Hi guys! So I thought it would be fun to write about how we breed our clownfish at the aquaculture facility. Not everyone gets to see it and I thought it would be cool to explain the process.
We currently have 12 different brood stock pairs of clownfish that we are trying to get to produce eggs. Here's Big Mama! She gives us all our orange ocellaris clowns.
Female clownfish go through a cycle to produce eggs. When ready to spawn they swell up in the abdominal area when they are ready to lay.
Behavior between the male and female can also be observed before a spawn as the more mature female may nip, nudge, or push the male to teach him what to do. Females can also reabsorb the eggs when conditions aren't right to lay.
When the eggs are first laid, they are a bright orange color. Clutches with more pigmentation are more likely to hatch better.
(Eggs that were just laid)
(Eggs that are about a day old)
They begin to turn darker in color over time. The male clownfish of the pair will take care of the eggs by "mouthing" over them to clean the nest and "fanning" with the fins.
(Eggs are ready to move to separate tank!)
After about a week the eggs should be ready to move to a separate tank. Silver eyes can be seen on the eggs when they're ready.
Once the eggs are moved, we need to provide air flow. It's important to adjust the air flow so that the water moves all the eggs in a wave like motion.
The air bubbles should also not be touching the eggs as this can cause the clutch to die. If the clutch does not get enough flow they might mold over.
As the eggs begin to hatch it is also important to lower the air flow. Rotifers should be added to the tank after hatching so the larval clowns can feed. Larval clowns are sensitive and need good water quality. For the first 5-8 days we do water changes every day while drip acclimating the new water into the tank. Once the larval clowns grow a bit more, they can be moved onto baby brine shrimp and a sponge filter is added to the tank.
We continue to feed dry food and baby brine until the larval clowns go through metamorphosis and grow to be the clowns we sell at the store!
It was interesting for me to learn how clownfish spawn and produce babies. I just wrote about the basics of what happens at the facility with the clowns. I'm sure that there is a lot more that goes into it. Heather and Cam probably know a lot more about the process and can probably add some info I missed!