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FAQs about Breeding Clownfishes 5

Related Articles: Clownfishes

Related FAQs: Clownfish Reproduction 1, Clownfish Reproduction 2, Clownfish Reproduction 3, Clownfish Breeding 4, Clownfish Breeding 6, & Clownfishes in General, Clownfish Identification, Clownfish Selection, Clownfish Compatibility, Clownfish Behavior, Clownfish Systems, Clownfish Feeding, Clownfish Diseases Brooklynellosis, Anemones & ClownfishesMaroon Clowns

Raising Clark Clown fish -- 8/24/10
Thanks for all the information on you web site.
<Bob does a great job.>
I have Joyce Wilkerson's book and am raising my second brood.
Four from the first are 24 days old and about 30 are 9 days old.
<Great work!>
Everything seems to be going well. I am raising them form my own pleasure and hope to have a Clown fish tank.
<Try and do it in a large tank with lots of anemones.>
The question I have is can I ever put batches of juveniles together? I expect another hatching in 3 days. I will then stop raising and enjoy the one's I have.
Can I ever put them together?
<The smallest fish always get picked on. In a single hatch there are always big medium and small fish. Juveniles born within a month or so of each other will do fine together once they are eating the same foods. The ones that are 15 days apart I would put together when the youngest ones are at least 30 or 40 days old. I would wait till the ones hatching on 27th
are a couple months old to add them with the rest. Just for your info, my experiences were with Ocellaris, Percula, and tomato clowns. A. clarkii should be similar to the tomatoes though.>
<Hope this helps, Scott T.> 

Clownfish eating eggs  7/19/10
I have a pair of false percula clownfish that I noticed one afternoon were laying eggs on a rock beside their anemone.  But just as the female would lay an egg on the rock, the male would eat the egg off the rock within seconds.  Occasionally the female would also eat an egg or two after she laid them.  I did an extensive search on your website and was surprised not to find an explanation of this behavior (since I can usually find everything else).  Is this behavior unusual?
<A little unusual. If they are a newly spawning pair however, it would be much more acceptable.>
My tank is 40 gal. with lots of live rock, corals, snails, and small starfish.  The pair of clownish are the only two fish in the tank with a large rose anemone.  The tank has been established for a year and a half, and I've had the clownfish for a little over a year.  They both have been eating well, and prior to laying the eggs the female had been eating much more than usual of course.  I feed them everyday with flake/pellet foods as well as frozen formula one occasionally.  The female is about 2.5" long and the male is about 1.75" long.
<A wonderful home for them. Perfect conditions for spawning.>
They both had been cleaning that area of the rock for the past couple days.  While they were spawning (and eating the eggs), the male was displaying similar behavior (fertilizing, I believe) by rubbing his underside against the rock after the female did.
So are they eating the eggs because maybe its they're first time?  Maybe because it was during the day?  Maybe they were overly obsessed with cleaning the rock?  I don't think I should intervene at all.  I would love for them to have babies.  Any thoughts?
<Often it takes a few tries for clownfish to get down the rhythm of spawning. Usually much longer before large productive nests are formed. I wouldn't worry at all. Keep us updated on their progress. Feeding more couldn't hurt, especially if you plan to raise any babies. I say that hesitantly though. Wouldn't want to throw off the balance of food input and tank maintenance. It sounds like you have a pretty stable setup there.>
<Hope this helps, Scott T.>

Clownfish Pairing and Aggression  7/10/10
Dear WWM,
<Good day William.>
About 8 months ago one of my percula clownfish died. The second clown of the mated pair (the male) survived and is currently in my tank. It is a 55g flat back hex, Icecap t5 lighting, about 70 pounds live rock, 2-3 inch sand
bed. The other inhabitants are 2 emerald crabs, 1 flame angelfish and various hermits/snails. Recently I added a second much smaller percula clownfish hoping to replace the old clown and hopefully start a new pair.
The smaller clown was great for the first two days, following the larger around and being peaceful. Then in the last two days the smaller clown has started chasing around the larger one. He was even biting his fins and latching on. I know that the larger of the two was the male in the prior pairing. So why is the smaller clown showing so much aggression. I would have thought that the larger would assert dominance and eventually become female. The larger of the two clowns now has some torn fins but the body of the fish looks ok. There is a BTA that has been in the tank for two years that the old pair used to host, but since the clown died the second hasn't gone near it.
<Poor guy. Clown hosting behavior seems random to me. They will host what they want, be it Cyano, a rock, or an anemone.>
Any advice on what I should do with the rowdy little clown would be appreciated.
<I'm guessing that your larger male was used to the role of a male. With time he'll get into the swing of things. In the mean time it would be good if you could trade the new small male for an even smaller one. Torn fins doesn't sound good. Although it may work out it sounds like a recipe for infection. Switching the new males will give your 'female' time to adapt and develop a new and hopefully proper relationship. Having the new male be quite tiny will make it easier for 'her' to feel dominant.
Thank you,
<Scott T.>

Clown behavior, Pairing, Aggression 6/27/10
I have had two Ocellaris Clowns for about 4 to 5 months. They have always gotten along and usually inhabit a small craves of a rock in my 25 gal. aquarium. There are only two other fish in this aquarium with them. A Sailfin Tang, which can at times be aggressive, and a Green Mandarin, which is very passive.
<Both of these fish need a larger aquarium.>
Today I notices for the first time that one of the Ocellaris Clowns was being very dominate over the other. In fact it was driving it into a corner and continually biting at it. It simply would not leave it along. It continually attacked the less dominate one even when I intervened. I purchased these when they were quite small and the tank at the store only contained these two Clowns. As far as I know they have never been part of a school or been paired purposely.
<They'll pair up without any intervention.>
They are both the same size and I am not sure how long it takes for them to become adults.
<Depends on conditions.>
They are approximately two inches in length and very healthy.
<At two inches they may have already determined their sex and you could have a female/female pair, which will cause problems.>
Is this a mating procedure to change the sex of the other or is it something destructive?
<Are either one of them showing signs of physical damage? Are they both feeding? They pairing process can get very aggressive, especially when you have two that are close in size. You may be better off returning one an getting a smaller specimen.>
I have removed the non-dominate Clown meanwhile for safe keeping to a 55 gal tank with the same parameters as the 15 gal, which, by the way, seems to be as natural a water condition as I can get.
<15 or 25 gallon tank?>
What do you suggest,
Dave Green
<You may find it easiest to just return one for a smaller specimen. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnbehfaqs.htm >

Re: Clown behavior, 6/29/10
I'm sorry about the mistake. Attached is the original message. I was asking if purchasing an additional clown was too crowded for the 25 gal tank.
<One pair of clowns should be fine.>
That would be 2 clowns only in that tank. The others I have moved to the 55 gal. They seem to be doing well with the extra room.

To Pair, Or Not To Pair? That, Is The Question...Sort Of/Clownfish Reproduction 5/18/10
Hello Crew!
<Hi Manda>
Thank you very much for having such an informative site! I have spent many an hour reading and researching just for fun :-)
<Thank you and glad you use/enjoy.>
Unfortunately, I have been unable to find an answer to my silly question in all of my searching. (Wondering if I just don't know quite how to operate the google search engine on the page.) I have had two false Percs for just over a month. They were purchased at the same time, one male, one female. When I first put them in the aquarium, I had noticed the male starting to do the "dance" by the female. The female, in turn, did the dance as well, but I never saw them do it together.
<Mmm, one may have had two left fins. Ha.>
It has been a while since I have seen this activity and am wondering if they truly are paired now, or if they just kind of gave up. There have been no egg clutches, and they haven't exactly hosted to anything yet. (They go to the back corner of the live rock at night to sleep.) Would this have something to do with why they haven't laid eggs, aren't really paired? Just wondering what to expect. They do have the option to host an anemone and they haven't chosen to.
<Not absolutely necessary for an anemone to be present to spawn, although I feel it does help, but your fish may very well be tank bred and may not host an anemone.
As to breeding, Is best to read our FAQ's on clownfish reproduction here.
Thank you for any insight you may have on my situation.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Clown Breeding 5/14/10
Hi Scott-
<Hi Sal>
Gave it a whirl. GA few hatched last night. I swear, they almost look "dizzy" from getting tossed a bit by the bubbles.
<I know what you mean. It is what gives us marine breeders the best success though.>
I must tell you that while I have not been diligent about soaking the food with Reef Plus, I have been dosing twice a week just under 50% the recommended amount. These fry are LARGE compared to those from just two spawns ago, so I think I'm going in the right direction.
<Great work! Always good to feel like you're making headway.>
I gave them rots, but they're more interested in the brine shrimp I put in there for Grendel (now 3-1/2 weeks old).
<The newly hatched clowns? I noticed that some of the larvae will eat BBS earlier than others. Are all yours eating the BBS (baby brine shrimp)? The feeding schedule I sent you is pretty optimized for best success. Feel free to experiment and see what works for you. Different genetics, temperatures, tanks, etc will surely lead to slightly different requirements.>
He's behaving himself, so I'll leave him in there for now.
<Good news. I have tried that with older clown juveniles with success and failure. If the tank is large enough, aggression seems to be low.>
Will find a way to tweak this. I think the shape of the rock might be a problem, so I gave them a different one. They like it, so we'll see what happens in a week or two. Will keep you posted. Again, thanks for all your help.
<What % hatch did you get? How about survival? I'm interested! Scott T>
Re: Clownfish hatching procedure 5/16/10

Hi Scott-
The fry hatched Thursday and last night. Not all, but better than half are chasing down and eating BBS. These guys can swim FAST! I don't know what's different -- the eggs were laid the day after the first time I soaked any food with vitamins, so that can't be enough to make a real difference.
<Maybe the parents are getting better? It takes them a little while to learn the ropes.>
They're very large, very good swimmers, very hungry, and they eat "big meat"
;) I noticed they're also eating little pods off the glass. This tank's been running since January, and while I've drained it several times and scrubbed the glass, I have not bleached it. LOTS of little tiny pods for them to eat.
<Great about the pods, a perfect food for fry. Another piece of info here for you to tuck away into the back of your head. If you're ever having difficulties, one thing to try is a real thorough scrub of the larval rearing tank. Having the pods is best, if its working for you.>
The female laid about 200 eggs last Thursday. For some unknown reason, she decided she would try to tend to the eggs this time, and this resulted in a lot of fighting between the pair -- inside the hole. They knocked about half the eggs off, so when I pulled the rock on Wednesday, there were a scant 100 eggs on it :/ Still, I got a good hatch rate.
<Great about the hatch rate, sorry about the fight. It just takes time, they will learn what they are doing after a while.>
There are two that didn't hatch, and half a dozen that whited out. They were on the edge of the patch and could not possibly have gotten a good water flow. When I tried to fix that, I cut off air to most of the others, so judgment prevailed... A few look like they got blasted off the rock before hatching. I have about a dozen carcasses. I'd say I got 80% hatch doing it "your" way. When I did it "my" way, I got 60%, so this is definitely an improvement ;) The rock has to come out today.
<Good work, just slowly keep bringing that number up right?>
They're in a 10g, so there's lots of room. Grendel's being a good boy -- he's just skimming BBS off the surface. I've got the feeding schedule.
I'll see how it goes. I'm hoping for 50% survival, but I've got some dive bombers already. I also discovered that while my NH3 is low, I do have a little NO2 problem.
<Usually non-toxic to marine fish.>
I've used low doses of Prime in the past to detoxify it.
<I've heard many people doing this with success. Different products with the same intention at least.>
I think it's coming in on the BBS - their water is nasty, no matter how frequently I change it for them.
<I know what you mean. With water changes, and a good rinsing before feeding, it shouldn't be too bad though right?>
I believe this is the reason for my previous failures. I know you advise against it, but I still have the sponge going in there -- that keeps the ammonia down.
<If it works for you, do it!>
I just need to figure out how to handle the nitrite. Any ideas?
<Water changes, it works. Siphon 4 gallons out of the larval tank (through a sieve as not to suck up the larvae). Then set up a 5 gal bucket above the tank with an a air line siphon into the larval tank. Use an in-line air valve to get it to take at least 8 hours to empty the bucket into the larval tank. Water changes fix so many parameters at once. Matt Wittenrich taught me that one. It will pay off in the end with reduced abnormalities too.
Thanks much,
<Hope it helped, Scott T>

Re: Clownfish hatching procedure -- 5/17/10
Hi Scott-
<Hey Sal>
Suffered heavy losses overnight for reasons unknown.
<Frank Hoff (one of the pioneer clown breeders who recently passed away) says most deaths occur at day 2 and at meta (metamorphosis). Your deaths sound feeding related to me. Yolk sacs will usually keep the fry alive for a day or two. Check rotifer densities with a flashlight. I aim for a guesstimate of 5 per cc. Also, its important to have some sort of algae in the water for the rotifers to eat. Best results are found with 'greening' up the water with Nanochloropsis. Rotifers should be fed in amounts which the fry consume within 2-6hrs. Enrich newly added rotifers with a DHA rich algae such as those offered by Reed Mariculture and Algamac. Also, lighting plays a key role in food targeting and consumption. What is your lighting like? Another key is: if the water isn't 'green', black sidewalls are required on all sides of the larval rearing tank.>
Down to about 20 or 30 fry now. Your suggestion is to change more water than I would normally, but
hey... if it works...
<It is one of the more recent developments in marine ornamental breeding.
Don't change any for the first 3 days though.>
I've been replacing water in the fry tank with water from the display tank because it's "seasoned". Do you think it's better to use fresh mixed SW? Or a combination?
<I also use water from the display tank. I've heard others mention success with day old newly mixed saltwater too.>
I never thought about the experience factor with the parents -- I presumed it was all instinct for them. I'm sure most of it is, but they are smart, and I know they are capable of learning and remembering for a fairly long time. Makes sense they have a learning curve of their own. They have already figured out that I'm usually helping them by jamming up a hole rather than threatening the eggs.
<I've noticed experience playing a large role. Usually when a clown starts laying for me they will have small clutches. The parents fight over who should take care of the eggs, resulting in few eggs making it to hatch.
They develop a routine just like us. After a few months they seem to get a better handle on what works well.>
It'll happen one day... 'sigh'
<Best of luck, Scott T>
Re: Clownfish hatching procedure -- 5/18/10
Hi again, Scott-
Not many fry this morning, maybe 10. I can't understand how it might be feeding related, as I physically witnessed almost all of the original (80?)
fry eating mostly BBS.
<I bet you're right. Has to be something though.>
I feed the bbs phytoplankton, so one way or the other, the fry are getting it. Plus all the growth the little pods are
grazing on. Yesterday, the fry had full orange bellies. Not yolk sac -- that wouldn't last two days and still be large. Almost all of the nauplii were eaten. There's no way Grendel could have eaten them all -- that's 30
times his own volume! I don't think he's killing the little guys, either.
I spend a lot of time watching the fry; if he were the culprit I would have seen something. He's smart, but he doesn't have the brains to know he's being watched. I would have caught him red handed by now.
<Do you have any ideas on the cause? If its not feeding it could be a bacterial thing. I used to have similar problems on occasion. Once I started doing a formalin/malachite green dip of the eggs, and sterilizing the larval rearing tank before each hatch, the problems never came back.
Most commercial and successful hobbyists find these routines to be a necessity if consistent results are desired.>
Checked Joyce Wilkerson's book out of the library yesterday. It's very different than I anticipated.
<Good work. I haven't read that one myself, but have heard good things.>
Went immediately to the breeding section.
She uses techniques I came up with a long time ago with the freshies. Will put some of her tweaks to good use next time around. I estimate a new spawn by Friday, probably around 200 again. They took to the new rock very well
(same color, composition, general shape, etc.) and don't seem to miss the old one too much.
<Great Job!>
I'm going to start keeping a log on these. Too many details to remember if I don't ;)
<Scott T>

Re: Clownfish hatching procedure 5/18/10
Hi Scott-
Think I lost my last little one, not sure. Tank looks grungy, probably high nitrogen due to the recent bodies. Very hard to see the fry because they're still clear. I think the problem is with the rotifers fouling up the water. This is why I really think I should get a 2.5g to hatch the eggs and get them past that stage. I know you think it's too small, but it works wonders for the freshies. With them, the key is high density FRY -- not high density food, so very few BBS get left behind to die and rot. That, my friend, I believe is the key. The rotifers that survive multiply and secrete waste at a rate far greater than the system can support, and it all crashes. I think that's where it goes wrong.
I'm going to run home and do a quick w/c during lunch. It would kill me if Grendel didn't make it till tomorrow for his one month milestone. I may try your formalin/malachite dip next time -- do you do normal strength? Also, how long to you leave the eggs in for?
<I do a double strength dip for ~5 minutes. I've never tried it on a rock, always a tile or pot. Rinse well with tank water before placing in the hatching tank.>
If nothing else, it should kill those darn worms.
Thanks much,
<Hope it goes well, Scott T.>

Raising Clown Fry, foods  5/11/10
Hi Crew-
<Hey Sal>
Had a lot of email with Scott
<He seems to be "out">
last few weeks and got the "awesomest" info, as always. Suffered some eggs losses last few days. Don't know why the female finds it necessary to fuss with the eggs, but two fish cannot occupy a one-fish hole without damaging the clutch.
<All this, these troubles will get better w/ more time, clutches going by>
The male is furious, and in chasing her out of the little cave eggs are scraped off the rock. I prefer
to leave them until the day they will hatch, but I may pull them if this continues or I won't have any left. They should hatch Thursday, and I plan to follow Scott's advice, which is basically tweaks to the freshie method
I used on Batch 2.
My brother Tony found some good stuff at http://www.kensfish.com/kensspecialtyfood.html that he tried (and liked) for his freshies. The Golden Pearls are on par with the Otohime product but in granular form. Tony uses the 5-50 micron size to make the magic Discus slime. I was thinking...
Since L-type rotifiers are 100-300 microns, Golden Pearls 100-200mu should make a good transition food (or do you think #1?).
<Is a very good food in my estimation>
Also, this stuff has Astaxanthan, and that's always good. The #3 size is about equal to the Otohime size C2. And since the brine shrimp eggs will never hatch, the fry get all the goodness once they're rehydrated. The plan would be: Rots, GP 100-200, Decapsulated Artemia, GP #3, work it from there on crushed  flakes,
pellets, live Artemia. etc.
Much appreciated, as always,
<I do think these are worthwhile trials. Bob Fenner>
Re: Raising Clown Fry 5/11/10

Hi Bob-
Thanks much for your input. I thought it would be fine, but I very much value everyone's opinion at WWM. The more I think about it, the more I believe the 100-200mu size is better. The #1 size is 200-300mu, and not much smaller than the brine shrimp eggs. With the #3 size I can carry them for awhile without having to hatch too many brineys ;)
<A good idea. In my time, Artemia was used extensively... we had a few techniques for decapsulating the eggs...>
In an unrelated vein, do you know what kind of Leather this is?
<Likely Sarcophyton glaucum: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniidsii.htm >
It is shaping more like a hand, but not really. I first thought it was Dead Man's Fingers, but no. Then I thought it might be a Devil's Hand. I don't think so. The guy at the store didn't know anything other than it was a Sacrophyton (resident expert was out that day). Gee, thanks, I knew it was a Leather ;) I liked it, and was 99% sure it would be OK so I bought it. Would be nice to ID it, but thus far, no luck. I think I have a tank full of "What species am I?", LOL!
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: Raising Clown Fry 5/11/10

Much appreciated. My S. glaucum and I thank you. You do know I'll have nightmares of you cracking little eggs open with microscopic forceps tonight, don't you?
<I hope/trust you slept well. Cheers, BobF>

Clown Breeding follow-up   7/11/10
Hi Scott-
<Hi Sal>
Didn't think of Cyclops-eeze (never used it) but was going to add ground dried krill. Perhaps a change in plan?
<Either way. If you have the krill, use that. Experiment with the Cyclop-eeze at your leisure. It works wonders for color on my babies. I noticed it's important to start early. Somewhere around week 3.>
Also found, at Ken's, Astaxanthin powder, which I may order. Then it won't matter, will it?
<That sounds great also. Try topdressing pellets with it.>
As for my holistic approach: I thought about it after all my failures, and I realized everybody's role in this. The female lays the eggs and wards off predators. The male cares for the eggs and herds the fry together when they
hatch. I have to provide whatever else they need. They don't need a sterile grow-out tank; they need a safe marine environment.
<Glad you found something that worked for you.>
I was going to set up the power filter today, but I'm a little occupied by a skimmer overflow. Had to replace about 15 gallons in the 55, and I'm still wringing out the carpets. I woke up to two power heads, the needle-wheel, a
ton of polyps, and one coral out of water. Priorities shifted for today ;)
<Sorry to hear that. I hope everything survived. That is one reason why I keep my skimmers and skimmate collectors inside the sump.>
Have a great weekend,
<Best wishes, Scott T.>

Clown Breeding 5/14/10
Hi Scott-
<Hi Sal>
Gave it a whirl. GA few hatched last night. I swear, they almost look "dizzy" from getting tossed a bit by the bubbles.
<I know what you mean. It is what gives us marine breeders the best success though.>
I must tell you that while I have not been diligent about soaking the food with Reef Plus, I have been dosing twice a week just under 50% the recommended amount. These fry are LARGE compared to those from just two spawns ago, so I think I'm going in the right direction.
<Great work! Always good to feel like you're making headway.>
I gave them rots, but they're more interested in the brine shrimp I put in there for Grendel (now 3-1/2 weeks old).
<The newly hatched clowns? I noticed that some of the larvae will eat BBS earlier than others. Are all yours eating the BBS (baby brine shrimp)? The feeding schedule I sent you is pretty optimized for best success. Feel free to experiment and see what works for you. Different genetics, temperatures, tanks, etc will surely lead to slightly different requirements.>
He's behaving himself, so I'll leave him in there for now.
<Good news. I have tried that with older clown juveniles with success and failure. If the tank is large enough, aggression seems to be low.>
Will find a way to tweak this. I think the shape of the rock might be a problem, so I gave them a different one. They like it, so we'll see what happens in a week or two. Will keep you posted. Again, thanks for all your help.
<What % hatch did you get? How about survival? I'm interested! Scott T>

Clown Spawn Follow-up 6/11/10
Hi Crew!
< Hello!! >
We had some emails back and forth about a month ago regarding clown spawns.
< I remember reading them with some interest. I spent a bit of time raising Ocellaris. >
Thanks again to Scott for good info. I had a spawn on May 24, and have one
survivor from that. My other guy, hatched April 19, jumped to his death after the light timer exploded last week. But, I had a really good hatch this past Monday. I found the problem with all my previous spawns, I think: Salinity! I have lowered my SG to about 1.021, and that seems to be the key.
< I found that I had better success rates at lower salinity levels myself.
It also helped keep my levels between rotifer culture and fry tank close enough to avoid shocking the rotifers when they where added to the fry tank. >
It was an accidental find, really. I just needed a place to put my hydrometer, and I placed it in the tank. More evaporated than I thought. I hadn't really noticed before, since I had always used water from
the fry tank to hatch brine shrimp.
< I would seriously consider getting a refractometer for this project. The accuracy of hydrometers can easily be thrown off with the build up of salt on the swing arm. I would also borrow a friends refractometer to see how accurate the hydrometer is actually reading. Clown fry are very sensitive and can be easily shocked. >
This past Monday, I hatched around 80-90 fry. I did everything by "my" book using my remote hatch methods, pulling the eggs the day before the hatch.
I had an almost 100% hatch of the eggs that were covered by the air stream.
This time, the female chose to lay some 40-50 eggs on the bottom of the hole, and it was not possible to aerate all the eggs - bummer! Today is day four. I only lost about a dozen so far, so it looks really good.
< Sounds like you are making some very good progress. >
The other key is, I feed the Artemia with bottled Phyto-Feast, same as I do the rotifers. I did not start a Nanochloropsis culture - last thing I need
< You may want to reconsider this. I had much better success with my rotifer cultures when I raised my own phyto.
Rotifers have got to be one of the dirtiest critters on this planet. I was using 2 litter bottles for my phyto and rotifers.
When one of my rotifer cultures needed phyto I would simply pour half of it into another bottle and fill them both up using one of my phyto cultures. By doing this it was diluting the water in the rot culture.>
The only thing I'm wondering is, I could *swear* I read someplace that rotifers can be frozen for a few months if they are prepared correctly, but now I can't find that anywhere. Have you ever heard of this? If so, do you know where to find that article or how to do it?
< I have personally never heard of this for feeding fry and really can't see it working. Fry must be fed live foods and simply do not see inanimate objects as a food source.>
Many thanks in advance,
< Your very welcome. GA Jenkins >

Freezing rotifers
<Continuation of 'Follow-up on Clown Spawn'.>   6/14/10

Much appreciated, but what I meant by freezing was suspending them <rotifers> for storage and using them to restart a new culture some time later. I apologize if you thought I meant freezing them for feeding to the fry. If
anyone knows how to do this, I'd greatly appreciate a poke in the right direction.
<It looks like one can do it if they desire.
I'm not sure where to get Dimethyl sulfoxide though. Rotifer cysts can be purchased quite inexpensively from a few different sources. I know Florida Aqua Farms sells them. You can also store rotifers in the refrigerator for up to a couple weeks.>
Thanks again,
<Hope this helps, Scott T.>

Clown spawn follow-up  7/10/10
Hi crew-
<Hi Sal.>
Scott helped with some great info awhile ago on clown spawns. He asked, but I failed to follow up (sorry). Here are some pics I took today of the month old juveniles.
<Great shots! Low light aquarium photography has always eluded me.>
There is one 6 week old in there, right off the peak of the rock in pic #181. He's also straight out from my finger in #186. Amazing what 2 weeks will do. Also amazing how wide a difference in sizes there is between the others.
<Ideally a hatch will result in a bell curve of sizes.>
Pics 191 & 192 aren't very clear, but you can see the size differences. We had a little feeding frenzy, so the focus was out ;)
Interesting to note they've got good color -- very close to the parents already. Also interesting is there are three basic color schemes: Standard orange ocellaris, burnt orange (similar to female), and something that looks like a Clark's but with three stripes. ALL are properly barred (thanks for the heads-up) but some of the Clark-colored ones have pearlized side panels. Most of those are smaller, so they may change. They eat a mash of three different flakes, HBH Fry Bytes, pellets, and decapsulated Artemia cysts every morning. They get either frozen Artemia or Cyclops in the evening. I also try to grind up a little Mysid, squid, or dried krill just to get them used to it, but none of that is a staple. Cyclops is their only source of Astaxanthin -- for now. I am reluctant to add beef heart with no efficient mechanical filtration.
<Great diet! If you can afford the Cyclop-eeze, it is a great source of Astaxanthin. No beef heat necessary.>
I stopped giving them live Artemia about 10 days ago, but think it's time to hatch another batch and grow them out a little bit. Artemia "teenagers" would be perfect, I think.
<That's up to you. Clown farmers find that even a diet solely of high-quality pellet will grow clowns fast and colorful.>
I know, the tank is "dirty," but the algae keeps the NO2/NO3 down. There's no NH3, and I don't have to add Prime, so I'm not messing with it. There's some kind of pod growing in there, and we've discovered those are tasty.
<Great nutrition too! I like the holistic approach. It just makes sense.>
Basically, they're living in an isolated refugium ;) I was thinking of putting a low flow power filter on there once they're all at least six weeks old. I've not read any believable information on when to power them up. It sounds reasonable, and I can't think of any argument against it. I can test their swimming skills by cranking up the air stone and increasing the current. If they can't handle it, I know I have to wait. It would make maintaining the tank a lot easier.
<Feel free to add one anytime after meta in my opinion (although I haven't tried). Live foods are key before this point, and hard to maintain with power filters. Just make sure it has the right size mesh on the intake.
Keep increasing the screen/sponge size to reduce clogging.>
Hope you enjoy,
<Thank you very much Sal.>
<Scott T.>

Clown fry stuck?   5/2/10
Hi Crew-
<Hi Sal>
Hope all are well. Unique (?) problem here so I've turned to the experts.
Never seen this before with any spawn of freshwater fish species. I've only had clowns (ocellaris) spawn in the marine world, and even this is relatively new for me. I've now had this happen twice, and I cannot
understand what the cause might be. Hope you can help.
<How many times have you had them hatch without this issue? Did you do anything different these last two times?>
The last two spawns (hatch 4/19, hatch 4/30) I experienced approximately 30% live fry, 40% dead eggs, and 30% that died trying.
<The high percentage of dead eggs is troubling. It seems likely that the 30% that died trying were half way between the successful and the dead eggs, health-wise.>
What I mean by this is, if I look closely at the egg patch with a magnifying glass, I can see the fry were successful in poking through the egg casings, but they apparently got stuck in various degrees of escape. My best guess is these died of suffocation or exhaustion while trying to escape from the eggs.
<seems likely>
During the 4/19 spawn, I actually watched one particular fry struggle for more than 40 minutes to free himself, while others around him just popped out. I was tempted to try to help him -- but how?
<This brings up a couple questions. Were the eggs hatched with the parents present? Or was it a remote hatch? We'll need more info to fully understand this one. You have patience watching for 40 minutes. How did you see it though, clown eggs hatch in the dark. With a remote hatch, the bubbles should be hitting the eggs, it helps them break free. Although, that doesn't seem like the cause of the problem here.>
Afterward, I rolled some of the eggs in my fingers, and they broke quite easily. I also checked some of the ones that were stuck, and they seemed to be just as pliable and easy to break.
<Adds to our earlier theory.>
Notwithstanding my immense strength compared to these little guys, I would think it would have been easy for them to break free from their protective pods -- a task accomplished by a third of their brothers. I did not check any eggs from this last spawn, but I would imagine I'd find the same results.
Have you ever encountered this phenomenon?
<I've never watched during a hatch. I always have it so dark that nothing is visible. Although, I have had the percentages you talk about.>
If so, are you aware of any particular causes? Or, is this DE-selection at work?
<Breeding fish is more of an art than a science. It's extremely difficult to tie down specific causes to problems. Usually these things are fixable though. Could you provide us more information on what type of tank they are in, tank mates, water parameters, flow, broodstock diet, and previous success/failures with this pair? An approach which usually works in situations like this is to increase feeding of a varied diet, and do lots of water changes. We could fine tune some solutions when you give us more info.>
I can understand the proximity of the last two spawns possibly having an effect on the quality of
the eggs produced. However, the 4/19 hatch was preceded by a two month long furlough. It stands to reason that clutch would have been of a superior quality, if time between spawns were a factor.
<Your reasoning is right on here. If the two spawns had the same result, it wasn't timing which is the cause. As a side note, healthy spawns every 11 days are possible with proper parent feeding.>
Much appreciated, as always,
<Hope we can get this figured out, Scott T>

Re: Clown fry stuck?   5/3/10
Thanks for your reply, Scott! I hope we can get this figured out, too ;)
<No Problem Sal, with time I have faith we will>
This pair started spawning in January this year. I bought the male about a year ago and the female about six months before. Both were approx 2 inches at purchase, if that helps. This is their fifth spawn.
<The pair is still young, so don't worry too much yet. It often takes a pair many months to get into a successful groove.>
The first three went "well" enough. All were remote hatches, but I pull the eggs as close to the hatch day as possible. I use a sponge filter and an air stone over the eggs.
<Its best to stick with known practices when things are going oddly.
Normal practice for remote hatching of clown fish eggs is as follows.
Remove substrate with eggs on it. Do a formalin or malachite green dip.
Place substrate in remote hatching tank (make sure temp/salinity are close to parent tank). Position air stone so that the bubbles hit the eggs.
Have the flow rate as high as possible without blasting the eggs off the substrate. I have a hunch that this will fix your issue. Turn air flow down after hatch. Remove substrate. Seeing as it is a rock, you might best skip the anti-bacterial/fungal dip for now. No other objects are used in the tank, besides a heater.>
My best success included a small power filter to increase the water flow. That spawn had a 65% hatch. Unfortunately, I lost all those fry to a few bristle worms I brought in on the rock :(
<Darn worms! It is more common to use high air-flow rate for flow at the time of hatching. I usually get 90-98% hatch with just the airstone for water movement.>
I only had this problem the last two spawns.
<If possible, increase feeding. Three times a day is thought to be minimum for best results. Also, try using enrichment soaks like liquid vitamins or Selco>
I have a small light on the other side of the room that allows me to see into the tank. If I can see them hatch, I'll turn off the power filter. Likewise, if I'm mistaken and can see they haven't hatched, I'll switch it back on.
The parents are in a 55g with a Sailfin tang, a coral beauty, a Fiji blue devil, a 6-line wrasse, and a scooter blenny. I also have a cleaner shrimp, a cucumber, a small army of snails and hermits, and some soft corals. My water is very good overall, even though my nitrates are about 15ppm.
<Nothing here seems out of order>
dKH is around 12 and calcium at 420. I feed them Spirulina flakes in the AM and something frozen in the evening. I switch between squid, Mysis, clams, flounder, and I also give them a little beef heart once a month or so.
<That does sound like a good diet. It couldn't hurt to throw in more astaxanthin containing foods. Beef hearts I'm pretty sure have it.
Cyclop-eeze also do. More importantly though, try and feed another meal each day. It seems like the issue is one of three things: broodstock diet, not enough air flow, or a fungal/bacterial issue. I'd go with my first suggestion of feed more, and do some water changes. Those seem to fix most problems. As I mentioned earlier, it is often tough to track down the specific issue.>
eat well. The first spawn was 33 eggs. Starting with the second, she has laid 120-150 eggs per clutch.
<Pretty good for a new pair.>
Hope this can help. I greatly appreciate it!
<Feeding more will cover nutrition. Water changes should cover bacterial/fungal/toxin related issues. Keep us updated.>
<Scott T>

Re: Clown fry stuck?   5/3/10
Funny you should put it this way, Scott ;) "Known practices" is how I got the second batch to hatch.
<Sorry about that, I just wanted to make sure we were both on the same page.>
I have a lot of freshwater under my belt. For some unknown reason, you have to do remote hatches with P. scalare -- the males don't know whether to milt the eggs or eat them.
<You do seem pretty knowledgeable. I have less experience with freshwater.>
I didn't allow the bubbles on the eggs -- maybe that was my mistake?
<I've heard that is one difference between freshwater and saltwater remote hatches. I used to put the airstone near the eggs, and had poorer hatch rates. Matthew Wittenrich advised me to let the bubbles hit the eggs. Once I did this, hatch rates went right up to the 90's.>
Thanks for these details.
<Hope it helps>
I'll give it a try next time. I am amazed at your 90%+ hatch based on my
experience with the clowns.
<Practice makes perfect. One just needs to get a routine down that works for them.>
But I must say, I have had equal success with the freshies, so I'm sure it's just a matter or tweaking what I was doing.
Last few spawns, I've been trying to do what I've read online but it's not worked out too well. Needless to say, it's nowhere close to what I've done for years with the freshies or what you described. BTW, I fill the hatching tank 100% with water drained from the main tank -- no need to add another chemistry experiment. All water going in comes from the main tank unless it's a DI top off.
<I go about it the same way. People mention that it isn't necessary, but I feel as you do, why add another variable?>
I'm going to try adding another meal. I also forgot to mention I feed them frozen Cyclops and dried krill.
<Good additions to their diet.>
On the beef heart, yes it does contain
astaxanthin. Unfortunately, it also contains quite a bit of nitrate so I don't feed it often. I don't know if it's natural or part of the packing process, but it's high. Do you think I should increase it? My personal opinion is that it's an unnatural food.
<I think you are right here. It was more popular in the 80's. Today it is more common to use copepods. Top-dressing pellets with NatuRose is another option. Although, I still add a little beef heart to my frozen mix too.
It's a cost effective way of getting astaxanthin in their diet.>
I also will put aside a scallop or a shrimp whenever I'm cooking them. I'll give the Selco a try. I'm sure it's possible there's a vitamin deficiency.
<I like how you feed them Spirulina flake. That helps balance all the meaty stuff. You're fish diet seems great honestly, but it can't hurt to tweak things a little.>
I need to rearrange my reef to eliminate a dead spot I created (silly me) so it may take them awhile to get back into production. I will keep you posted. Right now, I have a single two week old and about a half dozen two day olds. I had a high die off after an ammonia spike.
<What is your water change routine for the larval tank? I find dripping a 4 gallon change day 4 through metamorphosis is a necessity. It keeps the ammonia down, and all other parameters in check. Reducing mis-barring is another benefit of constant dripped water changes.>
I also attached a photo of the happy couple, female on the upper left. The Sailfin is
constantly bothering them, but they can handle him.
<Those are beautiful fish.>
Thanks much,
<Best wishes, Scott T>

Re: Clown fry stuck?   5/5/10
Full shot of the 55g for you, Scott.
<That looks like a wonderful home for the clowns.>
I don't know if airstones near the eggs is a freshwater thing, but I always did it. I can tell you my male clownfish washes, jiggles, and fusses with the eggs more often and with more force than any other fish I have observed [unscientifically] in over 35 years. Very possible, saltwater species just need more agitation on the eggs. In the shallows, there would be a lot of air whipped in by wave action. I think it makes a lot of sense, but I never thought of it that way.
<Good point>
Beef heart's been popular for a long time. Axelrod has a bunch of recipes in his books that include beef heart for diy fish food. I've made a few over the years, but stopped using it because it was suspected of causing liver and kidney damage in large quantities. A small piece once a week should be fine.
Water changes on the fry tank: I use a 10g, so I change a gallon or two every 2 or 3 days.
<It is important to find what works for you and stick with it. See how that goes with the clowns. If you're unhappy with your results, increase water changes using the drip method. Just for reference, I change 50% of the larval water daily from day 4 to metamorphosis.>
Sometimes, if I get an ammonia spike I will change as much as 3 gallons every day. Fresh water comes in from the main tank so at least the chemistry is close. I'll usually have it changed and refilled in about 90 minutes. I have never done a constant drip, but I imagine that would be best.
<I think the idea has been around a while. It is currently thought to be one of the keys to reducing misbars and other abnormalities (large drip water changes). The other being larval nutrition.>
I'm going to give my clowns their rock back on Wednesday. The female is already starting to fatten up. Should be about a week till I can test your system.
<Keep us updated with the results. The solution will show it self as you work through the possible causes.>
Greatly appreciated.
<As is your interest in the subject.>
<Scott T>

Re: Clown fry stuck? 5/6/10
Hi Scott-
<Good day Sal.>
Two more things I wanted to ask. Sorry to make a pest of myself.
<You're not bothering anyone. Your questions are welcomed and appreciated.>
I have one "big" little survivor from my 4/19 hatch and three survivors from that poor hatch on 4/29. They live in the same 10g tank. I've been feeding them Artemia naupilii. The 4/19 guy is now about 9/16 or 5/8 inch long. He should be eating something more substantial than this. My concern here is nutrition. I feed my naupilii so they're not empty, but the fact remains there is no diversity of food items.
<BBS are useful, but not totally necessary with clown fish. Some breeders omit them completely.>
I tried a few frozen Cyclops. He went for them, but since they sink I smell more foul water than meals with this idea. I also tried to give him some finely crushed flake, but he didn't even look at it. I have even tried to give him broken up dried krill, but the best I can do is to pulverize it into unusable dust. I was thinking of
setting up a hatchery for Tigger-Pods to feed the clown fry. Do you think this is a good idea, or do you have a better suggestion?
<It's not a bad idea, but there is an easier solution. One thing that makes it easier is a food called Otohime, sold by Reed Mariculture. You can always use a mortar and pestil to crush flakes/pellets to small sizes
too. Do you have any books on raising clown fish? I'll g over a typical early feeding regime. Enriched rotifers day 1-10. Oto (Otohime) A day 3-10, BBS day 5-meta, Oto B1 day 8-14, Oto B2 day 14-28, Oto C1 day 25-90ish, Cyclop-eeze started around day 24. These are ball park numbers that work for my ocellaris. You can look up the food sizes at Reeds website. The idea is to start dry foods really early. The larvae do eat them, and it helps get the larvae a balanced diet. If you keep trying to feed your older guy crushed flake/pellet he will take it. He is 17 days old today to my reasoning. Once the fish hit metamorphosis (develop a head band), a seasoned sponge filter can be added to the tank. This will keep
any ammonia down. Water changes are still necessary due to the small volume and heavy feeding.>
My second problem is, "tiny" will be at least 4 weeks old when the next clutch of eggs hatch, and I am worried he may not behave himself. Do you think there would be an issue if I kept him in the same tank with the next generation?
<Tiny should be on very different foods than the new clutch of eggs. Also, water changes are too stressful during the first 3 days of a larva's life. The conditions of their tanks should really be quite different. I'd recommend a small breeders net or similar to hang Tiny in your display.>
He keeps to himself, and the others stay in their own little group. If it will be problematic to keep them all together, I will need to either corral him or put all four in a separate tank.
<Not a bad idea. Keep in mind the feeding schedule. It is best to keep hatches in their own tanks for at least a couple weeks, even better 30 days. When you just have one or two, I could see it being ok to put some together.>
Much appreciated,
<Scott T>
Re: Clown fry stuck? 5/7/10

Hiya, Scott-
I went to buy Selcon. Couldn't find it in 3 stores. My favorite LFS said they use Seachem's Reef Plus in place of it.
<Sounds like a similar thing.>
I use that anyway, but instead of 12.5mL, I only dose 5mL twice a week. When I got home from work last night, I had about 220-250 eggs waiting for me, and they looked better than ever.
<Great news!>
Funny thing is, the female is still looking fat. By the looks of her today, I would have told you a month ago that she would lay 150-175 eggs within the next 3 days. Maybe there's a larger batch of eggs brooding in there? I don't think it vitamins were ever an issue.
<Interesting. I'm not sure what to make of it. I bet she is just developing a more feminine figure.>
This morning, I went easy on the bbs and gave Tiny, the now 18-day old (you're good!), some crushed flake. There are quite a number of brineys at the bottom, and the two little ones will go shrimp diving so I'm not concerned they won't get enough to eat. I'm trying to force Tiny to eat flakes. He'll get Cyclops tonight. I think I might forget about the Tiggers. They are smaller than I remembered.
<Most breeders would agree with you there.>
I did look at the Otohime, but it appears to be just very small flakes and/or pellets. Doesn't seem
much different than quality staple.
<Perfect interpretation.>
I think I may try the mortar & pestle approach first, but I will keep that in mind for future spawns.
<It's nice when you have many larval tanks going at once. One can just grab and pinch, rather than the grinding process. For singular hatches, a mortar & pestle works great.
I do appreciate the schedule you gave me -- I would never have come up with that
myself ;) I do agree, they need to start dried food early.
<I developed it based on Instant Ocean Hatcheries data, current leading breeders info, and my experiences. It seems to work wonders for ocellaris.>
People don't realize they get spoiled and you can't break them too easily.
<So true.>
I do not have any books on raising clowns specifically, no. I have read a lot online.
Much of it steered me wrong. The worst info has come from three different supposedly professional clown breeders. I have a lot of freshwater know-how, and your last few emails have nailed in place that I just need to tweak what I know.
<Sorry about your misleading sources. There are a lot of ways to raise fry. I try to explain the most scientifically sound, and time-tested methods.>
'Once the fish hit metamorphosis (develop a head band), a seasoned sponge filter can be added to the tank. This will keep any ammonia down. Water changes are still necessary due to the small volume and heavy feeding.' <Quote from previous email.>
Ammonia is untraceable using the API salysilicate test. However, the nitrites are high. I have been changing water and dosing Prime at 2mL/10g (emergency dose). I can't remember if it "eliminates" nitrite or if it just renders it harmless, but it doesn't seem to go down. I'll do another water change tonight, but that doesn't seem to make a difference. Incoming water always comes from the display tank, and I know that's nitrite free. Nothing I can think of to fix it.
<I'm pretty sure nitrites are non-harmful to marine species. Someone may correct me here. With water changes and Prime I wouldn't fret.>
That's the scoop. I'm going to lay low for awhile. I will definitely apply what you suggested to this spawn. It makes a heck of a lot more sense to me than what I've read from the "experts" online. I really do appreciate your time.
<We appreciate your enthusiasm. I hope to hear from you in the future.>
Thanks so much,

Re: Clown fry stuck?  5/9/10
I got two good photos of Tiny. His tail stripe doesn't show in the photos, but it is coming in.
<That is great! Thank you for sharing those.>
He really looks good, as you can see. I d wonder, though, if by "misbarring" you mean the stripes don't have a forward "punch" like the adults do. Is this what you mean?
<By misbarring I was referring to incomplete stripes. Your clowns look to have stripes that are complete. The 'punch' forward develops more later on. If you Google misbar clownfish to get a better idea.>
I was a little confused when he first started getting color because he first got what looked like a skunk
stripe, and there's no milkman in my tank -- I only have the two ocellaris.
<Curious. When they are so small it is hard to see them well. I'm betting the skunk stripe was more anatomical than barring.>
Hope you enjoy,
<Thanks for sharing, Scott T.> <<Blurry and too large... B>>

Clown... is this a dictatorship or the more benevolent term: autocracy?
Repro. alone?  -- 04/22/10

Hi crew
My boyfriend and I have a 85 gal saltwater aquarium, the other night we noticed our skunk clownfish had a rather enlarged belly !!!!! The following night I noticed she had eggs on the rock beneath the anemone.
Just curious as to what we should do now ????
<You have two... a male as well?... Read here:
and the linked files in the series above, till you sense enlightenment. Bob Fenner>
Thanks in advance,
Rosie and John

Clownfish pairs: Clownfish Behavior 4/17/2010
Dear Wet Web Crew,
<Hi Lindsay.>
I recently lost one of my clownfish :, (
<Sorry to hear that.>
She must have jumped out of the tank when cleaning (didn't notice until the next morning).
<It happens unfortunately.>
I bought the fish as a pair, and I was just curious if clownfish mate for life?
I've read they do, but how do people know? I'm not planning on getting another clownfish to replace the one I lost. Actually, I'm sad to say that in a few months I will be moving and will have to give the hobby up for a few years... again, :, (
<You'll be back.>
So, my lonely little guy will be going back to my LFS. I was just curious if he'll remain a "widower", if that makes any sense.
<No worries.>
Over-attached to my pets, Lindsay

Juvenile Clown Mortality  4/8/10
I've got a pair of Percs that I'm rearing the young from.
<Is this their first "batch"?>
I've done my research, read Joyce's book front to back, etc. '¦ coming to you from a decent base of knowledge. I've taken my first hatch from larvae, through meta and now to 27 day old juveniles. I didn't catch the full hatch due to getting home late the night they hatched, so I had a smaller group to start, but I'd say I started with ~60 larvae
and ended up with 21 juveniles by day 23. Most of my losses occurred in days 1-4. I lost maybe 5-6 during meta and lost maybe one 2 days after that. The mortality seems close to average -- maybe a little high, but the losses occurred in the phases where they were expected.
The dilemma and huge frustration now is that I'm losing 1-2 juveniles a day starting at day 23.
<Usually food issue... and/or water quality>
Virtually, no loss from day 15-23 (as expected). This is supposed to be the easier part -- after all, they are just mini-clowns at this point. My 20+ years keeping fish should pay off now -- I know how to keep fish alive. Mortality is not supposed to occur at this point -- at least not at these rates.
Environment -- I have them in a 29G long. Sponge filter, additional air stone, heater set at 80, Seachem ammonia badge (showing 0 ammonia)
and some Caulerpa strands thrown in.
<I'd remove any Caulerpa... toxic>
I started with and do all water changes with the display tank water -- where the eggs came from. I'm changing 20% every 3-5 days via siphoning the bottom and dripping in the new water. It shouldn't be a water parm issue -- display is good.
Display parms: 78 temp; ph 8.25, salinity 1.025, ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm, Nitrate 5-10ppm, ORP ~390, calcium ~380, dKH 10-11, Mag -- hadn't checked in a year, phos -- hadn't checked in a year, water changes 15-20% every 2 weeks with RO/DI source water. I do a buffer slurry mix directly into my sump if my ph every gets below 8.2 as well.
Food. Here is where I think my problem is. I'm still feeding them newly hatched brine. I'm trying to get them over to crushed flake/pellets/crumble, but they don't eat it.
<Feed the Artemia the food... them in turn>
So my approach to for the last 2 weeks is to keep them eating -- feed them what they'll readily consume. I figured I'd wean them over time, but I'm concerned now about them being hyper sensitive to shock on the newly hatched
brine diet (noted in Joyce's book). The recently losses seemed to start close to when I put in a new shop light to light their tank. It is a dual 32W t8 with reflector 3 feet above tank on a timer.
I think the light was shocking them when it first turned on -- coming on at 6:20am before sunrise, so I could feed them before I left for work. I have since changed the timer to come on at 9am which allows the room to slowly light with natural sunlight from the window and removed one of the 32w bulbs. I do have a refugium that comes on around 6am and off around 11pm, but it is 15 feet away and I think helps with doing a slower transition for them -- very ambient light to them at that distance. At this point the lighting is more subdued and transitioning than days 15-23 when I wasn't losing any. My #1 theory to the deaths is that I think the light coming on is sending them into
shock based on their baby brine diet -- some recover; 1 or 2 don't each day. Thoughts?
<I think this may be of but minor influence>
Added to this, all of my juv losses are ONLY at night. It also seems close to morning because the bodies are not pale -- very close, if not exact to the living ones color. All the juvi's are swimming in their school, eating their brine -- everything looks very normal; except that 1-2 show up dead every morning.
I'm speculating on 2 other problems, but they're certainly not as strong as my shock theory. 1. Maybe I do have a water issue. Maybe the clowns are fouling the water quicker than I think?
<Possibly... better to have "clown rearing systems" on large, mixed recirculating sumps, multiple tanks... with about one, two turn-overs per hour minimum, to reduce metabolite concentrations>
2. Did I import some sort of stinging hydra or something from the main tank?
<You'd likely see this>
I did seed the sponge filter and I did notice one of these 'white thread' animals on the sponge.
<Mmm, could be a Hydrozoan of some sort...>
These 'white threads' exist on some of my live rock -- they are an inch long and extend into the current.
When particles hit it they semi retract. Seem like a long shot as to causing my problem, but I rinsed my sponge in fresh water for 5 minutes -- no more noticeable threads.
Anyway, what to do?
<Replace the sponge, toss the Caulerpa... do some thinking re how you want to proceed w/ the next batch>
My 1st approach is going to immediately wean them off brine to other crushed flake/pellets/crumble. Not a gradual wean; force the transition -- when they get hungry enough and the brine stops, they will switch.
<Try mixing some crushed dry w/ frequent addition of the Artemia...>
Second or additional change would be to move them to my refugium which has power compacts and 60lb of live rock to rule out water quality.
With 14 juvi's now -- they won't foul my larger system. My fuge is large 72x12x22, so it is like an aquarium itself -- setup for years with no predation of its fauna. Sump + fuge are 180G plus the 120 display. I can juv proof the overflow to prevent them from getting sucked out, but there's a slight concern about the other critters (copepods, bristle worms, whatever other unknown live forms in the rocks), but there are no other fish, crabs or shrimp that I know about. An option within this is to put them in a large breeder's box 21x6x13 within my fuge which takes the other critters out of play. Or would being free with all the live rock and potential other food sources be more beneficial?
<Mmm, dubious>
Regarding the light 'on' problem -- I'd still have to deal with this with my PC's on the fuge.
<Again, I don't think "it's the light"... Amphiprion hatcheries are very well lit, often continuously if commercial>
I'm struggling here, any input would be appreciated. I anticipated losses early, but not at this stage. What to change '¦ something is off?
<The green algae, and food is my guess, but only more batches, trials will show I think>
<Welcome, and "hang in there" John. More experience will prove out your ideas, efforts. Bob Fenner>

Re: Juvenile Clown Mortality 4/8/10
<Hello John>
Thanks you very much for your insight. Regarding if it is their first egg batch, it is the first one I noticed.
<Ahh, I see. I ask because such first time efforts often have difficulties. Put another/positive way, successive spawns tend to be larger, have better survivability>
However, I've been pre-occupied at work, so I could have missed earlier ones. If it is not the first, it is not far removed from their first. I assume you are getting at the quality of the eggs/young that these early hatches produce?
Caulerpa -- I had no idea it was toxic.
<Yes... I was at one time a great promoter of this family's use in marine ornamentals... No longer. Read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/caulerpacomp.htm>
It's in my refugium. I added it to the grow out tank to help mop up ammonia/waste and offer a little structure.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/refugalgfaq2.htm
To be honest, if I remember right, it was introduced close to when the juvi deaths started occurring -- right around the shop light introduction. Would you think this is the primary culprit to the juvi deaths then?
<Quite possibly>
I never even thought that it might be harmful -- just the opposite. Should I remove it from my refugium too? I have Chaeto in my fuge as well -- any issue with it?
<I would remove all Caulerpaceans, either place on the ground or freeze them, place in the trash... NOT flush down the toilet>
Food -- right now I keep hatching Artemia and use it within 24 hours, then go to the next hatch. Joyce referenced that you wanted to use them while they still had their yolk sack (12 hours old). However, she also referenced moving to older brine over time due to the fat-protein ratios.
'Over time' was never really specifically defined though.
<Days to a few weeks>
She did stress converting over to other foods too. So are you saying I should raise the Artemia out a little longer by feeding the Artemia crushed flakes?
What about Selcon/HUFA or the nanochloropsis green water that I give the rotifers?
<These are worthwhile as "soaks" for minutes ahead of time of offering to the fish>
Basically, what would you say would be the ideal food to feed my Artemia? I'll do what you say is best.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/artemiafaqs.htm
Lighting -- I'll take your word on the lights that they aren't an issue. Thanks for ruling that out. Interesting on commercial setups running lights 24x7. Is 24x7 lighting something you'd recommend I do?
<If you were a commercial concern, yes, I'd leave "some" light on continuously>
To be honest, I used to run my refugium lights 24x7, but stopped when I started rearing the clowns (using the same room). It would help keep my ph up at night in the display, but I thought the lack of a day/night cycle might be detrimental to the juvenile clowns. Any drawbacks to having clowns in 24x7 lighting?
<If bright, there can be>
Update -- I did move the clowns to my refugium last night and put the juvi's inside the large breeder box (diy, drilled acrylic box). I had to do something because the environment they were in wasn't working.
No deaths this morning, but I'm certainly not claiming any victory on that change.
Grow Out System -- I've seen the grow out systems you described. My plan is to decide if I really want to continue to raise the young before building that type of system out. (decent time & money investment).
<Important to do a "market" survey... of alternate suppliers to your "area"... local and ship-out, how many animals of what species, what folks are currently paying, will offer alternatively (if you're interested) in credit>
If I decide to continue, my plan was to build out a hobbyist sized grow out system. Something like 6 to 8 20G tanks that have a center drilled bulkhead on the bottom with a pvc pipe coming up from it to serve as an overflow (top of pvc pipe would be 2' below top of tank).
<Sleeved to draw water from the bottom>
All of the overflows would collect into a main pipe below the tanks which feeds a large sump filled with LR.
<I'd add Ozone... see WWM re>
The sump water would be moved via pump (like an iwaki40) to a skimmer (like an aqua C) that resides above the 20G's water line and the exit from the skimmer would be piped to all of the 20G tanks as return water (each tank would have a valve to even out the return flow across the tanks).
I'm thinking of using the skimmer/pump to double as the return -- to save a little $ on buying a separate return pump. Any suggestions or changes you'd recommend or does that seem sound?
<All sorts... we have 30-40k people a day use the site... Several of these I've helped/advised re Clown culture... Please peruse WWM re>
I appreciate all the advice. Without it, some of us would throw in the towel on some of these things. My second batch of eggs should hatch tonight. I'll take my experience to date and apply it to this group of fry.
Thanks again,
<Bob Fenner>

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