getting started

getting started

Postby lionelj » Tue May 11, 2010 4:19 pm

Can anyone direct me on how to set up a small, first breeding system. I'm not looking for anything like twenty tanks for brood stock, but just something to get started with. I've had a reef tank for about eighteen months and it's doing well, but I think I want to go beyond that and try breeding. Direction, books, drawings, suggestions - anything would help. Let me add, this is my first post, though I've been reading a lot for the past few weeks. What everyone else seems to consider a "small" system seems quite daunting at this point.
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Re: getting started

Postby JimWelsh » Tue May 11, 2010 4:32 pm

First question I think you need to answer is, "What do I want to breed"? Let's start there.
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Re: getting started

Postby Agathos » Tue May 11, 2010 4:33 pm

I think you've come to the right place :)

What species do you plan to breed?
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Re: getting started

Postby lionelj » Tue May 11, 2010 4:38 pm

Um, gee... I suppose that would be a good question! I guess I was putting the tank ahead of the fish. Is there a more easy fish I could sort of learn the basics with, or all of them different. If I had my druthers, I really think Green Mandarins are fantastic, but I couldn't even tell a male from a female.
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Re: getting started

Postby Agathos » Tue May 11, 2010 4:45 pm

lionelj wrote:Um, gee... I suppose that would be a good question! I guess I was putting the tank ahead of the fish. Is there a more easy fish I could sort of learn the basics with, or all of them different. If I had my druthers, I really think Green Mandarins are fantastic, but I couldn't even tell a male from a female.


Oh, they are not equally easy to breed. Far from it, most of the fish we keep in our tanks are very difficult to breed, some even so hard that no one has succeeded with them yet!

Mandarins are actually considered rather hard, so I would suggest you start with something easier, like Banggai Cardinals (Pterapogon kauderni) or clownfishes ("Nemos"), if possible.
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Re: getting started

Postby lionelj » Tue May 11, 2010 4:53 pm

Thanks, Ag. I have some "nemos' in my tank now and the lfs guy told me they could actually breed in the tank, though I have seen no evidence. I would like to start with some hope of success, so assuming they are more easily bred than others - where do I go from here?
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Re: getting started

Postby Agathos » Tue May 11, 2010 5:03 pm

lionelj wrote:Thanks, Ag. I have some "nemos' in my tank now and the lfs guy told me they could actually breed in the tank, though I have seen no evidence. I would like to start with some hope of success, so assuming they are more easily bred than others - where do I go from here?


Provide them with a good environment and hopefully they will spawn in your tank :) . Actually, if you have two clownfish they will form a pair - one male and one female pretty soon, and start to hang together - these two are called the "broodstock". When they are sexually mature, and if they are happy in your tank, they will eventually spawn.

I will not give you a long outline of the whole process here, partly because I am an amateur and partly because better people than me have already compiled a guide to breeding clownfish - MOFIB's Clownfish Breeding Overview: http://www.marinebreeder.org/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=169&t=315. This overview includes all the information needed to breed clownfish. In addition, there are lots of Breeding Reports here from members who have bred these species, you can find many of them here: http://www.marinebreeder.org/phpbb/viewforum.php?f=169.

I suggest you start reading the Overview and the reports and ask questions as you go along :D. And welcome to MOFIB and the hobby!
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Re: getting started

Postby lionelj » Tue May 11, 2010 5:15 pm

Wow! I just sort of skimmed the Overview- I have a bunch to read. Thanks for the direction. So, you think it best that I just wait and see what happens in the reef tank, rather than set them up in another tank by themselves. I mean, I really don't even know what I'd be looking for if they bred. And, I have three: a large, medium and small. Am I correct that the large one is the female, and the medum, who seems to swim around pretty much where she does, is likely her mate?
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Re: getting started

Postby Agathos » Wed May 12, 2010 1:16 am

lionelj wrote:Wow! I just sort of skimmed the Overview- I have a bunch to read. Thanks for the direction. So, you think it best that I just wait and see what happens in the reef tank, rather than set them up in another tank by themselves. I mean, I really don't even know what I'd be looking for if they bred. And, I have three: a large, medium and small. Am I correct that the large one is the female, and the medum, who seems to swim around pretty much where she does, is likely her mate?


People that breed professionally keep they broodstock in dedicated tanks. These are usually quite small (10 g for clownfish?) and sparsely decorated. Usually all that is included is a single flower pot. The reasons behind this are, as far as I understand, economics (much cheaper to set up a series of small, simple broodstock tanks) and convenience (much easier to separate the broodstock from the eggs/larvae). This does not mean that you can't have the broodstock in your display tank, many people have great success with breeding clowns in their reef tank. It just becomes rather expensive if you want to have multiple pairs and inconvenient (with greater losses) when you want to extract the offspring.

In my case, I started as a regular reef tank hobbyist and really had no intention to breed. When my pairs formed and started to display courtship behaviour, I neither had the time, space or money to set up dedicated breeding tanks. So for me the magic happens among the corals and other livestock. At least, that's where I hope it will happen, I am new to this, too.

The larger of your fish will be the female (unless they are Clark's Clownfish?), and the smaller one that stays with her, the male and her mate. So you have an established pair. Do you see any sign of courtship? It's common for the submissive fish to shake/vibrate to the dominant fish, this is supposedly exaggerated during courtship. In addition they start preparing a nest site by plucking at rocks or the substrate near their home. If they are hosted by an anemone this is usually near it's foot, if they normally stay in a cave it is often at the roof or walls.

How do the pair react to your third clownfish? Is it bullied or left alone?
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Re: getting started

Postby lionelj » Wed May 12, 2010 9:24 am

Agathos,
My clowns are a.ocellaris, not Clark's. The third one, the smallest, is pretty much ignored. I see no hostility toward it by any of the tankmates, and during feeding it is right in there with everyone else. But, it does not stay with the other two and is usually swimming by itself. I've not seen any of the mating signs you have described other than the two staying in pretty close proximity - I'll have to watch closer. I realized that I really need to understand all this better, and have ordered Hoff's book as well as Wittenrich's. I get kind of crazy involved in a subject and I love books, so this will probably be the beginning of a library on the subject. I realize I have a lot of questions and much I don't know that I don't know, so perhaps reading up on breeding before I go much further is the best course. Might even convince me to just stay with my reef tank and let nature take it's course. I'll keep you posted! Thanks for yor support and encouragement.
Lionel
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Re: getting started

Postby Agathos » Wed May 12, 2010 9:36 am

lionelj wrote:Agathos,
My clowns are a.ocellaris, not Clark's. The third one, the smallest, is pretty much ignored. I see no hostility toward it by any of the tankmates, and during feeding it is right in there with everyone else. But, it does not stay with the other two and is usually swimming by itself. I've not seen any of the mating signs you have described other than the two staying in pretty close proximity - I'll have to watch closer. I realized that I really need to understand all this better, and have ordered Hoff's book as well as Wittenrich's. I get kind of crazy involved in a subject and I love books, so this will probably be the beginning of a library on the subject. I realize I have a lot of questions and much I don't know that I don't know, so perhaps reading up on breeding before I go much further is the best course. Might even convince me to just stay with my reef tank and let nature take it's course. I'll keep you posted! Thanks for yor support and encouragement.
Lionel


I think reading yourself up on the topic is a good idea. The books you mention are classics, but MOFIB has a very comprehensive collection of valuable information on this topic, too, as well as many distinguished breeders among the members. So use both sources and you'll soon be an expert, in the theory :D . But don't forget to ask here if you have any questions, breeding is a science in development and lots of innovation and new ideas takes place here among our members. The more people coming here to ask questions, the more answers must be given by us, which helps to create this large, valuable body of information and knowledge; and the more conundrums that are pondered, the more revelations we come to, which again serves to make progress in this challenging but rewarding hobby.

What you can do is to create your own Breeding Report on your A. ocellaris. It might be early, but all breeding efforts starts with a mated pair. Through your report you can document the first courtship behaviour and everything after. This would serve to help others that think about breeding their clowns.
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Re: getting started

Postby lionelj » Wed May 12, 2010 11:29 am

That sounds like a plan! And - don't you ever sleep?!?! :lol: I have been looking around MOFIB, still getting used to the set-up of the site. I had noticed the Breeding Report area, but have not gone there yet. As I said, I get very intense in my research and read and read a LOT! I'm still learning about my reef tank, but this whole idea of captive breeding really touched an intense interest. It just seems to make such basic sense, though I do understand that careful, sustainable harvesting of wild fish supports many people.

Well, I'm off to do more reading... Thanks again for the wonderful welcome and support, - I'll be back often!
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Re: getting started

Postby Agathos » Wed May 12, 2010 11:44 am

lionelj wrote:That sounds like a plan! And - don't you ever sleep?!?! :lol: I have been looking around MOFIB, still getting used to the set-up of the site. I had noticed the Breeding Report area, but have not gone there yet. As I said, I get very intense in my research and read and read a LOT! I'm still learning about my reef tank, but this whole idea of captive breeding really touched an intense interest. It just seems to make such basic sense, though I do understand that careful, sustainable harvesting of wild fish supports many people.

Well, I'm off to do more reading... Thanks again for the wonderful welcome and support, - I'll be back often!


Maybe it's like drug trafficking, in general bad but a necessary income for many poor people? :wink: Nah, sustainable harvesting of marine fishes from reefs is possible, I am just not convinced that is how it is actually done, at least not everywhere in the world. And besides, for some species the majority of the fish that are collected end up dying in transport, I find that ethically challenging, especially when we have captive-bred alternatives. That's why I think captive breeding is important, and why MOFIB has such an important function.

Sleep? Only when there's no posts to answer to ;).
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Re: getting started

Postby lionelj » Wed May 12, 2010 1:23 pm

:lol: Ah, cynics of the world unite! I have a hard time myself with the sustainable thing, knowing as I do that profit is such a strong motive. But, I am going to keep an open mind and pray that there are ethical folks out there that do practice a truly sustainable system. Well, I will try to do my part for the alternative - captive breeding! As I search around here, MOFIB has such a wonderful array of information and directions, - I think I'm going to like it here. More reading to do!!! :D
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Re: getting started

Postby Agathos » Wed May 12, 2010 2:31 pm

lionelj wrote: As I search around here, MOFIB has such a wonderful array of information and directions, - I think I'm going to like it here. More reading to do!!! :D


Please do, but remember to ask questions, that only makes the forum better :D

Cheers!
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