Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Quick Update

Since the last post the 7 bandit angelfish babies have been doing well and are now in a larger grow out tank. They get along well together and are so cute I wish I could keep them all. I also still have some masked angel juveniles in grow out so everything is black and white and lovely, even if not colorful. :)

I'd like to improve larval rearing protocol for the bandits and have been waiting for a good batch of eggs. I did get a good spawn a week ago and although I wasn't sure which fish produced the eggs I started a larval run so as not to miss an opportunity. Then two days ago there was another good spawn and I'm fairly certain these are bandit angel eggs. So I'm now running two larval tanks (double trouble) during this busy holiday season and thinking I must be nuts! I hope I can come up with enough larval feeds, time and energy!

I don't think I'll be posting again until January (unless something exciting happens) so I'd like to wish you all a Wonderful Holiday Season and Happy New Year!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bandit Angelfish at 50 days old

Here's a link to a video I took today of the bandit babies. They're so mellow compared to other angels I've raised who would be zipping all over the place at this age. These girls seem very content in their grow out tank.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Lot's to catch up on!

It's been a good two months since I last posted and I did start another Bandit Angelfish (A. arcuatus) larval run soon after the last one. There are 7 little fish left in this run and I moved them into their new grow out tank today. They're 47 days old and five of them have juvenile colors with two others lagging slightly but I think all 7 will do well in grow out. Here's a link to a video of them as they are acclimating to the grow out tank. In the video you can see the different stages of development they are in as they go through metamorphosis.

I also have an update on Faith, Fabio, Jaws and Connie. You may recall that at one point I introduced Jaws and Connie (the C. joculator pair) to the tank housing Faith and Fabio (the C. interrupta pair). At that time Faith and Jaws seemed to have a connection and hid together while Fabio went after Connie who was just a young small fish. I had to rescue Connie ASAP and moved her and Jaws back to their tank. Since then Jaws had shown some pre spawning behavior and Connie puts up with it but hasn't been truly interested. So I decided to try and introduce the two couples again. This time into a neutral tank containing a pair of Tinkers Butterflies. I hoped that this time around  Faith and Jaws would still hit it off and because Connie is more mature now I hoped she could hold her own.  I introduced Jaws and Connie to the tank in the morning to let them have the day to settle in. Then just before dark I introduce Faith and Fabio and turned out the lights. Next day I kept an eye on the tank and was surprised to see that Jaws did not like Faith at all. He and was hassling her and not letting her eat at feeding time. Connie and Jaws started showing more pre spawning behavior and Fabio took it upon himself to try and break up every attempt that Jaws and Connie took to spawn. Here's a video of the interaction.

So I'll be taking apart the tank to move Jaws and Connie back to their own tank. Hopefully they'll continue to try and spawn and we can raise some cute C. jocular babies in the future.

I'm also in the process of trying to get a new pair of C. interrupta with the remaining funds from the Faith and Fabio campaign. It would be great if we could have both jocular and interrupta babies in 2016.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Baby Bandits have graduated to a grow out tank

Now that the little bandit angels have settled out, I've moved them to their Big Girl tank (grow out tank). That was yesterday at day 50. You can see them acclimating to the new tank at this link.  There are four that have settled and two that are way behind in development. All are now in the grow out tank.

I plan to start another larval run with the next new moon. Hopefully we'll get some fertile eggs. It doesn't matter to me which broodstock pairs cooperate with this but I sure wish it would be Faith and Fabio or Jaws and Connie (hint hint to you two couples!).

I'd also like to let you all know that I was convinced to try Facebook and so I have been posting videos there as well. It's actually easier to post there without having to go through You Tube but the page also containers other non fish stuff.  I'm still learning my way around Faceboook but feel free to check it out. I try to check it everyday to confirm friend requests.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Cute Little Bandit Angelfish

Today is day 47 for this A. arcuatus larva run and settlement has begun. The video (link below) shows three larvae going through metamorphosis. The furthest along started two days ago at day 45. I didn't think meta would happen this fast for them and I find it pretty amazing to watch their development. Almost like watching weeds grow!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Day 45 of the A. arcuatus larval run

Here's a video I just took of two of the larvae. One is the most developed in the group and the other is the least developed. As you can see the larger larva has more black pigment on the dorsal area of the body and if you look closely there is now a little bit of black on it's tail and fins. You can also see the white skunk stripe along the top line of this larva.
The other larvae in the group look pretty much the same as the smaller larva in this video. All of the larvae are showing behavioral changes as they start to associate with pieces of coral rubble and pvc that I've placed on the bottom of the tank.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A. arcuatus at day 40

Unfortunately I lost three larvae yesterday at day 40. I'll be happy if I get a single fish through this run. The three that were lost were the three smallest and the one in the photo although smaller was one of the more developed larvae. So sad to have lost her. The larger larvae that are left all look good and have been eating cultured copepods and Artemia for the past week.

I did decide to concentrate on this larval run and have not started another yet. I plan to start the next one in a couple of weeks with a new moon spawn and I hope these larvae are far enough along by then to move into a grow out tank.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A. arcuatus at day 36

Here's a video taken today of one of the larger more developed A. arcuatus larvae.
Larval rearing is an ongoing parade of developmental phases and this is my favorite part as the larvae get close to settling out. They will go through their transformation to the juvenile stage with both morphological and behavioral changes.  Some of the larvae have started to hangout next to the sides of the tank with their bodies in an S shaped curve.  Hopefully we'll start to see some juvenile colors coming in soon.

Monday, August 17, 2015

More Questions Than Answers

Today we are at day 33 of the Apolemichthys arcuatus larval run and what a challenge the last three weeks have been. There have been several setbacks and I'm now down to just a handful of larvae.  I think the underlying problem has been the record high temps and humidity we've been having which have turned the garage into a sauna. The higher temps probably had some direct effect on the larvae but I think that most of the losses are due to a bacterial problem with the bacteria benefiting from the higher temperatures.

I am pleased to have gotten past the barrier of day 22 that teased me 2 years ago when I was working with this species but I feel that I have more questions than answers after going through these last three weeks. I am considering keeping this larval run going and starting a new run but I know from experience how taxing that can be on food cultures, water, time and my energy level. Having said that, I'll be checking for eggs tonight and if I get a good spawn I know I won't be able to resist them.

Here is a photo showing the results of the last setback which occured at day 30 . You can see that the larger larvae have the darkened dorsal area which develops prior to settling out.  Those larger larvae are about a cm in length. (Their tails are clear and difficult to see in the photo but are included in the total length measurement).

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

photo of day 13 larva

I found this larva floating on the surface and took advantage of getting a photo since although dead it was still in good condition. You can see that the body shape is deepening and the color is transitioning from translucent red to opaque pink/red.
This group is still doing well with a good survival rate and I've divided the group in two for twice the work and twice the fun. :)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A. arcuatus day 10 photos

Here are two photos that my niece Heather took yesterday. She's still figuring out her camera and as the larvae grow we'll get more photos.

The first gives you an idea of the size of the larvae at day 10.

The second is a closer look at a larva.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bandit babies doing well at day 10

The bandit angelfish larvae (A. arcuatus) are 10 days old today and survival has been good enough that this is the first day I've worried about having enough food for them. So I guess this is a good problem. My visiting niece has been getting her upper body workout by helping me out with plankton tows and I've got all my cultures going so I hope we can keep these little tummies full.

Here's a video taken yesterday at day 9 and like my other videos it's mostly out of focus with glimpses of larvae in focus. My niece took some photos today so that you can get a better look and as soon as she gets them out of her camera I'll post one here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Photo of day 6 A. arcuatus larva

Here's the best I could do for now in terms of a photo.
I can now say that I'm 100% sure that these are the Bandit Angelfish,  A. arcuatus.
Sooooooooo happy to be working with them again!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Revisiting Bandit Angelfish

I have a larval run going that I'm 99.9% sure is the bandit Angelfish, Apolemichthys arcuatus.
It's still early at day 5 today and there's a long way to go but I'm excited to be working with this species again. They're looking good so far (hope I didn't just give them the kiss of death by saying that).
I'll try to get some photos and video for you soon. My niece is here for a visit and wants to help out so I'm planning on getting her set up with the camera and microscope. Maybe she'll like to scrub buckets too! One can only hope. :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

larval Nemo hunting

For the past several years I've been giving clownfish eggs to a group at the University of Hawaii who are studying how larval fish learn to catch their prey.   The research group has gotten some cool video footage and I thought some of you might like to see it. Here's a short clip of a 12 day old clownish hunting an adult calanoid copepod.

Reminds me more of a grouper than a clownfish larva!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

An Interesting Surprise

While I'm waiting for fertile eggs from the fish that I'd like to raise and in an effort to continue the learning process and improve larval rearing methods, I started a small larval run using G. personatus eggs. I had seen some spawning behavior from the young bandit angelfish,  A. arcuatus which live with the personatus and I had hoped that the eggs I had collected might be those of the bandits. As I got further along into the rearing run I could see that these were personatus larvae. As the larvae approached the 35 day mark, some looked slightly different with darker than normal dorsal spines. The surprise came as the larvae began to settle out into their juvenile colors. Five of the larvae showed some black pigment where the body would normally be white.

Here's a photo of a day 45 larva changing into it's juvenile colors and sporting the extra black. Normally that posterior area of black would be white. I was very excited and intrigued by this. I sent this photo and the videos around  hoping to get some information as to what could cause this. So far the main consensus is that possibly something different in the larval rearing environment may have caused it. I didn't change anything intentionally but there are always many variables at play through the larval period especially when using wild plankton.

Here is a video of that same fish at 49 days old. (It's the fish with the black caudal and black on the dorsal and anal fins.)

Here is a video at day 52 and you can see that the fish with the black caudal has lost the black on the dorsal and there is just a smudge on it's anal fin.

Today, at day 60, only the caudal remains black. That is a normal marking on a juvenile personatus however that black caudal doesn't normally show up until approximately 6 months of age (in my experience rearing this species). The other four fish that had extra black markings all currently look like normal G. personatus. I have the black caudal fish separated so that I can follow it's development and I'll keep you posted if anything changes.

I just love larval rearing surprises!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Coming of Age

The three tiny Bandit Angelfish that Rufus gave to me two years ago are coming of age.

Over the last year they have developed into a larger, a not as large and a smaller sized fish. I had assumed from the start that I would end up with a male and two females. In my experience, the males have a somewhat sunken abdominal area and the females are plump in that area of the body.  At the beginning of this year I noticed that the two larger fish both had the sunken appearance of a male and I thought that this was odd. About three months ago the two larger fish began to fight. This was serious fighting with the ripping of fins and bodily contact. I put my fish trap in the tank in an effort to catch one of them. It didn't matter to me which one, I just wanted the fighting to stop. I didn't try to move the rocks and catch them with nets since they share their tank with the G. personatus pair and I wasn't going to freak the personatus out and risk damaging them. Neither of the fighting bandits would enter the trap and the fighting escalated for several days. All they did was chase and fight. Their respiration was constantly high while they overexerted themselves and they began to lose weight. I prepared to take the tank apart hoping that the personatus pair would deal with the intrusion in a mellow manner. Then suddenly the fighting stopped and the hierarchy was established. The larger bandit started to court the smallest and the odd man out middle sized fish would just cruise around as if not interested. Life settled back down and I started collecting eggs from these new bandit spawns but all have been infertile.

This week the Bruce Jenner story "call me Caitlyn", of his transformation from male to female has been all over the news. Last night the "odd man out bandit" suddenly, out of nowhere, makes the move to become a female and as the pair was spawning he dives right into the middle of it pushing the female out of the way and fluttered in front of the male. The larger male continued on and spawned with both fish although no eggs were produced. The tank that these fish are in is located opposite the television and I can't help but wonder if that sex changing bandit was watching the news and realized he still had options.

Today the fighting has begun again. This time between the small female and the new female. The smaller is about half the size of the new female and is standing her ground. Posturing and then hiding only to run out and nip the tail of the new female as she swims by the hiding hole. It is both worrisome and hilarious to watch and I just hope they can work it out before I have to take the tank apart and catch one of them. Hopefully all of these shenanigans will lead to fertile eggs!

Here's a photo of our new sassy female, Caitlyn.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Happy First Birthday to the Genicanthus personatus

Time sure does fly by!

It was one year ago today that the G. personatus hatched. (They were spawned the evening of March second and hatched out of their eggs late in the afternoon of March third.)
At 5pm today we will be having a celebratory beer. Where ever you are in the world, join us at 5pm Hawaii time in a Happy Birthday cheer!

I have to apologize for not keeping up on this blog the last few months. There hasn't been any fun fishy stuff going on here to write about. I have been busy though in getting the termites taken care of and then decided to change another bedroom into a fish room. The room project has taken way longer than I thought but we are working on the base boards and door trim today. Then it's just finishing up the electrical, getting the AC installed and doing some touch up painting. I've had a lot of help with this and truly appreciate it.

If there had been any fertile spawns the last few months I would have put the room on hold and tried to raise more fish. There has been some pre spawning activity but no eggs and I keep telling myself "patience is a virtue". Faith and Fabio are still dancing the dance and not producing any eggs. Jaws and Connie are getting a little frisky and I can't believe how much Connie has grown. I had hoped that the change in temperature would help with spawning but I think all the moving around of fish for termite treatment may have upset that. As soon as we get fertile eggs and larval rearing starts again you'll see it here!