The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged reefbuilders

Building a Mystery


Back to back “wins” for the Lightning Maroon Clownfish as it’s photoshopped kin succeed in fooling many aquarists for a second year in a row!

No doubt you may recall the annoucement of a “Third” Lightning Maroon being collected on April 1st, 2010.

This amazing piece of artwork was done by Guin Apora and honestly had me fooled immediately.  Nothing more than a cell phone image of a juvenile Maroon combined with embelished copies of the actual Lightning Maroon, throw a little grain on there and viola…an exceptional fake.  Even after I knew it was an April Fool’s prank, I think it took a solid week for me to accept that in fact, it was a prank.  Why?  Well, I kinda wondered if the “prank” wasn’t in saying that this was real, but instead telling ME that it wasn’t!

Learning from this experience, and knowing that Reef Builders has a longstanding tradition of April Fool’s stories, I sat down and thought about it a bit.   The Lightning Maroon seemed an obvious target, but perhaps the fact that it had already been done made it the ideal candidate…who’d expect 2 years in a row.  I instantly had a couple images in mind…shots of baby maroons from other breeder’s fishrooms, that might lend themselves to some creative photoshopping (afterall, I’m formally trained in Photoshop and have been using it since I was in my teens…if I can’t pull of a plausible fake, I should probably resign from my day job).

In the end, it was my recent trip to Portland that singled out David Durr, my host and a fellow marine breeder, as my target.  I had his Maroon image in very high rez from a collection of shots he sent to me for my fishroom talk.  I also had other supporting info…other images, and a solid secondary story that is fully legit to further encourage buy-in.  The best part – I never told him I was going to do this.

So in the end, the Reef Builders 2011 Lightning Maroon Clowns in Portland story ran.  Here was the headline image:

David found out about the post with 2 back-to-back phone calls, including one inquiry from a customer who wanted to order some and indeed, a bit of frustration that he had indeed been “holding out” on his loyal clients!  David’s own club caught wind in short order.  Of course, my personal favorite was the optimistic buy-in of some members – any post that starts with “HOLY CRAP” tells me the prank was a smashing success!

Of course, given the 2010 prank’s success (yes, there are still people today who think that there was a THIRD Lightning Maroon collected), I figured I should really squelch this one pretty quickly with some undeniable, irrefutable proof that indeed, this was a classic prank and no, as much as I like David Durr and Clownfish Northwest, they don’t have any Lightning Maroons at this time.  But they do have some really nice Picasso and Platinum Percs, so maybe you should still give ‘em a call!

For anyone who thinks the prank was not a prank, here’s the original image (courtesy David Durr)

And yes, I’m pretty sure that even with this undeniable post, I probably just added to the mystery and misinformation surrounding the Lightning Maroon for years to come ;)

The last installment of this 4-part series ran this morning on Reef Builders.  Check it out –

I know some of you are kinda going “what does this have to do with the Lightning Project?”.  Well, in a hobby that is currently having a bit of a reality check where sustainability is the new goal, LED Lighting options are one more way in which we’re going to lower the impact of our hobby and even save money in the process.  For a captive breeding project born from a sustainable wild harvest project, using LEDs with the energy savings and material savings they represent (you’re not throwing out bulbs every 6-9 months) is just a natural extension of a project that is rooted in sustainability and reducing our impact.

This is arguably the most special part of the ensemble.  No words spared, it’s another in-depth unboxing article you’ll want to check out if you’re into LEDs.  Bottom line for me – Modular LEDs = a win for consumers.  Check it out on ReefBuilders –

Ecoxotic 18" Cube 25 gallon LED Aquarium System being water tested.

Ecoxotic 18" Cube 25 gallon LED Aquarium System being water tested.

Yes, that is the blazing light of Heaven, apparently having be collected, stored and rebroadcast via the LEDs in the Ecoxotic Panorama fixture above what will be the Lightning Maroon’s permanent home.  I’m just throwing out this sneak peak for now so you all know I’m really working my buns off on it.

FYI, the ghetto extension cord is because my wife decided she liked the tank in the “other corner” better…the one that has no electrical anywhere near it.  Of course, my calls to local electricians have gone unanswered and messages unreturned.  There is ALWAYS something.

Stay tuned…as of tonight I have some pretty in-depth drafts on the full unboxing of the setup.  Those will probably go up on ReefBuilders.  Depending on my time and energy, I may rebroadcast them here later, or I may even elaborate further.

But for now, enjoy the sounds of a heavenly choir going “AAAAAAA” as you bask in the glow of the Ecoxotic Panorama.

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