Adventures in Captive Breeding of Marine Ornamentals

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Neon Gobies (Elacatinus oceanops) Again!

Posted on April 27, 2013 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)


Yesterday I moved the goby nest in its PVC pipe home to the BRT.   I moved them a day early, because I was concerned that I might miss the hatch. So I moved them, and waited, and none appeared to hatch. Came home from work today, and looked for goby larvae. Still no hatch.

Gave up and thought I would clean out the BRT, since it could be used for something else. Then I noticed a tiny goby larva in there! I found the flashlight and discovered a few more.   I took the nest pipe and looked at it. There seemed to be fewer eggs there than I remembered. I gave a good Mulcahey underwater shake, waited for a hatch and still nothing. I reattached it to the air bubble stream. 15 minutes later, I came back and noticed one in the water . And what? There's another crowd of larvae over there!!! They were hatching!  In broad daylight!  It was a good hatch. The larvae seem strong, and are eating the rotifers.  After consulting with friend Jim, his gobies hatch in daylight regularly. Huh.

Gobies 4/7/13

I have a black round 17 gallon tub with baby goby larvae in it. I started this tub 12 days ago with a fresh hatch of Neon Gobies (Elacatinus oceanops).  They did alright with just SS rotifers for a few days. I noticed the tub had a lawn of green fuzz on its underwater surface, so I thought it might be time for a sponge filter. I retrieved the pond sponge that has been living in my growout sump forever, put it in a bucket, and hooked up a small powerhead with a T'd off valve to send water back into the bucket, and tubing on the T leading over the edge of the tub. The tub has a central standpipe that drains to the bucket. The valve is so I can control the flow, but it didn't work too well, as I either got too much flow or nothing at all. I started this slow exchange of water for about 4 days, and my goby population dwindled to just a couple .

The next nest of gobies were hatched in the tub, without changing a thing except to turn off the flow. Two days later, there still appeared to be a lot of baby gobies and at least one that is much longer, and I assume is a holdout from the previous nest. I am always happy to see him, Mr. Long, as it will be reassuring to have at least one metamorphosize before the rest of them, in 4 weeks time.

This morning I was re-reading a friend's report, and was reminded that gobies don't like to have water changes. They must be very delicate. Maybe that's why I lost so many when I started the circulation with the pond filter. I'll have to try something different  with this batch. I am toping off with fresh water by adding a half of a cup whenever I pass by. The tank is lit 24/7 with a clamp-on reflector fixture and an 18 watt CFL. The majority of the larvae are in a cloud under the lamp, so I think they like the light. Some are on the other side of the tub, in a low flow area. Now at Day 2, the larvae are on the last bits of yolk sac. I expect that the ones who have not learned to eat the tiny rotifers will die off, and it is not unusual to have mortalities on Day 3.


It's hard to say what one's yield is, when the gobies start out as transparent as glass, and the size of a baby's eyelash, and impossible to count.  Making it even more difficult is that they are in a black round tub, swimming in a soup of green phytoplankton and rotifers.  One can hardly see them without the aid of a strong pair of glasses, and a flashlight when they first hatch.  But I have to say, it appears that there were not really significant mortalities more than three weeks later.  The cloud of larvae are still a cloud, perhaps as many as 20 little darters, still eating constantly 22 days after hatching, without sleep.  They are beginning to show signs of metamorphosis! 

About a week ago I slipped a 3/4 inch PVC elbow into the tub, to provide some perching space for the settled gobies.  One little guy took up residence almost immediately, and while I can't see him clearly, and he never comes to the surface, I am now sure it is Mr. Long.  This goby is completely dark, and has well developed pectoral and caudal fins.  I can't see the neon blue stripes, and I can't get a picture, but it has to be him.  I am reassured that he alone survived from the first nest, and it makes me feel that I did as well as can be expected for the rest of them.

an unexpected hatching

Posted on September 10, 2012 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I decided that Monday was too early. I waited until Tuesday to move the pipe containing the eggs to the clean, bleach sterilized black round tub. I fastened the pipe so that an airstone would bring bubbles and clean water through the pipe, jostling the eggs. I waited. No hatch. The next day the eggs still looked good, no fungus, so I waited some more. No hatch. By 7am Thursday morning, when I still didn't see larvae in the tub, I was ready to give up, even though the eggs still looked good. I thought they should have hatched by now. I planned to clean the tub that evening. I went back to feed some other fish at 8am, glanced at the tub, and sure enough, there was a cloud of larvae darting around in the clean water! Here's what they looked like:

Gobies again

Posted on September 2, 2012 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

I moved the pair noted below to a more convenient tank for me last spring, as I was rebuilding my central system, and they were in the way.  They laid one more nest after the move, and then stopped laying.  That is, until NOW! I attempted to raise the nest that they laid a week and a half ago, even though there were less than 10 eggs. As of 2 days ago there was one tiny larva left, but I have not seen it since.  I have to search for it with a flashlight, as the nest was hatched in a black round tub, and the tiny larva is transparent. Probably it is gone.

Then, the other morning, as i was feeding the broodstock tanks, I began to feel panic for a couple of seconds, as the gobies were not darting around eating in their tank! Oh no!  A quick look into their PVC tube changed the panic to joy, as they were both in there, making fertilized eggs! This time, the gobies' nest is a big one, papa is taking good care of it, and I hope to have a big hatch on Monday.

Bluestripe Day 33

Posted on June 2, 2012 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Mr. Big continues to do well, and I have some pictures of the broodstock:




Dottybacks Nov. 15, 2012

Posted on May 24, 2012 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

From November 15. 2012:

Today I pulled a 3 day old nest, or what remained of the nest. Just to look at it under the scope.

Most of the eggs were not well developed, but at least 3 looked close to hatch:


Bluestripe Day 26

Posted on May 24, 2012 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Here's a picture of Mr. Big, at day 26:



See the yellow fins? I think he's cute!

I've moved him in with some orange ocellaris larvae, as they are eating the same kinds of foods, and they seem to be tolerating each other well, even though the chyrsopterus is 20 times bigger than the ocellaris.  Now I've freed up the BRT for some orchid dottybacks I'm hatching.

Banggais again

Posted on May 12, 2012 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (0)

I saw some great looking captive bred Banggais in Aquatic Treasures, a store that buys fish from me, and I got 4 to begin my next attempt at banggai breeding.  They all seem to be eating frozen mash and pellets, so now I just need to find some more from a different broodstock so as to increase the chances not to be mating brothers and sisters.

Bluestripe Day 15

Posted on May 12, 2012 at 10:15 PM Comments comments (0)

I managed to capture the remaining larva and actually get a couple of pictures! He has a fish shape, and long fins, but no definate color yet:

Getting started: 3rd attempt at breeding clownfish

Posted on May 11, 2012 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)

What follows is an editted copy/paste from a forum I once frequented, from 2005, documenting how Kathy got started breeding clownfish:

Third attempt raising clownfish



Just heard from my friend, and the parent clownfish spawned again yesterday. This time I'll pick up eggs on Day 8 instead of waiting for Day 9 and possibly missing the hatch. So I have a week to get ready, and I already have 2 gallons of rotifers and lots of phyto.


I'll post some pix of the set-up later.


(I am so excited!)


A couple of months ago I started with a tiny vial of rotifer cycsts from Florida Aqua farms. I thought they were not doing too well for about 3 weeks, and then they took off! They double every day if I feed them enough. I have kept this batch going for a couple of months, so it is hard to know what the starting quantity was.


How many rots you got now? I now have 2 gallons at 150 per ml. And i have a week to get to 4 gallons. Even if they don't double every day, I should get there with ease.


Here are my culturing shelves. The shelves are WalMart plastic, less than 10$ each. Good enough.

Top shelf is for pumps and small bottles of dechlorinator and fertilizer, knick knacks, etc.



Next shelf with the shop light is for phytoplankton. I have nanochloropsis on there now.

Third shelf stores bottles of chlorinated 20ppt salt water. Recently, it finally dawned on me that I can recycle my water change water. I filter the water I pull out of my display to remove algae and poop detritus through a paper towel (water I would usually pour down the toilet) and dilute it to 20 ppt. I just add 1 ml bleach per gallon and siphon into my bottles until they are 2/3 full, cap and store until use. The effectively sterilizes the bottle and the water at the same time.


Every day I add dechlorinator to one bottle, shake, add 14 drops Micro Algae Grow from FAF and ripe phyto to fill. Bubble away until next week. Takes less than 10 minutes.


Bottom shelf has gallon milk jugs of rotifers and set ups for brine shrimp. The lights are the discarded NO lights from my 55 gallon display.


gang valves are easy to attach by drilling holes and using zip ties>


I learned that I have to pay attention to the concentration of the rotifers, and to keep them fed well, and then they multiplly readily.


Still working out a few things. Some say you should add a little of the old culture water to a new jug when you are starting one. I found that after a while of doing this, I got a culture of ciliates and the rotifers slowed down. Ciliates, at least I think they were ciliates, are bigger than a phytoplankton, and a lot smaller than a rotifer (microscope came in real handy). And they swim really fast.


When I restarted the rotifers after filtering out the ciliates, the rots multiplied like crazy and were fine. I may not do that add old culture water thing again.


I have not used roti-rich or brewers yeast or V8. Just Nanochloropsis. If I run out of nano, I'll probably use yeast to maintain the rots, and phyto to enrich before feeding the rots to the larvae.


I tried V8 once with a small quantity of rots, and I think it killed all the rotifers, they certainly did not thrive. Probably, I did it wrong. It seems like more work than just my routine phyto culture.


are you doing batch or continuous culture? If continuous, just keep adding phytoplankton as the rots consume it, and you should be fine. Don't forget to siphon clean the bottom almost daily.


If you are doing gallon batches ala milk jugs as I do, pour off a quarter of your full gallon to a new jug, and feed both jugs with phytoplankton until the water is light green. Bubble for a day and add more phyto tomorrow. When the jug is full, pour off a quarter (25% harvest) into a new jug or supplement a partially filled jug and feed all jugs with more phyto. After 3-5 days or when you notice a lot of gunk on the bottom of a jug, harvest the whole bottle, and throw out the stuff on the bottom. Filter the rots to remove them from their polluted media, and put3/4 of them into a clean jug with a couple of liters of dechlorinated 20ppt saltwater, feed with phyto. Put the other fourth of rotifers into a new jug, or feed your tank or supplement a partially filled jug.


I found I can recycle gunky jugs by filling them with water and 1 ml bleach and soaking them this way overnight. Next day rinse and dechlorinate and good to go.


It takes another 10 minutes a day to keep rotifers going. After initial set up costs, growing this live food costs:









well, perhaps tap water for keeping things clean.


I bought micro-algae grow, the smallest bottle will last a long time, and dechlorinator I got for free from IMAC--vendors giving it away. I can't decide if it was free or cost 300$, my expenses at IMAC.:-)




Bleach, I suppose is an expense.




In other words, this whole thing is appealingly cheap!



I used to struggle with phyto, until someone here advised me to use bleach to sterilize the bottles and saltwater. The formula is 1 ml of liquid chlorine bleach to 1 gallon=3.7851 liters, so 1 ml to 4 liters should work. I mix it up, put into bottles and store them until use. I also bleach the rigid airline tubing, and the drilled bottle cap. Just before use, I add 2ml per gallon (US) or (~4 L) of a tap water dechlorinator like Prime. I don't know if the bleach and dechlorinator are the same composition where you are. You will have to do the math if it is not, to figure out how much to add of each thing.


After I started using bleach, I had no probems with culturing phyto, and I've been at it for several months now. Very occasionally, I have a bacteria bloom in one of the phyto bottles, and I just feed it right away to the rots. I figure bacteria are nutritious, too, and since the rots will be filtered in a couple of days anyway, the bacteria will go away.


I now use 20 ppt saltwater. I have at various times used Oceanic, Instant Ocean, and Corallife, with no discernable difference. I no longer care to use Oceanic in my display tank, so I used up what I had left for the phyto culture. Then I got some Instant Ocean at the IMAC conference, another $300 freebee, and I used some of that. Now I use the recycled display tank water, which has been Corallife for a long time. It all works for me.

I do have an air pump and an airline attached to rigid airline tubing going into the rotifer jugs. The bubbles are set to go more slowly than the phyto aeration. Too much turbulance is not good for rots, but some is good to keep everything in suspension including the phyto. I have them in milk jugs which are not clear, but are free, and since I'm cheap, I use them. Having clear jugs would allow more light penetration so the phyto that does not get consumed right away would continue to grow. I haven't noticed an increased need for additions of phyto since I started using the opaque jugs, and I still use a fluorescent light to culture the rots. 16 hours on, 8 hours off. They are on the same timer as the phyto.



The plastic coffee filter is too porous for newly hatched baby brine shrimp. I recently started practicing decapsulation techniques, filtered the first hatch thru this plastic coffee filter, and although it captured most of the babies, some got through. I may have to use the rotifer screen for this. Or part with some more money to get a slightly larger pore screen than 53 microns.


Yes, I add bleach to the water, siphon into bottles, cap, shake up to coat all surfaces, and store on shelf until use, at least overnight.


Then as needed, take a bottle, add dechlorinator at 2 times the volume of bleach in the BOTTLE (not the gallon. One gallon = 3.7851 liters, a 2 liter bottle is approx 1/2 gallon, but I fill mine only 2/3 full, so basically, I add 16 drops dechlorinator, or 3/4 ml ) Sorry, you have to do the math for your situation.


Cap, shake, and use as needed to cuture either phyto or rots. If you are worried about not dechlorinating enough, you can use those cheap test strips for chlorine we have in aquarium stores here. Once I tested a couple of times, I knew the volumes were correct, so I no longer test.


For phyto, I add 14 drops micro agae grow and top off with 1/3 bottle ripe phyto. Apply air. Harvest in approximately one week.


When I'm not culturing rots, I do feed my tank, and I give some to local friends.


I also store it in the refrigerator until my family complains or I need more for rotifers.



I've been following that thread, Luis. I agree that home culture is not better than DT's -- its different. DT's has no fertilizer residue, except for the minerals the phyto has consumed. It has 3 kinds of phyto and some diatoms. It has a cold shelf life that is decent. A lot of research and thought went into this product. It is a good product. It is, however, not what I need.


I need a very very cheap way to feed rots to feed potential future hopefully baby fish.

Fresh is good, I think, and from what I have read, and I get fresh from my home culture. And as I mentioned before, home culture is very appealingly cheap!


I also think DT's can raise rots, and they might be better rots, but they would be very, very expensive rots.


I think the best application for DT's, and this is what most folks use it for, is to feed phyto-consuming inverts in the display tank.

Somehow I managed to obtain a ciliate culture anyway. I still add the same amount of fertilizer f/2 that I did before I used recycled tank water. My nitrates on display tank water are 0.





DT,IA and home grown.


Well it is a lengthy subject and I don´t feel like going into that debate .Which phyto is better?.Yes,it depends on what you need it for;reef tank,growing clams,rots,copepods or green water technique.


In a nutshell,the "best "phyto is a mix of different species offering a DHA/EPA/ARA similar to natural phyto.A blend of NAN and T-ISO gives a decent proportion,as T-Iso is high in DHA while NAN is rich in EPA (but poor in DHA).DT does not give that,but it still is a practical and convenient product.




Old techniques?


Why,fresh new developments .Nobody has ever raised many of the species we are dealing with now,or kept corals,or raised calanoid copepods .This part of the hobby is very cutting edge,and new things show all the time.It is challenging and that makes it fascinating!






Well,some greenhouse window,or a high shelf (childproof) by a south looking window.




Rots males


They don´t look like rots,they are small and fast,and sometimes circle the females like bumblebees.They have a bright "eyespot"






Get some distilled water.Buy sodium thiosulfate in a chemical store.Check how much Cl per L your house bleach has.Say it is 55 grams /L.Now weigh 55grams of Sodium thio.and mix it in 1 L of dist.water.Ready!


Now if you put say 1ml of bleach,you dechlorinate it with 1 ml of your diy preparation,always same volume.Voila!



I have looked into doing just that. Sigma chemical company is based right here in St. Louis, my home town. Believe it or not, it is cheaper to buy Sodium thiosulphate from Florida Aqua Farms, than from Sigma!


I did buy a bunch shortly before going to IMAC. Right now I don't need it because I have so much "free" sample dechlorinator from vendors at IMAC.


Thanks again, Luis!

I did try to culture a disk of T-iso with no luck whatsoever. Got any tips on that Luis, or Edgar, or anyone?



My plan is to start with one hatch at a time until I figure out how to raise them. I have one 20 gallon and 3 10 gallon tanks, but after conversations with someone here, I may switch to dark plastic tubs if I really get serious about this.


I am covering the sides with a black plastic trash can liner of the 20 gallon tank, and plan to drip RO/DI water to reduce the salinity of the parent tank water to 25ppt as soon as I can. I will get the eggs on a tile from my friend, along with some of his tank water, put them in the tank and start a slow drip of RO/DI. An air pump with a gang valve will provide aeration of the eggs, not too turbulent this time, and maybe another line into another part of the tank to provide some air and flow, and then wait for lights out.


Hopefully they will hatch that night or the next night. Then I'll start the feeding routine in the morning. Sound like a plan?


As far as a system is concerned, I was thinking I might like to build something like what Martin Moe had in his book "Breeding the Orchid Dottyback" . It was a gravity fed system with a header tank into which water from the sump was pumped. Then between the header tank and the sump were broodstock tanks and larval tanks attached to the drain of the header with adjustable valves, and drains to the sump so 1 pump was needed to supply flow to all the tanks, and gravity allowed individual tanks to be turned on or off to flow without affecting the other tanks on the system.


I do not want to put larval tanks on this system, just brood tanks and grow out tanks, because these aged fish are more hardy and need the filtering capacity of live rock, protein skimmer, etc. I think a UV on the line from the sump up to the header would be good idea to hopefully prevent toxic tank syndrome.


I have no experience, obviously, so anyone with suggestions please comment.


I think I want to keep the larval growth tanks separate and just deal with them manually as per Joyce Wilkerson's book, i.e. water changes and a sponge filter after they quit eating rotifers.


I have gotten rid of some of my junk in the basement, and moved the wall of kids toys in storage to another wall of the basement, so now I have a space to put the grow out system when I get ready to build it. I was going to wait until I see if I can get these fish to survive before investing in the more permanent breeding system, and thinking about acquiring a breeding pair or two of my own.


Meanwhile I am feeding my pair of ocellaris a LOT of food in the hopes that they will spawn. I have had them for 2 years, they are beautiful, and are clearly a pair. One thing I have noticed since I started feeding them more is that the female no longer minds if the male eats something. Before, when I was feeding them sparsely in an attempt to control algae, the female would attack the male whenever she caught him eating. She left the other fish in the tank alone, but the male was not allowed to eat.


Then, for a little while, the female was hosted by my colt coral and the male chose to be hosted by either one of my toadstools at the other end of the tank. I thought they had gotten divorced!


Must have been just a trial separation, because now that there is more than enough food, they get along great, and stay in the colt together very chummy.


I recently got a Canon Powershot A75 digital camera. Still learning how to use it.


Batch or continuous both work and are stable. With continuous culture, if the culture crashes and you only have one, you are done. So to be sure to always have rots, you need at least 2, in case one crashes.


If I am going to have 2 of something and twice the maintenance of 1, then I will do batches of 4. I did some calculations that tell me that my hypothetical larvae can consume 25% of my 4 gallon culture a day, and that is sustainable. So I do 4 gallons. Your results may vary. Also keep in mind that I have yet to raise clownfish larvae. I am speaking from complete inexperience. =o


There may be less risk from crashes with batch, because you can recover more easily if you lose 1/4 of your rots than if you lose 1/2 of your rots.


This is just my opinion. In some ways continuous is easier. But none of it is hard.


I started with cysts, but that is a slow way to start. If you know someone local who is keeping rots, get some from them. You will get a much faster start. You may be able to purchase live rots as well. Try Florida Aqua Farms. You will still need some food for them to enrich them before feeding to the larvae.


I've never used purchased food for the rots. Someone else out there? Feel free to chime in.


I feed excess rots to my display tank, and I give them away to friends locally. It is like a plankton bloom in your tank. The fish and inverts really like them. I have also frozen some for use in feeding juvenile clowns if I am good enough to raise some.


Good luck to you! Take your time, and learn as much as you can. It is really fun stuff to think about, as well as to do.


(If you do decide to order from FAF, and do the culturing of phyto yourself, get one of the kits that includes the plankton culture manual. It is full of interesting and useful information. And it is much cheaper to buy the kit than to do it the way I did, buying a little here, a little there, then the manual, and it turns out that even without shipping, I spent much more in little bits than if I had just bought the kit.)


Pam: I mean, if you use a small container don't the rots run out of room from multiplying?

Yes, they do run out of room. Every day a jug gets removed from the culture and harvested. Some rots from the other 3 jugs are filtered and put into a fresh clean jug with water and phyto to replace the one harvested. Now there is room in the other 3 jugs to feed phyto. Tomorrow one of the oldest 3 jugs gets harvested and the process repeats.


In this way, they are not left in a dirty jug for more than 4 days, 25% is harvested daily, and everybody is happy.


This isn't the only way to do it, it is just the way I have chosen. Many ways exist to raise the rots! :-)



Pam: Have you actually collected the clownfish eggs and started feeding the rots?

Twice, all fry died....

First time, I had too much air on the eggs and ended up with piles of hundreds of mangled dead fry.

Second time they hatched a day early, and the parents had a nice snack. I tried to hatch the remaining eggs with no luck.


Thursday I get to try again.

My third attempt rearing clownfish.



I picked up the eggs from my friend's house yesterday (Wednesday) evening to prevent the "early hatch in parent tank" problem I had last time. They did not hatch last night. Good.


They should hatch tonight! I have 400000 rotifers enriching for the next 8 hours, so I can feed the fry first thing in the morning. I turned down the bubbles so they won't get killed on the turbulence like the first attempt. We are in a 20 gallon tank, so I can increase the volume later after rotifers. Everything is ready!


I have to be strong to resist the urge to creep downstairs with a flashlight to take a peek!




They hatched last night! There are around a hundred I think! Most are swimmers, some are floor darters. I just added the enriched rots. Still not sure about the light. I put a paper towel over the tank to shade it. And there is greenwater in the tank. Let's hope they start eating!!!!!!


Can you tell I'm a little excited?


Backtracking a little, here are the egg laden tile and incubation pictures. I glued the airbar to the back of the white ceramic tile with silcone aquarium sealant to weight it down and make a space between the air stream and the eggs:


try again:


see the eggs?


Got Larvae?


I have 1-200 of these so far. I haven't found any dead ones, but a couple are doing the psychotic circle dance of death, so it won't be long for them. Still this is SO much better than I ever did before:


They are all swimming, hardly any lying about on the floor, and some are getting dark stomachs. I stayed home from work today to hover over them and take care of them.


The lighting seems to be OK, they are swimming around, not up, not down.


I am keeping the water tinted, and checking the resident rotifers to make sure they have something nutritious in their tummies.


Someone asked about the enrichment:

Last night I counted some rotifers, and did the math to harvest enough volume to give me about 400,000 rots. With this many, I can feed two times, to 20 liters tank water for a rot density of about 10 per ml. These I filtered, and placed in a clean jug with 1 liter 20 ppt water, and 1 Liter ripe phyto. Then I let it bubble for about 8 hours. Then it was morning and time to feed the little mouths. I filtered 1 liter of this stuff, and washed it into a small pitcher with ripe phyto and let that sit for about 30 mins to one hour. This makes sure that the little rots are chock full of the ripe phyto, so if a larvae catches one, it is as nutritious as possible.

plus, they multiply, so there will be more than what I counted the night before.


My friend is very smart and talented. I hope he is reading this.


My friend's A. Ocellaris lay eggs on the back wall of his display tank. My friend bought this beautiful, corraline algae look alike tile and hung it with fishing line over the spot where they laid the eggs, between spawning, of course. The next time they spawned, they did it right on the tile! very convenient!


Found one dead. I looked at it under the scope, and it looks like its head never made it out of the egg. I will try to get a picture thru the microscope later.

Funny thing!

I was so worried about not having enough rotifers... I haven't had to add any since last night. They like the larval tank so much they are multiplying faster than the larvae can eat them!




so today I just scraped the tank bottom, and siphoned out the junk with airline tubing and fed the tank phyto to keep the rots green belly-ed.

Here is a shot from Day 2

I did a little playing with photoshop to get this one:


Only needed to feed them once today. They are getting some color in their tails--not so transparent anymore. I thought I saw a couple doing the tail kink to nab a rotifer. This is a good sign for some of them, because they do not all have dark bellies from eating lots of rots. Some are still orange from the yolk sac.


thanks to everyone for the encouragement. More tomorrow!


Oh, and the death count today was around 10. Would like it to be 0, but I am not really concerned.




Found some dead today. Don't know why.


Some of the larvae have orange stomachs still and are small compared with their black bellied brothers. Yet they live on. When I look at the dead ones under the scope, they look like they have green stomachs, so they must be eating, so why did they die?


Anyone have any insight on this?


Some of them seem to be getting darker on their tail section, less transparent. I hope this is good!




Many have died. I have only scooped out about 50 and there are less than 20 left. I don't know where they all went....


End of Day6, I gave them newly hatched brine shrimp this morning, about 20 per larvae, but I can't tell if they have eaten any. The water is still cloudy with phyto and rotifers.

Yesterday I needed to remove about half the rots. I siphoned the water thru a plankton collector and returned the seived water to the tank.


I have an ammonia alert badge that says I am safe, but when I measured ammonia yesterday, it was at 0.25 mg/L, so I am not so sure. I think I will do a 20% water change tonight to see if that helps. Maybe my badge is broken!


When can I start them on cyclopeeze. I have the frozen kind. I checked my cyclopeeze under the scope, and it seems kinda big....


After I did the water change, I spent a long time just looking at them. Some of them are dramatically bigger than others. The little ones were doing the s curve lunge thing, so I hope they will be alright. There are not as many rotifers anymore, and they are getting old, I think, so tomorrow morning I will feed some rots and some bbs.


The big ones have pronounced stomachs, and it may be my imagination, but they seem a bit orange, not just at the stomach. Mostly silver stomachs. I couldn't find any bbs in the tank, but i put so few in that they may be just diluted. I am not sure if they are eating them or not, but they seem quite stuffed!


Wish me luck, tomorrow is another day!




No deaths this morning...phew!

Fed them bbs and rotifers, extra green.

They definately seem bigger. My daughter with her fresh 9 year old eyes, said they look a little orange.


Still dripping more water into the tank. I will do another water change this evening.


Thanks for the info on cyclopeeze. I will try some when I get home since it is day 7 for us.


I have not done the crushed flake, but it is also worth a try. My adult clowns love it!


Edgar: What a relief? Waking up to live larvae huh?


It is good to try dry food at an early stage but remenber to siphon at the end of the day since at this stage most will ignore it and it will go to the bottom of the tank.



Well the young larvae got some new chow today. In addition to rotifers, the standard diet, they got new hatch brine shrimp this morning, pulverized flake food and frozen cyclopeeze this evening. I just gave them a little bit of flake and a couple of drops of cyclopeeze. I thought I saw one of them eat a tiny morsel.

Hard to say since I am over 40 and the glasses never do work that good.


Couple of hours later I did a thorough scrape and vaccuum of the floor.


The larvae are definately bigger, most of them. When one swims next to the black side of the tank, I can see that the tail is really long. I can't see the tail normally when I look down into the tank because it is transparent and the tank bottom is white.


The stomachs are really big today, too, and might be turning orange (over 40, be kind).

The side view of the larvae is very interesting. They are taking on the shape of real fish.


One is near the bottom, darkly pigmented and swimming head up, with his tail nearly touching the bottom. Just hanging out there. I figure it is either the beginning of metamorphosis, or the beginning of death.


A couple of others are doing that head banging thing on the side of the tank. All sides are encased in black plastic, so the light should not be causing it. One crazy guy is trawling the surface. I would be worried, but he appears to be well fed. Perhaps this is just his method of food capture. Are there psychologists for fish?


I do hope some survive metamorphosis. I have a list of takers, now I just need the fish to distribute.


I also want to take some pictures of lots of baby clowns. That would be sweet!


Bedtime, and on to day 8!

Pictures on the weekend. I just can't manage during the week. I have pix of almost every day.



The dark tail stander has been named by my daughter: Speedy. She saw it speeding across the tank once. I think it will be the first metamorphoser (is that a word?).


The others are growing too. I got a good side view in the clear morning water, and they are really taking on the classical fish shape and with orange bellies.  Their tails are remarkably long and graceful.


Anyone who thinks new hatch brine shrimp are easier than rotifers is nuts. I spend 3 x the time to get the shrimp ready as I did for the rotifers. I guess since you don't need phyto for them, that makes it easier. Planning makes phyto very easy, though, in my opinion.


pH is 7.7, with 0.25 mg/L ammonia-- not terrible. I think I'm going to siphon the bottom twice a day until after metamorphosis. Particularly with the dead food going in now. Can't afford too much ammonia.


I am contemplating a multiple tank set up, but need more thought and advice before I start to build.


Lesson learned: Never let your daughter name a fish.


Now she wants to keep it. She cried for 30 minutes over this larvae that might die tomorrow, and that she has looked at, and formed a deep attachment to, for all of ten minutes.


No losses today. Larvae are noticably bigger and fish shaped. In the corner are two dark larvae, and I think I am seeing white head bands on them! They are acting weird, with their noses to the silicon, but this may be metamorphosis! I also saw one orange one with a headband, I think.


Wilkerson says that ocellaris have orange color through metamorphosis, whereas other strains of Amphiprion are dark. If I am seeing what I think I see, I have two dark ones and one orange one. I wonder if there is some kind of cross breed that occured at one time to give this result. Or perhaps they start dark and turn orange.


The rest of the larvae lag behind, but I expect they will change in the next couple of days. I don't know why I expect that, but I do. It will be interesting to see what color they will be.


I do hope they all survive, if for no other reason than my daughter will be heartbroken if Speedy dies.

I suppose I will too. One does get attached....



Today is my lucky day.


It looks like they will all survive metamorphosis. Most have headbands, and all have the thickened bodies of real fish. They are not just eyes, stomach, and tail anymore! Tomorrow I will try to process some more pictures. I got some tonight of the headbands and I think a dramatic shot of an immature one. We'll see when I get them on the computer.


I think the dark color I was seeing may have been a lighting effect from the dark background of the tank. I think they are all orange.


Their stomachs are all orange now. I need to check the book, but I think I may be able to discontinue rotifers and just do the new hatch brine shrimp.


I did do a siphon cleaning breifly this evening, and I think I sucked out some older shrimp. I hope they don't try to eat things that are too big for them. ....


Tomorrow I will add the sponge filter and see how they do with that. It would be good to reduce the ammonia. It is not terribly high, but any reading other than 0 makes me nervous. pH=7.7, so perhaps it is not too dangerous.


Anthony Calfo came to St. Louis for a talk today hosted by our local club. What an awesome speaker, and a creative guy! And incredibly nice!


I had all the luck today, too. In the raffle, I won 2 corals and a collection of Anthony and Bob Fenner's new posters. I got all five signed by Anthony. In one of the corals was a nice little asterina star and 3, THREE mini brittle stars. Will the luck never end?


I'm going to bed before something bad happens...



Please keep in mind that it is very hard to take pictures of tiny critters, moving fast, under water in a sea of rotifers and phytoplankton. I have a close up lens that helps, but focus is a problem, and remember I am over 40 so even looking is a problem.

Needless to say, I am still pleased with most of these shots and I hope you will enjoy them.







Note how long the tails are and how they curl. This is a sign of impending metamorphosis.



Overhead shot of orange fish with white stripe.

Corner reflection. Note white head band.

I liked these reflections, thought I would share

This guy swam close to the glass so I could take his picture


Here's looking at you, kid!

Fuzzy 10x shot with mouth open:



Beginning of 12th day:

Some fish are heading to the bottom, but they are still alive! I got a really good view of them this morning as I am winding down rotifer feeding because they all are eating bbs and , I think, frozen cyclopeeze. Most are orange, some are still dark, about 3 do not have their first band yet, but are eating well.


The great thing is that I got a good count of them this morning and I think I have not 13, but 16!!!!!


Another great thing is I was talking to the owner of the LFS, and she said she would buy any excess ocellaris I could raise. So I can do this again! Waiting for the parents to spawn, and wonder where I'm going to put another tank....


Need to get a system set up, but I have too many ideas running around in my brain. I would love to see a small set up, if anyone has pictures, please post them so I can get some ideas!





A couple of days ago I thought I had 12 or 13 little swimmers. Tonight I counted 18, EIGHTEEN!!!!!


All have one stripe, most are orange, and about 3 or 4 are getting their second white band.!!!!


My little babies are growing up!

still hard to get pix...




Make that 17...One little guy died today. This is the first death in many days. He had not reached metamorphosis, now at Day 14. I guess there was something wrong with him or my care of him. I have one more that is filled out and dark, but with little or no head band, so I hope this one makes it through. The rest of them seem to be doing well, eating I think, with many having their second white band and looking more orange all the time.


I did a water change today, little over 2 gallons out of 12 gallons. First use of ASW not pre used by my display, but just aerated overnight. I did adjust the pH of the new saltwater down to 7.7 (a few drops of lime juice, keeping an eye on the pH meter) because that is what the baby clowns are living in, and there is some ammonia. I did not want to make it more toxic by adding high pH water (8.1).


First I vacuumed out debris, then set up a bucket of the new water with an airline tubing and valve on a higher table to siphon the new water in at a drip, but faster than 1 drop per second. It was what I would call a fast drip. I did not pre heat the water as I added it slowly enough, I think, the aquarium heater in the larval tank could keep up, and my basement is at 77F anyway, only 3 degrees lower than the 80F at which I keep the larval tank.


I did not add rotifers today. In fact I tried to remove them with the water change. The fish seem uninterested in such small food, and only seem to feed when the bbs and cyclopeeze and dried food hits the water. The sponge filter is doing a pretty good job sucking out junk. Everyday I have been squeezing it out in saltwater and I get a lot of nasty stuff from it.


Now that I'm not adding phyto to the tank it is a lot easier to see the fish!


Clear water is a lovely thing, and I hope the baby fish enjoy it too.




My ammonia seems to be climbing despite the addition of the sponge filter and doing a pretty good water change.


So I tested my fry tank water and found some ammonia, well the ammonia alert badge told me that.

Then I tested my water change water and found the same level of ammonia....hmmm...


I had just mixed up some new water for tomorrow's water change, tested that,





Then I went nuts and tested everything again and in addition my RODI water and the display tank containing 70 lbs of live rock.


You guessed it, the only one with no ammonia was my display tank water.


No wonder the ammonia in the fry tank did not go down.


Perhaps I need new filters on the RODI?


Man what a shocker! I have been adding ammonia with each water change and top off!


Perhaps that is why so many fry died in the early days...



RODI and tap are = in ammonia, around 3 mg/L. I am in a dilemma now as I can get ammonia free water from my display tank, but it is at salinity 36 ppt. My fry tank is at 25 ppt. Not a match. But I have nothing to dilute my display water with, as every water has ammonia in it.


I changed the sediment and carbon filters in my RODI just now, but the TDS are around 21, and the ammonia is only marginally better than tap water.


Crisis averted. Called Ed on the phone. We think that the test kit is bad but just in case got some RO at the store to dilute my display water.


I've calmed down now.


More advice from Ed was to connect my fry tank to a system with a biological filter. Going to do that asap.


Ed gives good advice.


What a horrendous day. I never did make it in to work and I've been fooling around with the fish stuff all day.


Ammonia. It's in the tap water, my RODI water, and so everything I make with it. Turns out my test kits were good. I went to the LFS and asked them to test my freshly made up RODI saltwater, and it came back at 3 mg/L!!!!!!!!!


My poor fish. I think another one is trying to die this evening. Another not quite metamorphoser.


I have set up a rinky dink sump-like tank with about 15 pounds of live rock from my display (2 year set up) and display tank water. Then I slowly aclimated the rock to 25 ppt with a drip of RO water from the grocery store (0 ammonia). Then I set up an aqualifter pump to trickle water from the sump to the tank and also set up a coffee filter siphon to get water from the tank to the sump. I have been pretty lucky getting the flows to match, but I'm a little nervous about going to bed tonight. I may have to turn it off when I am not watching it.


Given that I cannot make ammonia free unsalted water, I need to set up a system ASAP!! I need to figure out where to get tanks drilled, set up some shelving system and a sump for live rock and a pump to get water up to where it needs to go. I am clueless.


How big should the diameter for the bulkheads and the plumbing be...How much pump do I need...How to make an overflow. I will have to see if I can get some help locally.




The display has no ammonia because it has lots of live rock bacteria that process the ammonia to nitrate and or nitrogen. It has been cycled for over 2 years.


I have been using the display tank water and diluting it with my own RODI not knowing that it had ammonia. Unfortunately, the LFS water has ammonia in it too. The only water that does not is the grocery store water, which probably comes from out of town and is RO treated.


I don't think you ever raise the salinity. My LFS keeps their fish only tanks at low 1.020 specific gravity, some of the fish I will sell to them. Helps keep them healthy I think.




So I now have a sump for the babies with live rock, a powerhead, heater and a maxijet 1200 that pumps up to the tank. I have a second hand CPR overflow with Aqualifter that, once I figured out how the thing works, is working quite well. I taped some synthetic fabric over the inlet to the overflow so that the fish and brine shrimp would not get lost in the sump. I'll probably have to change that daily. There is also a lot more water now in the system, probably 25 gallons. I topped it up with display water diluted with grocery store RO.


The ammonia is the same, but the system has only been running for a couple of hours.


The fish seem the same, except bigger.


What concerns me is that they hang around at the surface, nose up, like they are sucking air all the time. I know this is not normal fish behavior, but is it normal for baby clowns?


Do they have permanent gill damage from living in low level ammonia?


The clown babies seem better this evening. More of them are swimming in the body of the tank, instead of clustering at the surface. I can really tell that they are eating because they are eating bigger particles and I can see them approach, and snap their mouths around it, and then its gone. I start their day with finely crushed Formula 1 flake around 5:30, and later cyclopeeze, and then baby brine shrimp just before I go to work at 8:30 - 9am. Their stomachs really turn orange and bulge. When I get home, they get some more flake and cyclopeeze, sometimes bbs if I have some left, I siphon their tank, and then lights out around 10.


The fish seem remarkably bigger today! Maybe it is because they are higher up in the tank since I raised the water volume. It is Day 18 for them.


The parent fish have spawned again, but I am going to pass on this batch as I have some work to do for my kids' schools, and I want to get a system set up to handle multiple batches before I hang myself again. I'm keeping a small collection of rotifers going, and I'll just refrigerate the excess phyto until I need to start up again.




Fish are getting bigger daily. Pictures this weekend.


I feed them some cyclopeeze every day, the frozen kind. The ignore the bigger bits and do seem to eat the tiniest pieces, but it is not the feeding activity that I see when I give them the NH brine shrimp. They just go on search and destroy! I may see if I can find the dried kind of cyclopeeze so I can mill it to a size they can use.


They do take flake food well.


Anyone else have experience with the frozen kind of cyclopeeze?


Day 21 pix


I know I've skipped a bunch of days, but Here are some Day 21 shots:


This guy is starting to get his third band:





This one just ate!




Bluestripe Day 12

Posted on May 9, 2012 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

He keeps getting bigger, and 2 white dots have appeared on his head, initially, I thought they were just reflections from his eyes, but now I think he'll be a misbar, and I think that he is just past the beginning of metamorphosis!  What do you think?

I'm target feeding him with dry micro pellets, and A panamensis. I'm also hatching brine shrimp, as a last ditch effort to get him through meta as quickly as possible.