The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged offspring

Finally, some risk is diversified again.  The second of 3 locally-planned backup pairs is out of the house, this time going to Frank (who you may remember contributed the massive “Labrador” Maroon Clown to this project way back in the day).  Frank is an aquarist who’s in it for the long haul, so you know this pair of clowns is in GOOD hands.

The pair I sent home with Frank has lived together for months now…obviously far too young to be an actual pair, but the point is that they shared an 8 X 8 X 8 inch cubicle without killing each other.  The Lightning in the pair really is a nice fish, but the standard striped sibling is a pretty horrendous example and were it NOT for the fact that it’s progeny of the Lightning Maroon, would have long since been culled.  Still, it shows some of the classic “Horned Maroon Clownfish” patterning seen in the occasional aberrant wild Maroon Clowns from PNG .  Of course, it’s hard to know how many of the physical disappointments I’m seeing are the result of either fighting or general rearing mishaps, but I suspect THAT over genetic issues at this point in time.  I took the last few minutes before bagging them up to snap a handful of good shots.

Yes, here it is, has been too long.  With each passing day I am evermore convinced that my hypothesis about the Lightning pattern development is correct. The “lightning maroon clownfish pattern development” photo series post has been updated as well. This is what the Lightnings are looking like now.

This is the pair I’m holding onto to make a “Lightning” X “Lightning” pairing ;)  Time to start feeding the one on the right twice as often as the one on the left so that 6 months from now, the one on the right is twice as big!

The left fish; future male.

The right fish; future female.

The most interesting thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve made no difference in care other than temperature and lighting; the large group in growout has been at warmer temps and has grown significantly larger and faster.  However, under only ambient lighting and in a group setting, they’ve not developed the intensity of color that these isolated specimens have.  I’m bringing on the lights to get these fish ready for sale!

 

Lightning Maroon Clownfish - Copyright Matt Pedersen 2012Last Wednesday, December 5th, I was surprised and saddened to find a few dead Lightning Maroons in the larviculture system.  The mortalities were restricted specifically to the large aggregate group.  Many of you may be aware that Maroon clownfish are notoriously nasty to each other, so much so that some breeders have said that in white strip variants (which would include our Lightning Maroons) they can rear hundreds of fish and find only FIVE that are sellable. I had been planning for months now to segregate all the fish into individual containers, but each time I look at the fish, they seem happy, and the damage to their fins is less and less noticable.  In other words, up until December 5th, the fish themselves had given me no reason to separate them!

Well, the losses could have been from aggression, or they could have been from too many fish being in the same amount of space.   Perhaps the flow of water into their tank had been disrupted for a time.  Ultimately, I’m simply not sure what caused the losses.  One of the most interesting things I’ve noticed about the Lightning Maroons growing out is that the ones kept together have grown FASTER than the fish I separated out into individual containers.  The ones kept together are also more bold and outgoing.

Since I have a massive 200 gallon+ growout system here, designed specifically to grow fish out, I opted to MOVE all the Lightning Maroon offspring together into a 33 gallon breeder on the system.  I took this opportunity to do a headcount – of course now I cannot remember, but I think within the group, I counted around 48 fish (keep in mind I’ve given away 2 so far, and I fond out I missed 3 in the bucket, plus I have 14 in the cube runs, and I lost at least 3 + I had one jump along the way).  So my guestimate of 60-70 fish may have been very close.

At this point, the fish are getting “big”.  I had hoped to be selling some at this point, but we simply haven’t gotten there yet and holiday shipping traffic means that it is exceptionally risky to ship fish this time of year.  Better to wait.  So at this point, we probably won’t be selling any of these until after the first of the year.  Honestly, I’d LOVE to send them out sooner, but it’s just not in the cards!

In the meantime, you can enjoy some new photos!

First, some shots of my favorite and a bonus shot of one of the “runty” ones.

Lightning Maroon Clownfish - Copyright Matt Pedersen 2012

Lightning Maroon Clownfish - Copyright Matt Pedersen 2012

Lightning Maroon Clownfish - Copyright Matt Pedersen 2012

Lightning Maroon Clownfish - Copyright Matt Pedersen 2012

I’ve also gone back and updated the “month by month” progression post showing the pattern development on my favorite one.

And finally, some shots of the group of juveniles in the growout system…it has a bit of a cloudy water issue, which is odd because it has a massive skimmer and a sock filter…I’m thinking it’s biopellet related and make take it offline to see if that remedies the situation. If not, water changes are in the forecast!

Lightning Maroon Clownfish - Copyright Matt Pedersen 2012

Lightning Maroon Clownfish - Copyright Matt Pedersen 2012

Lightning Maroon Clownfish - Copyright Matt Pedersen 2012

Lightning Maroon Clownfish - Copyright Matt Pedersen 2012

You missed a lot of Lightning Maroon Clownfish news!  Of course, the “news” can be summed up in pictorial form.

8-15-2012

9-5-2012

’9-13-2012

9-27-2012


At this point, the fish are around 1″ total length…maybe a hair more on the largest.  Still quite small.  Not every fish is perfect – in fact, I’m pretty unhappy with how the majority turned out…will be a fair number of culls I think.  Still, a lot of good genetic material is on hand to play with!  I also divulged my basic plan for the offspring at MACNA, so here goes:

Approximately 3 pairs will be held back for my personal breeding efforts.  3 pairs will go to local breeders.  Culls will be offered to established commercial breeding operations for genetic material to work with (the assumption here being that culls were the product of the environment and fighting, hopefully not genetic issues).  The remaining top tier fish will be sold at retail, probably at auction, to the general public.  My anticipation is that there will be maybe 30-40 fish at most to offer, which translates to only 15-20 Lightnings max.  Once again, time to start saving your pennies (and hundred dollar bills).

So we’ve all but forgotten about the original Lightning Maroon, so I figured it was time to first step back and see how she’s faring.  Sadly, the Baytril-laced feeds do not appear to have had any effect.  About 18 days ago, we switched from the Repashy Gel to soaking Spectrum Thera Pellets with 0.05 ML of the injectable Baytril and approximately 0.15 ML of Brightwell’s MaxAmino, which seems to encourage a highly strong feeding response and probably serves to mask the flavor of the antibiotic.  This got us back on track from a dosing standpoint; while there were a few days where the fish completely refused food (generally on days where I’ve scraped the algae off the glass), most days see better than 90% being consumed.  Despite this success in treating, the Lightning Maroon has had more pop eye, more recurring mouth problems, and is currently showing signs of both mouth and fin rot.  There is little more demotivating than this.

Still, the babies are doing great, although there is a widening size disparity which seems to correlate to how aggressive and dominating a baby can be.  I pulled out two specimens to photograph today, and they somewhat show the extremes of the range.  This also happens to be, at least in the Lightning side, one of the individuals showing the heaviest white coverage, with the headstripe connected to the midstripe and the midstripe to the tailstripe, on both sides.  This is a 1/4 gallon (small) specimen cup (to give you a frame of reference).  Sadly, it appears as though the pelvic fins may have already been badly damaged in the fighting of the offspring…I have dozens of breeder nets on hand now to implement plans to start separating out these fish.

More photos, these from 7-27-2012:

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

The next batch of images, these from 7-20-2012:

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 Offspring

The next batch of photos from a day later, on 7-18-2012:

Lightning Maroon Clownfish, F1 Offspring / Babies

Lightning Maroon Clownfish, F1 Offspring / Babies

Lightning Maroon Clownfish, F1 Offspring / Babies

Lightning Maroon Clownfish, F1 Offspring / Babies

Lightning Maroon Clownfish, F1 Offspring / Babies

Lightning Maroon Clownfish, F1 Offspring / Babies

Lightning Maroon Clownfish, F1 Offspring / Babies

Lightning Maroon Clownfish, F1 Offspring / Babies

So I’ve been busy, nothing else really to it, just busy.  I’ve been remiss in posting up some photos of the Lightning Maroon Clownfish offspring as they’ve been developing.  I’ll be posting up  a large collection of shots from the past couple weeks, and we’ll start with:

7-17-2012

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish F1 offspring

Settlement is almost done…a few stragglers tonight, just before midnight on 7/9/2012.  You caught a glimpse of this expanded photo set earlier this morning @ ReefBuilders.

I have to pull my thoughts together to post up some very important information about possible genetics (granted, it is all premature…what looks “odd” at this point could totally vanish as the fish grow up). We all must wait and see. But maybe, just *maybe*, it’s time to start making routine deposits in a separate account that your wife/girlfriend/parents/husband/boyfriend doesn’t know about. This may all now be simply about how fast I can grow them up, and how good a job I can do at ensuring they don’t kill each other.

 

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