The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged settlement

Here’s a quick rundown.

The 5th spawn of the F1 Lightning X Lightning Maroon Clownfish pairing was collected and hatched by Mike Doty while I was away.  In short, he scraped off the eggs, hatched them in a 1 gallon jar in a water bath with simple aeration, 75% clean new water.  Come November 28th, Mike relayed that settlement had started.  The moment we’ve been waiting for was here – is there something new?

Well, Mike’s first words were “About 90% sure we have some normal striped fish.”

This, of course, does the following:

  • likely rules out Lightning as a simple recessive gene. If it WAS recessive, then both parents would be “double dose” aka. homozygous, represented as l/l, which means that each parent could only contribute a recessive lightning gene, and thus, each offspring would also get one copy each, one from mom, one from dad, and thus, could only be l/l as well. For the moment, while another couple test matings will bolster the data, the fact that there are white-stripe offspring pretty much precludes this being a standard single allele, single locus, recessive trait.
  • does not rule out straight dominance. If it was straight dominance, and each parent is “single dose” aka. heterozygous, represented as L/+, then 25% of the offspring would not get a gene from either parent, and thus, 25% would be white stripe maroon clownfish.
  • nor does it rule out partial dominance. This of course, would work the same way as dominance, except that 25% of the offspring would get a lightning gene from EACH parent, and would be homozygous for Lightning, represented as L/L. This is the scenario that most people are hoping for, because with the new homozygous state, there comes the potential for a new phenotype that could be different from the Lightning that we know.

As of today, 12-8-2014, I spoke with Mike briefly and have to relay this news – while he doesn’t have many babies left, he believes that the phenotype split is roughly 50/50.  That is to say, half white stripes, half lightnings.  So far, he also has not seen anything unique or new in this F2 generation.  I have yet to see the babies for myself, and have yet to take pictures or do a headcount, but these cursory, informal results, mirror another clownfish mutation that seems to not fit the mold as we’d expect – SNOWFLAKE in Ocellaris.  It’s my hope to get over to Mike’s today yet to see for myself.

In other news, the 6th spawn of the F1 Lightning X Lightning pair was put down on 11/29/2014. It appears I finally won the battle of the tiles:

LxL Spawn #6

LxL Spawn #6

Meanwhile, I brought some new clownfish into the fishroom earlier in November (the 19th and 22nd) and was trying out the new Ick-Shield food from New Life Spectrum.  This is basically a Chloroquin-laced pellet food that is meant primarily to prevent disease such as Crytopcaryon, Amyloodium, Brooklynella etc…pretty much the things which are sensitive to the active ingredient. I decided to not simply feed this fish to the new arrivals, but also to feed it to one of my holding systems AND the wild Lightning Maroon and her mate as preventative medication, just in case.

Well, it turns out that there is an unfortunate side effect to this feed; it seems to shut down breeding activity.  All my routine pairs stopped spawning. The Lightning and her mate did finally put down a spawn on December 1st, 2014, #46.

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DSC_1474_600w

 

Unfortunately, it appears as though the spawn was not fertilized…the eggs didn’t develop, and after 48 hours they were gone. A few days after that, I read, anecdotally, that Chloroquin can cause male sterility??? Not permanent according to the rumor, but certainly a potential setback. As far as the efficacy of the food, my jury is out. The larger fish which were feeding well on it by and large remained disease free, but not all did.  I still had a Brooklynella outbreak, although not in the fish I would have necessarily expected. Once that outbreak started, it then affected other fish as well despite their feeding on the pellets.  I’m also seeing either Cryptocaryon or Amyloodium on fish which were visually “clean” upon arrival, which were in dedicated QT systems, feeding on this food from day one.  So the question here is were they simply getting ENOUGH feed as they were small fish which cannot readily eat the small pellet size.

So of course, one is left with questions, not answers.  There is no way to say the food didn’t work, nor is there any way to prove that it does work. Absence of disease is not proof of prevention, that much I know for certain. Lack of a cure, or lack of prevention, which IS documented, only raises questions about why it didn’t work as suggested and certainly requires investigation (eg. would a smaller pellet size be better accepted…could these failures stem from simply lack of feeding, or lack of sufficient feeding, thus insufficient dose to the fish?).

Circling back to LxL Spawn #6, as the week progressed an interesting change in behavior occurred starting around December 4th, 5 days post spawn.  The larger female F1 Lightning became belligerent towards the male, and over the day drove him from nest tending duties.  December 5th, a Friday, would have been 6 days post spawn, and the night of the first hatching.  I was simply swamped with preparations for sending our dog to live with my brother, and failed to pull the tile.  By morning, Saturday, December 6th, 2014, it appeared that I had not missed much…most if not all the eggs were still there. The pair remained at odds.  We left for the weekend to ship our family dog, and upon Sunday, December 7th, there were still a few dozen eggs remaining, although they appeared potentially dead and disappeared throughout the day.  By nightfall, the pair was starting to be less antagonistic, but I am still keeping a close eye on them.  Hopefully, we’ll get another spawn soon – this was the only mature pair in the house that didn’t receive Chloroquin-laced foods (as they don’t reside in the fishroom with the rest of the fish).

Lots going on in the basement.

Spawn #33 is almost all through meta at this point, so this afternoon I turned on the system water.  It’s sad that I’ve never used my larviculture system as it was meant to be used by design, but hey, finally, I’m doing it right.  The system water is dripping through at a rate of roughly 1-2 drops per second…a very slow flow at this point but it should slowly flush out larviculture water over the next day or two.

Spawn #34, well, I botched it.  I did have more hatch out during the day today, but I discovered tonight that I had neglected to return the heater to the tank after I cleaned it last night. So basically the eggs went from 84F down to room temp, which was probably 76F.  Historically, any time temps go down on eggs, I’ve found it to be a bad thing.  I returned the heater to the tank, made sure it was really greened up, added some rotifers, and will now wait to see if anything else hatches out in the next 24 hours…

Spawn #33 – Starting midday on 6/9, the first larvae started showing signs of metamorphosis and settlement; white spots on the heads of the Lightnings are among the first signs; most are through meta today.

Spawn #34 – Tonight is the scheduled hatch night; I used the 4 ml H2O2 / 0.5 gallon broodstock water as a 15 minute bath before placing them in a 10 gallon; 5 gallons of broodstock water and a coarse air feed going over the nest; they’ll sit for the night and I’ll be sure to check them in the AM.  Will there be a morning hatch yet again?

As of 5/13/2014, there were two fish from spawn #30 who had yet to undergo metamorphosis; the rest had. Trying to avoid past issues of small groups doing well and then just dying randomly, I selected 3 lightning juveniles and moved them into an empty black round tub that’s running on the larviculture system.  When 5/14/2014 came around, and those 3 test subjects remained alive, I transferred over 3 more Lightnings and one White Stripe offspring.  This leaves 1 White Stripe, 1 Lighting, and 2 unsettled juveniles in the larviculture BRT as of 5/15/2014.

In other news, the Lightning pair put down Spawn #32 on the slanted tile sometime in the afternoon/evening of 5/14/2014.

Then, there is the mystery.  I don’t recall what spawn these offspring are from at the moment, but I had a small group of 5 growing up in a BRT; what amounted to 3 Lightnings and 2 white stripes.  Mysteriously one day, all the Lightnings went missing.  I presumed there had been fighting and jumps, but I never found bodies on the floor. This evening, when doing my feedings, I discovered one of those missing Lightnings sitting on the bottom of a cube tank on the top run. This would seem to confirm that the babies did jump, although perhaps they either went down the overflow or otherwise landed in the sump beneath, and this one apparently made it through the PUMP (WOW) along with a small Onyx Percula (also discovered in the tank today)?!  At least that’s the only possible explanation I have, but wow, I am shocked that these fish would have made it through the pump at all…they weren’t that small!

I can only say this is bizzare.  I have yet to give the sump a more thorough examination tonight with a flash light, but I would not be surprised to find a couple more clownfish hiding in the dark down there!  The Onxy Perc and the single lightning were both placed back onto the Onyx Percula tub for the time being; frankly the Lightning did not look to be in good shape, and I would not be surprised if it doesn’t make it.

As near as I can tell, a lot of eggs likely hatched from the PNG White Stripe Maroon Clownfish pair’s 2nd spawn.  There are probably less than 50 eggs left.  Of course, this was a tiny nest to start with (compared to other Maroon nests) so I opted to just leave the few remaining eggs to fend for themselves tonight.  Last night would’ve been the “6th night” by my count, with tonight being the 7th night post spawn for these eggs.  I am hoping for a larger spawn and one that comes soon!

It’s just after 2 AM on May 6th, 2014, and I’ve prepared everything for an in-tank hatch with the Vossen Larval Snagger tonight.  By my count, this is the 6th night post hatch, the nest looks full and ready to go.  I took my own advice and set up the system’s pumps on a timer.  All water pumps shut off at 2 AM, and will turn on around 4 AM.  If this works well, I can simply move the 3-plug outlet (which runs internal filter, skimmer and internal UV) onto another outlet on the main power strip when not in use, but on hatch nights where I want to snag, I can just plug it into the timer (thus never having to reset the timer).

If I’m up still in an hour or so I’ll check the snagger to see what I caught so far…

Also ,the few larvae I snagged from Spawn #30 are going through settlement at this time; they have only been offered rotifers, no other feeds, with RotiGreen Omega for greenwater.  A  few have headstripes, and the rest should be getting near.

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.

Spawn #21 pulled…

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I did the day count, and by my estimate the night of the 15th, going into the 16th, was 6+ full days post spawn on Spawn #21. Looking at the nest, it seemed they were ready, and it also seemed that at least some were missing already (perhaps they hatched and were consumed?) I pulled the nest and set it up with a wooden airstone (yay!) in a BRT with 10 gallons of broodstock water. Turned out all the lights save one, which left just a little tinge of light to draw larvae away from the air flow. I have pictures, but given some tremendous time crunches I’m under, they’ll have to wait.

Most of Spawn #20 is through metamorphosis BTW…

It’s the morning of January 13th, 2014; time to play a little catch-up.

Back on January 9th, I split the larvae from Spawn #20 from one 10 gallon tank into the 10, plus a 15 gallon BRT on my larviculture racks. When I did the split, I took the opportunity to take a photograph of the babies I moved to the BRT (Black Round Tub). I finally took a moment to do a headcount this morning. First, the unedited shot:

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Now, since I scooped all this water out by hand into a clean 5 gallon bucket, in theory EVERY little smudge / smear / blurry little dark spot *should* be a baby clownfish. Remember, you have to keep in mind that the depth of field was pretty narrow on this shot – babies at the bottom of the bucket, or even just a few inches deep, were not captured in-focus. So the headcount is an estimate at best, and I’m going to say it’s probably high, and if it is, it’s high by 20 or so fish, ballparked.

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So my rough headcount puts it at 140 babies moving into the BRT. What I don’t know is how many were left behind in the 10 gallon tank!

On Friday, January 10th, the larvae got their first small taste of TDO A. This has been added to the diet daily since then, and they’ve taken to it well. By Sunday evening, 1/12/2014, I noticed the first little whitish-blue spots on the tops of the heads of a few babies, which means only one thing. Metamorphosis has started.

I’ve been sticking with the water changes…they might not get done every day, but they get done at least every other day.

That’s the story of Spawn #20 for now. It could be a very productive run if things go well.

Today (11-16-2013), Spawn #17 was laid.  Spawn #14 is clearly showing both forms again (roughly 50/50 split of White Stripe and Lightning Offspring) and Spawn #15 has just completed metamorphosis.

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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