately and 24 hours in I made the decision to move it into another empty tank and begin treatment.  Not having the benefit of a laboratory, nor the luxury of a vet, I was forced to make a rapid guess and hope I was right.  Time this weekend has been nonexistent (a visit to see my best friend who lives in DC, then a car was hit on the street, and a family member was put under and had surgery today, doing well thank you) but I’ve at least been staying on feeding and treatment regimes.  Here’s where the Morse Code Maroon went…

So what exactly is wrong with the Morse Code Maroon?  I’m not 100% sure, but I did notice what looked like “rawness” on the mouth when the fish was released.  The pictures from that evening don’t really show it.  24 hours in, the mouth had turned gray and was showing signs of erosion, and so, the fish was moved.  Here’s what I was looking at.

For the moment, I’ll just use the generic term “Mouth Rot”, which really describes only a symptom, something that could be caused by a myriad of possible vectors.  As I stated earlier, not having a lot of time to diagnose and collaborate on this one, I went with Kanamycin, which I had on hand from the “lost shipment” when I was trying to switch antibiotics on the original female PNG Maroon.  As an “shotgun approach” antibiotic, it was the recommendation of at least a couple of the project advisors earlier on.  I figured, why not?  Christine Williams and Boomer both definitely preferred it over my personal default, Erythromycin.  Seems that Kanamycin is not that easy to find, but this is the one I’m using, from FishyFarmacy.com.

Today, I have to say I’ve not seen any signs of improvement.  No, things appear to have gotten worse.  Let the pictures speak for themselves:

Add on stringy feces, decreased activity, and the possibility of Brooklynella showing up (can’t say yet) and this fish is arguably going downhill fast.  Tonight is the 4th of 5 scheduled doses of Kanamycin.  I’m going to do it, but if time permits over the next 24 hours I’m going to solicit for opinions and do the researching I can do.  Need to turn this fish around, FAST!  I have a feeling I’ll be switching medications tomorrow.

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