The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged Spawn #25

3/6/2014 marked the arrival of spawn #26.  Another good sized nest of orange-red eggs on the tile, laid on the “roof”, which seems to be the usual location for the pair.

As I wrote last about Spawn #25…I thought the hatch had been a dud, but once I configured the larval tank and got things going, it was clear I had hundreds of viable larvae.  They were PLOWING through rotifers…easily 4 gallon’s wroth of harvested culture daily, spread out over 2-3 feedings. With the larval tank starting at 5 gallons running volume, I was adding clean new water daily, roughly one gallon.

As of this morning, 3/6/2014, I still had several hundred larvae, but when I checked on the fish again this evening, it was clear that something was wrong…I was quite literally watching larvae die right before my eyes.  I started slowly draining out the water, and as I continued to drain, the number of free swimming larvae dwindled and the hundreds of shriveled up bodies piled up on the bottom of the 5 gallon bucket.  The ammonia alert badge never so much as made a peep.  I have yet to test the water, but I have suspicions how it will test out…

By the time I was simply too exhausted to go further,I had the tank down to maybe 1.5 gallons, and I added roughly 5 gallons of clean new saltwater.  Basically the hail-mary approach when things go downhill this fast.  I would estimate no more than 10 larvae are still swimming around in the tank at this time.

This is getting really, really old.

Talking with Mike on Friday, as best as we can figure out Spawn #25 was put down Saturday, February 22nd. This fits the timeline…come Friday night (Feb 28th) we’d be at 6 days post spawn, which is the earliest eggs hatch. I opted to wait until the 7th night, which was last night (Saturday, March 1st) to pull the tile.

Come Saturday morning, it was clear that some eggs were gone…perhaps as much as 50% of the nest must have hatched on the 6th night. But as we’ve seen so many times before, these eggs, for whatever reason, are prone to split hatching over 2 nights (a problem I also had and never fixed with my wild Onyx Perculas). So last night, technically 2AM this morning, I pulled the tile to prepare it for hatching.

I returned to the 15 minute hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) bath in broodstock water, and I drained the 10 gallon clownfish hatching tank, soaked it with FW, rinsed it all out, and filled it with 5 gallons of broodstock water. Thinking that either the use of clean new water, or a weak air setting, caused the hatch failure in Spawn #24, I set up the tile with a rather vigorous flow of air from the wooden airstone. A dime white moonlight at the far end of the tank was set up to draw larvae away from the heavier currents & flow of the hatching setup and tile.

By 3 AM, I took a peak and noticed there seemed to be a good hatch, so I harvested 1.5 gallons worth of rotifers and added 20 drops of RotiGreen Omega. I was feeling optimistic.

9 AM this morning, I checked in and removed both the hatching tile and the large tile that I had placed on the bottom to prevent the hatching tile from sliding / fall. To my disappointment, it appeared that most all larvae were on the bottom, and some were dead. There was only maybe a dozen eggs on the tile that had not hatched. I added almost 50 drops of RotiGreen Omega to help green up the water and hopefully get the babies up off the bottom; I also turned the air flow down significantly to just a trickle, feeling that perhaps I should have done this “last night”. Could it simply be that several hours of turbulence in the tank had caused some of the larvae to expend excessive amounts of energy and doomed them to a quick death?

I’ll be keeping an eye on these obviously….wish me luck.

I left for Reef Currents this past weekend in Houston, hosted by MARSH, and well, it was the typical dice roll of being a speaker…some things will be fine, and some things just won’t work out.  BTW, it was a great event – thanks for having me guys!

Spawn #24 never really hatched.  Despite being pulled after 6 days, there was nothing hatched Thursday morning before I left.  Friday, Mike had seen 1 or 2 larvae hatch, but the rest were still tightly held in their eggs.  Come Saturday, still no hatch, and come Sunday the eggs were definitely dead. So what did I do wrong?  Was it the use of completely new saltwater?  Insufficient aeration from the wooden air stone?  The fact that I didn’t sanitize the eggs with H2O2.  Incidentally, I spent part of the weekend with my friend Mike Hoang, who some readers may remember as the guy with the Gold Flake Maroons down in Houston…before ORA isolated theirs but after Sustainable Aquatics created and applied the name to theirs. I bring Mike up, because he actually breeds a lot of clownfish and has many tricks he’s very willing to share; one of the things he mentioned is that if he has a failed hatch, he does an H2O2 dip and then finds he has a hatch after wards.  So maybe there is something mechanical at play here; either heavier agitation is needed, or the H2O2 dip helps soften / break down the outer membrane of the egg, facilitating hatching (which normally might be facilitated by the parental clownfish biting on or otherwise roughly agitating the eggs).  All speculation…

I returned home Sunday to also find Spawn #25 had been put down.  Mike failed to mention that, so I’m not sure whether he noticed it or not (I’ve sent him an email to ask).  Based solely on how they looked when I saw them, I’m guessing they were laid on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014.  At least I get yet another chance.

The Lightning Maroon “holdback pair” is finally a true pair.  It wound up taking 4 separate introductions for the pairing to stick; the last time I introduced the larger female to the male was on Wednesday afternoon, and what I saw that suggested things would go different was a lack of fighting and a more conciliatory demeanor from the male.  Lots of cheek biting / nibbling by the male any time the female would lunge at him, and that nuzzling / nipping / biting behavior would quickly diffuse the larger fishes aggression.  Come morning there were no split fins, and the pair was spending considerable time together.  I took a calculated risk, and left them together while gone, with everyone knowing what to do and what warning signs should be watched for.  It’s been 5 days now, and they share a small bubble tip anemone.  Looks like this pairing is going to stick.

Sorry for the lack of photos…I’m simply too backlogged to do anything with them.  And besides, seen one clownfish nest, you’ve seen ‘em all.

Did anyone see the outrageous “Peace Keeper” Gold Stripe Maroons?  If not, go check ‘em out on ReefBuilders.

 

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