The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged pairing

First, a bit of mythbusting – someone, somewhere, started some rumor that I had lost one or both of my lightning maroon clownfish pairs.  I heard about this from multiple people in early February, but never could pin down the source. Simply put, nothing could be further from the truth.  That said, there hasn’t been any production as of late…here’s why:

So nothing has been going on with the original Wild Lightning X White Stripe pair…they’re just sitting in their tank, not breeding.  I’m trying to figure out why, and here’s what I can come up with. First, when I put all the fish in the fishroom on a prophylactic course of Spectrum’s Ick-Sheild pellet, a Chloroquin-laced food, it shut down ALL my breeding pairs.  That said, most of my breeder pairs have returned to breeding…except the Lightning pair.  They had a few bad clutches and then just stopped.

Next, I had run out of their normal staple diet, Spectrum Thera-A.  So the fish were switched over primarily to feeds like Ocean Nutrition’s Formula One and Formula Two pellet as the daily staple.  Could a dietary switch account for failing spawns?  Perhaps.

Additionally, I noted tank temperatures were slightly down.  Instead of running around 80-82F, they look more like the 78F range lately.  I’m not exactly sure why this is, as I haven’t changed my room temperature nor have I adjusted their heater in any way.  Unless…unless their heater has failed and the tank is now just going down closer to the fishroom ambient temp.  I’ll have to investigate this.

Finally though, I noticed that my lights are coming on very late in the day; so I think my photoperiod is messed up and might be shorter on the tank. In fact, that seems like a logical explanation; we’re in winter, so ambient light cycles are reduced, and the length of day may be reduced as well.  In short, I may have to restore a longer photoperiod, restore warmer temps, ramp up foods and feedings, and hopefully see the pair return to active spawning.  But perhaps it’s good to give the fish a “winter break”…constant spawning certainly must take a toll on our marine fishes.

On the other front, the Lightning X Lightning pair hasn’t been spawning either, but I know why.  As readers may recall, I separated them on January 5th as the pair bond had deteriorated.  I chose to separate the female, isolating her in a breeder box from Florida Aqua Farms.  She remained in isolation for a solid 6+ weeks while the male recovered from his injuries.  Yesterday, 2-18-2015, I added her back into the main tank and watched.  At first, the male attacked her…she took it for about 1 minute, then grabbed the male by the pectoral fin, flipped him upside down, and simply held on while he struggled.  I thought for sure this was the end, but a little while later the pair was found cohabitating peacefully. 24 hours later, the pair remains in good shape, not a nick or scrape or torn fin on either fish.  This is not the first time that a “female time out” has proven to be a helpful factor in curbing excessive female aggression in my maroon clownfish pairing and breeding. I’d encourage people to keep this trick in mind with their own fishes.

Spawn #47 didn’t go anywhere and was gone after a few days. Spawn #48 was laid on 1/3/2014 by the wild Lightning X White Stripe Maroon Clownfish pair. It was a weak spawn, scattered, not a quality nest.  It certainly seems that putting the fish onto Ick Shield set them off their game.

Meanwhile, the Lightning X Lightning pair is just continuing to be in a funk. They’re not getting along, constantly bickering. This from a proven pair.  Today I found the male pretty beat up, and the female’s spiney dorsal fin is swollen and appears infected.  My plan is to at minimum segregate the pair, and possibly to move them into different quarters as well.

I left for Reef Currents this past weekend in Houston, hosted by MARSH, and well, it was the typical dice roll of being a speaker…some things will be fine, and some things just won’t work out.  BTW, it was a great event – thanks for having me guys!

Spawn #24 never really hatched.  Despite being pulled after 6 days, there was nothing hatched Thursday morning before I left.  Friday, Mike had seen 1 or 2 larvae hatch, but the rest were still tightly held in their eggs.  Come Saturday, still no hatch, and come Sunday the eggs were definitely dead. So what did I do wrong?  Was it the use of completely new saltwater?  Insufficient aeration from the wooden air stone?  The fact that I didn’t sanitize the eggs with H2O2.  Incidentally, I spent part of the weekend with my friend Mike Hoang, who some readers may remember as the guy with the Gold Flake Maroons down in Houston…before ORA isolated theirs but after Sustainable Aquatics created and applied the name to theirs. I bring Mike up, because he actually breeds a lot of clownfish and has many tricks he’s very willing to share; one of the things he mentioned is that if he has a failed hatch, he does an H2O2 dip and then finds he has a hatch after wards.  So maybe there is something mechanical at play here; either heavier agitation is needed, or the H2O2 dip helps soften / break down the outer membrane of the egg, facilitating hatching (which normally might be facilitated by the parental clownfish biting on or otherwise roughly agitating the eggs).  All speculation…

I returned home Sunday to also find Spawn #25 had been put down.  Mike failed to mention that, so I’m not sure whether he noticed it or not (I’ve sent him an email to ask).  Based solely on how they looked when I saw them, I’m guessing they were laid on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014.  At least I get yet another chance.

The Lightning Maroon “holdback pair” is finally a true pair.  It wound up taking 4 separate introductions for the pairing to stick; the last time I introduced the larger female to the male was on Wednesday afternoon, and what I saw that suggested things would go different was a lack of fighting and a more conciliatory demeanor from the male.  Lots of cheek biting / nibbling by the male any time the female would lunge at him, and that nuzzling / nipping / biting behavior would quickly diffuse the larger fishes aggression.  Come morning there were no split fins, and the pair was spending considerable time together.  I took a calculated risk, and left them together while gone, with everyone knowing what to do and what warning signs should be watched for.  It’s been 5 days now, and they share a small bubble tip anemone.  Looks like this pairing is going to stick.

Sorry for the lack of photos…I’m simply too backlogged to do anything with them.  And besides, seen one clownfish nest, you’ve seen ‘em all.

Did anyone see the outrageous “Peace Keeper” Gold Stripe Maroons?  If not, go check ‘em out on ReefBuilders.

 

It’s been a busy January here, with my trip to Cleveland to give some well-received talks at C-SEA followed by a grueling week of fishroom preparation in advance of Reef Builder’s world-reknowned Jake Adams dropping by for a surprise visit and a bit of Q&A at the Lake Superior Marine Aquarium Club’s winter / holiday / new year bash. Of course, the Lightning Maroon breeding and rearing doesn’t stop because life gets in the way, but you better believe the online posts can sometimes drop in priority!

Spawn #20 has progressed, but not without hiccups. You may recall I split this batch between the 10 gallon tank and a 15 gallon BRT (black round tub), earlier this month. This proved to be a wise move. More on that in a second, but I found it extremely interesting to note that the larvae which were moved to the BRT under 24 hour light grew faster and underwent metamorphosis sooner…3-4 days sooner, than the ones left in the 10 gallon tank (which by default gets around an 8 hour dark period).  Just before my trip to Cleveland, I took this shot of the babies in the BRT:

Spawn #20 in the BRT, post metamorphosis, already easily discernable as white stripes or lightnings.

Spawn #20 in the BRT, post metamorphosis, already easily discernable as white stripes or lightnings.

During my time at C-SEA, my good friend and fellow clownfish breeder Mike Doty (you may recall he helped hatch and rear the very first Lightnings) was keeping an eye on the fishroom. For no reason, somewhere around the 17th or so, the babies in the 10 gallon just died. Mike can’t explain it, I can’t explain it. We’ve seen this happen before.

Meanwhile the ones in the BRT fared better, but there still have been losses. During one of Mike’s stop overs, he found 7 dead.  This photograph from 1-27-2014:

Lightning Maroon Clownfish Spawn #20 at 1/27/2014

Lightning Maroon Clownfish Spawn #20 at 1/27/2014

Most recently, on the 28th I started a water change, which normally is done with a very slow siphon into a 5 gallon bucket, the intake being placed so that it won’t drain the tank completely. Well…I didn’t have it really clamped down, and so it drained the BRT ompletely. Those babies which were still in a couple mm of water survived the 99.9% water change, but those that were in shallower water – damp, but not submerged – were dead. 21 lost totally due to a preventable accident. The upside is that the fish took a very traumatic, near 100% water change, and yet survived.

Victims of a water change gone awry.  Totally my fault.  Very frustrated over it, but moving on...

Victims of a water change gone awry. Totally my fault. Very frustrated over it, but moving on…

I’m guesstimating another 20-30 still alive. Either way, that shows you the losses through attrition that happen as these fish grow up – I stocked the BRT with 140 larvae.

Spawn #21 – I left Spawn #21 more or less in the hands of Mike to hatch…a handful of offspring had hatched out on the morning of the 17th (pulling the nest on the 16th was 7 days post spawn), and later that afternoon I had to depart for Cleveland. Unfortunately, the tile fell overnight, so come the 18th, instead of Mike finding a bunch of larvae hatched out, he came over to find a dead nest.

The few offspring that did make it from Spawn #21 underwent metamorphosis during Jake’s visit; it was pretty clear to see which were lightnings vs. not by Saturday night (the 25th)….this seems to be a pretty fast time to metamorphosis.  My headcount on offspring from this batch is somewhere around 4-6 post settlement…another very small run.  This photo also from 1/27/2014:

A couple of the survivors in Spawn #21, photographed 1/27/2014

A couple of the survivors in Spawn #21, photographed 1/27/2014

Spawn #22 – on the afternoon of 1/20/2014, the 22nd clutch of eggs was put down by the Lightning Maroon and her mate. Paying a close attention to things, I knew I could be pulling them as early as 6 days post spawn…so 21,22,23,24,24, evening of the 26th being 6 days on. Well, I took a gamble, left a little more ambient room light falling on the eggs, and found that on the morning of the 27th, we still had a nice, solid nest. Come the evening of the 27th, I pulled the tile along with 5 gallons of broodstock water and 5 gallons of new saltwater, and set them up with a wooden airstone incubation. I used a second tile to prevent the tile from falling, as well as to help weigh down and position the wooden airstone under the eggs. (I found my wooden airstones from eBay seller hoolko, who happened to be mentioned on Reef Builders a while back).

Spawn #22 set up and ready for hatching in a 10 gallon tank.

Spawn #22 set up and ready for hatching in a 10 gallon tank.  Note the larvae already hatched!

Within minutes of transferring the nest, I had a few larvae hatch, still in full light.

Newly hatched Lightning Maroon Clownfish offspring swims next to the Seachem Ammonia Alert Badge....

Newly hatched Lightning Maroon Clownfish offspring swims next to the Seachem Ammonia Alert Badge….

I left things go, not feeding or anything else. By the morning of January 28th, I had a few dozen larvae in the tank, but the bulk of the eggs remained unhatched. I weighed my options a bit, and ultimately decided to introduce some rotifers (about 2 gallons worth) but refrained from adding any phytoplantkon. I thought maybe I’d have more hatches later in the day, but come nightfall, nothing had happened. Would this be a botched hatch?

Apparently yes and no. This morning (the 29th) several hundred larvae were present in the tank, but many many more dead eggs were on the bottom. Most of the larvae held tightly to the black back wall of the 10 gallon tank.

Spawn #22 after the large hatch, before cleanup.

Spawn #22 after the large hatch, before cleanup.

I took the opportunity to first siphon off all the dead eggs (and dead larvae) on the bottom before tinting the tank with 50 drops of RotiGreen Omega.

Spawn #22 after cleaning up the larval tank.

Spawn #22 after cleaning up the larval tank.

I gave the rotifers their morning feeding of RotiGrow Plus, and later this evening they’ll get the next infusion of rotifers. I’m thinking I will once again work on a system of water changes, lowering salinity, and 24 hour lighting, to grow this batch, and as I discovered, I will once again at minimum split the batch early on.

The Holdback F1 Lightning Maroon Clownfish Pair

So I finally pulled the trigger on pairing up my holdbacks.  The Ecoxotic cube had been up and running for a while with a single holdback Lightning in it, so I swapped the fish and simply added in my Lightnings as a pair (they had formerly been neighbors, side by side) on 1/21/2014.

Initially, things went very well.  Here’s some video the day after, 1/22/2014.

Unfortunately, things didn’t continue down this blissful path.  A few days later, the larger fish turned on the smaller fish, damaging a few fins and forcing me to segregate the fish around 1/25/2014.  Currently, it is the larger, “future female” Lightning Maroon who resides in a drilled specimen cup.

Future pair of F1 Lightning Maroon Clownfish

Future pair of F1 Lightning Maroon Clownfish

The Holdback White Stripe Maroon F1 Pair

I should mention that somewhere in January I shuffled some fish around and introduced my two F1 PNG White Stripe holdbacks to each other as well.  The pairing has gone so-so.  They are not paired, but they continue to share their tank, the smaller fish cowering in a protected area but not otherwise excessively abused.  I’ll try to snag some photos at some point.  This will be a very important pairing to breed, as it will help definitively answer the question as to whether the “white stripe” siblings carry any special genetics (and it will prove or disprove the presence of a recessive Lightning gene).

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 AquaBid.com).  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”).

So last week I was busy busy busy; wrapping up the Banggai Recue Book and off to the MBI workshop.  Sometime last week, in the chaos, the Lightning Maroon pair spawned, a nice big nest in their new tile home.

Of course, chaos this week continued, another book to edit, another freelance gig, and when I went to pull the nest on the anticipated hatch night, it was GONE. @!#%!#!#%!

In other news, during the chaos last week Reefs.com gave us a first look at the two Lightning Maroons, BZLM1 and BZLM2, on a pay date.  It will be very interesting to see how pairing goes for these two…we’re several months away from stability in my opinion.  Case in point, watch the smaller fish (destined to be male).  Those are submissive shakes – those are TAILBEATS…an aggressive behavior designed to attempt to knock your opponent off balance.  Here’s the video, and for more, check out the Lightning Maroon Playdate on Reefs.com.

So the suspicions are true, these two Lightning Maroons are destined to become a pair!

The story was published moments ago on Reefs.com - details are being kept quiet, but according to Reefs.com, the purchaser’s plans are to “keep the fish in their 120 gallon tank as the centerpiece of their show tank.  The buyer was not specifically interested in breeding them, but if they do decide to mate the eggs will be transferred to the Long Island Aquarium and raised by Todd Gardner and Joe Yaiullo.  We’ll have photos of the fish in their new home soon!”  Read the whole story at Reefs.com

As I posted on Facebook, to read that makes me very happy and proud. These fish found the perfect home in someone who “gets it”. “This is a total win for the fish – while concerns that “rare fish collectors” would snag them up and not see the light of day again, it sounds like the anonymous winning bidder totally gets it. I could not be more thrilled; the responsible decision to ensure their genetics are not sequestered is commendable. BRAVO!”

I’m looking forward to following this pair for years to come; the winning bidder certainly will have his/her work cut out in the pairing department as will ALL the winners with these fish.  Simply putting two siblings together will, in my experience, result with only one sibling.  Much as I did with the wild fish, it seems that forced size differentiation with ongoing screened social interaction is going to be what it takes to push two similarly sized fish into being a compatible pair.

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.

We are 110% on the right track. I know I alluded to the nest cleaning behavior here and other places, but today I caught it on camera. The Lightning Maroon was getting into it too, but the male PNG White Stripe Maroon Clown was doing the bulk of the substrate clearing. Of course, we know people who’ve had clownfish pairs do this behavior for months, or even years. Still, based solely on my clown pairs, you don’t see the female doing any of this unless she’s actually in the mood. I didn’t catch the Lighting Maroon doing any cleaning – I think my getting closer to the tank this evening kinda put “her” off. This is at least the third time I’ve seen them both going at it around the 6:00 PM hour…normally right when we’re having dinner. At any rate, enjoy the videos!

Forgive my wife’s laughing at the start of this one – our son was tasting lemonade for the first time and we’re pretty sure, based on the hysterical facial contortions he was making, it’s a love-hate relationship.

If you’ve been paying attention to the pairing experiments and attempts I made with the PNG Maroon pairs (the Lightning + White Stripe Pair and the other normal PNG WS pair) you’ll recall that in both cases, I kept the males in small isolated chambers within the larger female’s tank for several months, and yet each time, introduction of the male would ultimately result in malevolent rejection of the male by the female.  Eventually, through suggestions including a particularly interesting one from Mitch May, I wound up getting both pairs to work.  In part, I attribute this to a “role reversal”, what I’m calling the female flip, wherein for a short period of time, I allowed the “male” fish full access to the tank, while the “female” can only sit and watch.  In both cases, the change to this technique for only a few days or a week (I can’t remember…I’d have to look back) resulted in pairs that while initially appearing shaky, are now solidly bonded pairs.

You may also recall that I had many other Maroon Clowns on site.  Well, the Gold Stripe Maroon pair spawned in the last week but it was a small nest that disappeared quite quickly.  I’m guessing that this may have been the first spawn between the old female GSM (she was the one spawning with the PNG male that is now with the Lightning) and the Gold Stripe Male I had sent from the west coast.  Regardless, that pairing was a breeze.  One of the other normal White Stripe Pairs was sold off this week, and I still have one other I’m trying to find a home for as well now that they’ve served their purpose in the project.  Meanwhile, the Labrador Maroon, Frank’s big ‘ole Maroon, remained unpaired as it was, for a long time, the fish being used to keep the Lightning Maroon a male.  All attempts to pair the Labrador with a medium sized white stripe have failed.

Now, it’s important to note that these fish have now been in contact for maybe a couple months or more, the smaller of the two was given to me by a hobbyist who had tried to use it as the “female” in a pair (the failed “male” in that failed pairing is now mated with the larger Maroon that Debbie from the Twin Cites contributed).  So maybe it’s too late, maybe this “female” is actually a female, and thus, will continue to be rejected by the Labrador?  You might think that until you watched how desperately the smaller maroon acts out the male behaviors and wants to be with the Labrador.  Well, the Labrador is having none of this.

The other evening I tried a normal introduction, releasing the smaller fish into the main tank.  It instantly dove to the flower pot occupied by the Labrador Maroon and started doing submissive twitching an the cheek kissing that seems to be the normal behavior for a Maroon Clownfish who’s trying to appease a potential mate.  Well, 1.5 minutes in, the little maroon was shredded, and yet it was STILL trying desperately to be with the Labrador.

So I quickly pulled out a 4 gallon drum style fishbowl…I had these on hand for use as kriesels back when I was breeding Harlequin Filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris).  I threw it in the tank, put the Labrador Maroon in it, and got it rigged up so that there is some water flow but the big Maroon is trapped.  This will be yet another test of the “female flip”…will a week of isolation like this temper the Labrador’s mean streak and allow these two Maroon clowns to be finally firmly paired up?

Here’s video of how it’s going a day in.

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