The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged rotifers

I made a rare 8 PM trek down into the fishroom tonight (6/4/2014) and discovered the Lightning Maroon and her mate putting down Spawn #34. Based on how things are going, next Tuesday night should be the pull night.

My attempt to get a second night’s hatch out of Spawn #33 utterly failed. I did place the tile back with the parents come morning, and I went through the egg sanitizing protocol (with H2O2) for another 15 minute bath. I saw ONE larvae hatch out…a total dud.  My plan for the next spawn will be to pull the tile and 20 gallons out of the broodstock tank (BIG water change); 10 gallons each will go into two BRTs, and then I’ll simply move the tile from the first night’s hatch into the 2nd BRT for the 2nd night, sticking with the egg sanitizing protocol (as it seems to be helping?)

Those larvae that are alive from Spawn #33 are doing reasonably well..they are plowing through rotifers at an alarming rate; I’m adding in new saltwater along with RO/DI Water daily, as well as small feedings of TDO A to supplement for what I think might be a rotifer shortage. Low doses of ChloramX and RotiGreen Omega continue to be pulsed in as well.

It is now a fact – big Lightning Maroon Clownfish hatches are happening in the morning. I went to bed sometime after 4:30 AM on June 1st, and a few hours later, around 8:30, the kids woke me up. So, I went down to look at the BRT – just a handful of larvae.  I checked with a light, none on the bottom…just a very weak hatch.

I greened up the tub with RotiGreen Omega and added 2 gallon’s worth of rotifers from a culture. I turned on the light, left the tile in place.  Around 10:30 AM, I went down again and I now had hundreds of larvae in the BRT.

I pulled the tile and gave it back to the parents…can’t remember if that was an idea raised here, or on Facebook, but it seemed like a good way to go.  I have yet to go back down tonight, but I’ll presumably set up yet another new tank for a hatch tonight and see if we get two solid night’s worth of larvae off this batch.  Things could get interesting.

Pull too early and have problems…wait to the 7th night, and miss the hatch.  Sometime between 3:30 PM and 8:00 PM today the rather full looking Lightning Maroon Clownfish nest must have hatched in their tank, under full light no less.  Either that or their parents ate them.

This isn’t the first time this has happened; I should’ve listened to my gut and set them up last night, not tonight.  Then again, my rearing protocols need reexamination and my rotifer cultures need the time to recuperate.

Did a big 50% water change, Rotifer cultures failing due to too much harvest, lots of losses due to settlement issues presumably due to insufficient rotifers.  Nevertheless, a sizeable group of Lightning Maroon offspring is undergoing settelement starting tonight; first headstripes seen.  They’ve been getting TDO A1 for the last couple days…I hope they’re all transitioning over to it now.

I cannot catch a break. Seriously 2013, for all its hard work, has yielded only FOUR (4!!!!) offspring from the Lightning Maroon pair that will grow to be marketable size in 2014!

Spawn #18 was put down on November 28th. This put hatch night as early as Wed, December 4rd, but more likely the 5th, with some possible stragglers on the 6th. The first problem? I was slated to leave town the morning of the 5th and would not return until the morning of the 9th! Thankfully, trusty fellow fish breeder and awesome neighbor Mike Doty was once again on hand to work with the Lightning babies. I was feeling rather confident about that, given that Mike was the guy who reared the big 2012 crop for the first 5 days or so!

I continued to eye the eggs all night on Wed as it transitioned over into Thursday, and at roughly 5 AM Thursday morning none had hatched. I dosed maybe 20-30 ML of Hydrogen Peroxide into the 10 gallon blacked-out larval tank I had used with a prior run, letting it sit for several hours before scrubbing, draining, rinsing, and getting ready for a new clutch. Come 5 AM, I filled the tank with water from the broodstock tank and sanitized the eggs with 4 ML hydrogen peroxide in a half gallon specimen cup for about 15 minutes, before finally setting up the tile with an airstone and calling it a night. I left only 4 hours later.

I heard from Mike that he found some babies, maybe 1/3 of the nest, had indeed hatched out and the rest looked good and would probably hatch Thursday night / Friday morning.

Later, while on a layover in Chicago, came alarming news – Duluth was suffering from a large scale power outage. My normal plan had always been to go rent a generator, but as I was not there to deal with it, after several phone calls and text messages I figured out a battle plan – Frank Wotruba (who has played an integral part in this project and also has a pair of Lightning Maroon offspring) would bring over his generator and set it up to run the central air pump and furnace; he would also take the original wild Lightning Maroon and mate to his house (his power came on fairly quickly).

Thankfully our power came on relatively quickly too…was maybe only out for a couple hours. Relieved, I went on my trip and didn’t give it much thought.

Of course, come Saturday, more bad news. Somewhere along the way, my rotifers had crashed, so Mike was left without any quantity of food to offer. This, combined with the power outage, sealed the fate of Spawn #18; no babies were found by Saturday.

But the bad news continued, as Mike hadn’t noticed that the GCFIs that line the perimeter of the room were all tripped. This is something I was personally aware of; any time the power so much as flickers these things trip. Well…I didn’t think to mention it to Mike during the power outage, so basically while the perimeter tanks had AIR running in them (and those with sponge filters had some active filtration), any tank relying on powered filtration was without. Mike had noticed it come Friday and reset them, but this brought out the next flaw in my system.

Ordinarily, I have a pretty balanced load on my electrical systems, but I’ve come to find that if the tanks get chilled, when bringing the power back on ALL the heaters go on and STAY on. This demand winds up being too much for the circuit, and ultimately it trips the circuit breaker in a few, or several, minutes. Despite removing 500 watts of heaters outright, and downsizing 3 more from 250 to 100 (another 450 watt savings), apparently the reduction of 900 watts was still not enough to prevent this failure. So come Saturday, once again Mike discovered all the tanks not running, and every time he tried to reset the circuit it would trip. More or less, the perimeter tanks, which includes the BROODSTOCK LIGHTNING MAROON’s TANK, had gone without power for over 48 hours.  For all the “safety” that these GCFIs are supposed to bring, in the end, I think I will be removing them from my fishroom (or at least trying to find ones that don’t TRIP simply because the power flickers); so far they have only served to cause PROBLEMS rather than to actually do anything beneficial…well…maybe they helped the one time I dropped a light into a tank.

The solution was to actually forego the heaters by shutting down their power strips. Since I revamped the HVAC system of the house this summer to “heat the basement” as an independent zone, I simply instructed Mike to raise the heat from 78F to somethign closer to 82F and leave it be. Upon returning home, I found most things in good shape, although a heavily stocked guppy tank is experiencing loses, and one of my cubes appears to have lost my spawning Centropyge argi pair (I think 7 years old now?) and the other tank inhabitants (although two white stripe lightning maroon offspring that were in breeder nets appear OK?). I’ve skipped feedings on the perimeter tanks, as well as dosed them with Dr. Tim’s ‘One and Only’ which I’ve found to be an exemplary biological filtration kickstarter. I’ll have to water water chemistry now to make sure that I don’t run into problems; hopefully we’re past the worst of it.

8 days post hatch.  To brine, or not to brine, that is the question.

First noticed this at roughly 1:30 PM on July 7th, 2012.  Dare you to hold your breath…

Larval offspring from the Lightning Maroon Clownfish nearing settlement.

Lightning Maroon Clownfish larvae, nearing metamorphosis

Headstripes forming on larval Maroon Clownfish spawned and hatched by the Lightning Maroon Clownfish

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).

Seriously, one baby found hatched in the tank, and failed to collect it.  One more baby has hatched out in the BRT (Black Round Tub), and that’s it!  It’s now 4:00 AM, so I turned on the lights on the BRT, angled it off to the side so that the light intensity is greatly diminished.  The eggs appear to be fine, so my guess is that I was tricked by a couple early hatchers, and the bulk will hatch tomorrow (Thursday, 7 days post spawn).  That’s my hope anyways, but wouldn’t it be just like the rest of this project to only get ONE baby?!  Wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

In a balancing act, I introduced a very light level of Rotifers and equally light dosing of RotiGreen Nanno into the BRT so that our lone ranger has something to do with all this time on his hands.  I went very light to hopefully avoid any contamination that could foul and kill the remaining eggs who have probably another 24 hours to hatch.

I’ve been taking photos, so at some point I’ll post a pictorial recap of tonight’s (and hopefully tomorrow’s) big event!

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