The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged white stripe maroon clownfish

There are pretty crappy images, but they are the offspring of the MD1 X MD2 Lightning X White Stripe pair.

Wholesale customers have access to these fish at this time.

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Thursday evening (2-19-2015) I discovered a random small spawn from the other PNG White Stripe Maroons in the house. This pair has never been on a scheduled…they spawn infrequently, when the feel like it. As near as I can tell according to my notes here, this is only their 4th spawn.  By the evening of the 21st, the eggs were already gone, so nothing to even bother to try to hatch.  The next evening (2-20-2015), the pair of Nebula Percula I have on hand also spawned (really just noting it here as I’ve had no time to deal with their spawns!)

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Surprised to hear that tonight, Mike Doty’s pair of Lightning Maroon Clownfish had thrown down eggs. This is one of the freely distributed “genetic repository” pairs I placed locally, just in case anything ever happened here at home.

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The female Lightning Maroon, MD1, and male Morse Code Maroon, MD2, represent the first F1 sibling pair that I am aware of which should replicate the pairing of their parents. We already know of the results Soren Hansen had when pairing an F1 Lightning Maroon Clownfish with a wild White Stripe Maroon; I expect that Mike will see a 50/50 White Stripe/Lightning spread in the F2 generation from Mike’s parents.

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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:

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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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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).

Quick Updates

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White Stripe Spawn #3 seems to have hatched earlier than expected.  I was looking at the tank on Saturday, 9-13, which would’ve been the day to pull the tile, but the eggs were already gone.  So they may well be on a 5 day schedule?!

Meanwhile, Lightning Maroon Spawn #40 was laid on 9-10-2014.  I’ll be out of town late this week, which means I won’t be able to properly tend to baby lightning maroons.  So this batch, like the last, will be left to hatch and move one.  I believe I’ll be in a good position to deal with Spawn #41 if the fish are back on schedule.

That’s all.

I skipped worrying about the hatch on the last spawn…we simply have too much going on in our lives at the moment to effectively start rearing a batch of clownfish this week.  Meanwhile, on 9/7/2014, the White Stripe Maroons, the unrelated F0 pairing, put down another nest, but small.  I’ve yet to see a really large nest out of these guys, and their spawning is not consistent yet.  I will try to raise this batch so I have outcross material…and down the line I may finally opt to split this pair up to make three foundation lines of Lightnings in my fishroom.

That’s all!

A couple weeks ago Lorel Dandava-Oli posted a very interesting comment on The Lightning Project’s website.  Dandava happens to be a Marine Aquarium Fisheries Officer-National Fisheries Authority in PNG. Her husband, Darren Oli, is the proprietor of Paradise Aquariums, established in 2012, which is perhaps best described as a service company which provides aquarium installation and maintenance for commercial clients, mainly businesses and hotels in the area.

What caught my (and other’s) attention was when Dandava wrote in, “we’ve had several maroons coming in with similar patterns which I believe has the genetic trait to the lightning clown. Currently I have a mating pair with the similar patterns in my tank.”

Of course, I had to clamor and beg for images.  Dandava went through a lot of hassle to get us two cell phone images (no small feat coming out of PNG) and I’ve done my best to clean ‘em up and sharpen them so you can see the interesting wild White Stripes that are swimming in Dandava’s tank.

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After reviewing the images, this was my response to Lorel Dandava.

“The pair you have looks like a pairing of a traditional, default “wild type” 3-striped White Stripe Maroon Clownfish, typical for PNG.  The 2nd fish appears to be what some have called a “Lightning Precursor”..in my opinion this is probably one of the more intricate examples of the form that we’re currently calling “Morse Code” ( a mixture of dots and dashes) which are somewhat routinely found in PNG waters.  While we have seen some of these fish that at first glance look like they could have something “lightning” floating around in their genes, I think that’s a bit of wishful thinking.
Sadly, I think I can report that you probably won’t see any Lightning type offspring from this pair. The main reason I come to this conclusion is that Soren Hansen of Sea & Reef Aquaculture is breeding with similar wild-collected PNG “Morse Code” Maroons, and he does not get any Lightning progeny from that pairing.  He does, however, get more of the spotted and striped “Morse Code” phenotype.  I don’t know whether he has one, or two, Morse Codes paired together.
I don’t think Morse Code is directly related [to Lightning] – if it was, then I would have presumably seen either a) nothing but Morse Codes in the F1 generation, or b) all the non-lightning offspring I reared would have been morse codes.  Neither happened.
It is possible that this “Morse Code” may be yet a second genetic mutation found in PNG Maroon Clownfish, but we lack enough supportive data for that at the moment. However, we do see a similar type of striping and spotting in the Gold Stripe Maroon Clownfish from Sumatra, and that has proven to have some genetic component and is now produced by multiple parties in the trade and sold as “Goldflake”.  It would make sense to see the same basic aberration in these sister forms (I believe Gold Stripes are a distinct species, but currently they are considered the same as White Stripe Maroons).”
Of course, it bears repeating that most all of these thoughts is a hunch…none of us have done enough test matings, and collected enough data, to answer these genetic questions with certainty.  Meanwhile, we can say with some reasonable certainty that Dandava’s pair should produce a lot of interesting Morse-Code type maroons, and that in itself is of interest as we continue to unravel the genetic mysteries of PNG’s unique white stripe Maroon Clownfish.

 

Sadly, I should have done this the DAY it happened, because now I’ve totally forgotten.  But sometime last week (I think Wednesday or Thursday), the 2nd wild (F0) pair of PNG White Stripes that I have on hand put down a nest, and for the first time it’s “on the tile”.  I should also mention that the last spawn of the Lightning Maroons did indeed hatch while I was away speaking at the MBI Workshop; what’s interesting is that according to Mike, the hatch may have come a “day early” again.

4 more offspring up for bid in a Blue Zoo eBay auction.

4 more offspring up for bid in a Blue Zoo eBay auction.

Over the weekend, Blue Zoo started up 4 more eBay auctions for a few of the remaining fish I have to offer this summer.  These include the last 3 available fish from the June 29th, 2012 hatch; WS11, WS4, and LM11. LM19 is from spawn #14, the 10-24-2013 hatch, and is one of the best offspring I’ve raised to date (in my opinion). It is also a small fish at 1.5″, and would make an solid male in a pairing with a larger fish (of course, this is not without risks in trying to establish a pair).

>>>>> Just 2-3 days left to BID! <<<<<

This leaves only WS17 and LM20 for possible future auctions this summer if we so choose; I won’t have more fish at saleable size until fall or winter of this year.

*UPDATE* – Also, I should note, that Blue Zoo denoted LM19 as “best for last” in the auctions – we had been planning to keep LM19 for the last, but perhaps the wrong auction got made live or Blue Zoo changed the order but forgot to change the description.  So, as far as I know, it’s the “2nd to last”…

Over the course of the past couple years I’ve had a few Lightning Maroons go missing. Of course, there is the paranoid person who’d say someone is coming in and swiping them, but let’s be real for a second. You might recall the discovery of a Maroon that had traveled through my circulation pump; that one wound up dying, and surely some of the tiny brown hunks of “stuff” I’ve found on my floor over the years may well have been the end result of a Lightning Maroon or two along the way (I have covers on my cubes, but BRTs currently do not have covers).

You would think I’d learned my lesson by this point, but tonight I was doing my last round of feeding and I noticed that my holdback white stripe X white stripe pair was missing a female…what? I checked all over the floor..nope.  This actually gave me hope…I stirred up the tank a bit, still no fish.  HMM.  Well, their temporary BRT home sits directly over the sump, and sure enough, once I broke out the flashlight, there was the big girl just cruising around.

I netted her and was ready to move her back to the BRT when I stopped myself…there are 1 foot walls on the sump above the water level, while there’s only 1-2 inches about the surface of the BRT.  So….back to the sump she went, and after a few minutes her male sibling joined her down in the sump.  At some point they’ll get their own tank again…

Let this be a lesson to you – Clownfish can and do jump.  Lids on their tanks aren’t optional unless you’re willing to accept the possible outcome.

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