Monday, December 1, 2014


Living in an older house in Hawaii means we are always on the lookout for signs of termites, both subterranean and dry wood termites. Finding active termite populations is always bad news and for aquarium hobbyists it mean moving the fish so that the house can be treated.

The good news is that the termites couldn't have come at a better time. Since the angelfish eggs have been infertile I don't have any larval runs going. I haven't brought in any of the planned new fish yet and I'm currently between fish babysitting jobs. So although I still have quite a few fish to move I don't have the numbers that I usually have. As I'm getting estimates for termite treatment, I'm moving the fish out and when we get those annoying termites taken care of we'll be back on track. Hopefully this will all go smoothly and will take just a few weeks.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Three little eggs

We've had a temperature drop this last week and I've been hoping that it will help to get Faith and Fabio spawning.
This morning I found three infertile eggs stuck on the egg screen.....
There's a new moon just over a week away......
Fingers are crossed......

Monday, October 20, 2014

Im sorry for the lack of news. It's been over a month with no new posts because nothing "fun" is currently going on. I'm mainly on the dreaded computer putting together the info from the eight P. venusta larval trials and the G. personatus trial.

I have been seeing spawning behavior in three tanks, (the G. personatus, the interruptas (Faith and Fabio), and the P. venusta) but there have not been any fertile eggs produced.

With the seasonal drop in temperatures getting closer I'm planning on using the rest of the "Girlfriend for Fabio" funds to bring in another pair of C. interrupta so that we can get that project going.

In the mean time I'll continue the nightly check for eggs and when we get a fertile batch we'll get back to the fun stuff!  :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

G. personatus tails

We are seeing the first black tail bar develop in our juvenile personatus. Some fish have already left the nest to other homes and I have heard of at least one of those that is also developing it's black bar.

Here's a link to a video showing the black bar developing on a 189 day old G. personatus. The video was taken several days ago and the black bar started coming in as a light grey bar two weeks ago.

We also have a tailless fish who is now known as "Hula"

Monday, September 8, 2014

P. venusta update

The P. venusta from Trial 8 which was fed only cultured foods throughout the larval period are now at day 69.  They have been hesitant to switch over to non living foods. They will look carefully at the foods and puff at them but will not yet consume them so I have added a few young ocellaris clownfish to each venusta grow out tank. I'm hoping for the "monkey see monkey do" response as the venusta watch the ocellaris consume flakes, pellets and frozen foods.

Here is a video link of the P. venusta (about 1/2 inch size) and ocellaris clowns (1/4 inch size). This video was taken yesterday.

I also took a couple of videos of the G. personatus yesterday and will get them up here in the next couple of days. (It just takes a while to upload them to youtube. Slow connection in my neighborhood!)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Genicanthus personatus :)

Hey Everyone

Over ten years ago while I was working at the Waikiki Aquarium I had the amazing opportunity to spend some time over a couple of years to do larval rearing work with the Masked Angelfish, Genicanthus paersonatus.  We succeeded in raising one fish "Geni Babe".

Since then one of my life goals has been to work with G. personatus again. It was a goal that I believed might not ever happen but I kept it swimming around in my head as a dream. This last spring that dream came true with an unbelievable opportunity given to me by rebreather diver Rufus Kimura. The information was to be kept under wraps until it could be announced at MACNA in Colorado this weekend. So now I am free to share the information with you.

The following video footage and photos were taken by me and if you've visited this site before you know that I am not a good photographer. A friend of mine, Leighton Lum has taken some lovely photos of the adults and juveniles as well as other fish from the Faith and Fabio Project. You can visit his site at

So here's how it went down.

Rufus went down, deep. He collected a pair of masked angelfish.
The male was the largest I've ever seen and became known as Jumbo.
The female is lovely and is known as Hina.
Here is a photo of each. The photos do not do them justice!

The pair was collected in the winter and spawned on March 2. I was busy with the Paracentropyge venusta of the Rising Tide Conservation project and had to fit the G. personatus into my free time. The following two months were the most hectic, exciting, stressful and fun months as I made the journey through the most successful larval rearing run I've had to date.

Here are a couple of photos of the juveniles taken yesterday at six months of age.

The following are video links to You Tube so that you can see how the larvae progressed starting with the most recent.

Here they are at day 91 feasting on Herbivore  Frenzy provided by Larry's Reef Services

Here is day 57. G. personatus juveniles casually swimming around their grow out tank.

Day 49 playing peek a boo.

Here we are at day 40 when the first laval personatus settled out to it's juvenile form.
A very exciting day!!!

Day 36 when I transferred some of the larvae to a bare tank which had my "magic rock" in it. This is the rock most of my clownfish have started spawning on and the rock that Geni Babe settle on over ten years ago.

Day 30 of the larval rearing run.

This larval run was done using wild collected plankton and I think it's interesting to note that this was my best ever larval run and has been a year of amazing reef fish recruitment in Hawaii.

Rufus requested a video giving my perspective on this "G. personatus Project".
I would like to leave you with the video and a message that I wrote to a friend regarding the video.

I think that video may come back to haunt me.
I'm not good at being in front of the camera and I'd never done a video with the computer. My husband set me up with photo booth on the lap top and went to bed. I tried four times and on the fifth I thought, that one wasn't as bad. I must have thought that out loud because my husband says from the bed "I heard you say UM at least ten times". So I tried several more times and finally felt OK with it. The sound wasn't very good but I had the volume all the way up so I stuck with it and sent it to Rufus.
The next morning I played it back and it looks freaky with the lighting. I look like a cabbage patch doll! My contact lens had been bothering me and my eye looks swollen. I said to my husband "you have to watch this and tell me how bad it looks". I push play for him and he starts laughing uncontrollably. He says "It looks like you're missing teeth". And sure enough it does! Now I start laughing and he says "I think these people are going to start an Indigogo campaign for you to get your teeth fixed!"

Oh the sacrifices I make for this hobby!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Day 55 for the P. venusta

Just a quick update at day 55 for the P. venusta in trial 8.
I took some video this morning and the larvae continue to develop juvenile coloration. We can now see more blue on the dorsal compared to just two days ago.

I'm very happy with this group since their larval phase has been quite a bit shorter than our previous successful trial and this batch has been reared on only cultured foods, (no wild plankton). They are still on living foods, currently being fed Artemia as we slowly introduce non living foods.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 53 for P. venusta trial 8

We're at day 53 and seeing some signs of pre settlement in the P. venusta larvae.
Here's a video showing what the larvae look like today. This larva seems to be the furthest along in development.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 44 Paracentropyge venusta

Well we are at day 44 of trial 8 for the P. venusta and we've started having a few deaths.
In an effort to get all of the larvae moved into clean tanks I had to move some into a 20 gallon grow out tank. I moved a total of 34 larvae to this tank over the last few days and they have settled in fairly well. This is quite a change for them at this early age.
Here's a video of them exploring their new home.

Once they were moved and I could set up a new tank where they had been I moved the rest of this batch (56 larvae) to a clean larval tank. So we currently have a total of 90 larvae and I do expect to lose a few more over the coming days after all this moving.

I also have a photo of one of todays dead larvae and would like to share that as well since they are so beautiful at this stage and the video doesn't do them justice.  This is one of the larger larvae which is 1.6cm total length.

Friday, August 1, 2014

It's day 33 of trial 8 for the P. venusta

It's day 33 of trial 8 for the P. venusta and things are going well, (knock wood).
The larvae are currently feeding on Artemia with a supplement of copepods.
We are at approximately 25% survival which is great. I don't know the exact percent survival since I am estimating the number of larvae at 120. We'll know better when all the larvae are moved and counted.

Here's a video taken today. You may notice that I'm getting better with the camera. :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

P. venusta Trial 8 day 13

We left off on June 27 hoping to get a good batch of eggs on the new moon. You all did a great job at keeping your fingers crossed and we had another large spawn. I collected the spawn, took it out to the fish garage and set it on top of one of the water storage barrels. As I bent over and reached around to grab an air line I knocked the barrel with my rear end just enough to jiggle the beaker of eggs and cause the top 2mm of water in the beaker to slosh out over the top. About 90% of the eggs were floating in that surface water and were now all over the top of the water storage barrel.  All I could do was clean up the mess and go to bed grumpy.

The following night the venusta pair produced a smaller spawn of 424 eggs. All were fertile and Trial 8 was finally underway.
Today we are at day 13 and the larvae look great. We've had very good survival and I estimate there are currently 120 larvae. I've been keeping the food density at 2 to 4 items per ml. and temp. at 25 to 26C.

Here is a video taken this morning. Like my other videos it goes in and out of focus but there are some good glimpses of the larvae.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The last 'cultured food only' larval trial with the P. venusta was looking good at day 5. The larvae I sampled had nice full guts and were looking healthy. Then on days 6 to 8 things were not looking so good. The number of larvae was declining rapidly and they did not look as healthy. Most larvae had empty guts on day 6 and I wondered if the larvae I had looked at on day 5 were the best of the bunch and these empty guts were there but not sampled. I think from the way things were looking that most of the larvae did not start to feed and the larvae I had sampled were the fat/healthy ones up in the water column that I could see. At any rate the run was not going well and I stopped it in order to prepare for a new one. The time required to bring up the copepod cultures for the next run would set us up to start around the new moon which is perfect timing.

So here we are at the week of the new moon. I've been watching the P. venusta pair and was able to collect over a thousand eggs on Tues. evening (3 days before new moon). Unfortunately those eggs were not fertile. I collected another thousand on Wed. evening. Also not fertile. Last night (Thurs. evening) there was no spawn. Tonight is the new moon and we're all set to go so please keep your fingers crossed for a fertile spawn!

Here is a video I took earlier this week of the venusta pair 

I've also been setting the egg screen for Faith and Fabio and checking for eggs from Jaws, Connie and the fish from the Rising Tide project. I have not gotten any eggs from any of them yet. I'll say it again, Patience is a virtue!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Back in Action

I've started another P. venusta larval run and we're at day 5 today. This run is a cultured foods only trial and the larvae are looking good so far. I've also decided to throw in some additional variables so we're running at a higher temperature and have started with a higher stocking density. I know some of you are probably thinking, "well that's not very scientific" and you're right. My decision to go this route is based on the successful P. venusta run which was unbearably long. This species is a tropical species and that run having taken place in a subtropical climate during the winter months led me to opt for the higher temp of 27C. As far as the higher stocking density goes, I was unsure as to what level I wanted to stock the tank at and was going to stock it the same as the successful larval run but there was a healthy spawn of 1079 fertile eggs….. If I've made a mistake and stocked too high it will most likely be evident early on and I'll just have to start over again. Going with cultured foods only is a no brainer since that is one of my top priorities. Keep in mind that there are always many more variables going on and hopefully as we move forward we can tease them out.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

blondie the unknown larva identified

Well it looks like our blonde larva is turning out to be Centropyge acanthops!

If you remember I had added 20 C. acanthops eggs to the P. venusta run at the start. I could tell the difference between the two species with the acanthops larvae having a longer, narrower body shape. I thought I had lost them all early on during the run but blondie must have persevered! I hadn't thought she was C. acanthops since her body shape was higher as she approached metamorphosis.

This has been great fun and she is turning into a cute juvy. She also gets along very well with her P. venusta tank mate (for now anyway!).

I'm currently waiting until the end of May for my hand to heal after carpal tunnel surgery and will start back up with both the Rising Tide work (focusing on P. venusta, C. potteri and C. jordani) and the side projects with whoever spawns (hopefully Faith and Fabio or Jaws and Connie).

Happy Mothers Day to all you moms!!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

160 days

Well we're at 160 days and our little blonde girl is still going through metamorphosis! I still don't know what she's going to turn out to be and maybe she's taking her time cause she doesn't know either!

Here's a video taken today. You can see that she is getting some darker markings (which look darker in person) on her body and darker pigment through some of her fins. Her behavior has changed slightly in that she is sleeping in even longer than before and tends to run for cover more often. You may also notice that her swimming has more of a wiggle to it now which also doesn't seem to show up as much on the video. It's more of a clownfish wiggle or maybe it's a little hula.  :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

I've had some trouble with the P. venusta larvae and bullying. There had been some minor chasing and displays of dominance over the last month. Last week one larva went missing and I noticed the bullying had escalated. Three of the submissive larvae were removed from the tank leaving the two more dominant larvae and the unknown blonde. I had hoped that the two venusta would pair up but that was not the case and they had to be separated as well. Currently the most dominant is living with 30 picasso clowns of her same size in a clownfish grow out tank. She is very happy with them. The second most dominant is still in the original tank with the unknown blonde and they are now buddies. Unfortunately the three submissive larvae  died from what I think was a bacterial infection. When I moved them from their original tank they had no signs of physical damage but I think the aggressiveness towards them had weakened them and along with the stress of moving the infection was able to overcome them. I had treated them with antibiotics and I wonder if it may have been too much for them as little as they are and in a weakened state. I feel so sad for their loss and have learned more about this species which brings up more questions for their future captive rearing and especially grow out techniques.

To end on a happier note, here is a more recent video of the unknown blonde larva taken a week ago. You can see the dark blue on her pelvic fins. We are into 5 months now and this larva has still not completely gone through meta and I'm still not sure what she is!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I've posted a short overview of the larval rearing for the P. venusta on the Rising Tide Conservation blog.

The last P. venusta larval trial with only cultured foods came to an end after two water quality issues. One was a heater that went nuts and over heated. The other was that I had purchased a food grade Rubbermade trash barrel for water storage and after conditioning it with fresh water and letting it sit out in the sun I stored some salt water in it. A few days later the area around the barrel had an odor similar to cat spray (urine). Sometimes neighbors cats do visit my fish garage so I grumbled to myself about cat spray and went on to use the water in the barrel. Then realized the odor was coming from the inside of the barrel! This was strange since I've always used these barrels without a problem. I don't know what the cause is with this one but I rinsed and dried the barrel, refilled it and a couple days later it smelled again. So it is no longer a water storage barrel and I just wanted to pass along this info in case anyone else has a similar experience. Don't use the water if it smells like cat urine! (How crazy is that)!
Otherwise, the cultured food only P. venusta larval run was going fairly well (not great but good) and I will be starting another as soon as eggs are available.

Still no spawn from Faith and Fabio or any of the other pairs.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rising Tide Conservation

I'd like to pass along a link to Rising Tide Conservation if you don't know of them already.

The venusta breeding and larval rearing will be shared through them to growers in an effort to further captive breeding of marine ornamentals.

I will also continue to post updates here so stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Finally some blue!
It's been almost a month since my last post. I can't believe how fast time has flown by and how slowly the P. venusta larvae have gotten their juvenile colors!

Here is an updated video where you can see that most of the venusta have most of their color. The blonde unknown larva is getting dark tips on her pelvic fins and her golden color looks a little more on the golden/orange side of golden.

The next larval run of venusta raised only on cultured foods is going well. They did have some set backs in their third week and are behind in development with quite a range in their sizes. I'm not sure if the set backs were related to diet and the larvae have recovered well. There are 21 larvae left at day 36 today. They are currently eating Artemia and cultured copepods.

All of the brood stock are doing great although there has not been much going on in the way of spawning.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Updated videos :)

The P. venusta larvae from trial 5 are 105 days old today. I had wanted to post a video at day 100 but life has been so hectic that it didn't happen. I'm sorry about that but better late than never, so here is an updated video taken two days ago on day 103. I'm very happy that the larvae are beginning to get more color and in this video I focused on the most advanced larva in terms of color/markings. Her fins and tail have filled in and her forehead color is developing. In fact she already shows more color on her forehead today.

I also have an updated video of the blonde larva taken on day 98. She pretty much looks the same, and the only difference I have noticed in her recent development is that she is going to bed earlier. Earlier than the rest of the larvae and earlier than she used to turn in. I have no idea what this means but it scares me when I do a head count before lights out and she's no where to be seen! Thankfully, she's always there with the rest of the gang waiting for breakfast in the morning.

The P. venusta larvae from Trial 6 are 12 days old today and doing great on only cultured parvo. They look very similar in development to 12 day old larvae fed wild plankton. I will be transferring them to a clean tank this weekend and will get an accurate count at that time.

We also had a little spawning action from Faith and Fabio a week ago. They produced a good sized spawn yet only 41 eggs were fertile and many of the fertile eggs did not develop well. I started a new larval tank with them but by day 5 there were only 3 larger left. :(   The good news is that Faith seems to be more interested in Fabio and they are improving on their spawning dance. Hopefully practice will make perfect!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Venusta Valentine Spawn

I've started another larval run with P. venusta eggs spawned on Valentines Day.  :)
I've been itching to get another larval run going and getting frustrated with infertile eggs from the brood stock that are spawning. The venusta had not been spawning lately so this was a nice gift from them.

I would have liked to set up two larval tanks, split the eggs into two groups and compare wild plankton against cultured live feeds. Since there were only 295 fertile eggs produced this time which is very close to the 284 venusta eggs stocked on the last larval run, I've put them all in one larval tank. So although it is not the best scientific method, I will use only cultured foods this time around in a comparison against the last run which was fed wild plankton as well as cultured foods. I will do my best to keep parameters as close as possible to the last run for a good comparison. There are of course always going to be variables but as long as we learn something from it and move forward I'll be happy. :)

Our previous P. venusta larvae are at day 94 today and I have to laugh at that. They had such relatively fast development in their first two weeks of life that I had hoped they might be fully settled out by the New Year. Now here we are well into February and 94 days old without juvenile coloration!

In the 20 gallon venusta tank I turned up the heat a notch from 26C to 27C in an effort to see if that would help to promote settlement since they are a tropical species. I was worried that it might cause bacterial problems but thought it was worth a try. Unfortunately I can now only see one larva where there should be four….. :(

In the 40 gallon venusta tank some larvae have grown slightly over the past couple of weeks and some seem to have stayed the same in size. The larger are developing more black in the dorsal area towards the caudal and the golden yellow area at the first few dorsal spines is becoming a more vibrant yellow.
All 11 larvae in this tank are looking good including the unknown blonde.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

There has not been much to report lately which is good and bad.
The good is that the larvae (except one) are all doing well. There has not been much development but they are still growing slowly in size. They are recognizing that a person approaching their tank means food is coming and they get quite excited and start zipping around. I thinks that behavior is very cute and shows how smart they are at this early age but it sure makes filming more difficult.

Blog follower Ed has asked if the reason that the golden/blonde larva hangs out in the upper water column may be due to aggression from the other larvae. I have watched for aggression and have seen some bickering over space between the venusta larvae but I have not seen any directed towards the blonde larva. She has been more benthic the last couple of days but when the camera came out she went up and so is not part of todays video.
Here is the video taken today (day 83) of the P. venusta larvae.

Sadly, one of the larvae died today. She was one on the smaller larvae from the 20 gallon tank, and was thin and unbalanced this morning. Here is her photo.

I continue to collect spawns from Faith and Fabio's tank and they are often large spawns. Unfortunately they are still not fertile. I think what is happening is that Fabio does his spawning dance and Faith is somewhat interested. By 10pm Fabio goes to bed and Faith releases her eggs sometime between midnight and 1am. I'm finding this frustrating!! And I bet Fabio is as well!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Paracentropyge venusta at day 71

All larvae are doing well and here is a link to a video taken yesterday at day 71.
The golden/blonde larva is at the end of the video. She tends to hang out higher in the water column than the others.

The larvae are still only consuming live foods and I have been introducing nonliving foods hoping they will taste something and like it. Recently I received an order of Larry's Reef Services "Reef Frenzy" and "Herbivore Frenzy". The larvae are definite interested in these foods and are obviously looking for something when these foods are added to the larval tank so I'm hoping they'll get the idea and switch over soon. I'd love to take a break from hatching brine shrimp!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Slow and Steady

Today is day 68 for the Paracentropyge venusta larvae and they are doing well.
The five larvae that were moved into a grow out aquarium are growing and seem to enjoy being in the tank. Here is a video taken yesterday.

Since those five are doing well, I've moved the rest of the larvae into a 40 gallon breeder sized tank. This tank is also set up with an under gravel filter, pvc fitting and some dried coral rubble. The larvae have been growing steadily but development to the next phase seems slow.  Two of the larvae in each tank have a slight blue iridescent hue just forward of and below the dark dorsal area. On most of the larvae the first three dorsal spines are now golden in color.

Faith and Fabio continue to spawn and have somewhat of a pattern of three nights spawning then one or two nights off.  Each spawn consists of approximately 100 eggs and the eggs have not yet been fertile. I have my fingers crossed for the next new moon in just over a week.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Lots of cool stuff happening!

First of all the great news is that Faith and Fabio have spawned the last four nights!
These are all relatively small spawns with only a few fertile eggs but the two of them are really going for it with pre spawning behavior lasting hours! Fabio must be feeling terrific as his color has brightened significantly with the purple and blue spots on his face brighter than I have ever seen them!

The Paracentropyge venusta larvae are 58 days old today and we still have 17 larvae! I moved them to a clean tank yesterday putting 12 larvae in the usual larval tank and 5 larvae into a grow out tank. The grow out tank is a regular 20 gallon tank with an under gravel filter. I feel that the larvae have stalled out somewhat in their development and want to see if putting them in a more natural environment with help them to fully metamorphose. Here is a link to the five larvae in their new aquarium.

For the last month I have noticed that one larva is different than the others and yesterday when moving them I caught that larva with a "normal" larva together in a beaker. Here is a short video comparing the two.
I have been referring to this different larva as the golden larva since she is lacking the darker dorsal pigment that the others have but since there is a Golden Angelfish and we know she is not that species I will refer to her as the "blonde". She is more of a platinum blonde and gorgeous! She is still pelagic in behavior whereas the venusta larvae are much more benthic at this stage. She also has a calm attitude compared to the venusta (and the venusta have a calmer demeanor than the G. watanbei raised last year). I know you are all now wondering what other species of fish are in the brood stock tank and I'm going to keep that to myself for now. I'm not sure which species this blonde larva is but I know which species I hope she is!  :)  It will be a surprise for all of us.

I'm also finding it so interesting to watch the behavior of the venusta larvae at this stage. They are already territorial, and show submissive and dominant interactions and they don't even have their color yet!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Paracentropyge venusta at day 50

Today the P. venusta are 50 days old and I moved them to a clean tank.
I was able to get a good look at each larva as I moved them one by one in a beaker.

Here is a video of the last one moved.

Most of the smaller larvae have died as they have not progressed in size or development over the last couple of weeks. There are now 17 larvae left. One is smaller than the others and has buoyancy problems off and on. The other 16 look great. About half of the larvae have pigment though most of their dorsal spines and fin as you can see in the video. I saw this in the Genicanthus watanabei just before they fully settled with juvenile colors so I'm hopeful that metamorphose will come soon.