The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged spawn #10

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”).

It’s delightful to see that the Lightning Maroon pair has finally settled into a spawning routine.  No sooner had I botched spawn #11, and they go put down spawn #12.  On an interesting side note, I discovered what apparently happened with Spawn #10 – about a week after the larvae had all vanished, I took a look at the black round tub that was sitting there, now empty.  It was absolutely OVERRUN with hyrdoid medusas.  I’m not sure how hydroids got into the mix; the other BRT, which contains a single now post-settlement juvenile Lightning Maroon baby (so cute) has not had any hydroid issues crop up.  I’ll have to drain and sterilize the BRTs before using them for Spawn #12.

Spawn #12 was laid on September 15th, 2013.  This means, based on our current “144 hours” to hatch rate, means I need to pull the eggs as early as this coming Saturday night, September 21st.  This is spawn number #12, photographed 24 hours after being laid.

Lightning Maroon Clownfish Spawn #12

Lightning Maroon Clownfish Spawn #12

Lightning Maroon Clownfish Spawn #12

Lightning Maroon Clownfish Spawn #12

It’s been a busy couple weeks around MACNA and I wasn’t even THERE this time! I have to circle back to the last update which left us with Spawn #9′s babies disappearing, and the laying down of Spawn #10 on 8-26-2013.

Well…I did not pulled Spawn #10 as planned on the night of September 2nd – I think folks are right in terms of me getting confused counting nights vs. days; if counting “nights”, 8-26 was the first night, meaning that the 7th night would be 9-1-2013. The pair was going nuts tending the eggs that evening, which tends to indicate a pending hatch. So the eggs were pulled on the evening of 9-1-2013, only 144 hours post spawn.

Lightning Maroon Clownfish Spawn #10, the 7th night (144 hours post spawn)

Lightning Maroon Clownfish Spawn #10, the 7th night (144 hours post spawn)

This worked somewhat well – the next morning there was a hatch of possibly as many as 100 offspring.

Hatch on Spawn #10, the 7th night (144 hours post spawn)

Hatch on Spawn #10, the 7th night (144 hours post spawn)

Hatch on Spawn #10, the 7th night (144 hours post spawn)

Hatch on Spawn #10, the 7th night (144 hours post spawn)

With the bulk of the eggs NOT hatching this night, I opted to move the tile to another spare black round tub so that the next night’s hatch would be separated and any dying / decaying eggs would not pollute the first group.

The next night, there was a very small hatch, and most of the eggs were found dead. I transferred all the larvae I could find (< 10) in with their siblings from the night prior.

Meanwhile, an incident with the 2012 group of Lightning Maroons the week prior resulted in the demise of LM10 on September 4th.

LM10, expired, the postponed results of a beating by its siblings.

LM10, expired, the postponed results of a beating by its siblings.

It’s hard to say exactly what occurred, but several days prior when observing the remaining ‘communally’ grouped offspring, I noticed that both pectoral fins on LM10 had been chewed back – this is a common fin damage the fish inflict upon each other while sparring, and all times prior, segregating the fish has resulted in a quick recovery. For whatever reason, LM10 did not recover, but instead spiralled downhill, going of feed, breathing heavily and ultimately dying. It is my guess that a systemic bacterial infection took hold and made quick work of this fish, but ultimately I’ll never know for sure.

Meanwhile, with the last fish shipping from the Round 2 auctions, it opened up enough holding space to prevent any future murders or problems with aggression. As of 9-4, all the remaining siblings were segregated, whether into the holding cubes or breeder nets placed in the growout system.

Lightning Maroons and White Stripe siblings, all now segregated.

 

Spawn 10, as of 9-4-2013

Spawn 10, as of 9-4-2013

This was pretty much the last look I had ad what had seemed like a promising run for Spawn #10. The next day, on 9-5, the offspring crashed and vanished, and were gone by Friday, the 6th. Water tests revealed nothing conclusive, no elevated ammonia or low pH to blame. Ironically, the the tub that had contained the 2nd night’s hatch from spawn 10, 2 stragglers evaded my attempts to combine them with their siblings, and so tonight, 9-10, there is at least one viable offspring remaining from spawn #10. ONE.

It would seem that the Lightning Maroon pair has finally hit its stride in the sex department, so at least my seemingly never-ending blunders are met with the chance to do better the next time! On 9-4-2013, the pair put down spawn #11.

 

Lightning Maroon Clownfish Spawn #11, laid 9-4-2013

Lightning Maroon Clownfish Spawn #11, laid 9-4-2013

It’s my plan to do things differently this time. I’m going to skip the black round tub (BRT) in favor of the “traditional” 10 gallon aquarium. It is my thought that at least part of my difficulties lie in the lack of access to viewing the offspring from anyplace other than above. This makes it difficult to gauge whether larvae are standing on the bottom, or in midwater, while not visible from above.

The big question tonight – being 9-10, now roughly 144 hours post spawn, do I pull it? I should get some larvae if I pull the nest, but it again may be premature…

One other note – one new fish added to the “inventory” – LM17 is the only offspring to be around so far from 2013.  You can read all about him here.

LM17

So I was gone for only 24 hours….24 HOURS, and I come back to find that the fry from Spawn #8 are gone.  Not sick, not dying, not dead.  GONE.  As in VANISHED.  As in “NO BODIES”.  Honestly I have no clue what’s going on there…it was a small group, probably less than 10, with several lightnings showing.  Realistically, I’m pretty sure something happened, they died, and their tiny corpses rotted away before I even had a chance to notice.

And yet, here we go again – I returned home on 8-26-2013 to find a freshly-laid nest, spawn #10. Looks like September 2nd will be my “pull night” for the larvae, lest I have another failure like I did with Spawn #9. Interestingly, the pair has changed which tile they spawn on.  Wish us all luck!

 

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