The Onyx Percula - A conversation with Bill Addison

Postby mpedersen » Sat Dec 08, 2007 3:40 am

Colby, I found the thread - http://www.marinebreeder.org/phpbb/view ... light=onyx

Now you can get back to those FINALS!

--- Here's my thoughts on the proposed study ---

#1. You need to KNOW which fish came from which bloodlines. Simply throwing them all in the same tank won't work. At minimum, I'd say breeder nets "with lids" would allow for mulitple batches in the same tank. I mention "lids" because I've had several baby clownfish escape from breeder nets.

#2. You're trying to test way too many variables in one experiment. Narrow it down - you're thinking too big and tryin got test for too many different things at once.

#3. Related to #2, you're not isolating your variables. In order to test for something like the presense of nematocysts, you'd need to keep the tank water separate, which introduces all sorts of secondary variables (i..e tank #1 has an algae bloom, #2 does not).

If the real theory is that LIGHTING LEVELS influence the development of black coloration in A. percula, here's what I would do.

4 tanks, all plumbed into 1 system. This eliminates ANY variable water quality parameters between the tanks. Paint all the tanks black on the backs and sides. Add vertical black shields aroudn the lighting to prevent "spillover" ambient light from one tank to the next.

From there, tank #1 gets ambient room light, nothing more. Tank #2 gets a single flourescent strip light with a standard 50/50 bulb. Tank #3 gets "reef level" 50/50 power compact lighting. Tank #4 gets a really strong metal halide, maybe a 14k (or whatever is closest in spectrum to 50/50).

You get a batch of young clowns, i.e. 30 day old Onyx Percs, and ya grow them out, divided equally between the 4 tanks. You feed them a standard regime (i.e. Otohime and Cyclopeze). Grow them out for 6 months and I honestly suspect you'd have an answer. Running this again with other percs from other bloodlines increases the sample and helps to eliminate the genetic predispositions of a particular line. I.e. maybe down the line look for a offspring from a "regular" pair. And of course, I think it would be OK to do something like use breeder nets to separate multiple bloodlines and run them in the setup concurrently. All that really requires is to get your contributing breeders to get batches ready for you around the same time....

That's my thought on the "LIGHT" experiment. My thought is that in any experiment where the variable factor is an environmentally water-borne variable, this could be problematic. Afterally, you can't have 4 tanks on the system yet only have 2 of them running with Iodine, but if all 4 tanks are separate, you cannot account for other chemical differences that arise (unless you have a much larger sample, i.e. 6 with iodine, 6 without..this larger sample might lessen the risk that individual environmental factors could throw the results off)

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Postby Colby » Sat Dec 08, 2007 7:19 pm

Matt,

I totally agree with you on that. However, instead of four tanks I would like to try and do 7 tanks for each lighting intensity, that way instead of having fish in baskets I can have 10 or so individuals from 7 different blood lines all represented under each light. If I have 200+ fish in the experiment, I think it will be more substantiated.

As, an interesting side note, I have been messing around with the few percula I have now, and noticed that they are much much darker when kept in water that is 80+ as opposed to 70ish....interesting?

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KarenB's F1 Onyx Percula Thread on MARSHReef

Postby mpedersen » Sun Dec 09, 2007 3:52 am

KarenB at MARSH apparently had WC ONYX PERCS going. She documented the development of her offspring pretty well for a while. Here's the thread:

http://www.marshreef.com/modules.php?na ... sc&start=0

Here's her pair - http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v391/ ... wns006.jpg - beautiful, perfectly marked. If you read this thread, they are WC from the Solomon Islands.

The first hatch from that pair was July 13th, 2006. In looking through the pictures, I'd say that the development of her fish mirror the development of mine in terms of stripe development and coloration development at whatever age.

At November 3rd, 2006, here's what her offspring looked like at 3.75 months - http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v391/ ... one014.jpg - note the one that's already showing the "dusky" flanks! At six moths, Karen notes that some are starting to show the tailstripe...well, at least the first hints. I haven't had many show that much before 4 months, and those are definitely the early bloomers.

A picture of her fish at 8 months - http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v391/ ... -07010.jpg - notice how many have "dusky" flanks. Very few show HARD black, but all show that "dusky" flank color.

But here is the "kicker" picture for me - the rearing tank that the fish were moved into after larval / early juvenile stages - http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v391/ ... -06001.jpg - This looks to me like a 55 gallon tank with one long single-tube strip light for lighting. Hardly any level of intensity to it.

-----

Any of our Houston Members know KarenB? Maybe you can convince her to join us here and share her experiences with her Onyx?

I have another anecdote that I'll add as a separate post.

Matt
Last edited by Anonymous on Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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WC Onyx

Postby mpedersen » Sun Dec 09, 2007 3:59 am

So I was running around the area LFS's again today and I found one shop that had a recent import of WC Perculas. Out of 9 or 10, Most of them were regular true percs, the type that are all orange with white bars and heavly black outlines. A couple had black between the first and black bar. And then there was one ONYX perc in the batch! I snatched it up (prospective future broodstock?). I hopefully will get some collecting location info, but the one thing we know is that it ISN'T a Bali Percula.

But here's the interesting part. In looking at all of these perculas, the one *other* thing I noticed about them is that all the "non-onyx" had black markings with very HARD edges to them. In looking at younger / smaller Onyx, it seems like the black markings have "softer" edges that shade into the orange markings. In looking at my older offspring and how they develop their black color, it seems that the flanks are often a dusky color, i.e. a muddy orange, long before any actual black shows up.

Another interesting thing I need to throw into the mix - some offspring from my pair at one of the area shops actually lost their black. Neither had a lot of black, but they were at least showing it. It's just wierd, but it's NOT the first time someone has talked about (or documented) the LOSS of some or all of the black coloration in their "Onyx" perculas.

More light seems to make them darker, less light makes them lighter? WC Onyx are only caught in the shallows? Sounds evermore like a suntan to me!!!

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Postby Colby » Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:05 am

My opinion as well Matt...

I better be careful how I phrase this.... :lol: .... but there is strong "evidence" that indicates melanin develops more under UV lighting...


BTW Matt, how bout some pics of this new fish?

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Re:

Postby mpedersen » Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:14 am

Colby wrote:BTW Matt, how bout some pics of this new fish?

Colby


It's cowering (well, sleeping right now) in the 10 gallon tank I had empty. I'm going to put it through HYPO QT and eventually put it in a net breeder to pair up with offspring from my WC pair...at least that's one thought! It'll get a spread, I assure ya!

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Postby DrHsu » Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:55 am

If you look at my pictoral essay, you will see the same type of developement. Can't tell you the age when things happen offhand but you can do calculations from the date of posting (made sure I put in the date of original posting).

What I did, and still do, is to select those that look brownish - the more the better. I believe that these browner areas will eventually develop into the black (you need the melanocytes to be present before even any melanin can develop!) At this point I will have to say that it will be generally true, but not always - as usual I think other factors come into play eg, maturity (age), sexual development, anemone, background environemnt color, and IMO to a lesser extent, light.

If you look though my pics - I selected out 3 with the best potential - alot of brown. Of those 3 - kept as a group and given a RBTA - 2 paired off and ended up as the nice F1 pair with lots of black. The third was ostracized and she ended up a regular colored perc, much to my disappointment. When I then caught her out and gave her own tank with lots of macroalgae, natural sunlight exposure, she eventually matured and turned out to be a good colored (except for fins) onyx style perc. A pic of her can be seen in my thread. This is what makes me think the brownish color is a precursor of things to come - this girl developed a normal perc color but later blackened all over - expressing the potential that she showed when a juvenile.

Those juves that show a distinct perc color, I discount and never really followed up on them - I believe they will end up normal colored. Of course when I say normal, I mean having black between the first 2 bars...

The influence of anemones: They play a role, but maybe less than you guys think. I believe they stimulate maturity and with it come territorial behaviour, pairing. I think this causes the "secondary sexual characteristics" to become more prominent - brighter orange (within dietary limits) and darker blacks. The stings may stimulate small areas in itself - see the black specks on my F1 female, stimulated by a S. gigantea. FWIW this can also be seen in percs (or ocellaris) that host in zoanthids and some corals. I don't think anemones play a major role in color other than to stimulate maturity.

Light: Now...maybe, maybe not. I don't think they play that much of a role. Some of mine darkened considerably with good light (MH and natural sunlight) but then again, I think that can be attributed to allowing the pair/single to mature properly. I had no controls ie, did not pair off pairs in low light conditions....so can't be 100% sure. What makes me thinks so? Well, if light is such a major player, than it should be that when put in low light conditions, the black should fade....Haven't really seen this at all with my best pairs - they are in low light conditions and still retain the stunning black.

One other thing - I think that the jet black condition is genetic; ie a trait that can be passed on. You will very often see percs with good black, or with a brown/black color with soft edges - IMO this is a different genetic trait and they will not develop into the jet black with crisp edges....I bought quite a few of these hoping they would, but they never did.

As for Colby's assertion of light causing the black - yes, UV stimulates melanin production, but my assertion is that you have to have the melanocyte distribution before the melanin can be produced!

FWIW
Li Chieh

Otherwise known as marinebetta in most marine forums.....

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"It's what you learn after you think you know it all..that matters" - Anon
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Postby Kmiec123 » Sun Dec 09, 2007 3:16 pm

I would also be interested to stow in a pair of o’s in this study. Considering I have a pair or Perc’s from my pair that you have to be an expert to tell there not o’s…I actually would have guessed o’s except for the fact that they came out of my pair. Basically, I guess I’m saying I’m sure this theory can go in either direction, but how wants perc’s that look like o’s..right?
Just a thought.
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Postby cpage3 » Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:34 pm

Id just like to add something after reading your initial post. Wild caught SI percs can have the signature black dorsal fin you were talking about as being only a product of captive breeding. A local store got at least 50 juvenile SI percs in recently and Id say 2 or 3 of them had more black on their dorsal fin than usual and 1 definitely had a pitch black dorsal fin and front half of the body.
He was really small also.

I am 100% positive that these percs came from the SI's and had black dorsal fins. Just my 2 cents

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Postby Rod Buehler » Mon Dec 10, 2007 3:38 pm

Wow, You guys are busy over here.. I havent actuually read hrough the whole thread, but just skimmed a few lines.. Hopefully I will sit down in th enear future and actually read through. Something that I did catch..

It's my understanding Inland's Onyx are based on the C-Quest line,



Yes, this is true. Odds are that are my clowns. I have shipped to Morgan on a few occasions.
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Re: WC Onyx

Postby mpedersen » Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:56 am

mpedersen wrote:So I was running around the area LFS's again today and I found one shop that had a recent import of WC Perculas....there was one ONYX perc in the batch!


So here's a really clear picture of this WC Onyx. What I was trying to explain earlier is the fading on the edges of the black, especially on the upper back, where it looks dusky, ruddy, muddy, whatever you want to call it.

Image

It's my intent to hold onto this fish for a while, but it's also in QT for a while (with only an 15 watt bulb over it) so it'll be interesting to see what happens with the markings...

FWIW,

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Postby Colby » Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:26 am

Hmm...I can get those from SI pretty regularly. Beautiful fish though. I have noticed quite a few of these coming in lately.

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Re:

Postby mpedersen » Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:37 am

Colby wrote:Hmm...I can get those from SI pretty regularly. Beautiful fish though. I have noticed quite a few of these coming in lately.

Colby


If I'm reading and understanding the implications of your post, it's as if you meant to say, "Yup, that's just a regular 'ole Solomon Island Percula..pretty...nothing special...", and perhaps even to go on to say "Sure Ain't an "Onyx"".

Colby, could you elaborate or clarify further?

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Postby Colby » Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:47 am

Well..Matt as you have stated many times there are various "flavors" of Onyx clowns. So, if we are using the definition that a Percula clown that will develop melanin between all three bars, then that certainly looks like an Onyx. However if we add in the Rod and C-Quest variety/stipulation that the dorsal and anal fins must be black, then no that is not an Onyx.

I hope that my previous statement did not come off as "oh, that's nothing special", as it is a good looking fish and a good find. From your post it sounds like you don not see them frequently in Chicago, and I see them frequently, it makes me wonder if they are snatched up at the wholesalers by CA Lfs's before they get to you?

I have seen many SI fish develop "Onyx" Percula pigment, in fact nemofan has a gorgeous pair....(nemofan, that means post the friggen picture... :twisted: )

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Re:

Postby mpedersen » Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:06 am

Colby wrote:Well..Matt as you have stated many times there are various "flavors" of Onyx clowns. So, if we are using the definition that a Percula clown that will develop melanin between all three bars, then that certainly looks like an Onyx. However if we add in the Rod and C-Quest variety/stipulation that the dorsal and anal fins must be black, then no that is not an Onyx.


Point taken..but I have to ask, where did the "anal fin must be black"? I've never had anyone mention that.

Rod's website was the first reference I saw to black dorsal fins, and as we've seen, in the WC Onyx offered by LiveAquaria.com, occasionally they'll have it too. I've since seen C-Quest fish without the black dorsal. The name "Onyx" was first applied to the captive bred C-Quest line, but if we're seeing C-Quest fish sold as Onyx without black dorsals, well, then I don't think the black dorsal is a "requirement" to be "Onyx", at least not in the originating company's point of view.

I was unfortunately incorrect earlier in assuming that the Black Dorsal was an indicator of a fish being of the C-Quest line - something around 10% of the WC fish I surveyed via the LiveAquaria Diver's Den had Black Spiny Dorsals, which means WC fish that are referred to as "Onyx" can have it too. If we believe that there are WC "Onyx", then Black Dorals again aren't necessarily a trait in either way.

So far, the only universal truth that I've seen in everyone's version of what they call "onyx" is the solid blank flank between bars 1, 2 and 3. That's what seems to separate it out from the "run of the mill" true perc. In the case of the WC group I saw recently, if all 10 came from the same reef, then 10% would be Onyx. This falls in line with what Bill was saying about heavily black fish coming from shallower portions of the reefs.

I hope that my previous statement did not come off as "oh, that's nothing special", as it is a good looking fish and a good find. From your post it sounds like you don not see them frequently in Chicago


Other than Rod's Reef, almost never. I am aware of a stunning WC pair that's retailing for $209. And my LFS has 4 C-Quest Onyx selling at $70, but to be fair that WC pair beats the snot off any of the LA.com onyx pairs - the C-Quest fish don't even hold a candle to it. So....yeah...we don't see "Onyx" percs very often here.

and I see them frequently, it makes me wonder if they are snatched up at the wholesalers by CA Lfs's before they get to you?


Isn't that what happens with all the other cool fish too? If folks can cherry pick locally before the stuff gets shipped east, of course all the good perculas are gonna be snatched up. We're only going to get the "onyx" percs when a shop tranships or imports direct.

I have seen many SI fish develop "Onyx" Percula pigment, in fact nemofan has a gorgeous pair....(nemofan, that means post the friggen picture... :twisted: )


Yes, Kim, post those fish!

I should re-dig up the "before and after" shots of my pair, just so folks can see how the color developed in both my fish. Before and afters of many fish that "developed" the full black flank coloration, as well as collecting localities, would provide an important puzzle piece.

BTW, since we're talking about these various types of perculas, I wonder if anyone is familiar with Inland Aquatics? I ask, because they list both "ONYX" (the C-Quest line) and Solomon Island Percs....I wonder what their SI percs look like and produce?

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Postby Colby » Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:57 pm

I cannot remember where, I will try and dig it up, but I do believe in one of the posts somebody mentioned that black anal fins were considered a characteristic of Onyx, I could be wrong though.

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Re: WC Onyx

Postby mpedersen » Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:12 pm

UPDATE - this Percula was included in a Tongan Shipment. Don't know that this means it was collected in Tonga (do perculas even come from Tonga?)
mpedersen wrote:
mpedersen wrote:So I was running around the area LFS's again today and I found one shop that had a recent import of WC Perculas....there was one ONYX perc in the batch!

Image
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Postby mpedersen » Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:46 am

I did some research on the "Tongan" Percula.

http://fishbase.org/summary/speciessumm ... me=percula

Western Pacific: Queensland and Melanesia including northern Great Barrier Reef, northern New Guinea, New Britain, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Not known from New Caledonia and the Fiji Islands, although Fowler (1959) recorded it from the latter area.


Now, I looked at this on a map, and in general, the distrubution of the Percula is East of Ocellaris. Tonga is way beyond the eastern edge of distribution for the Percula.

Tonga is also further east of the Fiji Islands, and a great distance from Vanuatu. What this means, I believe, is that while this percula may have been shipped out of Tonga, it probably wasn't collected in Tonga? That's only my hypothesis, I'd love to hear that there ARE True Percs native to Tonga and that this is one of those!

FWIW

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Re:

Postby Luis A M » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:49 pm

mpedersen wrote:Tonga is also further east of the Fiji Islands, and a great distance from Vanuatu. What this means, I believe, is that while this percula may have been shipped out of Tonga, it probably wasn't collected in Tonga?
Matt

That is correct.I once tracked the origin of my mid barred thiellei and the range of Tonga exports extended up to (but not further)than Vanuatu.FWIW
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Re:

Postby mpedersen » Thu Dec 20, 2007 3:32 pm

Luis A M wrote:That is correct.I once tracked the origin of my mid barred thiellei and the range of Tonga exports extended up to (but not further)than Vanuatu.FWIW


If that is the case, then based on Luis's info and the range info for A. percula via Fishbase, then this is likely a Percula from Vanuatu (which appears to be the eastern-most occurance of A. percula, except for the Fiji report, which it seems fishbase considers questionable).

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Postby Kerusso316 » Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:08 am

Hi all....Mainly a reader here.I cant spell and type even worst,But I do have alot of Percs.In my Opion there are two types of Onyx.There are the Tan'able Onyx and the Genetic Onyx.I have bought several Onyx,put them under 40 watt lamps,withen 2 months they loose there black becoming True Percs.There are others that are under only ambent room light and are black as night and do not loose there color.I bought a Genetic Onyx A few months ago that has black lower fins.The angled fins below the gills.I dont know what they are called.I will grab some pics of my fish fish for this thread.
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Postby mpedersen » Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:31 am

Stumbled upon another really good pictorial thread showing the development of some Onyx Perc offspring through to 24 months so far...

http://www.rareclownfish.com/forums/sho ... .php?t=361

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Postby mpedersen » Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:53 pm

Sorry for the duplicate post, but it's applicable here and on my Onyx Breeding Thread:

So back on December 8th I stumbled across a true perc showing Onyx Coloration among a group of WC percs shipped from Tonga. Here's a refresher picture.

Image

After this fish went through QT, it was moved into a breeder net. Recently, in my opinion looked like it was loosing it's black coloration, so today I moved it into my 24 gallon sps tank which is housing a pair + 1 of Batch XXI babies. The "pair", even at only 139 days old, is pretty vigorously defending their Xenia patch from this larger newcomer - it's amazing that even at 139 days the pair is pretty well bonded?! We'll see if that bond holds up long term.

So here's the pictures - what do you think, has the WC Onyx faded?

Image

Image

Image

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cross-reference post

Postby vaporize » Sun Jan 20, 2008 5:43 am

Matt asked me to post my experience with the 'black' experience on the w.c. onyx.

I have purchased 4 w.c. onyx patterned percula from Bali, Indonesia shipment, out of the 60 that came in, only these 4 had the almost onyx pattern (a very little bit of the back fin/body area being orange).

I put them into my QT without light, and after 3 months, i was surprise to see:
- 1 died short, so does not count
- 2 lose 80% of the black pigment and returned to orange
- 1 still holds 95% of the black pigment and has not lose the black

It seems that the black pigment is directly light dependent as some of the hypothesis stated.

In a similiar case with the melanistic clarkii I have, two individuals lose 30% of the black shades (not return to yellow but a grey-ish yellow) after putting under very low light conditions, however it took them almost a year to become that coloration.

Not sure if it helps in your study.
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Postby mpedersen » Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:28 pm

This just shot the Light Hypothesis to sh*t - the WC Onyx I found..look at it now after living under a 150 watt MH...photo shot on 2-12-08:

Image

It's hosting in Xenia...I'm starting to think that maybe it IS the host????

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