The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged Reed Mariculture

I let Jake Adams break the news on ReefBuilders, sending him shots in the late/earlier hours (depends on your frame of mind).  I’m quoting an excerpt from Jake’s great writeup from ReefBuilders here, because he really presents an objective view.

Even though the maroon lighting maroon clownfish was paired with a related Premnas biaculeatus from Papua New Guinea, we don’t think anyone really expected to see expressions of the lightning pattern in the first generation of the lightning maroon’s offspring. All observers of the lightning maroon project who know anything about mendelian genetics realistically thought that we might see some traces of the lightning pattern in the second, F2 generation of lightning maroon clownfish once they were back-crossed with each other a bit. However, for Matt to observe the lightning pattern in his very first batch of offspring from a half-cross of lightning maroon but full cross of PNG maroons clownfish must be very encouraging…

Since my last update, I DID opt to start feeding brine shrimp nauplii.  They are being rinsed well.  I’m using 16 month out-of-date decapsulate eggs from SeahorseSource.com / Dan Underwood, and they’re still hatching great (I keep them stored in my fridge).  I’m doing daily water changes, occasionally siphoning the bottom, and I’ve been using nothing but Marine Environment salt by AquaCraft (thanks Mike Del Prete – who contributed enough salt to last me and the Banggai Rescue project years).  I also started offering the APBreed TDO A1, as well as older Otohime A I had on hand from Reed Mariculture.  I cut way back on the RotiGreen Nanno I was adding; basically just 10 drops or so once or twice per day, just to keep the rotifers in there from dying en-masse.  I am currently trying to weed them out.

These photos (and the video at the bottom) were shot after midnight, so technically this morning (7-9-2012, but almost 24 hours ago now).  This puts these larvae/juveniles at 10 days post hatch, and most have gone through settlement. I have included multiple variations / crops / zooms of most photos so you can get a sense of scale and overall view, as well as the maximum zoom I could give you.

MORE TO COME….

I am still owing the world a full post, but in the interest if simply keeping you all relatively updated, here’s some short tidbits.

Based on an egg photo count, there was 310 eggs on the tile and all hatched.  There have been some larval losses, but that is to be expected.  Mike Doty did an excellent job watching the babies in my absence – plenty of live larvae when I returned from Boston this past Sunday, July 1st.

Since returning, larval maintenance has been a study routine of upping the water volume with drips of pre-mixed saltwater (for those who will ask, I am currently using AquaCraft’s Marine Environment – they donated a palette of it for Banggai-Rescue).  The SG is probably running around 1.021.  I am using Reed Maricultures RotiGrow Plus to culture my rotifers, and using their RotiGreen Nanno for greenwater (I may have preferred the Omega variant, but Nanno is what I had on hand).  I’ve been dosing RotiGreen and CloramX (a solution mixed from the powder) at roughly a 2:1 ratio, and averaging 30 drops twice a day now on the BRT. I have been harvesting up to 4 gallons of rotifer cultures daily (2 in the AM, 2 in the PM) to keep rotifer levels up.  As of tonight, we are at basically 6 full days post hatch, so I introduced the larvae to their first taste of APBreed TDO (Top Dressed Otohime), Size A (smaller than the A1 I’m more normally accustomed to using).  All is going well with these larvae, and I look forward to settlement soon.

The Lightning Maroon herself continues to be a problem…the Foureye has been removed for a while now, the Maracyn + Maracyn II treatment was long since done yet low level bacterial problems persist, most recently some very light markings on the male’s face, and then I found what looked like an enlarged light area on the leading spines of the left pelvic fin.  These fish just can’t get a break.  I am continuing to work with Dr. Kizer on some alternate ideas, as we’re really ruling out all the normal causes at this point.  Me, I’m stumped.  Without diagonistics, I think it’s fair to say that Dr. Kizer can’t really offer any other insights either.  We may try yet another antibiotic course, another one dosed through the food, that seems to be where we’re heading.  But I’m also thinking I don’t want to overreact either, so most likely we will try to have the prescription-based feed on hand, ready, should another large-scale problem crop up.

So not sure how much I’ve conveyed, but the jist was that I had an artificial incubation hatch last night.

Black round tub, incubating the eggs.

Black round tub, incubating the eggs.

Once hatched, I tinted the water (about 5 gallons of broodstock water) green with Reed Mariculture’s RotiGreen Nanno (a frozen algae paste specifically made for use in greenwater technique).  It took about 20 drops.  I added 10 drops of Chloram-X (for ammonia control).  And I sieved 2 gallons of rotifers to innoculate the black round tub.

Greenwater Technique with Reed Mariculture's RotiGreen Nanno

Greenwater Technique with Reed Mariculture's RotiGreen Nanno

Lightning Maroon Clownfish Offspring

Lightning Maroon Clownfish Offspring

Mike Doty came over to check everything out, as he is in charge from now until my return from the Boston club’s event where I’m speaking this weekend.

Blame this guy!  Just Kidding! - Mike Doty, Maroon Clownfish Breeder and custodian of Lightning Maroon clownfish fry in my absence.

Blame this guy if it doesn't work! Just Kidding! - Mike Doty, Maroon Clownfish Breeder and custodian of Lightning Maroon clownfish fry in my absence.

As of noon today, there are likely a couple hundred baby clownfish zooming around.  A quick check of the water showed that rotifer densities were already quite minimal, so another 3 gallons of sieved rotifers were added.

And that’s it – I’ll have to write this up more thoroughly sometime next week (assuming time permits).

It’s been a busy weekend and one that has left me with only questions and no real good explanations!

Friday – following my last update in the afternoon, I went back down and was shocked with what I saw.  So much so, that only video can truly convey what surprised me.

For the record, I did NOT introduce the Lightning Maroon into the female’s side of their tank. He, and I say now safely “HE”, either jumped the egg crate or somehow managed to squeeze around it. SINCE Friday afternoon, he has not left her side. I will tell you now that I was totally shocked and surprised to see this. I didn’t do this. But I have not intervened. Clearly this is what the Lighting Maroon WANTED. Possibly a sign from above? Hard to say. But who am I to argue. If the Lightning Maroon wants to be with the female so badly that he’ll bypass the barriers to interaction (and the safety afforded to him), I will not interfere. In other words, despite my best efforts to keep the Lighting Maroon safe from the female PNG Maroon, they have gotten together without incident. To me, this behavioral change, this unintended pairing, and the fact that it has gone so smoothly, solidly answers the sex question (short of actual egg fertilization). I think everyone who felt that the Lighting Maroon was a male at the time of collection was right.

I have continued on my treatment paths…you don’t stop medication the moment your symptoms go away, you need to follow things through. That means that they got a water change on Friday night, followed by 2 drops of Vitamin C. Saturday morning, a dose of Maracyn SW and 8 drops of Vitamin C. In the evening, another 5 gallon water change, 2 drops of Vitamin C to make up for what may have been removed. Sunday morning, again, a dosing of Maracyn SW. I was in such a hurry this morning I don’t think I dosed any Vitamin C.

Technically, the tank was due for another Formalin dosage today. I honestly think I’ve hit things as hard as I can with Formalin. The last dosage of Formalin seemed to irritate the fish, so in a potentially risky move, I am not going to dose the tank with Formalin anymore. It truly did wreak havoc on the live rock and the overall water quality from a bacterial standpoint.

It’s also been a extra day since the last “formalin dip” on the Female. She went through more dips than was prescribed. I still have not seen her eat anything, while the PNG Lightning Maroon Clown eats anything that hits the water. I get the impression that the female PNG Maroon is very nervous about me being around, and she may in fact be eating when I’m not watching. Hard to tell. I’ve been feeding live adult brine shrimp from Mark Martin @ Blue Zoo, which I continue to enrich / feed with RotiGrow Plus from Reed Mariculture (Reef Nutrition). I am still considering doing a FW dip, possibly with Formalin, tonight. If I can see her eating something, anything, I will refrain from further dips. Knowing that refusing to eat is a symptom of both Brooklynella and Amyloodinium, and believing in my gut that I’ve dealt with both of these parasites in the past week, to NOT continue with dips (whether FW, Formalin or both) would be a risky move. If the fish is eating, there goes the only remaining “outwardly apparent” symptom of Brook or Velvet. I would be very relieved if she would just eat already.

And that’s the update. This evening, other than the female still not eating as far as I can tell, they are truly acting like a healthy bonded clownfish pair. I still have no concrete explanations for the female’s miraculous recovery. Certainly some divine intervention, and if folks want to call it a true miracle from God, I certainly believe in a higher power and yes, that thought has crossed my mind. Definitely a higher power out there. But religion aside, I am still a “scientist” and believe there is some scientific explanation. It may very well be what inspired me to hit the tank with Maracyn SW. IF the Maroon was suffering from an internal bacterial infection, one not readily apparent externally, then the rapid turnaround and loss of symptoms would make sense following the administration of antibiotics. This seems to be the most likely possibility, but the simple truth is that a) we’re not out of the woods with the female and b) we may never know what’s kept her alive this long.

So that’s my update.

I took a quick break from work to go look and feed the fish downstairs.  To my true surprise, the female PNG Maroon Clownfish is up and swimming.  Definitely looks stressed out, but I think not being wedged under the live rock is an improvement.

I offered live brine shrimp (from Mark Martin @ Blue Zoo). I’ve been feeding/enriching with RotiGrow Plus (from Reed Mariculture).  No feeding response out of the female, but maybe she’s nervous to feed when I’m standing around watching.  I’ll be paying close attention.

So of course, the first thing I have to wonder – is this a result of the Maracyn SW dosing this morning?

Admittedly, I’m still not optimistic for the female.  But I am not making any drastic changes at this point.  I would REALLY like to see this girl eat something.  FOOD is a huge benefit to a sick fish.

Shocked…

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…that the female Maroon is still alive this morning.  I genuinely thought she was a goner.  I could say that there is growing consensus that at this point separating the female PNG Maroon from the Lightning Maroon is a good idea.  However, this notion flies in the face of “keep things stable, avoid stress” etc.  I’ve been making preparations.

The Brine Shrimp I had hatching failed yesterday (some did hatch out, but mostly it ended up being a bacteria soup, which means that bottle of decapped is no longer “good” and it’s time to order a new one…has been here at least a year, so no fault of Dan’s).  I mentioned it to the group of Advisers.  Kent Vitamin C and Live Adult Brine Shrimp arrived from Mark Martin @ Blue Zoo Aquatics this morning – thanks for the quick shipment Mark!  I’ll get that adult brine set up in a bucket and start feeding it with Rotifer Grow Plus (from Reed Mariculture / Reef Nutrition).  Vitamin C will get dosed as the level prescribed on the bottle.  Mark made a very good point about Vitamin C.  I normally use Reef Plus for vitamins, and I had suggested that I knew I could easily and safely double the dosage of that.  Mark’s point – when you get sick,  you don’t up the dosage of all your vitamins, just the Vitamin C.  Very very true, and thus, Vitamin C on hand for direct singular dosing.

Edit - I did dose Vitamin C, 8 drops into the 20 gallon tank.  The rate is 20 drops into 50 gallons daily.  There have also been concerns about secondary infections.   Christine Williams is a proponent of Kanamycin, but I am a fan of Erythromycin in the form of Mardel’s Maracyn SW.  It has worked on a myriad of occasions.  I tried it on the other QT system in conjunction with the Formalin and it stopped the bacterial problems I had once I started dosing.  Maracyn SW is also high in B-Vitamins that stimulate appetite.  I keep Maracyn SW on hand at all times.  And I’ve never killed a fish dosing Maracyn SW.  So, the 20 long got hit with Maracyn this morning as well.

Lightning Maroon was perky this morning.  Darn female…I want them BOTH perky.

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