The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged spawn #12

Tonight is the anticipated hatch night for spawn #14.  It’s a smaller clutch…probably only a few hundred eggs to hatch, and it might have partially hatched earlier in the day or even last night.  I set them up in the 10 gallon tank with blacked out sides, using 50% new water and 50% broodstock water.  The eggs were sanitized with hydrogen peroxide at a rate of 3 ml / 0.5 gallon for 10 minutes, after which they were removed and placed in the tank for hatching.  Lights on the broodstock system currently go out at 11:30 PM, but the room doesn’t reach its darkest point until 2 AM.

On an interesting side note, I may have discovered a contributing factor, if not the outright cuplrit, of the loss of all juveniles in spawn #12.  It turns out that the Ehiem heater in the tank was no longer sealed…I noticed it wasn’t working when I sanitized and cleaned the tank earlier this evening, and upon closer inspection there was moisture inside and the coils showed white discoloration (reaction with saltwater presumably).  Did this have an negative impact on the babies?  Possibly…at minimum it cold explain why metamorphosis appeared to take so long…the tank may have been running cooler (eg. 74-76) than I had wanted, and that delayed meta could explain why the babies failed to survive post meta.  Or not; it’s only one of many possible factors at play here.

So the tank has a new heater, and hopefully we get a good hatch tonight.

This will be very short – I’ve just been swamped with freelance projects and endless deadlines and well, there’s just nothing good to report on the latest runs.

Spawn #12 did very well right up until metamorphosis.  Immediately after metamorphosis, every larvae would die.  I don’t know if it’s the different brine shrimp eggs I’m using (or even the fact that I’m using brine shrimp vs. not). It could also have been that I didn’t rear these with 24/7 lighting, but instead let them run on the regular photoperiod for the rack of tanks they were in.  Water quality remained spot on and the fish were well taken care of.  Thus ends Spawn #12.  Probably changed too many variables all at once, but at least I may be onto something regarding getting good hatches for these eggs.

Spawn #13 never did produce much larvae, wound up hatching out over 3 nights.  I found myself somewhat depleted on rotifers with this batch coming so quickly on the heels of spawn #12, so this batch really never stood a chance.  I augmented from day one with Otohime A, introduced brine shrimp as early as was reasonable, but found no larvae made it to settlement.

Unfortunately I may have put the pair off spawning for a little bit (might not be a bad thing while I regroup).  The lights on their system had been going off incredibly late in the night (eg. 3 AM) so I shifted the photoperiod. No spawns have come following this, which isn’t really a surprise.  I’ll be curious to see how far back this pushes them.

Meanwhile, as I just posted on Facebook, I have more Fire Clowns (Amphiprion ephippium) than I know what to do with.  Figures…

After a LONG day of bagging on Monday, today went surprisingly easy as reports trickled in from the high bidders on the round 3 fish.  As I type this now at 11 PM, all recipients have reported in that the fish arrived alive and in great shape.  Several compliments on the packing came in as well (I’m packing these fish per direct instructions from Mark Martin at Blue Zoo, and the packaging design seems to be very effective for such precious cargo).

Last night I moved all the remaining fish out of the grow-out system and into the individual cubes; at some point this week I hope to take the updated photos and determine which fish go in the next round.  I’m guessing a round of 5-6 fish.  I’ve told some people this already, but I’ll put it out there in the usual spirit of transparency associated with The Lightning Project.  My aim is to hold back the best last two fish; these will be the final auction IF it comes to that.  Blue Zoo and I have of course stood behind these fish arriving alive, and part of that guarantee has been that if there was a problem with a fish, we would invite the winning bidder to select another fish from the inventory of comparable quality -or- simply refund the money; buyers choice.  As we draw to a close, it’s tough to make that same offer, so any losses seen with this next group will need to have a fish that I feel is as good, if not superior to, any of the fish in the round….thus, I will be saving the best for last.  Presuming all fish from the next round make it well, it will leave 2 fish left for a last final round, 1 White Stripe and 1 Lightning, to which I will not have any replacements to offer.

Once those auctions are done, it will not be until winter/spring of 2014 before we can even hope to see more lightnings ready for market.  Spawn #12 is going well so far, eating me out rotifers, and as of today, 9-24-2013, Spawn #13 was thrown down!

Spawn #12 Hatch!

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So, a total hatch.  Last night, before lights out, there was ONE larvae swimming around and a scattering of dead eggs on the bottom.  I checked at 7 AM (up to get the kids out the door every day now) and shazam – a full hatch. There was less than 20 eggs on the tile, and the tank is just swarming with them.  Mike Doty brought over some rotifers last night (somehow I managed to simultaneously crash all my cultures) and some RotiGreen Omega + Rotifers went into the tank.

There are hundreds of larvae in the tank.  We’ll see how it goes from here.  I suspect I will have to siphon the bottom today.

On a related note, some (or all) of the fish won in Round 3 of the Blue Zoo Aquatics Lightning Maroon Clownfish auctions on eBay should be shipping today!  Thanks to everyone who bid!

Spawn #12 still holding…

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Despite all the crazy effort last night to prep for a hatch on spawn #12, it’s now 10:20 AM and nothing has hatched.  We are definitely past 144 hours post spawn…based on hatch times from prior clutches they should have hatched, but the 6+ day incubation time always seems short.  So hopefully I didn’t kill the eggs with the H202 treatment; there are no eggs on the ground, and nothing hatched, so hopefully it’s just another day and they’ll hatch tonight.  We shall see…

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

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